I went down a mine the other day. Not that it was a working one. They don't exist anymore, not since Thatcher popped along with her armored handbag, and kindly raped the Welsh Valleys.
Big Pit is now sadly a museum although a terrific one; you're taken down into the mine and shown around by an ex-miner, themselves becoming rare species alone. You have to wear hard hats, you have to carry gas masks. Everything and anything with a battery or electronics is confiscated. You descend in the mine-shaft, which eerily carries you underground against the soundtrack of the drip-dropping of water, the echos and screeching of the mechanics. Underground you see the cramped conditions, you see the harshness, the dangers. Most of all, you paradoxically see the darkness. It is a black blackness that you can only imagine in your deepest and darkest nightmares.
That's all that's left of the coal industry in South Wales. A tourist museum. There are traces of what was once there, something I touched upon in my Valleys photography project. You see run down towns, now struggling communities; areas that were once bustling and thriving, now dying on their feet. And for what? To save money? Money that now has to go back into these communities for benefits and dole? Thanks Maggie.