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Psychogeography and Folk

glueman 22 Nov 10 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Wallace 22 Nov 10 - 07:13 PM
Jack Campin 22 Nov 10 - 08:17 PM
Janie 22 Nov 10 - 09:08 PM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 03:12 AM
Spleen Cringe 23 Nov 10 - 03:29 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 03:38 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 03:59 AM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 04:39 AM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 04:43 AM
Matthew Edwards 23 Nov 10 - 05:21 AM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 06:25 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 06:26 AM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 07:09 AM
Matthew Edwards 23 Nov 10 - 07:34 AM
Spleen Cringe 23 Nov 10 - 08:14 AM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 08:18 AM
Matthew Edwards 23 Nov 10 - 08:36 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 08:36 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Nov 10 - 08:49 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Nov 10 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 09:49 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Santa 23 Nov 10 - 11:25 AM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 11:43 AM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 12:19 PM
theleveller 23 Nov 10 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Nov 10 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Nov 10 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 12:41 PM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 01:19 PM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 01:45 PM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Nov 10 - 04:31 PM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 05:09 PM
glueman 23 Nov 10 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,cs 23 Nov 10 - 05:47 PM
Art Thieme 23 Nov 10 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Nov 10 - 05:03 AM
theleveller 24 Nov 10 - 05:39 AM
raymond greenoaken 24 Nov 10 - 11:05 AM
theleveller 24 Nov 10 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Nov 10 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Nov 10 - 11:41 AM
glueman 24 Nov 10 - 12:42 PM
raymond greenoaken 24 Nov 10 - 02:14 PM
glueman 24 Nov 10 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 24 Nov 10 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,glueman 10 Dec 10 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,glueman 10 Dec 10 - 10:53 AM
Art Thieme 10 Dec 10 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,glueman 10 Dec 10 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,parkeru 11 Dec 10 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,glueman 11 Dec 10 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,glueman 13 Dec 10 - 02:35 AM
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Subject: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 22 Nov 10 - 06:58 PM

Is there a connection? Beating the bounds, Whitsun walks, crypto topography, place memory - folk central surely?


a psychogeographer's lair


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Wallace
Date: 22 Nov 10 - 07:13 PM

Not sure if we are on the same wavelength here, but if you are speaking of psychedelicfolkrock music, then you must be informed that the much-used "genre" acid-folk is a great misnomer.

In the 70s UK there were actually almost nil lps that could be honestly called psychfolk throughout and only a handful of lps which contained a true psychfolk track or two.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Nov 10 - 08:17 PM

The only people I know locally who've actually organized a dérive were into ordinary Scottish trad with no great pretensions to psychedelicity. Rootedness is more relevant.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Janie
Date: 22 Nov 10 - 09:08 PM

Catchy misnomer, is psychogeography.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 03:12 AM

It all about 'sense of place' or genius loci which I started a thread about a while ago. For me, it's an important aspect of folk music and informs much of what I write.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 03:29 AM

Heuristic England


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 03:37 AM

In so far as psychogeography can be said to be an appreciation of the hidden corners of our landscape, the liminal bits, topographical atmospheres and as theleveller suggests, an acute sense of place, PG fits the folk agenda.


ian sinclair's thing


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 03:38 AM

Janie: "Catchy misnomer, is psychogeography."

Perhaps so. As prefixes modify the rest of the word I was wondering if geopsychology (or 'geography affecting mind') rather than the reverse, might be more appropriate.

anyway that's an aside, I thought our man and his 'deep library' were great!


