Book of the week – "The Old Terra Vitae"

Life is hard enough with its routine and family stresses, and unfortunately the afterlife isn’t so much of a rest either. That’s the experience of Loupe, striving away at a 9-5 job under many watchful eyes. not all of them benign, and always at his side is his wise counsel, a guardian angel of sorts, realised as a talking, alcoholic dog called Juju. 

The Old Terra Vitae” is Paddy Green’s first novel, and whilst it zips along at pace this is ostensibly a comedic novel in which very little comedy actually happens. There are moments of unease, at one point in Loupe’s many flashbacks incredibly difficult, and these are woven into the otherwise mundane commuter world with flourish. It’s how Will Self might tackle things were he given a guest spot editing Dilbert.

His voice was simply awful, the distillation of every embittered bureaucrat in history, like a blackboard scraping down another blackboard. He paused, and adjusted his tie. I fervently hoped he wasn’t going to leave this long a gap between every word he had to say – this train wasn’t going to the moon so we were liable to run out of time for smalltalk.

There is the influence of Douglas Adams here but Green has a verve of his own, and this comes out particularly strongly in the darkest, most difficult passages.

As the incision was made, I saw the first wisps of smoke rising from the wound. Clearly I was the only one here who could see it, as the medical team carried on regardless – opening her up, releasing a curling shadow. It boiled over her skin like a dark dry ice, coiled up the arms of the surgeon as he did his work. Then he reached in and pulled me from the door he’d cut for me, and the proto-me was released into the light. I looked rubbery, grey, malformed – and the shadow was stuck to me as if by some kind of static electricity…

Juju and Loupe are an unexpected double team, steeped in sarcasm and double measures, and for a novel written in a month for the (in)famous “NaNoWriMo” project it comes across very well indeed, intelligent and belligerent.

“The Old Terra Vitae” is available now in hardcopy and download formats from Amazon 

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Elvis is Dead

This place remained as its world changed, defiant against the strength of each decade’s wind.

Its terraced neighbours were torn down before they could collapse of their own accord: factories across the road lost their wives, their children, had their bricks covered in fake cladding and were rebranded with abstract nouns robbed of their initial capital letters. People moved in with pastel shade curtains and hung out their washing from where industry had clattered its noise and produced its smoke.

Street names changed, wiped from maps and memory, grid layout streets abandoned for warehouses and car-parks, in turn replaced themselves. Advertisements turned too, once housewives, then families, now animated toys mouthing website addresses through knitted teeth.

And it remains, The Sacred Oak, with its growing collection of monochrome prints and real ale pumps. Regulars replaced cloth caps and blazers with jumpers, then open shirts: women chose pints over halves, and friends over husbands. The Sacred Oak lost its tobacco smell for sweat and for aftershave and occasional wafts of cannabis on Friday nights. Horse racing lost out to pop videos, and then to the dull reflection of itself, its blank screen staring at the regulars whose place along the bar needed only a ‘Reserved’ sign. Bar snacks moved in, then moved away from arm’s reach to behind the bar. Peanuts lost out to crisps, to sticks of processed meats and see-through packets of Bombay Mix, to a coffee machine parked away from any available plug socket.

Elvis and his railwaymen would pack out the bar with their wages in envelopes, long away into the night with songs and serenades, their faces etched with a youth which would be changed by time and temperament.  Elvis lost his colleagues to romances, to new lives in Australia and South Africa, and to the ugly blossoming of cancer robbing an unwritten history from within. He would move away for employment and caravan holidays, stolen from handshakes and toasts as each new landlord passed as new faces for old hands. Here is the place which withheld the forces of fashion and economics, withheld by each new name across the door: Carole Granger, Yvette Broughton, Terence Wetherington, Michelle Hale.

Elvis died in what once had been the snug. His head rested on the redundant buzzer above the red leather seats. His hands lay across his lap, content and comfortable in passing. The regulars raised their glasses, cheered his name until the ambulance arrived, when all noise surrendered itself to the harsh beauty of mourning.

Each of those regulars threw in a pound to place bets on every horse he’d circled in red pen. 

