Archive for July, 2014

The monkey magic walk

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

Many moons ago there existed a broadly psychogeographical group called the bored in the city collective. They were a group of radical academics, artists and activists from Manchester, Stockport and Huddersfield. They used to do lots of random things like burying time capsules, lunar water walks and undertaking political studies of gentrification of towns and cites. They took their inspiration from such people as the situationists, Baudelaire and de Quincey. Here is an account of one of their drifts which they did in July 2007.

Members of the bored in the city collective and friends met outside the Palace Theatre on Oxford Road, Manchester. There was no set plan other than to simply wander towards the remains of an old Roman Fort. A poem was recited to begin the drift which went something like this:

This is the monkey magic walk
We are monkeys
Monkeys are real situationists
Monkeys are real psychogeographers
Monkeys have fun
Monkey goes where monkey wants
Monkey climbs trees
Monkey finds bananas and a peach
If you find the peach of immortality from the Jade Emperor’s Heavenly Garden and if you take one bite, then you will be granted immortality forever.
Let’s begin the walk!

So the walk began. Fortunately we were armed with some bananas and a peach which is essential food for magic monkeys. One of the group members had recently bought a Holga camera and some of the photos here were taken with that machine. These cameras often create unpredictable effects on photographic images.

So we walked toward the Roman Fort and came across the infamous Beetham Tower, otherwise know as the Hilton Hotel and also the site of the Shaping levitation of that building.

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This photo shows not only the Beetham Tower which is visible to human eyes but also reveals two other ghostly replicas of the same building.

And so we moved onwards and found the Roman Fort. There we found another replica of the Beetham Tower.

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At the end of the walk, one of the group members ate a peach from the Emperor Jade’s Heavenly Garden. We think that this person has now been granted eternal immortality.

We concluded the drift by walking to the car park for Romans.

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Language, power and politics

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

Poetry is a knife that cuts language up
Language uses rules which poetry breaks

Language is a stake
We use language and language uses us

Language is a power
A power to use and a power to abuse

Who has the ‘right’ to use language?
Whose language has more status?

Politicians love language
They know language’s rules
And how to ‘bend’ language
To make it suit their aims
To keep their power

They hide from truth
But truth is too good for them
We know their lies

The Tour de France got me thinking about the idea of professional cyclists trying to get from a to b as quickly as possibly in order to be the fastest cyclist. It’s not really a ‘psychogeographical’ endeavour but there are numerous ways that it could be…both for the cyclists and the spectators…

In line with other psychogeographers in West Yorkshire such as Robert Norbury is the idea of using a bike as mode of ‘drifting’…to do dérives on bikes. We could call that something like cyclegeography, cyclepsychogeography or cyclography. There are numerous dérive methods that could be used such as: cycling only to destinations with the letter ‘d’ in place names ie Digley), using a map of Paris to disorientate oneself around places like Holmfirth or taking a route where you are only allowed to go straight on and/or turn right with no left turns allowed. Such methods would be used to open up the senses to the surrounding landscape and to consider what changes to urban and rural spaces need to be undertaken.

My partner and I walked from our home to Holme Moss to watch the Tour de France today. On the route to get there we walked with many other walkers and cyclists. There were so many people trying to get to the site of the Tour that it felt a bit like some sort of spiritual pilgrimage! That or we were simply following a herd and being spectators to a giant media event. I guess this raises the question of participation and whether one can properly critique the spectacle whilst being part of the spectacle. In my view I don’t think it’s really possible to critique the spectacle by standing outside of it. You have to be in it in order to understand and critique it. Otherwise if you don’t know what it is how would you know how to critique it? During our long walk, we considered themes and questions such as participation, spectacle and competition. In the context of the Tour, competition, being the ‘best’ and winning is clearly bound up with dominant discourses of neoliberalism in terms of success, wealth and personal achievement. These are ideas that will be further explored in future accounts on this blog and elsewhere.

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Tour de France

Posted: July 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

This morning I noticed that there were a lot more cyclists on the road than usual. I wonder whether some of the pro cyclists that are meant to be preparing for the Grand Depart from Leeds have either got lost by accident or maybe they have decided to do a cycle dérive! Seeing as this race begins in England but is called the Tour de France I think it would be an excellent idea to give the racers a map of Paris as a navigational tool to get them from Leeds to Sheffield. Here is my proposed map which should be used for the race.

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