Here is a thought! In the age of the steam train, as much coal was used carrying coal to railway depots around the country to power steam trains as was burnt by industrial and domestic users. Once the age of steam was done, there were vast areas of redundant railway sidings. Most were built on, but suppose one forgot about the sidings – all 18 hectares of them – for 40 years. What would we have? The answer is to be found in the middle of Berlin, on the so called Südgelände. It is a long strip of land covered in railway track and jungle. Alongside the strip the modern high-speed trains thunder through, brakes squealing in order to stop at the adjacent Südbahnhof and a few minutes later at the main station. More sedate is the noise from the other side of the park, of the local trains chuntering at low speed towards the city centre.
Forget them! You can’t see the silver bullets. They are screened by wild bursting greenery. Follow the walkway laid out for visitors. You have no choice – the jungle has won. Without the walkway there is no progress. Observe with delight the turntable, capable of swinging a locomotive weighing 250 tons through 270o. Now it couldn’t turn 1o for the profusion of trees pouring from all gaps. There are tunnels – not for the trains, but for people to get through the dense growth. And the silver birches – those ubiquitous trees, which are always first to colonise sandy soil. They have unceremoniously shoved the sleepers to one side and now block the path once used by thousands of horse power.
The clever art work comes in two forms. The stuff that artists have been encouraged to scatter round the park, much of which one can climb on, and the stuff that nature has turned into art. The once proud points-controller, sticks its round bulbous black and white lever from grass and bushes. An art piece, (looking as though Tate Modern has lost an exhibit) provides a climbing frame for wild plants. Technology eat your heart out. You are no match for nature’s primeval forces. Huge barrels and bizarre shapes lay next to the sheds. Someone had a design for those steel structures. Now they look daftly at the sky wondering if the world will ever want them and how long before they disappear beneath the green sea. Rust is the colour if you are not a plant!
There are several entrances to the Südgelände. The best to take is the one next to the S-Bahn station Priesterweg. Then you will walk through an underpass, beneath the railway lines and will see the graffiti on the bridge pillars. It is brilliant! I thought, ‘There must be a book to be written that needs that picture on the cover.’ OK – I know. Most writers produce a story and then seek an image for the cover. I saw the image and sat down and started to write Goddesses. It isn’t finished yet. It is about a woman who uses the lives of pagan goddesses to release herself from her repressed sexuality. I saw the Goddess on the pillar, while reading 50 Shades. No whips or millionaires with helicopter pads and a choice of luxury cars, in my story. Just carnal force and nature taking control, and it is not all green.
I’m a bloke! Why write about female repressed sexuality? Isn’t there enough to be said about my own gender? Of course there is, but Gods were always in control. They never had problems until they made them with their stupidity. They were never repressed, just boring, and did the repressing.
Lilith is my first Goddess. Unfortunately, she wasn’t actually a goddess, but her pedigree excites any author. She was Adam’s first missus, but was written out of theology, because she gave Adam some lip, when he insisted on always going on top. She paid the theologians back by seducing an angel. Despite being reduced to a screech owl by history and Frasier, she has hung on in the bible. She is there, in Genesis, but only as an oversight.
Go to my Montag Publications website for a look at the cover for which I’m now writing a book. Get ready for a yarn, I promise, won’t get onto Book at Bedtime.