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 03:59 AM

Speaking personally, as someone born 30ft from an ingot forge (the workers asked whether it was a boy or a girl through the open bedroom window when the screaming stopped), a crawl away from an ancient wet marsh, an elastic factory and a sandstone wall cut away by hunter gatherers and Romans, it's difficult not to fall under the spell of hidden landscape.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 04:39 AM

It's what many of Peter Ackroyd's books are about - both fiction and non-fiction. 'Hawksmoor' is particularly atmospheric.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 04:43 AM

This my previous thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=132636#3002319


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 05:21 AM

Ian Sinclair pretty much invented the practice of psychogeography; one of his books 'The Edge of the Orison' traces the route walked by the poet John Clare in 1841 when he fled his asylum in Epping to seek out a former lover back home in Northampton who had died three years earlier. John Clare probably has the best claim to be England's folk poet; there is a very good book by George Deacon on 'John Clare and the Folk Tradition'.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 06:25 AM

"Ian Sinclair pretty much invented the practice of psychogeography"

I think he was followi8ng in the footsteps of the neo-romantics, Peter Ackroyd, John Michell and, although it wasn't, of course, called that, the works of John Cowper Powys.

"John Clare probably has the best claim to be England's folk poet"

I wouldn't dispute that but also in the running are William Blake and, less well-know, Robert Bloomfield.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 06:26 AM

There seem to be a few traditions going on, the literary psychogeograpy of Sinclair, Ackroyd, Machen, Powys and others, the artistic movement of the French situationists, the folk repetitions of beating the bounds et al, modern folk traditions of Boxing day family walks and similar, alt. folk grunge re-enchanting the landscape and vernacular video makers drawing new lines from personal memory for internet dispersal.

The land, perhaps, finding new ways to tell its tale.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 07:09 AM

You can't dismiss the art of Palmer, Turner, Spencer, Sutherland and Nash or the music of Elgar, Bax and Vaughn Williams - or, indeed, the films of Dereck Jarman. It's certainly a continuous tradition.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 07:34 AM

@theleveller

Good to find another John Cowper Powys lover! I have just now got round to reading your previous thread Folk music - a sense of place? where you mention your "old friend [the late] Roger Deakin". If you haven't already done so please write some more about this fascinating man, who I would regard as 'an old friend' too simply through his books, although I never met him in person.

Another artist who strongly evokes a "sense of place" is the wood engraver Thomas Bewick; I've recently seen a splendid exhibition of his small "tale-pieces" at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal which I'd strongly recommend everyone to go and see. You do need magnifying glasses to see some of the finer details; thoughtfully the Gallery provides some for visitors to use!

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:14 AM

Help me out here - never quite sure what makes something specifically "psychogeography" rather than more generally books about places and the the people in them. For example, would George Ewart Evans' wonderful books about Blaxhall ("The Pattern Beneath the Plough", "Ask the Fellows who Mow the Hay" etc) be counted as psychogeographical precursors or folklore/anthropology? And what about Keith Warrander's two books exploring underground Manchester - mixing architectural, engineering and social history and a throwing a few other bits and pieces into the pot?

Is it partly about the way a writer like Iain Sinclair writes himself into the story rather than being a self-effacing observer?


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:18 AM

"Good to find another John Cowper Powys lover! I have just now got round to reading your previous thread Folk music - a sense of place? where you mention your "old friend [the late] Roger Deakin". If you haven't already done so please write some more about this fascinating man"

Well, with apologies to Glueman for going off-thread, here goes:

Yes, I've been a fan of JCP (and his two brothers) since the late 60s and have most of his books including quite a few first editions. I think I've read A Glastonbury Romance more times than any other book. Have you come across the Powys Society:

Powys Society


Glad you like Roger's books. We first met, and immediately became friends, in the early 1970s when we worked together as copywriters in London advertising agencies, during which time he bought Walnut Tree Farm. He would go off to Suffolk at weekends in his old Morgan sports car and return on Monday morning covered in dirt and cobwebs. He had wild curly hair and always dressed in second-hand clothes including an old dustman's leather jerkin. Whilst working in an agency in St. Martin's Lane (he was then Creative Director), he would bring ducks and baby chicks to keep in his office and even wanted to keep a pig in the garages at the back and feed it on the waste produce from Covent Garden market ? the MD finally put his foot down on this one.

When he was up in Suffolk working on the house, he'd sleep under a sheet of polythene and shoot wood pigeons for breakfast. He managed to destroy his beloved Morgan when it literally broke in half whilst he was carrying bricks in it.

