Saving the Bad New Things

I have a new essay out in Onsite 32: Weak Systems. It is about Beaumaris, Wales, the British class system, and Brecht, amongst many other things. Read it here. This is the beginning:

The excavator made short work of the sheds. Its power shovel easily broke through their corrugated iron walls, rusted by a century of sea spray, to reveal piles of old fishing tackle and the remnants of half-built boats. Amid the destruction, debris from the sheds fell onto the smooth stones of the beach. The sky had the same green-grey hue as the pebbles, as if God had run out of colours in Anglesey and painted this Welsh island with the murky remnants of his palette.

Further along the beach, a woman is walking her dogs. They sniff at the water’s edge, eagerly searching for a gift offered up by the sea: a small crab perhaps, or else Mr Jones’ unwanted office lunch, tossed out of his car window as he drove along the winding seaside road and now returned to dry land by the tide. The woman is searching, too. Her head is bowed down, as if in prayer, and her eyes scan the water’s wake. She bends down, picks something up, and cradles it in her hand. It’s a shard of porcelain, with fine black ink work depicting a castle, hidden under a hazy glaze of blue, yellow and red. It could be a page from a children’s colouring book, hardened by the sea. ‘Children,’ Walter Benjamin wrote, ‘learn from bright colours, because the fantastic play of colour is the home of memory without yearning, and it can be free of yearning because it is unalloyed.’

She looks towards the sheds.