Today is the anniversary of the Kinder Mass Trespass, a hugely important event in the history of land access in the UK. O to be on Kinder, trudging the groughs with a hundredweight of peaty mud attached to my boots, now that springtime’s here!
I never liked doing things systematically. Not even my Ph.D. research was done systematically. It was done in a random, haphazard fashion. The more I got on, the more I felt that, really, one can find something only in that way—in the same way in which, say, a dog runs through a field. If you look at a dog following the advice of his nose, he traverses a patch of land in a completely unplottable manner. And he invariably finds what he is looking for. I think that, as I’ve always had dogs, I’ve learned from them how to do this. So you then have a small amount of material and you accumulate things, and it grows, and one thing takes you to another, and you make something out of these haphazardly assembled materials. And, as they have been assembled in this random fashion, you have to strain your imagination in order to create a connection between the two things. If you look for things that are like the things that you have looked for before, then, obviously, they’ll connect up. But they’ll only connect up in an obvious sort of way, which actually isn’t, in terms of writing something new, very productive. You have to take heterogeneous materials in order to get your mind to do something that it hasn’t done before.
From an interview with Joe Cuomo first published in the New Yorker and reprinted here.
5am London is a newly completed walking project from Gemma Seltzer in collaboration with photographer Mathew Hanratty. To create 5am London, Gemma and Mathew explored locations across London between 5-6am once a month. On each expedition, they took photographs and constructed a semi-fictional blog to tell the story of a woman who received a text message from an unknown number which prompts her to find out what the capital is like at that time. The final 12 posts, representing one year, can be found on www.5amlondon.com. Gemma’s website is here, and you should also check out Speak to Strangers, a fabulous previous project whose final publication I reviewed for Flash magazine.
***I’m afraid the film and walk event at the Wordsworth Trust this Saturday has had to be cancelled. I’m hoping to arrange a new event to showcase the film in the near future.***
Join me this Sunday 21 April at Dove Cottage for the premiere of the documentary film I’ve made with Alan Fentiman, followed by a reading and a walk. More details here. It would be lovely to see you.
Dogs have to be walked every day, whether it’s nice outside or not. Sometimes you feel grateful to have been forced out: being outdoors in the driving rain – or icy wind – is an experience worth having. But it does begin to pale after a while, and in the last few days I’ve been very glad to get out in the sunshine after a very long, cold winter in the UK. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week I was out filming with Alan Fentiman for our documentary on dog-walking and writing, and spent some time sitting in the sun, feeling pleasantly warm. It’s a miracle – though I did have on a scarf and cap (which I’ve taken to referring to, internally at least, as my Easter bunnet).
It’s another fine day today, so I’ll take the dogs on a good old tromp again, though probably without chucking a ball for them. Cap has a bad leg, and he doesn’t know not to run on it.