He was incredibly knowledgeable about English literature, having an Honours Degree from Kings College, Cambridge, where his tutor was Kingsley Amis, so we had lots of discussions about this and, I think, it was I who first introduced him to JCP.

Anyway, we lost touch for quite a few years, but after the publication of Waterlog, started to write to each other. Roger was a wonderful, warm and fascinating person ? a true and totally unselfconscious eccentric. Too many stories to relate here but I still miss him.

A couple of months after he died I wrote a song as an epitaph to him. When we perform it my wife has to sing it as I can't get through it without blubbing.

The Swimmer

It was one of those moments when you feel the earth turning.
A three-quarter moon in a clear autumn sky
Brought into my heart a curious yearning
For things that have passed and have yet to pass by;
For friends who have gone and those still remaining;
While the river of life still winds through the land,
Whose secrets, revealed by the long years' waning,
Can slip through our fingers or be grasped in our hands.

There's a feeling that time is not of the essence;
Not a fear of the future or delight in the past,
Just the space that is filled by a friend when his presence,
Is replaced by the pleasure of what he has left.
Now the spirits of the earth rise to embrace the giver
Like the low-lying mist of a soft autumn dawn
And the swimmer goes down once again to the river,
Where, as sun glints on water, the dream is reborn.

Matthew, can I recommend that you read Robert McFarlane's wonderful book, The Wild Places ? he was a good friend of Roger's and tells movingly about his life in Suffolk and his last few months. It's also an excellent read in its own right.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:36 AM

I'll have to make an effort to stop this becoming a private conversation! but thanks to the leveller for the stories about Roger Deakin, and for the lovely song which I very much hope to hear one day.

It was 'The Wild Places' which led me to Roger's books when a friend gave me the book as a present about two years ago.

Thanks for the link to the Powys Society.

To answer Mr Spleen's question, yes "psychogeography" is probably just a neologism for an artistic approach to the outside world for which you can find many precursors from Piers Plowman onwards!

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:36 AM

No need to apologise Leveller. I first came across JCP in 1978 when a fellow student lent me a paperback copy. My work at the time was very influenced by Blake and Palmer which didn't fit well into the brave new art culture of the period, but did provide access to a kind of secret society, an underground British romantic culture which had feelers in the most unlikely places.

I also have some of Roger Deakins books and a Bewick first edition, in fact groaning shelves of folklore and romatic books and prints. Another writer I came across in the 70s and return to is Denton Welch.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:47 AM

Two short films on the tradition of Weighing the Mayor:

One

Two

There should be a national resource for this stuff.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:49 AM

Has it got something to do with why (say) the distinctive agricultural terraces of Glastonbury Tor are these days more likely to be seen as the vestiges of a pre-historic ritual labyrinth? Or the ingenious cunning of very human Crop Circle makers as the work of ET? Like that strand of Folklore that sees a Prehistoric Fertility Rite in a Morris Dance or something similarly menacing & invariably pagan at work in the Allendale Tar Barrels or the Minehead Hobby Horse. I've often wondered if in 4,000 years hence our descendents will be wandering the remnants of Spaghetti Junction with the same dewey eyed reverence in which we wander the henges of Avebury.

Kipling speaks of similar things of course - in Puck's Song, The Land and The Run of the Downs he speaks of continuities with respect of the landscapes but always in human terms. Old Hobden doesn't own the land so much as he is the land, part and parcel of a tradition that only exists with respect of the Folkloric Urge thus engering a romantic aesthetic which I assume accounts for the title of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 09:04 AM

Talk of Old Hobden has reminded me of Alan Garner's grown up, The Stone Book quartet, where man and landscape are inseparable. Also of Diggory Venn in Hardy's Return of the Native.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 09:44 AM

After trudging mile upon mile upon, day upon day, along an ancient trackway through golden wheatfields beneath a blazing midsummer sun - on encountering these sentiments expressed in stone, I found myself much in accordance:

Peddars Way


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 09:47 AM

Man and landscape are inseperable by default; as Blake said Where man is not, nature is barren. The funtionality of landsape usage determines its aesthetic; how I pine for the pit heaps and collieries of my childhood Northumberland, much less the coal-fired power stations that are all long gone. In their stead a lingering blandness of a land unused as it is uncherished; a landscape blighted by pointless windfarms waving in a new epoch of nuclear power. Now the aesthetic is determined by anti-function; the picturesue a mere aside to a wider condition of abuse that has lain the very earth fallow...


