Castleford station was an unusual place in many ways.
For the last 30 years it existed with only one of it’s platforms.
The other, abandoned at the other side of the tracks looked like a real life experiment of what man made infrastructure would look like if left to the elements.
Father time had not been kind, as cracks stretched throughout the concrete, bearing home to a number of dishevelled weeds.
Get the 20.58 train from Leeds, or any off peak train during quiete times, you may get an erie feeling as you pass over into the station.
Like Charles Bronson riding into town, you feel it could be part of some Northern style western, wondering whether three unscrupulous people would come out from the shadows waiting to greet you.
For the outsider foreign to knowing the inner joys of this former coal mining town, you may judge it with a poor impression just from seeing functioning platform one.
I know I did.
A train station is the heart to the success of any town, and despite the initial view that Castleford looked like a place of stereotypical northern grimness, it was a twist of fate that this would be the place that would one day embrace me as it’s home.
Classy Cas Vegas, a good place to raise a family.
When you can’t create, destroy
Since the start of the covid lockdown, I had not been on a train, and despite once doing this journey everyday, I was out of my routine knowing when to go.
I’d not seen that drab platform for over two years, and when I got down, something unexpected had happened…
No drab platform.
A nice indoor ticket office to protect you from the elements (not to mention escape the intoxicated drifters who occupied the local pubs).
And what was this? Foundations of a new bridge taking you to the abandoned platform.
This was a becoming a station fit for the home I knew.
Under the tracks was a tunnel, ideal if you live, or want a short cut to the Smawthorne area.
With the revamp came the tunnels being brought to life with a metallic finish, a small touch that reduced the anxious feeling you were about to be mugged by a smackhead.
A train station a town could be proud of…
24 hours after the tunnel lining had been up, they were vandalised – bent, buckled, ripped off.
Why would someone does this?
Why are some so intent on ensuring self-destruction so no one can have nice things?
Why do some people want to destroy what others have created?
This is a question that has fascinated me for a long time.
Psychology offers up many reasons – response to fear, the sense of power, reaction to avoid being hurt.
I started thinking about this question again when two privileged idealists walked into an art gallery and threw soup at the painting Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh.
Although I’m no painter I felt a sadness someone felt the need to make a political statement by trying to damage something created by the time and effort of a more talented person.
Is this a statement? Does this do anything for the cause?
The activists justify the action through moral superiority:
“The damage we’ve made everyday is nothing compared to damage done everyday by the oil industry”
They have a point, but said in a terrible way that does nothing for the cause.
Saying others have done worse isn’t justification for attempting to destroy something more beautiful than anything they will ever make.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
A part of me wonders if this has been done because an individual doesn’t know how to create, so they focus on destroying instead.
Why create something people still admire long after your death, when you can be revered as the destroyer of things that give people pleasure/
The actions of the individuals, can talk through a self-righteous sense of intellect all they want, but they are no better than the smackhead vandals trashing train station tunnels in my beloved home.
Create more, love more
Everyone should aim to give more to this world than they take away.
One way to do this is to create more.
Draw, write, make music, cook, do joinery, whatever…
To create you don’t have to have talent, you don’t have to be any good, you don’t need to do it for a living.
You just have to love what you’re doing.
You just have to try.
Until next time…
Wishing you the best in your success
James @Perfect Manifesto
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