Arrivals – A response to Lowri Evans’s “I’m Glad You’re Here” by James Varney

6/8. He could’ve been a ticket dodger or looking for the toilet or something. Pacing the length of the carriage, all up and down the train in a leather jacket like something from a low-budget James Bond knock-off. Looked like he was looking for something. Then just went back to the seat he was in to begin with.

SAFE JOURNEY!’ – 10:05

Couldn’t find carriage or seat numbers, had to do my best to give them an idea,

‘Don’t think the seats have numbers
but I’m in the second carriage from the back.’ – 10:19

We were on platform 1 and this woman asked us to move back. Weren’t sure why, the train had already gone. Then this woman dressed in all white started running up from the end of the platform, and a curly haired bloke in a leather jacket and a hat too small for him was running towards her and they hugged each other.

(After dramatic run and hug)

Lowri Evans as Laura Jesson: Could you really say goodbye? Never see me again?

James Varney as Dr. Alec Harvey: Yes, if you’d help me.

Lowri Evans as Laura Jesson: I love you, Alec. I know that this is the beginning of the end. Not the end of my loving you but the end of our being together. But not quite yet, darling.

James Varney as Dr. Alec Harvey: Very well. Not quite yet.

(They embrace and leave the station)

It was very romantic. Then they walked off.

3/8. I got off the train and there was this group of people with a big banner, said

I’m Glad You’re Here

on it. And bunting. And it was really lovely.

That sort of thing’s nice, when you’ve just got off the train, in Preston. Makes you feel special.

I was only planning on watching, but when we got there we both got asked to lend a hand with holding things and cheering when ‘Sarah’ arrived and I had such a nice time of my greeting earlier I was really happy to be part of it.

Then they ran off to another platform.

In the end we couldn’t find Sarah. We think she got an earlier train and we missed her. Was nice to be involved though.

Hope they’re doing that all day. Looks ace.

7/8. There was a security guard on the platform. Don’t know who they were looking for. They had their hand up to their ear like they had an earpiece in. Then the train arrived and they

Was really fun being in on the joke for this one. Really interested in what it felt like to not be in on it and just see all this going on.

No idea who they were, I didn’t recognise them. Other people were looking, don’t know if they’re supposed to be famous. They had a cordoned-off area at the entrance to the station with a red carpet and people were asking for autographs and everything. Must be nice.

1/8. Was very intrigued when my wife told me to keep ‘open minded’ when I got back to Preston. Told me it was an ‘art’ thing and I was genuinely worried she was expecting me to get my kit off or something.

Got to play paparazzo on this one, which made me very happy. Got to wear that hat too small for me again, and play with an old camera. This one was especially lovely. Then again, they were all especially lovely.

There was this bunch of people with a red carpet and sunglasses and a tray with champagne glasses. And they were up to something, so we went over. Turns out they were about to greet this woman’s husband, who was coming up from London. They let us have a photo together on the red carpet with the paparazzi man and sunglasses. They were very nice. Then we had to get our train.

I feel like I’ve made a journey during this. I’ve travelled from participant to observer and back in and out and ended up being involved in the construction, part of the image. There’s been some sort of communal aspect in my experience, in others’ experiences, in the way it’s welcomed us into it.

Was proper surprised when I got off the train to a red carpet and entourage and people asking for my photo. A glass of bubbly, after I reassured them I was over the hangover now. A real pleasant surprise. Worth a long train journey.

A journey.
A welcome.
An arrival.
A surprise.
A pair of open arms.

I’m Glad You’re Here

Image – Bernie Blackburn

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