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This report is taken from PN Review 171, Volume 33 Number 1, September - October 2006.

A View of Kelvinbridge Frank Kuppner

 A little odd, perhaps, to be buying a calen dar for the current year in darkest June – but since it featured twelve old black and white photographs of the city it seemed to be a worthier acquisition than any mere twenty-pence coin given in change could ever hope to be. Only on the following morning, looking through the images more closely (always with the slight but unkillable hope of seeing my Grandmother again – my mother's mother, the only one of my grandparents I ever met – or perhaps even glimpsing myself as a ridiculously young, ridiculously uniformed schoolboy), do I realise that its February, already months into everyone's shared past, shows an 1896 view of the same bridge I had walked across twice on the trip which netted me a ceramic hedgehog, three two-hundred watt bulbs, Roger Lewis's Anthony Burgess, and the present half-obsolete calendar itself.

 By some multivalent fluke, this particular slice of city-scape is, 110 years on, almost disorientatingly unchanged. The well-known, near-neighbouring pair of churches is already in situ. The building on that cornerthere hides the dentist I’ve been going to (all that unseen pain, that relentless deterioration) for over three decaying decades. And there is the street where a good friend of mine has lived for some forty years. (God only knows how often we must have breezed past each other unwittingly, not yet introduced, somewhere within this view during the earlier half of that utterly unconvincing epoch.)

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