Caught by the River / Video Strolls Film of the Month

caught by the river

It’s great to see my film about an expedition to Twyford Abbey with Nick Papadimitriou and Peter Knapp has been selected by Video Strolls for their Film of the Month slot on Caught by the River. I originally made the film for the Video Strolls programme in the Flatpack Film Festival in 2015.

Introducing the film, Liberty Rowley wrote:

“Starting out, rather unpromisingly, by the A406 in the rain, to find a monastery written about in a book published in 1927, John Rogers follows Nick Papadimitriou – who, as usual, seems more concerned about the route of the mains water pipe – until, quite suddenly, we follow them through a hole in a fence and we are in the dairy of the monastery.”

Read the rest of the introduction and watch the film here on Caught by the River.

twyford abbey

The film was in many ways intended as a return to a walk Nick, Pete and I did together in the summer of 2005, picking up where that journey ended near Stonebridge Park 10 years later. And with our detour to explore the remains of Twyford Abbey, the original expedition following the North West Middlesex Main Drainage scheme remains incomplete. I wonder if one day we’ll finish it, or will it always be the gateway to other adventures.

Big thanks to Video Strolls and Caught by the River for featuring the film.

Interview about psychogeography and London Overground on Celluloid Wicker Man

celluloid wicker man

A couple of weeks ago I met up with film-maker Adam Scovell in the Olympic Park and we had a great chat about my London Overground film with Iain Sinclair, psychogeography vs deep topography, the development of London etc.

A: So where does London Overground fit into this then?
J: Part of Iain’s genius is, in the book (and I hope it comes across in the film), dealing with a really unwieldy idea and set of issues to get your head around by addressing it with such a universal idea.  I’ve been documenting various campaigns around London over the last few years, starting off with the E15 and even before.  And where you look at it on a case-by-case basis, there are economic patterns that underpin this and ways which different local authorities deal with this.  But, if you try and find a universal narrative, something that links it all together, it can be quite difficult.  Also, from a campaigning pointing of view, you deal with specifics.  So London Overground takes the simple device of walking in a day around the Overground, looking at that circuit, which is newly completed (before you had fragments) so we have a new circuit from disused track that ran from Dalston Junction to Whitechapel and other bits to complete a circuit that didn’t exist.  In doing so, in a microcosm, it tells you the story of what’s happening in London today.

Have a read of it here on Celluloid Wicker Man – and also check out Adam’s Super 8 films

There’s also an edited version of the interview here on 3:AM Magazine

Scarp map

Met Nick Papadimitriou tonight to discuss the video we’re shooting to tie in with the publication of his epic deep topographic tome, Scarp (published by Hodder and Stoughton this June).

Scarp map

Nick drew this map in my notebook to indicate some of the places where we could film to capture the key elements of the North Middlesex Tertiary Escarpment (hope I’ve got that right).

Somehow going to make a video from these notes

The London Perambulator in full

John Rogers, Iain Sinclair, Will Self

Here’s the full-cut of The London Perambulator that I’ve decided to release online after two years on the festival circuit. The film is not just a profile of enigmatic cult writer Nick Papadimitriou but about the lure of the edgelands of the city, the idea of psychogeography and Nick’s very own Deep Topography.

When I made my first video with Nick in 2005 I remember Googling ‘deep topography’ and there was nothing. Now it has been discussed at academic conferences, cited in national newspapers, mentioned on Radio 4 and even been the subject of an item on Newsnight. To cap it all Nick landed a publishing deal with a top London publisher to write the definitive deep topographic text which is due out next year.

I’m not sure we knew what to expect when we premiered the film at The Whitechapel Gallery in the East End Film Festival, April 2009. When you perambulate the margins as we do, schlepping round the fringes of industrial estates and tromping through the ‘acoustic footprint’ of the North Circular, you develop a natural scepticism about how your endeavours will be received. But the screening sold out that night. The film was discussed by a panel that included Iain Sinclair, Will Self, myself and was chaired by Dr Andrea Philips from Goldsmiths – and seemed to go down well.

More screenings followed, including The London International Documentary Festival, Cine City Brighton Film Festival and Doc Days at Curzon Soho.  A few years ago I’d been inspired by seeing Jem Cohen’s Chain at the Curzon and here now was our film playing on the same screen. That was a good moment, but there have been loads.

Putting it up Youtube now feels like a homecoming of sorts – that was where we uploaded our first videos and you could, if you wished, chart the progress of the project through to its conclusion with The London Perambulator.

Although is that the conclusion? We continue our work together with our radio show on Resonance fm (that was a product of the film) and I’ve inevitably filmed Nick on walks. Who knows, maybe there’ll be ‘Scarp – the movie’.

london