Daily Dérive #2: The Museum of Parkaeology2 minute read

What makes such a place eerie?

  • A place, like this, unfamiliar.
  • The only human sounds are far off shrieks, and you’re hemmed in by the screams of insects.
  • Everything is coated in a layer of dust.
  • Discarded cigarettes, feathers and condoms.

  • Repetitive graffiti.
  • A playground with no children in.
  • Water features with no water in.
  • A woman crouched over her bags in the middle of the path.
  • A man on crutches with a crooked leg.
  • A jogger with red jogging bottoms and a bumbag.
  • No shade.
  • A woman hauling a trolley of huge plastic thread bags, and leading more ahead of her, berating the world.
  • A man drying his clothes over bushes in the sun.
  • Two men furtively gathered around a water pump.
  • The pigeons are slim and toned; some are white, like ghost pigeons.
  • Statues and busts of dead men with mustaches, carved in bleached white stone.
  • The distant sound of traffic, surrounded by walls.
  • Swedish Security private security guards, but only at the entrance, as if cowering.
  • People with apparently nothing to do and apparently nowhere to do it.
  • Dog walkers making it around as fast as they can.
  • No wind.
  • Lamps on lamp posts, with dead bulbs.
  • Stickers that have been peeled off.
  • Empty churches.
  • Empty pleasure gardens.
  • Row upon row of empty benches.
  • Air you can swallow for a full meal.
  • Solitary butterflies.
  • Last year’s fallen leaves.
  • Trees wilting in the heat.
  • A man in a clean white shirt and shorts, with a satchel and a neatly trimmed bald patch, carrying in one hand a takeaway coffee and in the other a pastry inside a paper bag, walking briskly past a guy in an old baseball cap with his arms crossed lying on a flower-pattern torn bedsheet on a park bench with one single shopping bag at his feet and a discarded milk bottle cast aside.
  • A couple talking in hushed voices; she turned to him, leaning back relaxed, he looking away in sunglasses, wound up with everything folded.
  • A man in an orange fluorescent sports shirt cycling puffily up the long incline on a mountain bike that could do with a touch of oil.
  • A distant cough.
  • An abrupt break in the insect chatter.
  • Catching a deep sweat after walking for only five minutes.
  • The sight of a man sighing deeply, and then turning to receive a kiss.
  • My part in it all.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my eerie drift around the park.

One more thing…

If you liked this post, then you’ll almost certainly enjoy my newsletter. You can check out the most recent issue on Substack. See ya there - dc:

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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