SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   My City Photos (
-   -   My Dirty Old Town in 2019 (

SignalHillHiker Jun 14, 2019 8:07 PM

My Dirty Old Town in 2019
A new thread for 2019. I intend to add one post to this thread each month - starting with a flurry, of course, because I have to catch up to June.

So far, it's been a shit year. Come suffer with me.

So this is my city:

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, (and, since 1949) Canada.

Some Spanish music to remind you of sun...

Video Link

So, January was brutal. Cold, long, lots of freezing rain, freezing fog, snow. The sun came out like twice.

The city made the best of it on NYE...

But then it was back to hibernation...

The sun! The sun!

But then it went away and we got buried alive.

But then it came back, but only because it was too bloody cold for clouds...

We drank away our heartaches...

But you can't get drunk enough to ignore freezing fog.

Even when it wasn't suffocating us, it was lingering just offshore taunting us...

Eventually it left and wildlife returned. We were working out at the gym when the fog finally broke and it was like the end of The Mist. People wept.

Then, toward the end of the month, things started to look up a little.

People took cautious first steps outside their homes.

Eventually it warmed up enough to breathe some life back into the streets.

A small taste of a habitable climate to lull us all into daring to hope, daring to allow ourselves to feel joy again. But it was a trap. February sent half the city south and the rest into therapy... and the "long, hungry month of March" lived up to its local legends.

hauntedheadnc Jun 14, 2019 8:10 PM

You fucking rock. I've missed your threads.

SignalHillHiker Jun 14, 2019 8:31 PM

February... set to tears...

Video Link

The pigeons tried to warn us by being creepy.

But some people still dared venture outside.

Even the poorest households in the poorest neighbourhoods had their heat on bust.

Even my neighbourhood local, which is standing-room-only with alcoholics by 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, was closed.

A giant, foreign goose even landed from God-know's-where - the signs were all there.

It got so cold the clouds went away again.

So cold you had to go out at night just to see if it was actually real.

But it was all too real.

The cold stayed so long that, like people with hypothermia stripping off their clothes, we all went outside in madness.

So cold you could just feel when driving that if you hit a bump hard enough your car would shatter into snowflakes.

So cold and grey and gross that the houses were your only confirmation you could still see colours.

So cold that in your diminished state you thought this was hilarious...

So cold that when the sun came out because it was so cold you went outside anyway because your vitamin D deficiency was giving you dark thoughts.

So cold you had to spend hundreds of dollars to replace all the copper pipes in your (relatively young) century-old home with modern ones.

And eat comfort Jerk chicken with mac/cheese burgers.

And the month ended without a sign, without a hint, that spring was anywhere else. It still felt and, as it turns out, was... the middle of winter.

MonkeyRonin Jun 14, 2019 8:42 PM


Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker (Post 8605915)
Even the poorest households in the poorest neighbourhoods had their heat on bust.

I love this little house.

Though it's also interesting how obvious the difference is in the built typology between upper and lower class St. John's:

SignalHillHiker Jun 14, 2019 8:47 PM

Monkey, you should hear the difference in accents between the residents of those two houses. :haha: We're... lucky all our classes are white or else we'd be up there with South Africa and India in scholarly articles.

Thanks, Hauntedhead! :D :D :D

xzmattzx Jun 14, 2019 8:53 PM

Keep the pictures coming!

FREKI Jun 14, 2019 9:01 PM

Nice work as always mate - looking forward to more :)

SignalHillHiker Jun 14, 2019 9:23 PM

And March. Oh, March.

Video Link

It started well enough. Plenty of sun, acceptable temperatures. It seemed almost as though life was worth living.

But then, no b'y. Fuck us. SECOND WINTER.

Fortunately, weed is legal.

But not even weed can keep your heart light in day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day of overcast.

While hiking the coastal trails, you think about letting go.

You wear jeans fucking hiking because everything else is too cold.

But then, the old rhyme comes true... "No man has even counted the days fog has stolen away from this wretched hell, but the people say the sun, when it does shine, shines over their city like nowhere else."

But that's like 30 minutes only per month it seems.

Even the council workers said fuck this. Fortunately, the garbage piling up reminded us of Naples and warmth.

Even trendy 20-somethings joined the sad-eyed middle-aged women at the cat cafe.