Word of the Year

End of year summaries and lists are in full frenzy, and if anything uses up space in late December space-fillers, it’s the “Word of the Year”. With this year being particularly cuckoo-bananas, trying to sum up the whole thing in one word is hard. It’s been a good year to disprove the attitude that ideology has died: this year has been, if anything, more polarised than any time in generations. Time-travelling Soviets could zip forward to any point during this year to assume the collapse in respect towards the police and politicians meant they were onto a winner. 
The “Occupy” movement has defined this year, with all the other protests and riots branching off like tree made from malevolence. Although the aims and ambitions of the “Occupy” lot haven’t yet achieved anything, their attitudes and methods dictate and decide the patterns of anti-austerity protests across Europe and the Middle East freedom marches. Each educates each other – methods, slogans, processes. As one “Occupy” movement uses foursquare or Twitter or Google+, so another learns to do the same. The aims may be fuzzy, the ambitions confused, but the methods are unlike anything the Establishment has seen before. This is what happens when the ideology which fed the 60s and 70s teenage marches is super-sized. 
Cynical about the markets and corporatism, comfortable with turning the word “occupy” into a capitalised brand, “Occupy” is the measure of 2011, its skeleton and its organs. Whether you agree with those who camp out fully or not, their actions have redefined the protest movement forever. The word “occupy” has been adapted, redefined, reformed, from something implicated with war and detention to expression and freedom. Suddenly “occupy” can also represent the possibility of change, not a determination to crush the human spirit. “Occupy” protesters are themselves an ill-defined bunch – some are more anarchic than others – though until their own organisation begins to break down they have successfully made an synonym of “organise”. 
Nominations for “word of the year” tend to focus on technology (“check in”, “share”, “Andrioid”) or culture (“hipster”, “chinos”, “pop-up restaurant”).  It seems more important this year to look deeper than material goods. That’s why politics retains its importance and relevance, and how 2012 is already defined by what politics cannot deliver.

Adventures in Groundhopping

The football website BornOffside is just over one year old and from Shamrock Rovers to the stadia blueprints in Qatar, it’s been quite a journey. There’s a lot of exciting things to come from the BornOffside lads in the coming months, so if you’ve not checked the site out yet, be sure to do so.

As I noted a few months ago now, this current football season is one where I’ll be hopping around the lower and non-league grounds (…within affordable public transport reach, natch), and scribing about the experiences for BornOffside.

It’s been two months already and I’m ticking off some great little games and cracking grounds, but much more than that, I’m enjoying people watching, comparing pies and noticing how all right-backs are frustrated centre midfielders who just want a CHANCE IN LIFE DAMMMIT.

By way of a catch-up, here’s the run down of my adventures thus far. There’s  more to come, hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do….

A day trip to Squires Gate, and then to Lancaster, covered in The First Weekends.

An early FA Cup qualifier saw Prescot Cables take on Warrington, all scribed up as Prescot Punch

Trying out plucky little Flixton against the “phoenix club” AFC Liverpool in Flawed Phoenix

Taking the 30-minute walk from my house down the road for Bamber Bridge in Bridge Too Far

Making my way to North Wales to take in the beautiful game from the vantage point of the Welsh First Division, which I hope was translated accurately as Y gêm hardd

Down the West Coast Main Line for the charms of Wigan, only without the threat of bumping into Gary Caldwell, which was all a bit all pastry, no filling

Last weekend I found myself on a park in Radcliffe for the lowest level of non-league football I have ever watched. It should be up on the site later this week, so check it out.

Pablo Honey

It’s February 1993. The indie chart holds itself in an awkward position, between new takes on punk by American start-ups and characteristically wry British bands without a single umbrella term to hang over them. The top ten indie chart for February 1993 runs from Sugar and Tad and Huggy Bear – all unknowns even outside the few remaining true “record shops” by the winter of that year, never mind today – to Suede and Cornershop and Belly. Also in that month, Oxford’s Radiohead released their début “Pablo Honey”. For British music, for them, for the charts, corners were turned. Things never quite sounded the same again.

What is “Pablo Honey” today? For whom was Thom Yorke positing “What the hell m’a doin’ here?” Foreshadowing Beck and Weezer, both of whom could have passed ‘Creep’ off as their own, the first album from Radiohead could easily challenge or be challenged by the teenage angst it seemed initially to encapsulate. There are modern day fans of the Manic Street Preachers for whom “Generation Terrorists” is a youthful joke, a throwaway compilation of decent songs with too much naivety, too much eagerness for the title of the next enfants terribles. Who were Radiohead at the time? What label was attached by contemporary critics: indie, grunge, alt.rock, was any of that created yet? Was this the start of shoegazing or the continuation of something else, something older?

