I was never sure if Parklife was a song or a spoken word piece set to music either way it was a wonderful and very original example of Brit Pop at its very best.
It was one of the songs I listened to on my Walkman when out with the dog. (For any young people reading and are wondering what a Walkman is… check out this link).
In the eighties my children nagged me into getting a dog with the promise that I would not have to do anything as they would care for it. That promise soon evaporated and like a thousand parents before me, I ended up doing the early morning walk before work. Just around the corner from our house was an inner city park with a bowling green and benches. Near by was a hostel for the homeless and as the mornings got lighter a day would come when some of the residents would be sitting on the benches enjoying their first drink of the day.
It always lightened my mood when I saw them for the first time in spring. The lighter mornings and the warming air would bring them out of their hiding places until the days shortened and winter returned.
It is many years since I lived near the park. The dog is long gone and the children have grown and have lives of their own. Yesterday, coming back from a Sunday morning visit to the town I found myself strolling back through the park. The bowling green has gone and the park now boasts a restaurant and a coffee wagon that dispenses over priced beverages to the joggers and the parents watching their young children play. There was no sign of the drinkers maybe they have moved on or more likely, the hostel has closed.
The Beer Can of Spring
My dog and I walk through the city centre park
The air is clear, the wind slight and unassuming
Clocks have turned and the sun is out of bed
Winter’s cold is lifting and the frost has gone
Turning a corner by the bowling green
There crowded around a park bench are
Two men, a boy and a toothless woman
Each one swigging beer and smoking rollies
I am greeted with a “Ya arreet mate?
Spring has arrived with the first pull of a ring can
The dog is fascinated by the smells
Giving each one of them a thorough sniffing
“Whatsa dog’s name” I tell them “Todd”
They are content because the first drink is easy
It will steady the hand and blur the brain
When I return for the dog’s evening walk
They will be squabbling and their faces sullen
But on this congenial morning they are happy
And I am grateful for the good fortune of my life
© Jeff Price October 2017