Double Vision with Charlie Adley
Holy macaroni! Am I hallucinating? Did my housemates slip a tab of acid into my tea? No, they wouldn’t do that. Well they might, but not on the first day of my first job in Galway. From my tiny semi-slum in Salthill I’d walked to Bishop O’Donnell Road, where my legs froze and my heartbeat rose, as I stared at my destination: the Rahoon Flats.
When I’d told my Galwegian friends where I’d be working, they’d muttered about heroin and violence, but to my Londoner’s eyes the towers looked neither too daunting nor deprived.
It wasn’t the buildings, but the huge mural painted on the side of one of them that took my breath away. Who else in Galway would recognise Bradford’s skyline, the very city I’d left seven months before? After a one-way flight, I’d randomly hitched around Europe looking for a home, ended up in Galway, found work with Traveller children in the Rahoon Flats, where I now stood, rooted to the spot, my eyes running over those familiar silhouetted mosques, the museum, the mill chimneys, the terraces of tiny houses wound around the hills that used to be home.
A born scribbler, my first instinct was to write about this coincidence and mystery, so I did some research, and discovered that Bradford and Galway were twin cities.
Looking here and there and then here I started to feel giddy, so I typed Double Vision onto the sheet of paper in my typewriter, launching into a rant about the glaring differences between the two cities.
Bradford is in the centre of England, built on seven hills, while Galway is almost flat and very much on the coast. Bradford has the largest Pakistani population outside of Pakistan, while Galway, back in 1992, was almost completely white.
To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.