The Runner


‘Culture is like a heavy overcoat into which a child is firmly buttoned, thereafter to shape and condition the rest of its life and become a shroud at its death.’
The Mister

The Runner

Sacred sites remain hallowed until the arrival of the tourist horde that quickly strips them of all authenticity. Better to set up a deck-chair in Camden High St and spend a relaxing day watching traffic while these enthusiastic sight-seers hunt among the megaliths and dolmens for a McDonalds, or a snack-bar in the Sacristy.

Pioneering days are the best, the first breaking of new earth and the release of a primal energy such as occurred in the mid-sixties but which quickly juddered to an atrophy riddled halt once Carnaby St and the merchants moved in.

Plastic simulacrums of reality lining the route of sold-out minds who can never get their hands on the ‘real thing’, which forever lies just out of sight, inspiring only those who appreciate the finer distillations, while wishing the best of luck to the hindermost.

Following metaphorically these inspiring events come Municipal roads, speculative builders, shopping-centres and all the rest.

But the raw energy has long gone, moved on, ever seeking fresh outlets and new directions wherein to create the kind of buzz worth living for.

Such new directions move of course, always some way ahead of popular culture, which blunders clumsily in its wake, bringing with it the commercial interests that feed upon the desire which they profitably encourage.

However, with the right kind of insight it is easy to outrun this ‘user friendly’ monster.

                          The Runner

At middle distance
Long slope of strawatered corn
Viewed in utter stillness
By golden pupilled blue eyed sky
Then eye is caught
A small light movement
Urgent coursing down the slope
Taking rapid form becomes
The Runner.

Leaping hedges
Trailing spiderwebs of bubbling sparks
Ozone tinged air becomes alive
With half-heard sounds of celestial strung pipes
Then in a blur of colour
He is by and gone.

Once more the hill alone
Then suddenly two figures
Scurry down its face
And as they level with the eye
Three more; then four; five, nine… thirty
A multitude blacken the golden slope
Chimneys belching wheels turning
The air is filled with hooting friction
Screaming metal
Plastic flowers trampled under eyeless feet

Voices of woe, pain and fear
Lifted above a silhouette of disjointed
arms and legs
Then just as eyes and ears can bear no more
A subtle change flows through the air
As sound recedes and centerpoint is passed
The figures isolated by their space
Towards the fast dissolving mass
Hurry in its wake.

Now the stragglers anxious move
Only eleven keeping pace
Across the landscape spread
Now six
And moving faster three
No more to come?
A gap
Then two the horizon break
Down the slope speed on their way
And gone.

Once more the hill
The corn
Sky and time
Then eye is caught
A small light movement
Urgent coursing down the slope
Taking rapid form becomes
The Runner.



Dave Tomlin
Art: Nick Victor


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