|Cotton milling machines in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry|
The song "My Little Town" by Paul Simon from his album (one of my all-time favourite albums) Still Crazy After All These Years (1975) so beautifully describes the depressing feeling of a factory town, especially to a young person. Although I never felt the same hopelessness about my town, so many of the images were similar to my experience and the poetry of the lyrics still impresses me.
In my little townHere is a nice version Paul Simon singing this song (unfortunately without the harmony of Art Garfunkle). If you prefer to hear the album version, please click on this link which I was unable to embed. It shows scenes of a factory town in West Yorkshire.
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all
And he used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance to the wall
Lord I recall my little town
Coming home after school
Riding my bike past the gates of the factories
My mom doing the laundry
Hanging out shirts in the dirty breeze
And after it rains there's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Everything's the same back in my little town
In my little town I never meant nothing
I was just my father's son
Saving my money
Dreamin of glory
Twitching like a finger on a trigger of a gun
Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town (repeated)
Speaking of West Yorkshire, that is very near the imaginary town of Milton where Victorian age Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South was set. Her novel explored the interrelationships between factory worker and master, rich and poor as well as male and female roles. Her masterful work was made into the BBC's miniseries of the same name starring Danielle Denby-Ashe and (of course) Richard Armitage.
Here is a beautiful slide show by lafillenoir from North and South set to the same soundtrack used in the miniseries.
Here is Margaret's first vision of the cotton mill where she encounters Mr. Thornton at the end. It was made by lucifmello using the beautiful soundtrack by Martin Phipps.
I was listening to Bruce Springsteen's album Darkness at the Edge of Town not long ago and when I heard the lyrics to his song Factory it inspired me to make this video. Unfortunately it is very rough around the edges. I don't yet know how to make my own clips so the ones I used were quite low quality. That's what I get for being impatient and in a rush. Really I just wanted to put some images from North and South together with the song.