“I DREAMT I DWELT IN MARBLE HALLS”.LEWIS’S LIMINAL. MORE SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, IN IMAGE AND TEXT. BY STEVEN BENSON

IMG_7330Lewis’s HAD been out of time; and was in danger of being out of time,again, nearly seven years later (from the final closure of the last Lewis’s store in May 2010 )

https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/desuetudeimages-and-text-on-decay-and-memory-inspired-by-sebald-and-the-death-of-a-department-store/

2017- STILL re-development was stalled; but,suddenly,a ghostly denizen arrived( it stealt into the stillness): to occupy one small yet cavernous spaceIMG_7328in what seemed to be the erstwhile Food Hall(complete with original features-marble pillars and some kind of incongruous screen)IMG_7317I entered this unsettled and unsettling space, where a TOY Post Office was bealeagured and plonked, seemingly randomly, in a overall environment redolent of the line “I dreamt I dwelt in Marble Halls”( the words to an aria in Balfe’s opera “The Bohemian Girl”).

But I must journey on a backwards rhizome!:

I arrived at Lewis’s and past the now tired- looking “re-development” signage, to find this posterIMG_7313in the, otherwise, empty windows of the former grand department store; it was one of the few outposts/outliers of the new, (seemingly and hitherto) doomed “Central Village”. Next to it, even more quirkily and kitschily, another two signifiers of  a new café (yet to come),to be nomenclatured “Guilty Pleasures”; and, very uncannily,a disturbing mock-up of what seemed to be an attempted re-creation of the old Lewis’s Food Hall tea-room(some misplaced hommage?)IMG_7314

IMG_7315It had a spectral horror about it: a tracing,FORCED forward into the present from the past, into a present not yet able to be actualized, as the vast majority of what had been Europe’s largest department store was still untenanted by businesses and untenanted in the metaphysical sense of having lost any sense of its own self and identity: a self-spectre( the only other occupants, hitherto, are a gym, a hotel and a mothballed carpark, and, possibly, some office useage).

{“self-referential interjection”}: there is a ghost story here.. a la “the Hotel and the Guest”

https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/the-hotel-and-the-guest-a-story-of-sebaldian-malaise-and-an-essay-in-psychogeography/,

the building formerly known as Lewis’s was a SELF-guest; almost a travesty.}

{“Forwards, pushing past the rhizome again”}I really do not yet know-I say(sounding like some ersatz, vaguely sebaldian narrator)-what all this means to me or what, indeed, it makes me feel; or, if I do, it is hidden under layers of grim psychogeographical, self-protective unconscious(ness). I only know_NOW- that I was there, THEN, (but it seems NOW, too) for the gradual, painful demise of Lewis’s last, ailing department store….

_________________________________________________________________________

and, NOW, seven years later, this ….

IMG_7316

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