September 5th - An afternoon off work and errands in Birmingham. In the backstreets of Aston, a sign raised a smile - that’s a very ambitious business model.
'Yes, that's right. If you quote for Wolverhampton and Coventry, any chance of throwing Lichfield in for half price?'
November 14th - Now winter darkness is upon me, that Late Night Feelings thing is haunting me once again. I pitched up at Tyseley station this evening on the threshold between day and night, and all it took between the two was the journey downstairs to the platform.
The lights, the skyline, the signals. Bright, warming, steady, reassuring, control. The glistening, ever-crossing parabolas of the rails; the ever present shadow of the incinerator, innocuously operating unnoticed in the dry warm air of summer, but now with it’s dirty secrets revealed into the chill air in the form of a plume of steam.
Cityscape, geometry, light. Can’t stop the fascination, I really can’t.
November 30th - An odd kind of day, characterised mainly by horrendous travel problems. There was an odd atmosphere with nothing quite going to plan, but nothing really wrong, either. Hopping out for a breather at lunch, I tried exploring around Hay Hall, to see if I could find anything else of antiquity. I ended up going round in circles, but did notice this plaque. The huge factory is now a collection of subdivided units, with a curious and unusual tunnel down the middle. I had no idea Rover ever had a works out here. It sits immediately to the southeast of Hay Hall, and somewhat dwarfs it. This is an odd place.
October 4th - I was accompanied by a forgotten companion on my return from work this evening - nightfall. It was 6:45pm, and nearly dark when I arrived home. A little bit of a shock to the system. This made photography difficult, as I hadn’t got a tripod or gorillapod on me. Sweeping down a dark and deserted Maybrook Road, the dusk made for an interesting shot with the camera sat on a street cabinet. This part of town - on the Walsall Wood/Brownhills border - always seems deserted. Even in the daytime.
February 22nd - Recently saved from the bulldozer, Brownhills Business Park at night is an interesting combination of discharge light, shadow and angle. Partially consisting of some of the surface buildings of the former Walsall Wood Colliery, this is an interesting little industrial park which always has lots going on, and a wide variety of businesses operate here. Lurking on the corner of this site is a former mineshaft used for dumping millions of gallons of industrial effluent in the 70’s and 80’s, so perhaps it’s for the best that they didn’t get permission to build houses on this site.
January 21st - This is intriguing and good news. This new factory has been built from scratch on the Clayhanger/Walsall Wood border at Maybrook Road. This company have decided to move here from up north, creating real engineering jobs and bringing its business into the area. What fascinates me is that the occupiers have been moving in for ages now - loads of cranes and lifting equipment here every weekend. I don’t know what they’re doing here, but there must be a lot of heavy gear involved.
December 16th - On the Walsall Canal at the back of the factory units Pleck Road, I noticed this curious sight. I guess the caravan - which someone appears to be using, maybe even living in - must have been put there before the steel leanto adjacent went up, as the only way that can now be removed is by floating it down the canal. I particularly like the decking made out of pallets. Curious.
October 21st - I love night photography, but I’m not terribly good at it. I love the way familiar places change totally at night. The senior citizen’s flats opposite Holland Park and the fuel tanks of the Tesco depot on the Pelsall Road don’t really register as aesthetically pleasing in daytime - interesting, but unremarkable. Shroud them in darkness and discharge light and they come alive. I think I’m starting to get the hang of this winter thing at last.
September 18th - One of the more curious love affairs of my life has been with Rugeley Power Station. This 1950’s temple to the power of electricity and the new technological age looked to have an uncertain future when Lea Hall pit closed, but now fed by Daw Mill Colliery in Leicester, it has been fully upgraded and now is amongst the cleanest coal-fired station in the country. I find this industrial behemoth endlessly fascinating, awe inspiring and hugely ugly. A symbol of the modern age, I never tire of taking in this view.