“Pablo Honey” begins with “You”, a sarcastic, sardonic love song, with a sneer in vocals and thwacka-thwacka guitars which could have come across the Atlantic. At the time, both US and UK teens had their own brand of educated anti-establishment soundtracks, both of whom documented the end of their own respective worlds. “You” sounds like the linear successor to Morrisey’s forlorn hope from the middle of the previous decade, an update, an extension. Of course, “Creep” would be too mawkish even for The Smiths; as Kurt Cobain would find, such cryptic self-referential anthems would be both albatross and accolade. “Creep”, like “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, both celebrates and derides teenage listlessness, balances the delight and despair of introspection. Did Michael Stipe feel the same, hearing “Losing My Religion” adopted as soundtrack? This unholy triptych, this unlikely period piece of youthful diary-writing, hailed as something so fucking special…

This week, Radiohead released “King of Limbs”. That is, in the language of the 90s, they “released” their new album, for in the 21st Century, they did nothing more than allow fans to pre-book for downloading. Nobody in 1993 could have foreseen the advances in technology, nor could anyone have assumed the indie boys with a sneer and complex lyrics turn away from melody and rhymes and instruments to the Wonderland world of “Kid A”, “Amnesiac”. Listen to “Ripcoard”, the highlight nobody remembers today, and you might as well be comparing Catatonia with Katatonia.

Is “Pablo Honey” any good? Yes. The NME of the time said “…flawed…but satisfying”. Rolling Stone considered it “grungy” before that term was coined. (Well, okay, the Oxford English Dictionary has Vanity Fair using it in 1991 and the Guardian in 1992, but only referring to Nirvana and Hole. I can only suspect that Britain held out against using the term for home-grown bands.)

There are more highs than (artistic) lows on “Pablo Honey”. There is muddle, there is clear teenage shoe-scuffing, there is nothing exactly original (“Prove Yourself” could well be There Might Be Giants.) By “The Bends”, their career advancing classic, Radiohead had moved on as quickly and assuredly as a train moves from station to station. In the context of the new, obscure, unusual release, its dubstep and ambient elements utterly unknown in the early 90s, “Pablo Honey” is the postcard from a past we cannot bring ourselves to entirely forget. It sounds honest even if the content was not entirely true to themselves.

From our vantage point, older and wiser and more knowledgeable, we can understand the exuberance of youthful excitement, of expression and of intent. “Pablo Honey” is not the record of where Radiohead wanted to be; it’s a vital piece of evidence of how much further they were than their peers even then.

Interview with Make Me King

Lancashire’s Make Me King are taking their merry brand of melodic alternative rock on the road to promote “The Whisper is a Hint” (RiotPop Records). As their eponymous song says, “every boy needs a score”, and these guys seem to have done that very highly with a polished and professional debut EP.

“Since we started all this, for like three years, all I’ve wanted to do is live in a van touring,” sighs bassist Lewis Clark, his youthful expectation hidden behind thick facial hair which didn’t need anyone shaking Movember sponsorship forms to get going.

Guitarist Jack Mason, having helped Deep Elm Records’ Last Lungs on their national tour earlier this year, nods his head sagely; “There’s nothing better. You’re partying, you’re drinking, you may or may not be doing drugs, and you’re playing gigs. It does me.”

Formed three years ago at a college in Preston, the path which leads the twenty-somethings to publicising their debut appears to have been not merely direct but lined with travelators. The tangible result is an album brimming with attitude, confidence and youthful zeal, one with a coherence which hides the truth of its disjointed origins.

Guitarist Sean Marshall explains, “The thing is, it didn’t all get recorded in one section. It’s more luck, to be honest, if it all sounds like it works together. We kinda put “Every Truth or Dare” in the middle of our set and worked things out from there.”

“We started out pretty pop punk,” Jack chips in, “and now we’ve preferred to write now we’ve grown up over the years.”