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 09:49 AM

I think the text on that sculpture is slightly obscured. It's also worth noting that the Peddars Way ends on the North Norfolk Coast:

AND * I
BEING * HERE
HAVE * BEEN
PART * OF
ALL * THIS
CAUGHT * &
THROWN
LIKE * SUN
ON * WATER
HAVE
ENTERED
INTO * ALL
AROUND
ME


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:05 AM

SA, there is nothing so terrible to behold as a grassed over slagheap, like a bad facelift on a once handsome woman. I also yearn for the clatter of mineral wagons at the end of the street and the bark of the gas forge being lit at 6 o'clock on a dark and foggy November morning. A retail park now covers the railway and new townhouses replaces the forge.

CS, I take exception to municipal art as punctuation in a formerly industrial landscape, but that's a nice bit of stonework in a lovely spot. I was in Blakeney a fortnight ago and shall return soon.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:20 AM

"but that's a nice bit of stonework in a lovely spot."

I think what is pkeasing about those pieces when you encounter them while walking (there is a series of them along the length of the track which crosses the entirety of Norfolk from South to North) is that they are terribly discreet, and can be easy to miss in the undergrowth.

The artist who made them talks in particular of the sense of place (as one might gather) and the potency - in the present - of the symbiosis of human history (Peddars Way was trade route active in Roman times) and landscape. At least that's approximately what I recall from memory.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:25 AM

Ah, the delights of outside netties in winter, smuts on the freshly-washed clothes, and solid black beaches. Smog in the air and the coughing of the sufferers from dust. The pale interesting romance of the sanatorium, tortoise-shell rimmed round specs and the delights of the back-street dentist.

Yearn? No, I don't think that's quite the right word.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:43 AM

Well I yearn for them because it would mean I'd be half a century younger.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:44 AM

On the Wolds Way, high up in the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds, at the top of a particularly steep climb up the side of a dry valley and looking over a wonderful landscape, is a seat which bears this inscription:

Eileen's Seat

What a wonderful name for a rambler!


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 12:19 PM

I love those dedicated benches too! Along an early stretch of the North Norfolk Coastal Path which has been tagged onto the Peddars Way, we sat on a seat like that. A woman just returning home spoke to us briefly and asked if we'd enjoyed our journey etc. then told us she'd dedicated the bench we were sitting on to her late Mother who loved to sit and look at the views of the sea there. It was situated right next to her back gate at the end of her garden, so I expect she had lots of similar conversations with the various walkers passing through.

Another one of my favourite things to discover are those wee Doggy Graves/Memorials you sometimes find out in the woods or near footpaths, along a favourite walk. I found one recently that was just a bit of wood with the doggies name crudely etched upon it. I like to think that their canine spirits still run along the same favoured routes.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 12:26 PM

"much less the coal-fired power stations that are all long gone"

You should come and live where I do and worship at the shrine of those three symbols to the triple goddess of post-industrial power, carefully aligned to the rising sun: Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 12:36 PM

I take exception to municipal art

Me too; too invasive, prescriptive and it costs a bloody fortune. One of the reasons I moved over to the NW was to get away from the Angel of the North which now has Folk Songs written about it! Landscape is greater than art, no need of anything else getting in the way' Last place we lived you'd find rusting remnants of old drift mines in the hedgerows; here it's old hulks rotting away on the mudflats. These things are real renough; greater than art anyway, though I did enjoy the Liverpool Penguins last winter.   

I was in Blakeney a fortnight ago and shall return soon.

Cley-next-the-Sea isn't too far from there; my heart & soul so it is with one of the finest churches in the country:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVB9zrG9Xgs

Blakeney's nice too; last time I was there we heard the school folk group sounding very wyrd in a rendering of Sumer Is Icumen In.

