Urban Druid


I recorded this video on a walk in Epping Forest last November – ruminating of the idea of urban druidry. I’d just bought Living Druidry by Emma Restall Orr – I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a Druidry correspondence course for years, initially tickled that such a thing was even possible but then increasingly drawn into the idea of connecting with some form of environment based faith system (you can put that down to impending middle age if you like). But every time I dip my toe in the pagan pond it always turns up ethereal folk swanning around in Wiltshire or somewhere similarly scenic and Arthurian.

Ambresbury Banks

Ambresbury Banks

Well for me there is nothing more Arthurian than Epping Forest – one of the candidates for the real King Arthur was knocking around these parts, Ambrosius Aurelianus, who re-fortified Ambresbury Banks up near Theydon Bois. But getting away from supposed previous Golden Ages why can’t druidry be just as relevant to a dirty old city like London as to the chalk downlands and sweeping green hills.

In my mind though, when I entertain the idea the Urban Druid it looks as if it would be to druidry what Tony Hancock’s artist was to the art world in The Rebel.



Eastern (London) mysteries


Strange goings on out east of Leytonstone – in that mysterious hinterland around Epping Forest before you emerge into the bosom of Essex proper. Two bulletins from this eldritch zone appeared in my reading today.

First this:

“Maybe it’s time I cleared up some misconceptions and actually allowed some genuine facts about what I’ve done come to light,” Stefan Jaworzyn announces, from deep within his inner sanctum in Chingford, on the outskirts of East London”Wire magazine, Feb 2014

The ‘noise guitarist, improviser and extreme film connoisseur’ had apparently been holed up in Chingford for 17 years in ‘self-imposed solitude’. After ending a recent forest yomp myself in Chingford one Sunday evening it appears to be the perfect place to look inwardly – or even to further an appreciation of ‘video nasties’ and ‘transgressive art’  as Jaworzyn has done from what I can glean from the first two pages of Edwin Pouncey’s enlightening article.

Possibly more alarming though is this vision of the future prophesized in last week’s edition of 2000AD. These panels in Strontium Dog lept out at me.


artwork – Carlos Ezquerra, script – John Wagner. 2000AD prog 1865

The future neo-Nazi Brotherhood planning a slaughter of mutants “south of Ongar”. Luckily Johnny Alpha successfully rumbles this genocidal scheme and hopefully in this week’s comic we’ll see the mutant army kick some future neo-Nazi butt in a battle Royale at Ongar.

Ongar was for a long while the eastern terminus of the Central Line till its station closed in 1994. According to wikipedia the Navy codenamed a top secret torpedo ‘Project Ongar’ as they thought it would be ‘the end of the line for torpedo development’. Let’s hope that at the end of the 22nd Century, Ongar is the end of the line for the nazi Brotherhood.

Walk to Chingford

Lying on my back in the garden in the shade of the Sumac tree I kept seeing a view in my head. It wasn’t of Tuscan hills or the Chilterns but the view from the end of The Drive in Walthamstow that looks down along the Lea Valley. So at 7.30pm I set off.

I might not have made it as far as Chingford Road if I’d had the £20 in my pocket to take a boat out on the Hollow Ponds, full of families splashing about.

The original George Monoux School dates from 1527. I bought a pamphlet about it in the Vestry House a while back but haven’t read it yet so that’s all the info I can pass on for now.


Immense views stretch out from the footbridge over the North Circular near the Crooked Billet Roundabout. The Holiday Inn Express in a weed-strewn lay-by had the forlorn look of a mid-west motel on the Lost Highway.

Where will they film the obligatory scene at the greyhound stadium that every mockney Gangster movie is required to have once they’ve converted ‘the Stow’ to housing? Lucky Blur stuck it on their Parklife album cover.

There’s a battle raging over the future of the track. ‘Save our Stow’ claim it as ‘the most historical greyhound track in the world’. I passed Catford Dogs on one of my walks for This Other London – also awaiting the same fate. London just has 3 of its original 33 dog tracks left.

I landed up at Chingford Mount as the sun was taking a dip in the Banbury Reservoir and jumped a 158 back to Leyton.

– the map above moves around if you click on the ‘play’ icon