The Adventures of Captain Jayneway


The dog has a shit, you then scoop the shit into a plastic bag and tie a little knot in the top to stop the shit from escaping. A quick shifty look around to see nobody’s watching follows this, then with a quick flick of the wrist, I watch as the plastic bag containing the dog shit becomes airborne. The plastic wrapped crap then lands back, with the sound of a whoopie cushion, on the pavement almost from whenst it was picked up from in the first place, except now it’s non-biodegradable. Why bother picking the shit up? This was the first thing I saw when I arrived. A town where tracky bottoms and football strips as day wear are standard if not compulsory, oh look, the little bairns got a mullet just like dad’s, and I couldn’t help but notice air conditioning extractor units were caged and bolted to the ground as I walked down the lonely riverside path, it paints a bit of an ugly picture but I think it’s fair to say Teesside’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Even though Boro’s just been denied city status again, you can’t blame a town for trying, and what’s not to love about this? Opened a couple of years ago, The Infinity Bridge is to engineering buffs what Master Bates was to Captain Pugwash. I love this bridge, the lines, the shapes, the tones. It’s supposed to be pretty impressive at night too, with it’s bespoke fancy lighting design, though I’m not so sure I’d be in a massive hurry to sprint down the deserted riverside pathway on a night to reach it and seize an illuminated snap. Dark visions invade me, of a giant hooded claw grabbing me from behind with nobody but the river rats to hear my English best. There’s something a bit weird about the place, even in the day it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up down there, especially walking past the wasteland on my own. Never the less, an impressive bit of engineering in the bridge, worth looking over my shoulder every twenty seconds for. As long as you kept looking at that, it took your mind off those other thoughts.

Another trajectory, but it all happens at the bridge, something else that never ceases to amuse me is the length people go to to pray to Allah. Do these people carry a compass at all times? How do they know which way, exactly, Mecca is? Do they just go, ‘ it’s over in that direction somewhere, that’ll do’? Did this man have an epic night out on the piss last night and was feeling a bit guilty, a Mecca hail Mary? I’m monumentally shite with a compass; I’d stand no chance pointing in the right direction with or without one. I giggle at stories of intentionally botched mosque building jobs, where the ‘alter’ has been put in the wrong place, my sense of humour maybe. Today, next to the infinity bridge a man took off his trainers and climbed up onto a concrete column, got down on his knees and went through the motions. Arms up in the air, arms down now kiss the ground, and repeat. The only thing missing was the distant  muffled waft of lahlah music, the same music that reminds me of a dodgy tape recording of somebody’s uncle twice removed eating his breakfast and trying to sing at the same time. As much as it astonishes me, the concrete must get pretty hard on the knees, I still can’t marvel at the commitment, sorry.

Moving on. Why just have one flag when you can have twenty? Jubilee year, I was thinking to myself, has to be. Who cares, I have a thing about flags anyway, don’t care what country. I was thinking how tidy the barrage was looking, new flower baskets, hardly any fag ends and no chuddy stuck to the paving. Must have been having a bit of a clean up. Quite happy to see all these patriotic flags flapping in the wind today, mostly because there was a stormy sky brewing behind it all, we all know I’m a sucker for a bit of Nimbostratus. Apparently the Queen visited this week? Really? Two rather posh old dears asked me where they could find the plaque that the monarch unveiled. ‘I’m not from around these parts, sorry. Might be down there where that round jubilee looking thing is’, as I pointed down towards the barrage bridge at a round flag flapping in the wind which said ‘Jubilee’ and looked like it’d been painted by kids from the primary school. Fabric? Couldn’t stretch the budget for a bit of brass then? I silently hoped that wasn’t the plaque, it wasn’t very commemorative looking, not at all shiny. The Queen? At Teesside barrage? Really? Bet one had one’s extra thick gloves on for that excursion.

It’s amazing how much you can see in a couple of hours, in a square mile. Moral of the day, you never know what you’re going to find under a big blue plastic bag full of dog shit. Oh, and Hurray for architectural engineering! Teesside’s not all six toes, numerical birthmarks and hairy nipples.

So ended my afternoon… Until next time…

Over and out..

Captain Jayneway XX


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