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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, January 07, 2008
    Interested in noticing everything
     
    3.13am: sleepless due to muscular aches and thudding head-pains brought on by winter cold and new-year work anxieties, I switch on the two-bar fire and reach to the bookshelf (there are shelves of books in every room of this house), spend the next hour reacquainting myself with an old friend, a seminal tome, Iain Sinclair's Lights Out For the Territory. Invigorating writing, it reminds me of all that excites me, in mission, in text:
    Walking is the best way to explore and exploit the city; the changes, shifts, breaks in the cloud helmet, movement of light on water. Drifting purposefully is the recommended mode, tramping asphalted earth in alert reverie, allowing the fiction of an underlying pattern to reveal itself. To the no-bullshit materialist this sounds suspiciously like fin-de-siecle decadence, a poetic of entropy - but the born-again flaneur is a stubborn creature, less interested in texture and fabric, eavesdropping on philosophical conversation pieces, than in noticing everything. Allignments of telephone kiosks, maps made from moss on the slopes of Victorian sepulchres, collections of prostitutes' cards, torn and defaced, promotional bills for cancelled events at York Hall, visits to the homes of dead writers, bronze casts on war memorials, plaster dogs, beer mats, concentrations of used condoms, the crystalline patterns of glass shards surrounding an imploded BMW quarter-light window, meditations on the relationship between the brain damage suffered by the super-middleweight boxer Gerald McClellan (lights out in the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel) and the simultaneous collapse of Barings, bankers to the Queen. Walking, moving across a retreating townscape, stitches it all together: the illicit cocktail of bodily exhaustion and a raging carbon monoxide high.
    I am going to start a 'quotes page' on my walk website. This will be the first one in it.