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

    Friday, November 26, 2004
    W11 - itself and unreplaceable

    1. v. i. Wandering; vagrant; vagabond.
    2. v. i. Unsettled; unfixed; undetermined; indefinite; ambiguous; as, a vague idea; a vague proposition.
    3. v. i. Proceeding from no known authority; unauthenticated; uncertain; flying; as, a vague report.
    4. n. An indefinite expanse.
    5. v. i. To wander; to roam; to stray.
    6. n. A wandering; a vagary.

    I was introduced to the fanzines of Tom Vague via the dubious offices of
    AK, and his VAGUE #24, The West Eleven Days of My Life, is his stab at 'English Psychogeography', largely based around Portobello.

    The distributor's blurb describes it pretty well, "A superb history of the area, its underclass, genesis, race riots, carnival etc, and its magnet effect on all types of avant-garde types, from the Clash to King Mob. Also includes Happy Mondays, Stewart Home's latest, and Chelsea/Everton." All of this appeals to me, though of course it was the last bit that caught my eye. Vague's an Evertonian and as well as decribing Chelsea crowd trouble the mag also gives a fine description of a Beardsley-Blue winner in an early-nineties Everton-Liverpool derby, as seen from the front bar of The Warwick.

    Vague doesn't explain his Evertonianism, he's a west London guy originally from south-west England. But it's welcome enough. What's also welcome is his own brand of particularism, which has no trouble following-on descriptions of Christine Keeler's W11 life with these fine words from G.K. Chesterton:

    Notting Hill is a rise or high ground of the common earth on which men have built houses to live in, in which they are born, fall in love, pray, marry and die... These little gardens where we told our loves. These streets where we have brought out our dead. Why should they be commonplace? Why should they be absurd? There has never been anything in the world absolutely like Notting hill. There will never be anything quite like it to the crack of doom... And God loved it as he must surely love anything which is itself and unreplaceable.