A few weeks ago I bought a copy of Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
I knew I would love this book as soon as I spotted it in Waterstones. It felt like an encounter of cosmic significance. I have been increasingly obsessed by these wasteland spaces inbetween “proper” places, and had been struggling to find a term to describe the focus of my passion. ‘Edgelands’ describes it pretty much precisely although my own interests extend the notion to encompass the liminal aspects of suburbs and suburbia.
I have lived on or near edgelands my whole adult life. A few years ago I realised it’s where I feel most at home. And as the book opens with reference to the edgelands of North West England, and I am intimately familiar with the edgeland territory of this region ranging from the outskirts of Ellesmere Port through the refineries at Stanlow and the marshes adjacent to the River Mersey and the chemical works at Runcorn and the periphery of Manchester Airport, it’s no surprise I was overcome by waves of empathy and resonating experiences as I wandered through the chapters.
It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my obsession. It’s wonderful to have acquired a list of artists, writers and others mining this richly accessible heritage.
But what prompted me to post now about it all was the delicious synchronicity of lying in a Premier Inn room in Heathrow and reading about the Premier Inns in the chapter on Hotels. Perfect bliss. Inwardly shouting YES at every page turn.
A treat of a book. Fabulous.