Wandering (Never)

The other day, for reasons I can’t really comprehend, I found myself thinking about the streets of Aberdeen, where I went to art school. Specifically, I found myself thinking about the main commercial street — Market Street — and the way it would feel walking along it at night, on the way to or from something more interesting.

Perhaps it was the street — which was nothing special, really; a street filled with department stores and a bridge and that was about it, really — or more likely, the age I was at the time, the way that life felt in general, but I can’t think about Market Street without there being a feeling that, even though there was nothing unusual or unlikely about it, there was a magic to be found there. Or, perhaps, a possibility. Especially at night, for some reason.

Nights on Market Street, everything looked different. The streetlights turned everything orange, but flat, as well; what was traditionally three dimensional turned into a theater set, with background actors wandering around to try and make it feel authentic. I’d almost certainly be listening to music on headphones as I walked along it, and so my memories are always soundtracked by Blur, Primal Scream, David Holmes and, weirdly, Bernard Butler.  (It was the 1990s, and I was — am — a Britpop kid.)

It would, with the exception of a few weeks of each year, be surprisingly cold but I’d rarely notice. Seagulls would swoop down to steal people’s takeaway chips , periodically, but otherwise everything would feel still as I walked past. These are very specific sense memories that feel crystal clear, despite being almost certainly false. It’s odd to be nostalgic for something that never actually happened.

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