Newport

Tramps-Élysées

Luke Hall

Nothing can quite prepare you for the sights that grace the windows of the Arriva Trains network. Returning from Carmarthen, I could watch the landscape unfold through the window, as I toyed with the idea of taking a lighter photo in a place that even the almighty God wouldn’t dare to spark up, for fear of a stern finger wag from the train operator about blowing smoke into the faces of all the baby children.

I try my best to remain positive here on The Lighter Journal. No matter how dishevelled a place may be, how charmless, or how uninteresting it is, I’d like to think that I could still find something of merit to communicate over to you, the lovely readers at home. However when I arrived at Newport, I’m afraid that hopeful notion had packed its bags, and had away on its little toes.

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Upon pulling up to the station I saw an old leather sofa on the roof of a house, and I watched as the rain spat on it, slowly decaying the faux as it went. Perhaps the sofa was a symbol, a parallel to the hope of Newport as it slowly decays and sinks into the sodden tarmac. There were closed businesses, abandoned warehouses, collapsed roofs, and concrete rubble piles, and whilst I admittedly didn’t venture far from the train station, I can rest assured that Newport is not going to be mistaken for the Champs-Élysées any time soon.

A jump back on the train unveiled more nuances tucked away in Newport, the most memorable being a half drain swamp by a rusty bridge that should’ve been condemned years ago. You could see the mud covered bricks and broken bottles that protruded from the damp sludge on the banks. But a feature more memorable by smell than by sight, was the sewage outflow pipe that spilled into the river, and as the train escaped, I had to live with the fact that my last sight of Newport was the crap some bloke had on Sunday night whilst recovering from the choice to binge drink the corner shop piss sold just outside the station.

At some point throughout everybody’s lives, they consider their own mortality. They realise that no matter how much they try to avoid it, death will one day happen. When we have to, we fight with almost superhuman strength to escape its clutches. However, in Newport I noticed that things were different. Before arriving I was afraid of dying, but when I was there, I was afraid that I might not.

Editor: Joel Emmons

 

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