'So we went, as he put it, arseholing down the M6 with the radio turned up full: AC/DC, Kate Bush, Bowie's 'Station to Station' already a nostalgia number.
How many times, coming back after a hard day like that, has there seemed to be something utterly significant in the curve of a cooling tower, or the way a field, between two factories, reddened in the evening light, rises to meet the locks on a disused canal? Motorway bridges, smoke, spires, glow in the sun: it is a kind of psychic illumination. The music is immanent in the light, the day immanent in the music: life in the day. It is to do with being alive, but I am never sure how.
Ever since Gaz had fallen off into the sea I had felt an overpowering, almost hallucinogenic sense of happiness, which this time lasted as far as Bolton'.
Extracts from M. John Harrison's novel, Climbers (Gollancz, 1989).
For a fine article about Mike Harrison's work, see Richard Lea, 'M John Harrison: a life in writing', The Guardian, 20 July 2012, here. "A good ground rule for writing in any genre is: start with a form, then undermine its confidence in itself. Ask what it's afraid of, what it's trying to hide – then write that."
Photo by muskrat