In the ending of Frank, the brilliant film about creativity and mental health, Michael Fassbender sings a beautifully simple song so close to nonsense: “I love your wall.”
In the last few years, I have come to love walls too. Perhaps you have a favourite one as well.
Now predominately free of the anxiety voices that used to find any break in my thoughts and fill it, I have a lot more time for my manic mind to feast on the environment that surrounds me on my perpetual travels. Worry has been replaced with wonder as I wander. We can be blasé to our surroundings unless there is a sign that says “look here”. We may peer with intensity at St Paul’s Cathedral or the Angel of the North, but then we lower our senses to a damp squib and return to an autopilot of existence.
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Approaching Euston station, the train dawdled a few metres from the platform and I looked up at the dark brickwork of the bridge above. There were the plants that had feasted on any crack of potential nutrients and grew out horizontally from the wall before reaching up for the sun. In that, I find a transcendent moment pondering the tenacity of nature and reminding myself that, whatever geometric order humans think they can bring to the world, flora will find a way of disrupting our straight lines.
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My first wall – we’ve all got a first wall – was opposite platform 2 at Darlington station. It is a great big red brick wall, somewhere between Pink Floyd and the wall that the teacher battling to stop the Midwich Cuckoos getting into his mind imagines in John Wyndham’s classic novel. I remember having that moment of waiting for my train and thinking of all the hands and minds that had gone into creating it.