The London Perambulator – a possible sequel

London Perambulator

The Lockdown has caused me to excavate the rushes I shot in 2008 for my documentary about Nick Papadimitriou, The London Perambulator. It almost feels like an act of ‘Deep Topography’, diving into what Nick describes as ‘storage vats of regional memory’. Here the storage vats are hard-drives of footage shot on a series of walks through Nick’s territory around West and Northwest London – Finchley, Stonebridge Park, Perivale, Feltham, Wormwood Scrubs.

London Perambulator

walk from Stonebridge Park to Perivale

It’s been a strangely comforting and therapeutic experience. It could be the memories of a simpler time, before ‘the virus’. Also a period when I was very much learning how to make a documentary (a process that never ends). There’s the nostalgic aesthetic of Standard Definition video tape as opposed to Ultra High Definition (4K) video clips recorded on a SD card, the camera running as it roves across the landscape looking for a subject to settle on. There’s some good stuff in those out-takes that didn’t make the final cut that premiered in the East End Film Festival at The Whitechapel Gallery in April 2009.

London Perambulator

 

Even though I have more pressing concerns in these troubled times, I can’t help spooling through another clip when I sit down at my computer, finding gems I’d forgotten about, such as Nick talking about a planned prose sequence called ‘In Praise of Industrial Middlesex’. This was shot while we walked through a Wembley Industrial Estate, a place we’ve returned to at least twice since for subsequent projects.

London Perambulator

And there’s the murky December day we went to the former site of Ashford Remand Centre, now HMP Bronzefield named after the Bronze Age settlement that was discovered during the building of the state of the art prison. Small references that got lost in the construction of a broader narrative.

London Perambulator

I still don’t know what I’m going to make from these clips – I’m enjoying the process of rediscovery too much to impose a framework around it. The initial film was given form by three ‘expert’ interviews with Iain Sinclair, Will Self, and Russell Brand, talking about Nick and his practice. I’m tempted now to  just let the footage speaks for itself without explanation.

 

14 Comments

  1. Richard   •  

    Hi John. I for one would love to see the ‘outtakes’. In fact, I’d love it if I could purchase a DVD of the original film, perhaps with the outtakes as an extra – but maybe I’m the only person who buys DVDs any more! Also, I’m sure you will perhaps have considered this before, but uploading such material to Patreon would be another great way of allowing us psychogeography fans to get our fix – in this case by paying some sort of monthly amount. Richard

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks Richard – I did look into producing DVDs a few years back but the initial outlay was too great given the anticipated level of demand – I’d be lucky to break even. I’ve been thinking about launching a Patreon page and really appreciate you being willing to support.

      • Richard   •  

        That’s great, John. I look forward to any developments.

          • Richard   •  

            Blimey, that was quick! Great stuff. I am now a proud Radical Rambler 🙂

          • JohnR   •     Author

            That’s brilliant Richard – many thanks indeed. I’ll upload a clip from the edit – there are some real gems

  2. Kathleen Fleming   •  

    Patreon please! Coincidentally did the walk out to Heathrow with Will Self and Nick last night as the chapter of the day from Will’s Psycho Geography.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Ah that’s a great walk to do even if only on the page. Remind me to share the whole story of when I did the walk for Perambulator with Nick and Will and what followed afterwards. Many thanks for the suggestion of Patreon – no pressure but here’s the link and feel free to suggest alternative benefits if this doesn’t appeal https://www.patreon.com/JohnRogers?fan_landing=true

  3. Boyd Barlow   •  

    Patreon…great idea mate. I’m in. Boyd Barlow Radical Rambler

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Brilliant Boyd – many thanks, got some great stuff I’m looking forward to sharing

  4. Mari Ana Swart   •  

    Would love to see some of the footage that didn’t make it into London Perambulator. This film is what started me on my walking journey, quite literally. I first read about it (and Nick Papadimitriou) in Keri Smith’s book, The Wander Society. So I have just become a Fellow Traveler on Patreon (and when the rubbish Rand/Dollar exchange rate improves, I hope to upgrade …)

    • Boyd Barlow   •  

      Hey Mariana. Thanks for alerting me to The Wander Society. Looks like my cup of tea. Copy ordered.

      • Mari Ana Swart   •  

        Hi Boyd – I really enjoy all Keri Smith’s books, although I guess they are aimed more at young people, maybe even teenagers? (I am quite old though!)

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Greatly appreciate your support Mari Ana. It never ceases to surprise me how that film filtered out, had no idea about The Wander Society- will have to take a look.

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