“Growing up” strikes as a bold claim for the lads as they snigger, chuckle and wisecrack through the interview, relishing with broad grins the chances afforded them and their highly strung set of songs. In the pop-punk tradition, though notably broadened out and matured, their take on the ubiquitous genre is particularly sharp.
Particularly dangerous territory is this sort of thing, littered with Lost Prophets and Fightstar comparisons. Credit to them for knowing how often to hat-tip influences whilst making a path of their own, even if enquiring about influences sets off minor squabbles and layers of interrupted over-talking.

“Right, Jack, just choose two albums, like when you started out or something, and I’ll think about mine,” suggests Sean in full diplomacy mode.

“I kinda loved the old Panic! At The Disco sound on the first….”
“Bastard! Bastard, you stole my one…”

Lewis goes for the rare trait of answering the question.
“Yeah, there’s kinda different things, I dunno, Brand New, like, were a massive influence. Me especially, that guy [Jesse Lacey] is a fucking genius”.

The MMK sound – “swingy choruses, like dun-de-dun-de…sorry” tries Sean by way of explanation – eschews the over familiar hand-clap-and-power-chords combo for variety and production quirks. Having suggested that the upbeat songs could make it possible to jive to their songs, a short debate lands on the certainty of waltzing if nothing else;

“You could waltz to us, I want to see that in our first video, fact, Tower Ballroom, it has to be done,” table-thumps Jack, to agreeable nods from Sean.

“Would be sick, make it happen someone”. Lewis demands, feigning a call to the producers of Strictly Come Dancing.

The topic of “growing up these past few years” comes back to mind, but too many tangents have been fired off to suggest returning to topic. Whatever that had been…

Having joined together as friends and grabbed attention the modern way – “MySpace, back in the day, was at its height for bands”- Make Me King have spent most of the formative years recording. This may point to the eagerness to get out beyond the clubs of the north-west, having ventured to London for two weeks to essentially live in the recording studio.

“The eight-minute ballad I’m going to write for the next album will be about my getting lost on the walk across London listening to Ellie Goulding,” Jack confidently asserts.

Irreverent they may be, committed they most certainly are. All digital voice recordings of this interview suggests no actual conclusion was determined, the lads talking and gabbling on musicianship – “We worked in time signatures switches, like, to advance what ideas we had. Well, a bloke told us that’s what we had done, to be honest.” – to the ongoing NUS protests – “I want to get a job full time, like,” nods Sean. “I fancy a riot,” offers Lewis.

It is probably the best way to conclude the little chat, for even the formality of start-middle-end during conversations seems a bit much. They are good lads with focus, albeit without total command on concentration, and the promise to turn whispers into shouts if the EP is any reasonable guide.

With or without the ballroom dancing…

You can find RiotPop records right here

Say It Again

A friend tells me that overheard, whilst walking through town, an old woman in mid-flow: “And the best thing was, it was only cancer”. You can prefer the sparkling dialogue of an arthouse director all you like, nothing quite compares to the snatches and snippets of phrases picked up by accident and chance from yer actual real person.

“She said if I suck her toes later she’ll give me a gobble tonight,” said the tracksuited teen outside a shop two weeks ago. My most recent favourite is the woman who, two people ahead of me in the queue, muttered to a friend, “It is a shame to see dear old Marks and Spencers looking a bit ‘Asian corner shop'”.

This last incident was delivered sotto voce, very much the preferred way of spreading opinion in every office and workplace I have ever called my own. The influence from reality television is very prevalent within offices nowadays, as though addicts of Big Brother and such have re-programmed themselves to speak in the manner of contestants worried about eviction night or electrocution hour or whichever punishment has been contrived.

Whilst waiting to get into the Manc Academy – who for? Was it Biffy Clyro? No….t’was Fightstar, ah yes…..Anyhoo, behind me stood and chatted two young women who were clearly close friends. I was made aware of their closeness by their long and detailed conversation centred around a bloke was some kind of common link. “Does he still ask loads of questions during sex?” one asked the other. “Am I doing this right, how’s this, what about this?”. I wondered how far this q&a would go – bedroom doors have a lock on them for a reason, no? – until they were met and interrupted midflow by a cheery man who was clearly the fella with the love making interview process. You could not, really, make it up.

Will spend today away from the temptations of eavesdropping, if I can. Some writing needs to be done, as does cleaning (the flat is looking ‘lived in’ rather than ‘livable’). To help me, I need music in the background (I am blessed without easy access to BBC One and therefore Sunday morning stables like Nicky Campbell’s increasingly contrived ‘debate’ show).

