From The Bench At Belvidere

by Quinn

And another thing (oh I’m really on a roll now). Hot on the heels of my post concerning the removal of Cheadle’s Christmas lights, here comes news of another recent disappearance. The bench at the top of my road, outside the old police station, has vanished like an old oak table. All that remain are two twisted and rusted stumps of metal jutting out of the tarmac, the remnants of two of the bench legs. That old bench had sat there for as long as I can remember, but now it is no more.

It’s not difficult to realise what has gone on. Just around the corner is an off-licence, and that junction is a popular congregating spot for the local youths. It doesn’t take much to imagine hoodied louts, high off their heads on ThirstyMan Cider, kicking the bench until it can take it no more. Bloody typical.

Ironic though; the only people I can remember using that bench are the local teens of an evening. Flush from getting the tallest lad or an adult passer-by to purchase their fags and booze at the offy, they would often lounge around on the bench and put it to good use. Without the kids it would have been merely an obstruction on the pavement. In bringing about its destruction, the youths have cut off their various noses to spite their collective face.

Which makes me wonder if there may be more too it. Why would the kids smash up what is effectively their own bench? And if they didn’t do it, then who would gain from the its removal? My mind wanders to the Conservative Club opposite, and the old people’s flats that ring the area immediately surrounding where the bench once stood. Could these residents have taken the law into their own hands, sick of seeing teenage thugs thronging the bench and making the place look untidy?

It is surely the more likely scenario, and provides an entirely different image; of cravat-wearing gents and blue-rinsed dames, who, spotting the bench deserted and with no-one looking, bash the fuck out of it while on their way home from the Con Club one evening, belting it until it finally gives and lies twisted on the ground. Unwitnessed and their job done they depart for home; and turning the key in the lock they relax, happy that tomorrow the kids will have had to move on somewhere else.

Isn’t there another bench outside Londis?