Under Parrs Wood

Under Parr’s Wood

A Poem inspired by Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, as read by Richard Burton, and set on Burton Road in Didsbury…


To begin at the beginning…or the end of the road, which is a kind of a beginning.

It is Spring, and the mosque stands guard, though few burqas promenade its street or frequent its bars. Its spire punctures the sky, echoes of the old Methodist Chapel and guides the way down Burton Road.


It is night, moonlit night and we blink in the light, blind as moles, in the bible, best bitter bottomless brunch… black.  As fairies light the bars and stars and cars which cruise to peruse the high life, my life, the suit and tie executive life of another night of possibilities on Totty Alley.  


Listen.  For the click of stilettos, look out for white miniskirted, leopard skin wraps and slit skirts, strap tops, halter tops, non stop, give us a twirl, party girls out for a night.. or a fight or… I just might… out on the town.  Not town, but local, no taxi home, not out out but out… for a few, a bubbly or two, some prinks and pranks, walk past the tanks, another drink thanks…. on gone for a Burton Road. 

Arm in arm with the girls, Metropolitan bound, giggles and jokes, vodka and cokes, no coats, might get soaked, but living in hope.  This could be the night, to meet the one, have some fun, a fling is flung, stagger home at one, mascara run, but stories to tell.. bloody hell, gave me a bell, all over twitter, insta too, oh well, Always another one.  Or two.


Listen.  Only you can hear the whoops, see the gaggles grab the bar side rails with café chairs where the Didsbury set have always met.  It is night.  Funky bars with designer beers; Brewdog, Brew Republic, brewer’s droop, Wiper and True… cost a bob or two, and the Great Khatmandu, the Station bar.


Burton Road.  The nest of the best, where kenzo, Gucci, D and G are plain to see.. what austerity?  New i-phone sets the tone, moisturised and spray tanned, Metrosexuals at play, drink all day, guffaw and scope the bar in the hope of meeting an eye, one too shy to resist the fly, wine and dine lines of the chancer, flyboy chats to the bouncer, but inside dying, crying out for one to share his wow factor living space, loft apartment off road parking, gone off sharking, charming, 20 something, really saying something, up for anything, good for nothing boyo.  In banking, insurance or IT, that’s Didsbury.


And look again.  Only your eyes can see that the Metropolitan is buzzing tonight, salsa sounds, salsa dips, bubbly to lips and in the car park bob up and down the Audi, the Beamer, the VW, The Jeep, moored in the bay, skippers at play.

In twenty paces, you can go from Vietnam to Canada, Jasmine rice to khatmandu, passing bamboo bars and beauty spas, and another 200 yards the Old House which is … no longer at home.  

Look.  At the metro steps come the wet shave, razor scrape, sculpted lines of the Turkish barbers…Take a moment at the Station (though no trains will run on its rails), past the shiitake starters and quinoa parcels,  and see the delis and fancy smellies, the antiques and designer chics, the so cool, so on fleek, pure teak table and chairs, the outdoor heaters and gorgeous creatures of the Republic of Didsbury.


Listen.  Time passes. The laughter and music carried off in the air, past houses asleep, from the Pauper’s Wood to Parr’s Wood, from East and West and The Village of Didsbury, a warm glow of sun and fun, only begun as the hushed and sleepy bars of Didsbury are closing now.

And Burton Road snores before opening its doors to another bright Manchester day… 

◄ Grim up North?

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