Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Circuitous Route : Slices 5 and 6

Continuing the meaty bits (or the stale bread bits) of my recent talk, "The Circuitous Route : Chance, Information and Geography" .......

These two slices are a little on the thin side so I have merged them together:

The idea of a circuitous route might make you think that psychogeographic chance and randomness can only be achieved by going around the houses. This is not necessarily the case. A few weeks ago I was describing my proposed talk to a good friend of mine and he declared that he too must be something of a psychogeorapher. Many years ago he was living in Coventry and got a job in London. He had a little time to spare before he started his new job and decided that he would make his way from Coventry to London using the most direct route possible - a straight line. He was the owner of an old Honda 50cc motorcycle which he used for the journey and which allowed him, where necessary, to cut across fields and along the most inaccessible tracks. He drew a straight line connecting Coventry to London and set off to see what he would discover. His example almost made me change my mission statement to "never go in a straight line when a circuitous route is available, except when the straight line is even more revealing". 

In the spirit of my friend Mike, let us move in a straight line to Square 5 which was between the villages of Skelmanthorpe and Scisset.


Blogging and psychogeography may be strange bedfellows, but they are undoubtedly bedfellows. The wonderful thing about blogging is that you can go anywhere you want to go, and say anything you want to say. There is no grand editor forcing you to stick to the point, no owner making you amass a profit. As a blogger you can - and often I do - start a new project and then abandon it within days because its' tediousness outweighs its' inherent interest. If you are lucky enough to have readers and followers, they read and follow for the pleasure of the journey rather than for the returns to be gained from the destination. Which is, when you consider it, very similar to the mission of the psychogeographer. Because of its' very scope and depth, blogging provides a unique vision of life in the twenty-first century. Blogging is, essentially, the Mass Observation movement of the 21st Century.

My blog-based psychogeography predates my Ten Square project, as my long-running project "Fat Dog To The Big Apple" was an early form of pychogeographical investigation. My decision to take my dog Amy for a walk from Los Angeles to New York City was an attempt to virtually discover America by taking a circuitous route from the west coast to the east coast. When I started the journey in 2007, I estimated that it would take me the best part of five years. But Amy and I are still stuck in Oregon, weighed down by inertia and too many chicken dinners. We have both just agreed an early New Year Resolution, so watch out, Fat Dog will be returning to a blog near you soon.

But before returning to America, Amy and I took a walk in West Yorkshire : a walk to Square 6 and the rather unusual Osset Spa.


2 comments:

  1. Alan,
    I am not walking at the present, but I must start again. Hope you and the Mrs. are preparing for the holidays! :) The Bach
    Lord Thomas of Wellington

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  2. Coventry to London on a 50cc Honda would take a while (even - especially - in a straight line!). I used to own one of those things and they have a top speed of about 40mph.

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