Sunday, 21 August 2011


by Nikki Magennis

I’ll approach by night on greasy, choppy waters, as they lick along the front of the Pleasure Beach. Maybe by pedalo. Perhaps with a flick-knife clamped between my teeth. I’ll spidercreep. Avoid eye contact. Hide my face behind a mound of candyfloss.

I know what I’ll find. I know those greased pavements, those blasted faces, those see-saw seagulls circling over the smatters and smears and the flotsam and jetsam that washes up on beer-scented, frothy-tipped waves. I know these places like the inside of my own guts. Booming and seething and thronging.

It’s possible to drift invisibly among a multitude of fluttering, drunken tourists, dazzled by neon and intoxicated by the sea air, heads tipping back to peer at the braced heights of the Tower. The Illuminations’ll cascade around me, it’d be like the end scene in Apocalypse Now, only with the smell of fried fish wafting over the water.

Red and white striped life-rings, lipstick-red rock with a snow white centre and letters shot through it. Sunburned bingo wings, red on top – creamy white underside. Glittery nipples dotting the tip-top of tits. A fight, blood bursting from a nose, scattered over a clean-pressed white shirt. Clown-faces, jelly-doughnut mouth, chalkwhite cheeks. The neon. The stars.

I’ll carry a poet with me, ask him to translaaaaaate the accent, yer see-saw back and forth, drawn out like toffee, wade through those long vowels, scrape the swearys off yer shoes.

Lac Noir. Piscina Negra. Stagno Nero. Schwarze Lache. Loch-Dhu.


Nikki Magennis is an author and artist. She has never been to Blackpool.



Ashley R Lister said...

Nikki, thanks for joining us at the Dead Good Blog. I think this line should be on all of Blackpool's promotional literature:

"Sunburned bingo wings, red on top – creamy white underside."



Lindsay said...

For someone who's never been to Blackpool, that's a beautifully written and accurate vision of it. Great post :)

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Ash,

Thanks so much for having me. I hope you'll forgive me for this imagined vision of Blackpool. It's constructed entirely of my own preconceptions and I know it's not very flattering.

I've lived in a faded seaside resort, and I based a lot of assumptions on memories of that place. Sometime I'd love to see how close this picture is to the real Blackpool.

vicky ellis said...

Have you considered that you might be psychic? Spot on job, brilliant description.

The translations of black pool are far too classy, apart from Loch-Dhu. That's got a good, guttural quality to it.

'Scrape the swearys off yer shoes' - love it :)

Nikki Magennis said...

Thanks so much, Vicky! I really liked the translations. It's a beautiful name, Black-pool, if you think about it literally. But yes, the Scots do a good line in guttural.