Scarp Video

Scarp by Nick Papadimitriou - video #1 from fugueur on Vimeo.

Here’s a video I made for Nick Papadimitriou’s book Scarp, published on 21st June.
Great going out following Nick around with a camera, first time I’ve really done this since the last walk we filmed for The London Perambulator in December 2008 (the Ventures and Adventures videos were just a side-product of those walks).

Scarp really is a unique book, like Richard Mabey had scoffed a load of magic mushrooms after writing The Unofficial Countryside, then read a shed full of experimental poetry and studied tank warfare and the tactics used at the Battle of Stalingrad. Or if Robert Macfarlane had gone to Borstal instead of Cambridge, then roadied for a prog rock band from Barnet and found himself a job mopping the floor of a brothel in Gdansk before finally settling down in a tower block in Middlesex.

But I’m not sure that goes even half way to fully describing what the book is really like.

I’ll post a couple more videos from the day out on Scarp.

Look out for a Time Out feature on Nick next week.


Wantead Flats midsummer

I was in the Weatherspoon’s on Leytonstone High Road last night and read a framed nugget of local history about the Royal Hunting Lodge that sat opposite Davies Lane and the residence of Nell Gwynne, The Cedars that was on the corner of Ferndale Road. Apparently there was an underground passage that linked the two so Charles II could slip across to his mistress unnoticed, although I can’t imagine there were many people around that end of Leytonstone in the C17th who could have spotted him.

So this evening I went out looking for traces. I didn’t really look very hard to be honest and ended up carrying on down Davies Lane and across Wanstead Flats.

 The gorse really catches the setting sun – it’s worth coming over just to see it.

There was a slightly forlorn fair parked up between ditches, a few people drifting through getting their pockets emptied.

Building London’s airport at Heath Row

This is a fascinating newsreel of the building of London Airport in the fields on the edge of Hounslow Heath at Heath Row.
There’s something slightly terrifying about watching the coming of the jet age to London, “And the landscape was changed and the past obliterated”, the voice-over declares in a cold, officious tone. The past wasn’t really obliterated as much as they’d like to think, the rivers Crane and Colne will continue flowing through the terrain long after we’ve moved onto teleportation as the best way to get to Marbella.

It’s interesting that no mention is made of the archaeological finds of neolithic settlements excavated during the construction of Runway One. Maybe they were too high on jet fumes to notice.


Jubilee on the Thames

I think those people were waiting for the Sex Pistols barge to float by in a re-enactment of one of the great cultural moments in the history of the Thames during the last Jubilee – I know I was. Although, the London Symphony Orchestra did make a brilliant racket and the conductor flailed around in a manner redolent of Johnny Rotten before the butter adverts – not a bad subsitute