I have been mostly listening to Preston’s ambient metal hotspurs Stichthread, whose temperament bubbles underneath like a married couples argument.

Much repeated listening too to Cats and Cats and Cats, who are now on the radar of all the magazines hip people skim-read waiting for the Tube, through whom I am now enjoying Wot Gorilla?, whose plucky-strummy-loveliness nevertheless implies all Hell could break loose given the chance.

Vox Pop

Upson?

Matthew Upson?

CARRICK?

(I understand Fabio phoned Sven’s one-time unknown quantity Theo Walcott while the player was at a golf course. Given his performance on Sunday, that does bring to mind the image of him running up to the tee with intent before swiping the ball into the crowd.)

I woke this morning at about half-5, due in part to some unusual dreams. Nothing violent or sexual or owt, though I could have done without close-up shots of me shaving in slow motion like some out-takes from an arty black-and-white Hungarian film. My morning showers always have Radio 4 in the background – yes, I wake up to Evan Davis – so this morning I had a bit of Farming Today, which introduced me to this hitherto unknown quango.

(Their slogan is hilarious, as it goes, I won’t ruin it for you….)

Why “Alliance”, though? Was there a split in the Salad & Greens Marketing Board? I only remember watercress as the standby science experiment introduced by bored or desperate primary school teachers, that they need a marketing board seems somewhat over ambitious. If there is any chance that someone can explain this to me, I am open to all information.

Bought a new laptop yesterday, and another wireless router. For the latter, a children’s television presenter served me with pound signs in her eyes (“Would you like to upgrade to the SuperSpensiveNoMoreReliable Package?” “…Bwuh?”)

I now await the “activation”. It all seems rather arbitrary. If my experience of office life is anything to go by, mind, I assume the headquarters of this particular ISP has one part-timer, a single in-tray, and a repressive clean desk policy.

The purchases (and drinking at Britain’s smallest pub, has made a dent in my finances (NO, I hear you shout, FOR THE FIRST TIME!). I will pledge, maybe even make moves towards enacting, as close to a detox month as I can…

….Trust me, I was a politician…..

antisocial media

One early episode of The Simpsons – maybe even the very first – showed Homer attempt to throw away the family television on the advice of Marvin Monroe. Crudely drawn and not particularly funny, the episode is also ludicrously unrealistic. Homer would no more give up TV than Duff or hotdogs.

Rather than giving up the idiot box, it has given up me. Or given up on me: my eleven year old TV/DVD combo finally stopped working earlier this month. Visiting my house recently has been a course in regression therapy; no television, no internet access. I would be a perfect candidate for David Mitchell’s “The Bubble”, although I would not be able to watch the final result. It could be edited to suggest I wasn’t there at all; or contributed nothing to the programme other than staring with desperate eyes at Victoria Coren (oh come on, she’s bound to me on, it’s a panel show).

Not having television only began to become quite annoying after the general election campaign, proof that being within the election process puts a person off the whole thing for life. It’s not just missing the football (or even cricket) that has started the process of growing tetchy at the empty box in the corner of the room. Rather than flipping open the laptop to discuss the provisional England team or the new Foals album, or whatever it was I used to do after work, (I’ll hear nothing about spending hours playing Runescape. It just didn’t….Well, okay, once. More than once. Shut up, I’ve lost my train of thought….)

….Football, yes, that’s it. I spent an hour or so putting up with Mark Bright on Radio 5 Live making the case for Glen Johnson, followed by a man whose voice I couldn’t place arguing that Phil Jagielka could still be an outside bet for South Africa. Unlike the talking heads on Sky Sports News (usually a couple of Chelsea players who last put on the shirt in 1987 and are even too Z-list for Question of Sport), I had no other option but to keep on listening. Unless it’s late enough to switch to Radio 4, channel hopping isn’t an option. It’s an analogue radio, for one, complete with competing frequencies bleeding into whatever I’m listening to; it’s like listening to the radio on acid, presenters voices turning into knife-sharp Dalek noises.

(All that said, is there still an outside chance for Villa’s Agbonlahor? Okay, okay, I know he has “Walcott Disorder”, combining a sprinter’s pace with all the shot of accuracy of a NATO bomber over Serbia, I’m a traditionalist with forwards….)

