Golconda’ is a creative response by Jack Bennett of two photographs and a notebook found in the Edge Hill University Archive. The photographs were probably taken by Christopher Roby, who was a member of the Southport Film Guild (SFG) and went on to manage the Contemporary Cinema Archive, which had been founded by the SFG in 1974 . The notebook was written by Christopher and is a list of jazz and blues music. This story’s sections are songs from the notebook.

I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter (Earl Hines, 1956)

You stand with only the balls of your feet on the curb. Your toe-ends are a little way up from the tarmac. Your bunions, thankfully, don’t weigh your feet down.

You don’t know when you will see Car again. You watch as it is towed from you. Your family have reassured you not to worry too much, that you will see Car soon. Some members have gossiped that you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill, that this is, in fact, something you like to make a habit of.

You hold a small notebook. You write a song:

Tilt Me And I Will Move (OR; The Overlapping Vehicles)

Let me show you where the fireman sits all day.
There’s a scorch mark on his pillow.
Don’t drift away.

Since we last spoke,
The cat prefers it on the table.
He likes it up there. (I like him up there.)

You will lose your notebook tomorrow, misplace it in the library, too busy thinking about what you put in Car, and you will never finish your song. You will forget the lyrics by tomorrow and you will live your life believing this to be your greatest mistake.

You grieve.

Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Tommy Dorsey, 1940)

The horizon is flat but a street of moving hips blur; you have a horizontal focus astigmatism. Everything rises, you say to yourself, and we are lifting parts of Magritte’s ‘Golconda’. Where do we go when the roads don’t work? Where do we go when our movements are frozen? What will my tomorrow think of my today? Mother, which way am I going? Who am I? Who am I?

Car is a suitcase and your belongings are boxed inside. A box of your books nudges the gear stick into third.

Car is a Russian doll and you remember your childhood; walking with your grandparents, finding the owl matryoshka, owl in owl in owl, little beak inside thin slips of feather, your grandad telling you to put it down, your grandma telling him she’d felt some rain. The insides of Car have insides. Best not think too much, you decide. Mountains and molehills, you decide.

Car is boxed with your memories. Your marriage, your childhood, your children. Car is moving from you. Car has your memories, so who are you?

Framed and slick behind cracked glass, the anxiety of future archivists looking through you. Framed and creased and bent inside, the reassurance that all will be okay, that they wear gloves and will place you on cushions. They will take good care of you.

Marbles roll in the glove box, coins clink, an empty wallet folds and unfolds itself. Car is a multiverse, so who are you?

Car is all you have and yet here you stand, bodied and clothed and frowning like there’s no tomorrow. Tomorrow folds itself into today and you hear yourself humming something alien, familiar, close.

He likes it up there…

Bye Bye Blackbird (Miles Davies, 1957)

You can no longer see Car. You stoop to get a better look and you fall into the road; the feet-on-curb unbalance pivots you downwards. Bloody bunions, you tut.

You slip into a slow-motion, your jacket creasing and uncreasing, your tie falling up and tickling your earlobe, your irises fastened to your lower eyelids. But everyone else moves, unmoved. A stranger, an old woman as old as you, catches you, holds the back of your shirt, and tugs you up. You think you know her but you do not. You think she belongs as a memory in Car. [1]

‘No,’ she tells you, ‘I belong out here.’ And she asks you to walk with her. You attempt to recite your song for her.

[1] Beyond here, Car passes over a speed bump and its insides become unbalanced. A box of tapes slip and knock the buttons on the radio. Tilt Me And I Will Move (OR; The Overlapping Vehicles) plays quietly. With shut windows and cardboard box padding, no one hears it.

Beyond here, Car arrives at Southport Recycling Scrap Metal Ltd. They pick Car up and put Car down, skeleton turned inside-out, its glass whitened, cracks inside cracks. Window-dusting falls with the registration plate: 4RD 3N. One wing-mirror falls onto a stained mattress, the other is played with and kicked around by Max, the scrapyard dog. His owner, Mr. Leeming, controls the claw, swinging Car to a platform of metal, the metalwork creasing like silk.

Mr. Leeming watches a box (porcelain ornaments and an old chess set) fall from the car.  A box of books, another of records, and another of photo albums, also falls. Scrapyard grounded-dust lifts into a cloud over your things, and once it settles, your belongings have vanished.

Mr. Leeming moves onto the next car, a Jaguar E-Type, and watches, again, the boxes fall.

Jack Bennett