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

    Sunday, February 27, 2005
    The Idea of North
    Browsing Reaktion Books website today, for a title which might offer further insights into the sorts of stuff I've been into the last few days. Yorkshire culture, Lancashire identity - ideas about Northern lands which are pregnant with possibilities. And Peter Davidson has written a book called The Idea of North:

    As with the compass needle, so people have always been most powerfully attracted northwards; everyone carries within them their own concept of north. The Idea of North is a study, ranging widely in time and place, of some of the ways in which these ideas have found expression.

    Sounds fascinating. And it likely will be, for Reaktion Books tend to be. The other title of theirs catching my eye tonight is John Scanlan's On Garbage,

    ... the first work to examine the detritus of our culture in its full range; garbage in this sense is not only material waste and ruin, environmental degradation and so on, but also residual or 'broken' knowledge, useless concepts, the remainders of systems of intellectual and cultural thought. In this unique and original work (a kind of intellectual scavenging in its own right) the author shows why garbage is, perversely, the source of all that is valuable.
    ... By detailing the waste, ruin and nonsense that we have discarded, the author argues that we can learn new things about the accepted truths and basic building blocks of our culture; he throws new light on our modern condition by examining not what we have kept, but what we have thrown away.

    Love it. Love it. But will I ever have time to read it?