Weather Vane on St Michaels Tower
St Michael’s Tower on the North Gate is the oldest structure in Oxford. I spent nearly an hour standing on top of it, contemplating the Martyrs who were held in the prison that once stood above the long ago demolished gate in the high street below. Now the streets are populated by foreign students and tourists. Street vendors sell souvineers, tour guides shout loudly to gather crowds, buskers play old nostalgic tunes and a man sits outside the bookshop across the road begging for money.
The buidings on the skyline are a postmodern jumble of old and new. Buildings merge into one another, history rises like a odour from the drains beneath us.
I find myself thinking of the Martyr who was lucky enough to have friends in Oxford; lucky enough to be given a necklace of gunpowder so when they burnt him at the stake some 200 yards from where I looked down, his head exploded when the flames reached his chest.
I see mud and ditches and struggle. It’s still there in Oxford. What is it that draws people to this place?
The Music is Hinterm Naechsten by Huegel performed by Jonas Hamm.