I have just been looking back on some of my writing in particular my piece on Mother Dunn – more usually known as the River Don – ….when this piece of music came on my playlist – Pulp – The Wickerman – It must be something in the Sheffield Soul…’Where ever the river may take me.. where ever the river may take us; Where ever it wants us to go. . .’
Just behind the station, before you reach the traffic island, a river runs through’ a concrete channel.
I took you there once; I think it was after the Leadmill.
The water was dirty & smelt of industrialisation
Little mesters coughing their lungs up & globules the colour of tomato ketchup.
But it flows. Yeah, it flows.
Underneath the city through’ dirty brickwork conduits
Connecting white witches on the Moor with pre-raphaelites down in Broomhall.
Beneath the old Trebor factory that burnt down in the early seventies.
Leaving an antiquated sweet-shop smell & caverns of nougat & caramel.
Nougat. Yeah, nougat & caramel.
And the river flows on.
Yeah, the river flows on beneath pudgy fifteen-year olds addicted to coffee whitener
And it finally comes above ground again at Forge Dam: the place where we first met.
I went there again for old time’s sake
Hoping to find the child’s toy horse ride that played such a ridiculously tragic tune.
It was still there – but none of the kids seemed interested in riding on it.
And the cafe was still there too
The same press-in plastic letters on the price list & scuffed formica-top tables.
I sat as close as possible to the seat where I’d met you that autumn afternoon.
And then, after what seemed like hours of thinking about it
I finally took your face in my hands & I kissed you for the first time
And a feeling like electricity flowed through’ my whole body.
And I immediately knew that I’d entered a completely different world.
And all the time, in the background, the sound of that ridiculously heartbreaking child’s ride outside.
At the other end of town the river flows underneath an old railway viaduct
I went there with you once – except you were somebody else –
And we gazed down at the sludgy brown surface of the water together.
Then a passer-by told us that it used to be a local custom to jump off the viaduct into the river
When coming home from the pub on a Saturday night.
But that this custom had died out when someone jumped
Landed too near to the riverbank
Had sunk in the mud there & drowned before anyone could reach them.
I don’t know if he’d just made the whole story up, but there’s no way you’d get me to jump off that bridge.
No chance. Never in a million years.
Yeah, a river flows underneath this city
I’d like to go there with you now my pretty & follow it on for miles & miles, below other people’s ordinary lives.
Occasionally catching a glimpse of the moon, through’ man-hole covers along the route.
Yeah, it’s dark sometimes but if you hold my hand, I think I know the way.
Oh, this is as far as we got last time
But if we go just another mile we will surface surrounded by grass & trees & the fly-over that takes the cars to cities.
Buds that explode at the slightest touch, nettles that sting – but not too much.
I’ve never been past this point, what lies ahead I really could not say.
I used to live just by the river, in a dis-used factory just off the Wicker
The river flowed by day after day
“One day” I thought, “One day I will follow it” but that day never came
I moved away & lost track but tonight I am thinking about making my way back.
I may find you there & float on wherever the river may take me.
Wherever the river may take me.
Wherever the river may take us.
Wherever it wants us to go.
Wherever it wants us to go.
The River Don flows underground near the railway station and the caverns built for flood defences are known as the Megatron. I’ve know of its existence for years although never visited it. There are many photographs online taken by people more intrepid than me. I met the people who made the video on the link below.
Who would have thought anyone could go surfing underground in Sheffield!!!
Mr C 🙂
Thanks for the link, it looks amazing.. I know about Megatron…’The Voice of God..’.. when the water floods through.. so my mother once told me… many many moons ago. I have never been down there, even after a night in the Limit, and a tad to much sherbet . 🙂
Heading for the megatron after a night at the Limit sounds like it could well have been a recipe for disaster!
The same video people made a 2 minute film at the abandoned derelict ski village which looks incredibly dangerous but is rather good. Should you be interested then the link is added below.
Mr C 🙂