My name is [James Leahy]. I had an accident, and I woke up [temping in Worcestershire]. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever’s happened, it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get [back to my previous life].
What do you call those people who are convinced that the world is there because they are? I don’t think I am (I hope I’m not) but a lot of my favourite films (The Truman Show, Vanilla Sky, Solaris) share this theme and it’s something I occaisionally think about. The paragraph above is a recurring mission statement (I hate that phrase so sorry) that continues to rattle around in my head, as it has since early last year, because my current situation is, to a degree, echoed by Sam’s predicament in Life on Mars. I’m convinced that Manchester in Life on Mars is an involuntary construct of Sam in that it just seems to have trapped him and is relentless in its refusal to release him. Worcester exudes a similarly bleak and foreboding quality to this stylised and slightly unreal Manchester of 1973 (it’s certainly not the most attractive and welcoming place in the world, something perhaps not helped by the time of year). Like Sam, I’m helped along the way by the cast of great people I’ve worked with at Aiim, the city’s branch of the Cheltenham and Gloucester, CAFCASS and latterly Sanctuary Housing (the changing of jobs in itself feels episodic). It just feels like, as with Sam, it might only be me who decides when I escape. I keep hoping that at some point it all becomes clear what I’m doing in this wretched place and I’ll realise how to escape. In the same way as the slogan for The Truman Show reads “How’s it Going to End?” I’m looking forward to seeing how that light at the end of the tunnel will manifest itself (y’know, as opposed to wondering how I’m going to die, because that would just be a bit morbid…).
I’ve finished whining now and if you’ve read this far then I owe you a drink at some point. Cheers.