Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Circuitous Route : Slices 7 and 8

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

Worry not, we are getting near the end. My final two slices today:

Even though I have still not quite finished my Ten Square series, I have already planted a number of seeds that may eventually grow into future projects. A central feature of many of these will undoubtedly be the application of chance to investigating the world around us : and therefore they will probably qualify as experiments in psychogeography. I have already embarked on a tour of Yorkshire pubs guided by nothing more than the letters of the alphabet. Much as I am enjoying the experience the prospect of letter "X" is causing me sleepless nights. I have played with the idea of a feature on "The Lost Parks of Yorkshire" but after an early episode, I have not been able to find any more suitable candidates. And maybe I will take up the new hobby of straight line walking : indeed maybe I will use it to get home this evening - and maybe I will never be heard of again! But before heading off, let me tell you about Square 7 which was Stirley Hill just to the south of Huddersfield.

Let us look back and consider what our first seven squares have shown us. If we were to sum up each of the squares in just one word we would get something like this:

If we  were to sum up these seven words with just one word we would finish up with "variety" and that, in many ways is the essence of West Yorkshire. It is a county that can encompass the wildest moors and the greatest cities, beauty and the beast, mills ancient and modern. Appropriately enough, that very mixture, that great variety, was showcased in the eighth (and, as yet, the latest) of my squares, the little township of Stanley, to the north-west of Wakefield.

So what of nine and ten? Square nine has already been chosen and I am just waiting for the snow to clear before I go and investigate. It is an area I know fairly well, but one which will no doubt reveal more from a careful examination.

Square ten was chosen "live" at the end of my lecture, by the audience shouting out a series of random numbers. Thus the audience became a random number generator and they have sent me to a deserted little wood somewhere to the north of Leeds. I look forward to reporting back on what I discover there.


  1. Well, Alan, someone once said that retirement is a journey, not a wasn't you, was it?

  2. Ah! Audience participation, too. Deserted woods are definitely my kind of destination.

  3. You know I might adopt this technique for my Sunday photowalks, who knows where I'll end up. The beauty of living on a small island is that everything is so accessible. We have variety here but it's well spread. And I'm sure you'll have no problem walking a straight line, just watch the kerb.

  4. I adore the word "moors" it's so romantic and mystical for a Midwestern girl like me.


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