Yearn? No, I don't think that's quite the right word.

The yearning is a deeper spiritual craving for that which we've sarificed for the sake of convenience; quite literally in the case of outside toilets - we still have one fully functional, but unused - part of our Historic Backyard outbuildings inluding wash-house. We are grown soft in our remoteness from the land and the elements, hence our proclivities for Folk Romance. Just had Sailor Ron on the blower talking about sea-shanties - great for a cosy singaround, not so good for hauling sheets in a force 9 gale.

the delights of the back-street dentist.

The way things are going it's only a matter of time!


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 12:40 PM

Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax.

Love 'em! Ferrybridge especially - the old A1 used to go right by there. I almost called my son Drax...


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 12:41 PM

"we still have one fully functional, but unused - part of our Historic Backyard outbuildings inluding wash-house."

Tsk - not in my house! I'm afraid you'd be sent out there along with all the other guests, however cold the Winter. But then I use it too, so I think if it's good enough for me..
I wouldn't however demand that you wash your hands in the green slime encrusted butler sink with it's gushing iced-water tap. I don't even dare risk that myself.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 01:19 PM

A few Christmas's ago my wife's family came for the holiday with kids, 10 people and a dog to our cottage for a week - and it snowed! As we only have one lavvy I discretely installed the camping portaloo in the shed for my own use. I'd forgotten what an outdoor sit-down in winter was like.

A sky full of stars, a torch for company and ten minutes peace from the festivities. Marvellous. It was like 1965 but without the Secret Sam case.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 01:45 PM

A great romantic documentary realist, John Grierson. Ships, trains, smoke. Great stuff and Hitchcock doing the talking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RALcnyZN5GE


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 04:18 PM

Dunno if this has been posted before but it's well worth a look. Features Shirley Collins:

mash up


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 04:31 PM

Hmmm - so the conscensus is that shitting outside in the freezing dark of a winter night is good for the soul. So tomorrow I'm going to spruce up the outside lavvy and seek enlightenment therein. Never had a Secret Sam, nor yet a Johnny Seven; in our house the economy option was the Topper Multi Pistol, but never in the lav.

*
   
Well I remember that old Grierson quote on the cover of In Praise of Learning - Art is not a mirror, it is a hammer. Odd how Cow / Bears haven't travelled with me into adulthood though - too much Zappa plagiarising without the humour, obscenity and humanity I guess. Hell, even Magma knew how to have a laugh - at least Klaus Blasquiz did, but the polemical pretensions of Henry Cow make even the worst excesses of Yes look intelligible.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 04:52 PM

Then again my Secret Sam didn't come with your multi-pistol's enema kit. Take out Boris with your 44 and retire for a bum shandy. Colonic irrigation and a grenade launcher. Topper indeed!

I'm a sucker for a multi-media installation and worth the entrance fee to look at Alan Moore's jacket. Nice ring spanners too. Embrace whimsy, she is your friend.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 05:09 PM

"so the conscensus is that shitting outside in the freezing dark of a winter night is good for the soul. So tomorrow I'm going to spruce up the outside lavvy and seek enlightenment therein."

Well, you could always use it to house various psychologically disturbing tomes of Freud and confront or indeed conjour your err, well whatever it is that is supposed to lurk in dark smelly places. Even Enlightenment perhaps? Stock it up with Freud, Poe, Lovecraft, Genet and Bataille and read by candlelight late at night. At least you'll never be caught short anyway - old paperbacks are very absorbent.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 05:28 PM

Or indeed M R James, though reading Oh Whistle and I'll Come To You My Lad out loud in a public convenience could get one into all kinds of bother.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 05:47 PM

"on the blower talking about sea-shanties - great for a cosy singaround, not so good for hauling sheets in a force 9 gale."

