These are a few images of the houses around where I grew up. I have pretty mixed feelings about the place and suburbia in general and what it all means to me. So I recently did a piece of writing on it, which is also below.
I hadn’t been there in a long time. When I was little, the town and it’s surroundings seemed bigger than anything I’d seen outside of it. My life had seemed so safe, warm, secure, and I had yet to imagine it going beyond this place. But now walking through, down and around the roads that were once so familiar to me, it’s all cramped. As if in the years away, every building and plant had edged itself closer together, squeezing me out. I didn’t fit anymore and I felt bulky. Large. My feet clumsily stomping along the tiny pavement. It was summertime, and despite the grey clouds looming overhead, the day was warm. The smell was a mix of sweet and bitter, like sweat dripping into a fresh bag of sugar. The only sounds were of distant traffic and the occasional ice cream van’s tune. The colours appeared drab and bored by their own existence. Except for green. Where all else had changed and warped and had lost something to me, the colour green stayed. It was always the purest thing about the whole country. The thing we all had missed the most. The moist, lush, deep, enduring green. And although at it’s best on the moors and on the farms, it still creeps its way into the rows and cul-de-sacs of suburban life. My own childhood seemed to be following me, and I kept expecting to bump into kids I once knew. The ones that no longer existed. They had grown and changed in a different direction to me, like seeds from dandelions blown permanently away from each other. I would not recognise them now, and they would not recognise me. It’s a ghost town. Nothing has really changed beyond the people that live there. And even then, most appear to be the same, and the new additions are much like the people they have replaced. I try to imagine how my life would have turned out had I stayed. Would I have one of the identical houses? Living an identical life to my neighbours? Personalities seem to have silenced here. The only glimmer of difference appears in the choice of roof tilings or renders. But through the generations of surprisingly similar lives, the place still holds something beautiful within it’s mundane nature. I’m not sure if it’s in the soil, or the air, or if it’s just a feeling within the history of the place, perhaps just my history with it, that makes it echo with both beauty and sadness in equal measure. Like paintings of crying women, you can’t see what has caused such anguish, only try to take pleasure in the beauty that the sorrow has created.