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

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009
    Iain Sinclair at Greenbelt

    It was good to welcome Iain and Anna Sinclair to Greenbelt. He seemed to enjoy himself onstage with me and then later in his own show in which the orbital traveller took the audience in an indoor ampitheatre at Cheltenham Racecourse on a few brief circuits of his epic M25 journey and held a line with the poet John Clare and the journey he made from the lunatic asylum, Fairmead House, High Beach, Epping Forest, to Clare's home in Helpston, near Peterborough.

    I've spent all of today so far transcribing my conversation with Iain (available as a cd or download here). I've got as far as the questions at the end and thanks Liam, The Manchester Zedder, for yours. And venue host Ian. I didn't get the name of the other contributor so if you're him, or know him, then for the record, please let me know.

    One highlight from a good hour last Sunday afternoon: Iain Sinclair on walking the everyday...
    John D:
    A phrase which you use [in London Orbital] to describe, I think when you are reflecting on the motorway experience, perhaps the experience of drivers, but I wonder if it's also a phrase which also be applied to walking, where you said, 'Through repetition, boredom becomes transcendence'. And Greenbelt folks know that in the last few years I've been talking about exploring the idea of the everyday and trying to break through the boredom and look for the transcendence within everyday life, and it just occurred to me to ask you the question about whether the act of walking just in our everyday environment - for you, where you live in Hackney perhaps - can help in some way or other to promote what the Situationists proposed as a revolution in everyday life: a different way of thinking about our environment and relating to it?

    Iain S:
    Yes, I think absolutely, on a very simplistic practical level, the thing I do every single morning is exactly the same walk through a cross-section of Hackney, the path passes through London Fields which has changed dramatically lately, it's become a sort of Portobello Road area, very upmarket, through areas behind Mare Street which are still impoverished, and burnt-out warehouses or travelling families who are living on petrol stations, into Victoria Park and back along a canal. This is like a forty-minute walk. But simply by doing exactly the same walk every day my radar bumping off things confirms my own identity, and if something's changed then I change with it. And also your whole body, all the molecules, are shaken up a little and doing that same walk every single day, quite briskly, really does clear my head, allows the night's dreams and things to settle, prepares you for the writing of the day, and so in a sense I do regard it as a kind of walking meditation, as a kind of reconnection with London in every sense. Practically it might be thought to be be boring because you're seeing the same thing every day but actually it is the everyday becoming transcendent in a very simple way.
    Iain Sinclair at Greenbelt pic by Elaine Duigenan from the Greenbelt Festival Official Pictures' Flickr photostream