Pews

Life For some reason my mobile phone was next to my pillow this morning, so when it rang I nearly jumped out of my skin. Snapping into consciousness in the way I can in the morning, opened its clam shape. 'Private number' on the screen. Who the hell? I answered.
"Hello, good morning." I said cheerfully.
They hung up. Drat. Must have been a wrong number. I looked about the room then spotted my alarm clock. 6:23 am. Double drat.

On my way up to the cathedral for the lunch time lecture, I stopped in at St Luke's Church -- popularly known as the bombed out church on Hardman Street. Left as a memorial after taking fire during the second world war, this is the first time its been open to the public in over sixty years. Something called Urban Strawberry Lunch are manning the doors between twelve and two and are running a series of events throughout the summer through to October.

Inside it's as atmospheric as you'd expected, with beams still showing the charcole and scorch marks of fire and walls that look like they're teetering on the edge of falling down. No wonder visitors are asked to sign safety wavers as they enter. For decades, until an installation during the biennial, the place was filled with trees, a woodland in captivity. That's probably the interior I would have most wanted to see but this is fine and still shows signs of an area being reclaimed by nature.

The space is inhabited by art objects and information boards and a stereo blasting out the sounds of war and memories of the time. To each his own but I would have preferred it if the interior had appeared more unsullied and quiet, as someone commenting on a message board near the exit says, a tranquil place to escape to in the already loud city centre. I can sympathise with that -- this is a war memorial after all and although the information boards, also inside, add context, it's a shame that they can't be kept outside.

Perhaps in the future, if it can be made safe for just day to day visits, with park benches instead of pews.

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