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For the Love of Alleys

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

ALLEY: origin late Middle English, from Old French: alee "walking or passage", from aller "to go", from Latin: ambulare "to walk". So, alleys cannot be separated from the act of walking. But alleys get a bad press - narrow, dark, blind etc. Unfairly I think. If they are a source of mystery and intrigue, isn't that just how we like them? And the curious encounters we have along them may be magical...

Lower Castle Park alley, with Steve Allenby and Jenny Allenby...

"When we come face-to-face with one down a dark alley, we're going to be having a shufti to see if it's solid, aren't we, we're not going to be asking, 'Excuse me, are you the imprint of a departed soul?" (J. K. Rowling). It's dusk at the end of an extra-ordinary spring day and a super flower moon is upon us. No surprises then that Colchester's alleyways are giving up their ghosts...

Ernulph Walk, with Sally Theobald

'Tin Pan Alley': a real place on West 28th Street NYC, home to many music publishers and songwriters around the turn of the 20th century. Origin: possibly a derogatory reference by Monroe H. Rosenfeld (New York Herald) to the 'thin, tinny tone quality of cheap upright pianos used in music publisher's offices' (Charlton, 2011, Rock music style: a history). Alleys have musical roots then, as Colchester's alleys are proving this week. No thin and tinny tones in this one though...

Camp Folley S, with Tony Woodley

“We plan our lives in long, unbroken stretches that intersect our dreams the way highways connect the city dots on a road map. But in the end we learn that life is lived in the side roads, alleys, and detours” (Richard Paul Evans, but words that might have come directly from the lips of Jacobs herself?). On this note, here to play us out on the closing eve of Jane's Walk Colchester 2020, a bunch of old friends who seem completely at home in an alley, and who are definitely right up mine :-)

At the junction of Ernulph Walk and Childwell Alley, with The Medlars, Bruce Deacon, Tom Hardy and Emma Hardy

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