Friday, January 15, 2010

Walk Into January (Mythogeography 2010)

Photo: '20/FLOWERPOT LANE' (I added the 10)

'Phil Smith, a senior research associate in Theatre & Performance, is opening up his research work to other members of the university (academic, research, technical and professional).

Phil's background is in theatre-making, as a writer and dramaturg, specialising in recent years in performance inspired by walking. For his most present research he is carrying out a series of walks, experimenting with the use of ‘inner maps’ (simple mental disciplines with a spatial aspect) and monitoring their possible applications for exploratory walking, and what disruptive or reparative qualities they have for walkers.

While some of the walks will be solo, Phil is now inviting any interested member of the university staff to join him for one of his ‘Inner Map Walks’.'

And so as per the above Phil invited me to walk with him around St. Thomas in Exeter UK. There were a few false starts (as there often are with someone who suffers from CFS - Solvitur Ambulando?) but we finally met on Monday 11th Jan in the newly-minted year of 2010. It was cold. In fact when we first met, by the railway arches, we began by looking at the melted water running behind the ice - a sort of covered waterfall - on the brickwork.

Phil declared the theme of our unguided tour to be 'texture' and we used this as a point of focus 'case we rambled too far. We walked around many subjects - the inappropriate use of rarefied terms in science esp. geology and medicine; councils' neglect of the visual landscape; the poetry and politics of using local materials; the variety of front gardens; our various forms of previous employment and the cheapest shop for beer in Exeter. We talked around the behind streets of St Thomas in parallel to Cowick Street and found churches, surprising curved brickwork, a closed community and the variety of front gardens.

We concluded our journey in suitably surreal fashion with a cup of tea and some eats in Crafty Cakes, a hybrid café/cake decorating shop in Cowick Street which led, perhaps inevitably, to discussions of wedding ceremonies we had attended before branching out into talking about writing, music and performance.

I think Phil would find Rochester fascinating so we parted with another sideways walk as a possibility...


Counter-tourism at

Walk walk walk: an archaeology of the familiar and the forgotten

walkwalkwalk: Stories from the Exeter Archive

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul
    Very nice photograph, an urban veil!
    best wishes


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