Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Ligo Haibun Challenge – word prompt – Memories of Nirvana

with 4 comments

This week, the Ligo Haibun Challenge gave us a choice of words to fire our imaginations:

 Saviour/Savior  or Nirvana

This probably isn’t what they meant me to do, but nevermind.



It must be 1991 or ‘92. There are rumours that Nirvana are going to play the Birmingham Hummingbird – an impromptu gig: first come, first served. I don’t know where or how the rumour started, I know only that I am going.

I can’t remember now what day the gig was, maybe a Tuesday, but I have afternoon lectures. Of the group of us going – Stan, Dan, Paul and me – only I have lectures. I am in my first year of university, living in halls in Walsall, a thirty-minute bus-ride from Birmingham, a thirty-minute drive to Wolverhampton where my course is taught. The university provides coaches to ferry us between campuses. The morning one leaves at 8am to get us there for a 10 o’clock start. If I miss the 4.30pm coach back, the next one doesn’t leave until 6pm.

It must be spring ’92 because it isn’t yet dark as the coach arrives in Walsall. I leave my lecture mates disembarking and rush home. I wash and change and learn the lads have gone. It doesn’t matter because these are the days when nothing stops me.

I leave campus and catch the bus to Birmingham. I seem to know where I am going, find the venue easily, and my friends in the queue quickly – Stan is a beanpole and easy to spot. They had a half hour start on me, didn’t want to risk missing this opportunity.

Maybe it’s summer because I don’t remember the street being dark, but then in the UK’s second city, surely there are lights everywhere. Perhaps the remembrance of natural light is artificial.

I don’t know how long we wait. Blue paper tickets relating to another band on another date are thrust into our hands, removed, torn in half, and then we’re in. We disperse, each to our own dancing frenzy. Later, Paul sticks by me and we share screamed observations.

Energetically gyrating sardines give off much heat and the ceiling cries condensation. Head back, I stare at the beaded roof tiles, watch the droplets grow, deform, and drip sweat.

We come home on the bus, Paul and Stan propping up Dan between them. I don’t remember the journey – gone is that heady mood forever. And if we’re all together on the bus, then it must have been autumn ’91 because Paul moved to Wolverhampton after Christmas.

So long ago, in another life, I wonder if it really happened.


memory plays tricks

picking out fine details

others blurry edged




I’ve checked online – and didn’t imagine this. There’s a bootleg video of the gig on youtube – 27/11/91 – part of Nirvana’s Nevermind tour.

Notes on the Ligo Haibun Challenge.


Written by Sarah Ann

April 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm

4 Responses

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  1. That’s great. What a refreshing take on the challenge – I love it. 🙂


    April 21, 2014 at 5:45 am

    • Thank you. I really do struggle with how to approach the Ligo challenges so it’s good to know you enjoyed my take on this one. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      April 21, 2014 at 8:33 pm

  2. It was inspired of you to write in the present tense – it underlines the immediacy and walks the reader beside you. A splendid piece – well done Sarah Ann Hall.


    May 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    • Thank you for that great comment. Now if only I’d known I was doing that at the outset. The tenses most definitely choose themselves.

      Sarah Ann

      May 6, 2014 at 8:02 pm

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