Then, something happened... the wind shifted directions and was no longer blowing straight down from the Greenland icecap. Life finds a way.

Although most weren't willing to venture outside just yet, the cafes and bars were filled again with youth and life.

The beautiful decadence of Earth.

I had to attend a fancy function at Government House (the residence of the former Governor, current Lieutenant Governor - the Queen's representative. Previously, the Governor either ruled directly or, after 1855, advised our Prime Minister, or, after 1949, Premier). The surnames on this plaque are a roadmap of the city's streets.

Things started to cheer up. You felt emotionally stable enough to go out and get some delicious seafood.

The thing is, that's kind of where it's stayed. 10C, tolerable but chilly... for MONTHS. And what's more... the fog, that omnipresent devil... worked his way back into our homes...

Surely April is better, right? Yes. For everyone else in the world except us.

SignalHillHiker Jun 14, 2019 10:14 PM

Sigh. April.

Video Link

The month started off promising... shirtless skeets ("chavs", "wigs", whatever they're called in your city - ours are the same, but with an Irish brogue).

We broke out the traditional Sunday suppers...

We spent less time sitting in graveyards longing for the sweet embrace of death.

Even the snow on the hilltops melted away.

So, of course, we decided to follow Boston's lead and do a Big Dig of our own.

The government, seeing Trump, put a HUGE push on trying to encourage immigration. So, you know, come join us. It's lovely here. Weather's great.

And then it got beautifully overcast.

And then all kinds of shit fell out of the sky. Move here!

And then... freezing rain. It's so rare here that we have our own term for it that we use for several weeks every year: silver thaw.

Comedy show interlude.

To cheer myself up, I went to admire the most beautiful gridiron/flatiron/whatever-the-fuck-they're-called building the city. Just look at this beauty...

And I even did a scenic tour of our city's gorgeous supermarkets... no points for guessing which chain serves the lower class.

Because it's a trick question. That's clearly Shoppers.

Then the world did that stupid taunting thing again where it gives us hope.

And then, nearly at the end of the month, another silver thaw.

And silver. And silver. And silver. For DAYS.

At least when the freezing rain stopped, the weather got better.


Fast forward a few days, we finally got out for a hike.

I can't say we had hope heading into May. We didn't. Expect the worst, and you shall not be disappointed.

SignalHillHiker Jun 14, 2019 10:56 PM

May. Oh May. May we be excused?

Video Link

The sun came up...

The grass turned green as people protested whatever it is pissing them off this week (we're basically non-effectual French as far as that goes - there's a protest every other day about something, nothing ever happens).

And then the sun went on strike.

And the Big Dig continued...

Modern traditional houses.

By the middle of the month, the weather hadn't changed.

For Mother's Day we, and every other family in the city, had lobster.

And then, one of our claims to fame... the icebergs finally arrived on their fateful journey south. Titanic hit one off our shores. They come down from Greenland and hit us in the spring. By mid-July they are the size of ice cubes just north of Bermuda. A couple of quick mobile pics from my office because I was excited for the first...

After work, we drove out to get a closer look.

You can really how warm it was from these pics.

And then back to civilization.

Then suddenly the weather changed, warm and lovely, I opened the car windows. It was so alarming and pleasurable I took pictures of the moment.

But it ended...

At least the Germans came so Grindr was lit.

Then it warmed enough to go out into the suburbs for a hike to see icebergs!

And then... sweet orgasmic warmth from the sun... IN the city... FOR A WHOLE DAY... I was up with the sun, couldn't miss a second...

I found an iceberg.

And that was all before work. :D

See ya again at the end of the month. :) There's been a little hope in June... one sneak peek... things are finally fucking green... view from my office today:

pip Jun 18, 2019 2:38 AM

wow excellent. I want to visit!

The North One Jun 18, 2019 3:38 AM

It's beyond gorgeous.

IWant2BeInSTL Jun 18, 2019 4:30 AM

Huh... I thought that looked familiar.


National Supermarkets was a grocery chain in both the St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana, areas of the United States. Both firms were owned by Loblaw Companies of Canada, but in June 1995, they were sold by Loblaw to Schnucks Markets.