Tsk again Sweeney, my old Da (60 this year) lives on an old musty outside-bog of a boat.. Entirely his choice too, though I think he's getting a tad rickety for such outdoorsy 'chop wood, carry water' larks. I guess I'm a softy for living under a roof as I do, but I have served my time in various un-tiled fashions and would happily yet do so again - if it were not such a pain in the arse what with every inch of land being owned by some Lordy or other.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 06:32 PM

On a certain level, it seems to be why pop music is mostly 95% about love and offshoots/aspects thereof. Love, sex, and allied industries, being a main aspect of human life experiences on this planet, the Music Business concentrates on this LOVE topic for almost all of the product they create and sell to everyone world wide.

Traditional ballads and folk songs truly do reflect the manyaspects of topical life---geography, historical drama, narrative depth, etc.---not only love. Being a smallish niche at best, you can only SELL these songs to people who know what you are talking about. Geographically speaking, the western USA relates to, and sings about, cowboy lore. The ballads of lumbering areas in the 1800s tend to be reflective of the reality of lumberjack life. Near the shore of an ocean, the songs are of fishing/whaling adventures.

So, the collectors did seek out smaller folkloristic geo-pockets to find songs that were illustrative of specific song types;----i.e. the ARCHIVE OF FOLK SONG at the Library of Congress. That venerable old depository, over the years, has meant a whole lot to me and to others from the Folk Revival tears here. But the more things change, the more they get different; Alas, the Archive of Folk Song no longer exists. It has been replaced by The Archive of Folk Culture---an all inclusive magnet for the music, yes,---and also other ephemera-flotsam and jetsam that might more appropriately be housed at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History where Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snurd now are entombed.

But I digress. Sorry---but there it is,,.

Is this what you mean by Psychogeography and Folk?

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 05:03 AM

Hmmmm. The way things are going here I think Psychogeography and Folk has more to do with the sort of song you're likely to sing whilst taking a dump in a draughty outside toilet on a cold winter night without a Secret Sam or Multi Pistol to play with whilst doing so. It's too dark to read Private Eye or the Marisota Catalogue (or Freud or Monty James - as if) so you seek out those songs with most empathic resonance to your circumstance - maybe a suitable Bothy Ballad perhaps (Scranky Black Farmer is a good one, but watch your pronunciation of Garioch) or a rousing Sea Chantey (I find Paddy Doyle is especially good for a nice stiff one).

Question is - accompanied or unaccompanied? And upon what instrument? Myself, I'd be inclined to hang an old fiddle out there, though the Shruti Box seems to be the in-thing these days with singers of a certain winsome ilk. Just the thing for Toilet Ballads I would have thought - in which case Childe Owlett would be ideal. I nabbed this off CS back in the spring and have found its visceral yet soapy narrative ideal for evacuations both great and small. One thing can be sure, in the dismemberment of the boy Roland, there'd be more than blood and skin dripping from the kows o' Darling Muir.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 05:39 AM

"Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax.

Love 'em! Ferrybridge especially - the old A1 used to go right by there. "

This landscape that is now a "place of power" in terms of electricity generation, was once a "place of power" in a different way. It used to be a powerful stronghold of the Knights Templar. Faxfleet, just up the Humber, was a major Templar port ? in its day far bigger than Hull. It's now just a tiny sleepy hamlet. Temple Hirst, close to Eggborough, was a large Templar preceptory, with what little is left now incorporated into an old people's home. There's a Templar church just across the road from Eggborough at Kellington and another at nearby Birkin.

Wonder if it will be a "place of power" in a different way in another 800 years? What goes around.....


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 11:05 AM

I am in awe of the iron-willed and wolf-pelted outdoorsmen who have been contributing to this thread. The very notion of visiting the backyard netty after dark was unthinkable in my youth. We had a designated receptacle under the bed for such business. I didn't realise until now how civilised we were...


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 11:37 AM

"We had a designated receptacle under the bed for such business."

