Thursday, 17 February 2011

From Pottersville to Bedford Falls…

It’s not all Bedford Falls around here you know, would that it was, sometimes it can get distinctly Pottersville. I’m on a drive through Pottersville at the moment, oh I’ll come out of it, I always do, but right now it’s raining, the streets are grubby, and everyone I meet is a stranger – even people that I know, or thought I did.

Right back at the beginning it was Bedford Falls that inspired me to throw together WAWL. At first I tried linking to a quote from the film that almost shares the same name, but that didn’t last long. The film is too heart warming, and Bedford Falls is too good a place to be able to stay for too long. Sometimes you need a trip to Pottersville, dark and grimy though it may be, to make you understand what’s really going on. Maybe I stayed too long in Bedford Falls for my own good, who knows?

There, I’ve just passed the city limit boundary line. No going back now.

An inspirational friend of mine who lives just over the border in Lesser Blogfordshire, a little down the way from Bedford Falls and on the Pottersville limits, recently wrote that he admired my abstract flights of fancy and my ability to find something life-affirming to say – well I try, but sometimes the effort is great and often it’s all just polish on cheap plastic shoes when I’d rather be wearing the worn, old, leather ones that I’m used to.

Thinking about it, there are lots of people wearing those cheap shoes in Pottersville. It’s not that they can’t afford leather, they just prefer plastic. You know the ones I mean, you’ve met them. They seem to be okay, but when you look closely at them their shoes are a slight veneer of polish that barely covers the thin, plastic, substance beneath. They seem to sparkle but it’s all shine - the reflected light from a fluorescent tube, the glare from a headlight beam as the start-frozen rabbit is crushed beneath the speeding tyre. No sunshine. Not even a candle burning bright to guide you home to Bedford Falls.

These are the shoes of movers and shakers, smilers and talkers, slide pack presenters, glib answering, quick-thinking, self seeking, bringing things to life in a moving forwards, matrix driven, ticking off the actions kind of way - a way that the Pottersville council would admire. So much easier to ignore the poor citizens trudging around in the mud and rubbish, getting their shoes all shitty when your shoes are gleaming – even if the gleam is false.

I can still just see Bedford Falls from here. It’s a long way back and it’s getting smaller all the time as I drive, but it’s still there in the distance. Last time I was there the townsfolk were wearing shoes that were a little battered, heels slightly turned down with wear, but they had got that way because we were on a journey, one that we shared with the other residents of the town. Our shoes were just as polished as Pottersville’s plastic pumps, but underneath that polish was good sturdy leather, sewn up where it’d split and rubbed down to remove the scuffs, but good solid leather none-the-less, leather that would shine in the sunlight. The dirt of the day and the shit still clung to them, but it was never swept under the carpet and hidden. And it was never passed on for somebody else to pick up on their soles to walk away with, dirtying the pavement as they wandered through our town.

Bedford Falls? Pottersville? I’ve lived between the two and I know which I prefer. Drive on boy. Drive fast. Who knows, another Bedford Falls may be ahead far away from Pottersville.


  1. Superb. That cleansed a little more out of the system didnt it?
    Keep going.

  2. Colin Tickle commented on Facebook.
    "where are you going? Or is that the bit you are unclear about? I found a fortnight all inclusive in the Maldives for £1000 if that helps, or maybe it's an emotional/spritual journey rather than a travelling one?"

  3. Facebook thread:

    Martin A W Holmes
    My heart says it wants to live in Bedford Falls but sadly my head says I'm most probably stuck in Pottersville...

    Nick Jennings
    surely everybody lives in Bedford Falls but some of us have made it Pottersville by not getting involved, make a difference!! :-(

    Phillip Yeadon
    lives in Upper Wandersthorpe.

    Richard Shore
    I'm not sure of the town name, but I live at number 69.

  4. On a more prosaic note, I read this last night and this afternoon I found myself cleaning 4 pairs of boots. None new, all leather, no plastic... The power of suggestion?

  5. Plastic shoes? What a simply horible idea.