Anyway that place looks fucking gorgeous. I kinda wanna live there.

mrnyc Jun 18, 2019 6:30 PM

beautiful -- i knew my grandparents used to love visiting there for a reason!

the immediate title image hardly fits tho - ha!:

Dirty Old Town
The Pogues

I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

Clouds are drifting across the moon
Cats are prowling on their beat
Spring's a girl from the streets at night
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I heard a siren from the docks
Saw a train set the night on fire
I smelled the spring on the smoky wind
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I'm going to make me a good sharp axe
Shining steel tempered in the fire
I'll chop you down like an old dead tree
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

Songwriters: Ewan Maccoll

SignalHillHiker Jun 18, 2019 7:20 PM

Thanks guys!


RE: Title

All Irish songs and some English/Scottish ones are part of Newfoundland folk music. You will literally find people here who don't know Dirty Old Town isn't about St. John's. :D I used to be one of them. :haha:

Video Link

And my neighbourhood local, on a karaoke night:

Video Link

I agree it doesn't fit - BUT I assure you it does to a greater extent than you think. We have a HUGE lower/working class, lots of shitty areas. Several factories sandwiched in old, rowhouse residential districts.

SignalHillHiker Jun 18, 2019 8:13 PM

I have a couple hours free... so I'll do a half-month one. :D

June 1-15(ish), 2019.

Shit to genuinely less shitty. :D

Video Link

Went out on a freezing, foggy day to hike. Hiding from the wind, I took a different way down for the first time. ALMOST made it, but ended up on a series of cliff edges. I'd have to come in through someone's roof to get down, so, back up and around. :haha:

But the view was best kind.

Only had my mobile with me, so mobile zoom...

The houses out in Cahill's Point (on the other side of the harbour from the above) also cling to the cliffs. The poetic description, at least at night, is lights strung along a Christmas tree. As a general rule, if you have mobility issues here, you need to move to mainland Canada.

They should film car commercials on the Southside Road.

Looking back toward Downtown (left), Fort William (centre), and the Battery (along the right coast) neighbourhoods.

St. John's is absolutely surrounded by abandoned American military installations (we were VERY important in WWII - Churchill, Roosevelt, and whoever else even met here).

The most beloved of the local groceries. Any British import you could want, they carry - the older folks love the place.

So, Aja is the latest Ru Paul's Drag Race alum to come to the city. We are HUGE on drag. They've all been here - Bianca, Kim Chi, Tatiana, Detox, Manila, etc, etc, etc. It's worth the money for promoters to bring them here because everyone goes, even the straights. So, Rockhouse (straight punk/rock bar) held a competition for local amateur queens (most performing for the first time) to win the chance to open for Aja.

And kings.

Then, ANOTHER NICE DAY, finally. I was up with the sun and the fog...

Not wanting to go to work...

We've been invaded by the French, Dutch, and countless others. That would've been a good day if they were still interested. Our economy could use a good invasion, and we couldn't see shit.

Days later, out for a run, still foggy.

And days later still, woke up and stepped out my front door to this...

So went downhill to downtown...

ALMOST down to sea level...

And then, later... it seemed nice starting our 10-mile run in the western edge of the suburban East End...

But the closer we got to downtown, the worse it got...

And now up to the present days... the whales have arrived! We're right where the icebergs traveling south and whales traveling north cross paths.

The sun came out... and then went away...

Our Big Dig went on...

Sun came out again for a minute on Father's Day...

And then it went away again...

Oh boy, did it ever...

But TODAY, LITERALLY TODAY, DAYS LATER, the fog finally broke...

So, fingers crossed. :D

IWant2BeInSTL Jun 19, 2019 4:02 PM

:babyeat: Dildo Brewing Company :babyeat:

Centropolis Jun 19, 2019 4:53 PM

what a lovely trip through the season(s), just saw this entire thread at once.

InTheBurbs Jun 19, 2019 6:51 PM

Great pictures - and even better narration!

SignalHillHiker Jun 20, 2019 8:29 PM

Thanks, guys.

One more before-end-of-June update. We are currently on our SECOND consecutive summer day. What do people even DO with TWO summer days in a row?

It's got me singing an old folk song...

Video Link

The ocean surrounds her, it gives and it takes
Like shepherd, lion and lamb
The pounding and grinding is a constant reminding
Of the forces that follow the calm

From the fury of a blizzard on a cold winter's night
To the quiet of a warm summer's day
All hardships forgotten, old debts are repaid
With a day on a quiet peaceful bay

All times are GMT. The time now is 9:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.