Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Stung by my suggestion in the The Sunday Times in July that there was no British highway mythology to compare with the great, evocative yarn of The American Road, one of our motorways has risen to the challenge. The M6 is our longest motorway and also, it seems, our most haunted. Roman soldiers, distraught hitchhikers and phantom trucks have been marching, stumbling and roaring all over the place. The new toll section around Birmingham has even acquired its own Roman cohort - 'men walking through the tarmac as you would through water.' In my original article I tentatively made the point that American roads, being newer, had clung on to their ghostly associations. This seems to be the case here. The ghosts rise up because they feel uncomfortable with these big new highways that, physically and mentally, bury the land. I am now hoping to meet John Clare on the M11. And the world never quite makes sense. Pick the bones out of that, Richard Dawkins.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 4:14 am