Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Towards the motorway
"Hypnotised by traffic rhythms
"And monotone radio."
The master of comics psychogeography returns, in part, to the theme where he and I first met. I remember very well just how entranced I was upon reading his GREY AREA #2 - THE OLD STRAIGHT TRACK, a paean to the much maligned and misunderstood Great British motorway network. It's sadly out of print now, but happily this work brings back wistful memories of my first Tim Bird experience, and indeed also long car journeys as a child.
If you'd like to be touched by Tim Bird then I heartily recommend GREY AREA - FROM THE CITY TO THE SEA, GREY AREA - OUR TOWN, THE GREAT NORTH WOOD, ROCK & POP and THE ROCKET. Go on, you won't regret it, trust me.
So here, first we see young Tim's experiences as a nipper being taken by his parents along with his sister to visit his grandparents for Sunday lunch, or more precisely the soothing, sleep-inducing vehicular voyage back to Oughtibridge before finally being carried upstairs oh so gently to bed by his dad.
Then we get some trademark temporal juxtaposition with a twist as adult Tim and his wife load their car up with their two kids and set off up the motorway for his parents. But immediately before that, there's a page which, to me, perfectly sums up the magic Tim wields as we see him age from boy to man in three small square panels, superimposed over a motorway flyover bedecked in a continuous red line of sped-up car breaklights, with a full lunar cycle sequence bisecting the page.
The whole image alone is perfect, but there are also two sentences that neatly serve to underscore that Tim is also a master of words. He has a lyrical quality that flows so naturally creating its own imagery that perfectly complements the visual. His choice of words never fails to captivate me.
"Time drives onwards. Year after year like a constant stream of traffic flowing endlessly along the motorway."
That it does.
He also does something I've never seen him do before, on the final page. I'm not going to spoil it, and I very much doubt it is something he will make a habit of, but if there was a more perfect, heart-meltingly beautiful way to end this work, I can't think of it.