It was a glorious Saturday afternoon, one of those afternoons that puts an extra dollop of spring in your step and a new lead in your pencil. The sun was shining for what felt like the first time in months across the fields, dry stone walls and rampaging gangs of ducks from my bedroom window and I needed to be out there amongst it.
And so it was, feeling like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (not the groping Oscar ceremony incarnation) that I grabbed my bag of goodies and headed off in to the light to break my first rule of the day; I went back. Now, where I went back to is an abandoned and highly decorated factory site in Sheffield, a wonderful place to attack with the camera. When I went previously it was dark and gloomy and didn’t show off the beauty that any abandoned factory has to its fullest.
On my previous visit I had been worried about the prospect of unwanted molestation by a pack of dribbling tramps, or outraged badgers, so it was with some trepidation that I made my way through the trees and the broken fencing, in to the outer perimeter. The sun shone, the factory looked looked more broken and forgotten than ever and I was happy. Some of the art work had changed and so I merrily clicked away, moving nearer and nearer to the inner sanctum. It was then I heard the noises.
Like a startled fawn or a fumbling pair of teenagers with their hands in each other’s pants caught by a snooping parent, I stopped dead in my tracks, listening. There it was again, sounds of movement, talking, feint gun movements. Holy shit, the tramps were now arming themselves! I moved behind a pillar, then, when I thought the moment was right, peered around and there they were a group of about 5 or 6 of them dressed in capes, hats and masks. I’d stumbled upon a twisted, sadistic ritual service or sacrifice, a black mass with a rakish dress sense perhaps. They saw me and looked over at me and waved.
And then, as their appearance became clearer, it twigged. There, in front of me were the Joker, the Green Lantern and pack of other assortments dressed in Lycra and make up. I wandered over and made my introductions to the girl in the harlequin costume of blue contact lenses. My Black Mass participants were actually a cluster of accountants, students and bank clerks who like to re-enact comic books in abandoned factories and take photos of each other. I sighed. I was safe. It is very difficult to be scared of an overweight Chartered Surveyor called Julian dressed from head to toe in ill-fitting lycra and green hair dye.