Friday, 3 October 2008

998 - Ice and a Slice

Peter, fixing the skirting boards, told me that Paul, the glass-master down the road, turned down his chance to invest in a double-glazing franchise, to carry on working in stained glass.

Paul's studio has a showroom and a workshop, both of which you can look into from the road. It's a long white building, stretching the angle of the timbers tudoring the first floor flat, like a giddy moment at Whitley Bay Ice Rink.

In the showroom, to set perhaps above a front-door, a couple of mid-life Harleys are frozen in stained glass. Side-on view: if they'd not pulled up sharp they'd have shattered through it, though perhaps the forward momentum is still there, to carry them on if the magic of the glass ever breaks before its form does.

In the workroom next door, on a dusty benchtop, a circle has been cut in a circle of clear glass: it rests, surrounded by a small congregation of orange.

I passed the glass-master's shop on a sea-walk back from Cullercoats. The waves had swelled up, as if the sea was taking a breath, and another, and another, without letting go of the first. And on top of this in-swell, fresh waves rolled. You could lose something deep in something so deep.

Whitley Bay is a town on the edge. Clubbers party hard and drunkenly on the way to the seafront. Inland, the glass-master catches a moment in a pane that a gem-blade can slice, and we need him, for the deeps around us forget they have surfaces easily.

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