Friday, July 27, 2018

Re-enchanting the city: Towards a psychogeography of Leicester

Last Saturday's walk from in search of C.P. Snow took me past the goals of a couple of former outings.

There was a match going on at the Aylestone Road ground where Leicestershire used to play and Mike Brearley kept wicket for Cambridge in the last first-class game it hosted.

The path to the point from which you can view Raw Dykes, the remains of the water course that brought Roman Leicester its water supply, was choked with weeds that were turning brown from the sun.

These overlapping narratives are a way of re-enchanting the city, but I wonder if I can claim the status of psychogeography for my wanderings and writings.

Reading the best short guide to the subject - Psychogeography by Merlin Coverley - I suspect I am more naturally categorised, like Peter Ackroyd, as a New Antiquarian.

Inspired in their wanderings more by history than art, this is a type Coverley rather disapproves of.

Still, I lap up the writings of Iain Sinclair, the high priest of psychogeography, so maybe there is hope for me.

And, while I seldom set off without a bit of local history in mind, it is the unexpected discoveries - the drummer boy at Thurmaston, Colonel Lancaster's cottages at Kelmarsh - that bring me most pleasure.

I had a university friend from Northern Ireland who introduced me to the concept of the Ulster concept of the "dander" - a walk almost but not entirely without purpose.

It describes the activities of the University of York Railway Society in those days and also characterises the most enjoyable of the walks I record here.

No comments: