7 Aug 2009

Flaneusette technique

I've been reading a lot about psychogeography and, inspired by what I read in Peter Ackroyd about Islington's interesting past (did you know it used to be a diary farm? Fabulous!). So for the last couple of days I've been wandering the city in a PCP addled stupor (can't get opium, must make do) and keeping this journal of my voyages. More to follow!

Day one

I'm walking around feeling nothing. I trip and everyone helps me up. There's nothing to see here, I've learnt nothing. The city isn't melancholy today. I'm confronted with a chugger I recognise, we went to college together, we arrange to have coffee later. No one minds me today. The air is circulating up these aisles, I'm a heartbeat, I'm welcomed. I'm keeping the city alive, in its loop. Everything is in order, it's just as I remember. Everyone has been in these places before, they're filed, I want to make a sketch. Everything is forthcoming, the light touches everything, the grid is illuminated. When the clocks chime I chime with them and then we get to our knees and share as one this remarkable sensation of absolute purpose, absolute belonging, a composite beast who's extremities more in syncopation, we've eliminated the selfish gene and like a slime mould slug we relinquish precedence to those of us designated as a head and they direct us. We've given ourselves over to the city, each other, its past, we're hugging the kerbs familiar with each speck of grit we're pressed up against its canyons and our fat is rolling into them, what fat we have. There's a city in our minds as pure as stone that even we can't alter, it connects purely to itself, unapologetically presents, and we walk its streets as real as any others and the light touches it everywhere and it's everywhere and is like anything, palpable and recognisable in its stability. Each speck of grit belongs and all surfaces are touching. I didn't grow up in the city and find this all refreshing, it's a solid and I like to jostle with all its atoms there are no A roads here, there are no wet fields along the A40. I like its dead voices, they outnumber the living, they remind me of aunties. I like the flows and the ley lines and the impressions of heat left by strangers for whom I have an infinite regard. Someone has just followed me forty paces to return a sheet of paper that I dropped on purpose. They weren't even being sarcastic. I tell them it's a note and when they read it they find it's an incredibly personal letter directed to them, offering sensitive advice about some issues they're dealing with in their life at the moment. They say it's been an incredible help. They ask me to go to bed with them so I do.

Day two

The next day I am out walking the streets trying to collect things I find, I'll make a scrapbook. But tomorrow there'll be a parade, some nationalist thing, followed by speeches and music, so the streets have been decorated and swept, they've even moved on the homeless and the children who sometimes ask you for pens or try to sell you cigarettes. I'd brought an extra muffin to give to one of them but now I eat it myself. I consider leaving a record to somehow sully the streets. It would mean anyone coming along after me would be more successful in finding ephmera, but I don't have anything. All I have is a crumb of muffin which I drop and see fall into one of the big tarmac canyons which yesterday I think I might have been vigorously licking, where there now isn't anything not even those tiny rounded bits of broken glass. But before I leave I see an impossibly swollen ant appear and carry the crumb off. I follow him with my eyes for a while but he's going in the opposite direction so I leave.

to be continued....

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