Super Prix


Remembering the Super Prix is a fiction within a fiction.
Going to my Nan’s flat,
180 Elizabeth Fry House,
just to hear the roar and grumble
of the cars from her balcony.
A simulcast of first and second-hand experiences.
Being there but not being there.

Watching the race on TV
with the fringes of town
shown as a kind of alternative, patched up, Monaco,
but never making it
to see the actual event.

Thinking I’d only been on the No. 8 earlier that week, along that same stretch of road, sitting upstairs on the front seat of the bus, no less.

The No.8’s route was an adventure into the forbidden space of the Super Prix.
The excitement started when the bus deviated from the orbit of the inner ring road, on to the Hagley Rd.

First, passing the Oratory with the raised disc of Five Ways at the end of the corridor of traffic.
Either side of me, I thought the office buildings projected a Texan-style flexing of the city’s identity, of wealth made from making energy from fossils. Oil money craned into the sky.

Then, the bus did a grand right on to Islington Row, where motorsport’s slogans of legal addictions – stuck on the the crash barriers and safety fencing – slipped into view on the pavements of Belgrave Middleway.

Everywhere there were Camel yellows, Marlboro reds and a familiar deep, warm orange –
the same colour as the carpets
in the Central Library.

Then to Haden Circus –
and as reality continued to be suspended – there was a pit stop for emergency vehicles, protected by a half-crescent of concrete blocks, like some physical, road-built morse code

Image CC By: Roy Hughes

Author: Darren Cannan

I've always been curious about what makes a community tick, and that interest has led me to be involved in the life of the neighbourhoods I've lived and worked in since growing up in Ladywood, Birmingham, in the 1980s.