Showing posts from June, 2022

On pyschogeography. Without enthusiasm.

Psychogeography is a term used to describe places in a way that acknowledges how we experience our environment does not chime with its tangible reality. Our mental maps and pictures of a place might foreground memories and histories, emphasising familiar and personal routes and landmarks and  often embellishing them with myths and patterns.   We are free to go as far as we want when speculating on what might lie over the metaphorical hill. Hence fantasy and science fiction, which encourage our imaginations to trespass beyond the constraints imposed by our anthropocentric ideas about reality and time.  In essence, Psychogeography seeks to substitute a canvas of fragmented impressions for the simplified vision of a two-dimensional map, exploring the borderland between the real and the imagined.  Frankly, I do not like the term. It seems intellectually pretentious and its self-appointed practitioners are sometimes too keen to pass off what is clearly entirely imaginary in place of stories

The World - Dubai

  I have never been to Dubai but a quick glance at the map tells me that its is small, dry and built up. If you want to buy good land for development, it will cost you a lot. So a major property company with links to the rulers, 'Nakheel’, came up with the brilliant wheeze of inventing new land by dumping lots of sand  on the sea bed, just off the coast, to create artificial islands for new housing, hotels and whatnot.   Bonkers? Well, this is the place that also gives us undersea hotels, water-cars, camel-riding robots, hydroflying books and police in Lamborghinis. It took enough sand to fill over 150 major sports stadia to create 300 islands, representing almost every country on the globe and arranged to look like a world map. The only one missing was Israel. This is Dubai after all . The World?  Nakheel had tried this trick before. The oldest and best known scheme is Palm Jumeirah, which seen from the air looks like a palm tree sticking into the sea, with housing built on each

The World - At Sea

 Fed up with the being anchored to a place that limits your capacity for perpetual self-indulgence? Looking for a place that comes without the trappings of Nationality, a Government and inhabitants that do not respect your pre-eminence? ‘The World’ is a Ocean Liner. It looks like a cruise ship but doesn’t see itself as a cruise ship. You don't rent a cabin on this beast. Rather, you buy a 'residence' and thereby become part of an exclusive community, railed off from the trials, tribulations and petty discomforts of the rest of planet by a wall of money. Security, anonymity and privacy are watchwords. It is even hard to establish who lives on The World. While conventional liners carry thousands of people, this one is inhabited by only a few hundred at most. CNN called it ‘a floating city of millionaires’ and said that stepping onto it 'feels like boarding a 21st-century Titanic, such is its scale and grandeur.…...this gleaming 644 feet-long white vessel is the largest

A City Paleogeological Pub Crawl

In my series of posts on the rocks and stuff that make up the London Basin and the surrounding hills, I started by saying that I wasn’t interested in the rocks that were laid down before the Cotswold limestones, simply because you couldn’t see any.  That was a lie. You can in fact see them quite easily, just not in ‘the wild’. So now I am giving you an excuse for a short pub crawl in the City of London.  OK, I know this is a thin, thin excuse for a pub crawl and it won't attract your friends but there are worse ways to indulge geomasochism.  Many of London’s pubs were built in Victorian times and many were clad in stone that goes back a lot further in time than the sedimentary rocks that South East England is built on. Often, they are granites sourced from Scandinavia, Scotland or Cornwall.  Using stone for building became more economical once the railways offered a means of transporting it.  If you want a massive over-generalisation, the granite from Scottish is often brown

Greenham & The Kennet

  Link to GPX File of the Route This ride visits the Commons and woodlands that border the higher ground around the valleys of two tributaries of the Thames; the Pangbourne and Kennet Rivers. These Commons have been the staging ground of battles, riots and demonstrations for 400 years. Starting from Theale, it heads up to the Pang Valley which it follows on the south side before descending to meet the river at the pretty village of Bucklebury. It then heads south to Bucklebury Common. Descending again, you cross the River Kennet at Thatcham and head up towards Greenham Common, infamously used as a nuclear guest-house by US air base during the cold war. You then return to the Kennet via Newbury Racecourse, and follow its towpath for 12 miles back towards Theale. Highlights are: The sites of the 1980’s anti-nuclear protests at Greenham Common, now renewed and green again but not hiding the old bomb proof bunkers and control tower. Newbury Racecourse. A name