Ah, you mean a gazzunda.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 11:40 AM

The Templars invented the indoor toilet, an act which counted as but one of their innumerable heresies in the eye of the old Holy Roman who, in their ignorance of water closets in general, saw the whole thing as a devilish anti-communion of defectation into what was, in their eyes, the Unholy Grail. There are Templar toilets surviving at both Garway and Rosslyn, though neither are presently open to the public who have to use the modern facilities at Rosslyn, or go behind the hedge at Garway. The curious can get a flavour of these at the Rylands Libary in Manchester, the original toilets of which are still in use and fashioned after the then-extant Templar Toilets which were lost during the building of Drax Power Station. In all cases - Garway, Rossyln & the Rylands Library - the toilet entrances are guarded by Green Men of most hideous visage. Also, in the light of Mr Greenoaken's post above, El Guzunda was a Demon of capacious maw otherwise known as The Filth-Swallower.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 11:41 AM

Cross Post!


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 12:42 PM

The indoor water closet is a child of decadence. Hemorrhoids were virtually unknown until their advent, now some (ok, mine) resemble a suburban library. In fact I once had acquaintance with a girl whose father was a classics teacher who quite literally installed shelving in the bog to support his books.

A swift, Pliny-free visit into the psychogeographic realm of the back yard is sufficient for all but the most stubborn movement.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 02:14 PM

"We had a designated receptacle under the bed for such business."

Ah, you mean a gazzunda.

....

Indeed I do not. We called it a piss pot, pal. Other cultures may have had their own appelations, but we preferred our own picturesque demotic.

Incidentally, as I recall, our receptacle bore an azure crest of hippogriffs rampant surmounted by the legend: Ye Ancient Order of St George Gongfermour ? a Tyneside branch of the Knights Templar famed for their pious devotion to the principles of domestic hygeine. This is why natives of Tyneside are known to this day as Geordies.

You can read more about this in Col. Killingworth-Jones' unpublished Popular Antiquities Of Northumbria, vol. 2, available for viewing at The Literary And Philosophical Society Of Newcastle Upon Tyne. (Speak the secret password "Pontifex" at the reception desk.)

I probably shouldn't be telling you this...


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: glueman
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 02:20 PM

It was always a 'jerry' in our house. Perhaps from the German helmet?


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 02:30 PM

In my Nans house there was only an outdoors loo, but there was a commode for great Nanna that used to fascinate me when small (ooh a furry chair with a secret toilet inside! probably no less brilliant in my mind than a car that was secretly a robot would have been) and I was even allowed to use the magical object when very small, but lost the right to do so once I'd grown out of being very little. I seem to recall feeling deprived of an interesting privilege. - cs


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 10:49 AM

The Cutting of the Holly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZSoRyffhpE

My records don't show who's performing. I'm happy to credit them if they tell me.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 10:53 AM

bloomin' links holly


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 03:17 PM

I thought this was a serious music thread i.e. my post above. Well, whatever.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 05:42 PM

The thread went off stream for a while but the question was meant as a valid folk issue. Is there a sense of place beyond sentimentality and does it emerge in music and other art forms. Does the psychogeography of a valley for example, inform the artistic products of its inhabitants.

Perhaps the thread should have died and begun afresh in the future.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,parkeru
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:11 PM

I live near a mountain that has a town on top of it, and a town at the bottom of it. The sun rises first on top of the mountain, and the people there are sunnier, happier, and more helpful to each other. The people in the valley, where the sun shines less, are more suspicious of each other, and it's harder to make friends there. I know this because I had a job in each of those towns.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:20 PM

That's interesting Parkeru. I live in a valley, though not at the bottom and when I told a work colleague where I was moving he said 'beware of valley-itis". I had to get him to explain and he said it's the condition of irritability and depression brought on by lack of daylight.

I was discussing this recently with a chap who was brought up in Todmorden, a steep sided mill town valley and he said there was one particular area of it that was deprived of light by the hillsides and tall mills to the extent that the sun never showed in the sky in winter and the children had a reputation for being withdrawn. I don't know how much was a local joke based on the topography and what was fact.


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Subject: RE: Psychogeography and Folk
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 02:35 AM

An excellent programme, 'Ventures and Adventures in Topography' has some interesting anecdotes about old ballad singers being moved out of pubs in the early C20th.

The Fringe of London


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