Book Review: Walking Inside Out ed. Tina Richardson

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“Psychogeography does not have to be complicated. Anyone can do it. You do not need a map, Gore-Tex, or a companion. All you need is a curious nature and a comfortable pair of shoes. There are no rules to doing psychogeography – this is its beauty. However, it is this that makes it hard to pin down in any formalised way. It is also this ‘unruly’ character (disruptive, unsystematic, random) that makes for much discussion about its meaning and purpose.” pg. 1 Tina Richardson on pg. 1 of the introduction to Walking Inside Out

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Walking Inside Out attempts to nail the psychogeographic jelly to the wall.

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Book Review: Black Apples of Gower by Iain Sinclair

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Sinclair, I. (2015) Black Apples of Gower Little Toller Monograph ISBN 978 1 908213 28 0

 

“My life’s journey was just beginning, even though I was close to its chronological finish. Nothing happened, nothing was real until I tapped out the first sentence. I would begin with the Horton swim. The deserted car park. The dunes. Anna hugging her knees, dozing off, and thinking her own thoughts. […] …dreams of Paviland stayed with me, unresolved. How was that to be managed?” p.130

Provoked by an enigmatic series of paintings made by Ceri Richards in the 1950s Iain Sinclair leaves his ‘London Project’ behind and, ‘carrying an envelope of black-and-white photographs and old postcards, along with fragments of memory…’, he walks the cliff top paths of his childhood in South Wales, rediscovering the Gower Peninsula.

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Children’s Book Review: Wave the Flag and Blow the Whistle

‘Wave the Flag…’ has been a favourite bedtime read for the Boys for the past few years, a rhythmic and heart-warming railway adventure, we still wheel it out every now and then and (all three of us) happily drift away into a simpler, wonderful world of steam trains, picnics and Summer days…

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Book Review: ‘Common Ground’ by Rob Cowen

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Cowen, R (2015) Common Ground Hutchinson, London ISBN978 0 091 95455 0

‘Sensitive, thoughtful and poetic. Rob Cowen rakes over a scrap of land with forensic care, leading us into a whole new way of looking at the world.’ Michael Palin

The Random House publisher’s synopsis for ‘Common Ground’ states:

“After moving from London to a new home in Yorkshire, Rob Cowen finds himself on unfamiliar territory, disoriented, hemmed in by winter and yearning for the nearest open space. So one night, he sets out to find it – a pylon-slung edge-land, a tangle of wood, meadow, field and river on the outskirts of town. Despite being in the shadow of thousands of houses, it feels unclaimed, forgotten, caught between worlds, and all the more magical for it.”

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Book Review: ‘Landings’ by Richard Skelton

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Skelton, R. (2009-12) Landings Corbel Stone Press ISBN: 978-0-9572121-1-4

“Richard Skelton is a keeper of lost words, […] He is- what else is he? A musician, a writer, a glossarian, an archivist. Landscape, language and loss are the three great subjects of his work, and they are at its heart because of a tragedy.
In 2004 Richard’s wife Louise died. I don’t know how she died; I have never asked and he has never told. She was in her late twenties; he also. Richard, born and brought up in Lancashire, retreated to the West Pennine Moors of that county, close to his birthplace. There, struggling with grief, he began to walk the moors of the nearby parish of Anglezarke. His walking soon took on the status of ritual: a pilgrimage-like beating of the moor’s bounds, a labyrinth-like exploration of its interior. In his own words, he ‘limned the edges of its streams and rivers, followed the contours of its hills, the eaves of its woods’. The purpose of the walking was unclear even to him, perhaps especially to him, some mixture of distraction, diversion, expiation and commemoration. He began also to note the moor’s phenomena, to record its languages (natural and human), and to explore its history in the relatively few archives that documented it.” p182 Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

I think perhaps I made a mistake when I bought this extraordinary book.

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Book Review: The Utopia Experiment by Dylan Evans

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Evans, D. (2015) The Utopia Experiment Picador ISBN 978 1 4472 6129 2

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This image has nothing at all to do with the book, but somehow it seemed an apposite illustration of the non-fiction account of The Utopia Experiment described below…

The Utopia Experiment is billed as: the story of an experiment in human psychology that goes horribly wrong. Imagine you have survived an apocalypse. Civilization as you knew it is no more. What will life be like and how will you cope?

In 2006, Dylan Evans set out to answer these questions. He left his job in a high-tech robotics lab, moved to the Scottish Highlands and founded a community called The Utopia Experiment. There, together with an eclectic assortment of volunteers, he tried to live out a scenario of global collapse, free from modern technology and comforts.

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Book Review: Living Locally by Erica Van Horn

Robert Walser quoted in the opening pages of Living Locally:

“What I saw was as small and poor as it was large and significant, as modest as it was charming, as near as it was good, and as delightful as it was warm.”

Artist, writer, printer, and bookmaker Erica Van Horn’s Living Locally is a celebration of simplicity, sense of place, savouring and seasonality.

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