Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Walking Backwards : Pier 39, The East Coast's Brightest Nite Spot

I am lucky enough to have been to Pier 39. I have wandered through the Fisherman's Wharf district, dodged tramcars on The Embarcadero, and watched Californian sea lions haul themselves out of the waters of San Francisco Bay. I have also - as this strip of negatives from thirty years ago clearly shows - visited that less well known Pier 39 in Cleethorpes.

To save the embarrassment of comparison, the Cleethorpes pier is not called Pier 39 any more: but it is still there, it still juts out into the North Sea like a bantamweight boxer jabbing a heavyweight. There is still a big wheel, but in the thirty years since these photographs were taken it appears to have shrunk. It is years since I have been to the resort but there must be ice cream and fish and chips and buckets and spades and all those things that go to make up such seaside resorts. And there must be colour, although I can't imagine it.

To me the place will always have a monochrome feel to it: a patina of black and white and whelks. My mother met my father in Cleethorpes 80 years ago when the world was still seen in scales of grey. I walked the streets of Cleethorpes 30 years ago whilst the last of my hearing evaporated from my life and I tried to fill the void with black and white images. Perhaps I will head back there to see if the colours will shine in the sun.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Alan, I sit here listening to classical music and enjoying your long-ago photos...both of which merge well in my brain. I'm reminded by your words of losing your hearing of the question that occurred the other day in the studio, "which would you rather lose, hearing or sight?" And being the artist that I am I definitely said hearing. The person who posed the question already is wearing hearing aids, and just learning to work with clay. But I do feel how experiences must be changed when music isn't there, or bird song, or even the running of the fan in the air conditioner...and it's hard to imagine! Thanks for keeping on posting your lovely photos~


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