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

    Thursday, July 15, 2004
    The white of the map
    The white of the map, that's what seduces us. ... The map-makers found nothing to colour between the Royal Albert Dock in North Woolwich and Ferry Road in Tilbury. The last of England. The empty Custom House, railway terminal, disembarkation sheds. Deserted platfroms and overgrown railway tracks.
    It's not that there's nothing of consequence in the white bits, geographers are too lazy to see it: rifle ranges, landfill mountains, wild nature enveloping concrete, oil-spill on the shoreline, rock pools in threadbare tyres.

    Just back from the Urban Theology Unit where many voices, many writers, many questors and innovators have filled my last two days with many good things to think about, re. the city and how we perceive it, ourselves, our faith within it.

    And one voice which persisted throughout was Iain Sinclair's. Quote, above, from Dining on Stones. I read the extract on the train there, and shared it with the group this morning; and on the train back, looking out of the window, I found myself being as attentive to the details of the passing industrial edge-lands as to the green hills of the Peak District ...