Listening to recent events on the radio only adds a certain atmospheric flavour. Athens and Bangkok going up in flames has all description and atmosphere of a radio play. I fall asleep to Radio 4, waking up to the final broadcasts of the World Service before the Shipping Forecast. In short, I’m going slowly insane. One more night where dreams are infected by the commentary of South Asian farming communities or interviews with Bulgaria’s most high-profile opposition backbencher, and I may very well go on a rampage.

It’s not that I ignore the bigger pictures here – Britain has far too many low- and middle- income earners who cannot afford digital television or access to broadband internet, and the previous Labour Government failed to do anything about our lobsided telecommunications industry stifling the introduction of superfast broadband – it’s just after a month of not having even the chance to slump in front of Come Dine With Me has finally taken its toll. I am going to start taking brisk walks around town or cleaning up more often or something else equally out of character.

All things being well – and my financial state means, this could be a lofty boast – I should be purchasing a new netbook in two weeks time. Until then, no iPlayer, no messageboards, no late night MSN sessions sharing 80s theme tunes with my mates (what do you mean, ‘how old am I?’). From a distance, maybe it seems like a good thing, not having any access to the world outside bar the crackle and hiss of an analogue radio. Thing is, I know what not to be romantic about, and this sure ain’t a situation I want to fall in love with.

bog books, pitbulls, bus stations

With Max Clifford such a big name in PR, why is the general consensus that he is a complete twunt?

Sorry, that is quite beside the point. Just getting it off my chest.

So, now, then, being a bloke, eh? For most tabloids in the 90s, it seemed easy to divide men of a certain age into two groups; the Loaded generation with all the chest-beating (and away fans clobbering) that went with it; or the Homebase loyalty card crew, happy to explain why azaelias and roses need different sized climbing frames. Then before Johnny Vaughn could even consider another career saving comeback, the century changed, and such slapdash divisions appear to have vanished completely.

Well, okay, flicking through Men’s Health gives the impression that the editorial team have found a convienient wormhole to 1996 to fill any leftover double page spreads. “How do you rate in bed?” articles in 2010, I ask? I thought Men’s Health was the magazine to which you upgraded after becoming aware of the beer gut you perfected while reading Nuts.

Anyway, ‘bog books’, then. While bar-flying a few weeks back, the general consensus was that no man ever outgrows the need for – as it was so expertly phrased – “an arm’s reach library”. If you have a significant other, it is obviously best advised not to keep a top shelf classic inbetween the hand-towels. That rule aside, pretty much anything goes, although I must stress that struggling to come to terms with a Polly Toynbee classics whilst otherwise struggling is only for real experts in the ‘behind closed doors’ field.

But yes, as though my magic, a segway from gentlemanly secrets to rightwing pin-up Sarah Palin. Not my particular kind of lady – well, slackjawed rent-a-quotes aren’t my thing, truth be told – but seemingly very fondly thought of amongst American teabaggers.

Go on, click the link. Dare’s you.

Palin has been setting up her Presidency bid since failing so badly in 2008. It’s a non stop rollercoaster for the hockey-mom/pitbull hybrid. I was merely quite bemused by the sight of the walking sloganiser standing behind a podium marked the word “GAYLORD”. Given she was talking to a bunch of teabaggers – go on, click it – I wasn’t surprised to see the BBC move the on-screen caption as far up the image as they could. They wouldn’t have to use any on-screen captions if the same company sponsered the Labour Conference this year…in at least two cases. Maybe three.

The fact that Palin seems to be the only credible voice of the American right fills me with despair. Exactly how she has done this seems to be the result of following the advice that ‘she who rants loudest and dumbest gets the Fox slots at Prime Time’. One only assumes that eventually her brain will run out of words, leaving the next Tea Party convention stuck with Scott Brown running over blacked-up actors with his truck.

No, wait…That sounds like something they’d actually consider doing…

The 20th Century Society are to appeal against Ben “boy” Bradshaw’s decision not to list Preston Bus Station. Not that I want to go on a pro-bus station rant at this present time, I fully support the appeal. The decision to scrap Preston’s iconic bus station in favour of a John Lewis just stinks to high heaven of short-term profit chasing and long-term ignorance. The new station would be smaller than the on in Sunderland. SUNDERLAND! SMALLER THAN! Is there any other reason to give for the retention of the one we’ve got than that?