Mountain*7 - for the person with nothing better to do
'The pedestrian bridge that spanned the motorway' (image by Simon Sellars)
Simon Sellars over at the ever fabulous Ballardian has posted a brilliant piece on Shepperton, the Surrey suburb that has been Ballard's home for the best part of 50 years. In it Sellars takes a walk through the area and, as he puts it, takes 'photographs of the arena that has supplied so much raw material for Ballard’s writing.' And as such, it's a piece that charts the incongruity that sits at the heart of this statement, that comes to terms with the shock of just how ordinary and banal Shepperton is. In truth, and this is the same with any writer's sacred geography, the 'arena' of Shepperton is a mythic one, not only in terms of Ballard's recreation of it and adumbrations within it - evident in Simon's totemic guidebook, The Unlimited Dream Company - but also in the magical creative gap between a personal lifetime's reading and meditation, and the dulled bricks of the real. Sellars is obviously well aware that this incongruity must exist but it's still fascinating to watch him drift through the landscape and remap this mental space as he goes, seeking out the lush meadows around the River Ash, the frozen scream of the M3 and of course the squatting reliquary of memories that is the Shepperton Studios. I wonder if he found the psychic hub of the place not in the studios themselves but in the edgelands around them - in the discarded sets that fan out into the wasteland around the tributaries of the Ash and in the housing estate that butts up against the fencing around the hulking warehouses of the outer lots where the artificial dreams of one world and the collective dreamlife of another bleed together, coalescing into some viscous churning emanation... Bring on part 2.
I’ve been meaning to put together a few thoughts on the deluge of free newspapers that flood a London commute, but K-punk’s musings on the (paper)waste land of London Bridge convinced me that it has already been done in ways that I could never surpass:
“Look around the carriage, snapshot of a MySpaced city: diversity without difference, homogeneity without communality - bodies reduced to claustrophobic zombie meat fighting for space, background hum of mutual hostility simmering, yet everyone is reading the same thing...”
His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly anymore because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless
Hemingway, speaking of F. Scott Fitzgerald in A Moveable Feast
So said Matty, rapper from the Credit To The Nation to a sun soaked crowd at the NME stage, Glastonbury 1994. I know he said this as I was there, & his set was a highlight of mine from my first Glastonbury festival. I may have enjoyed Cypress Hill that year too. Or was it 1995? I recall spilling cider everywhere whilst moving to the bass lines of Adam F. And I would have darted between the sets of Orbital & Elvis Costello as I couldn’t make up my mind which to see. The memories of those Glastonbury Festivals in the mid 90’s will remain with me forever, all gloriously blurred & rolled into one.
The attraction of the festival was the diversity in the performing artists. And I’m glad it still is. So why is so much fuss being made over Jay-Z performing? Why has this caused so much vitriol amongst so many of the kids. And Noel Gallagher? Glastonbury is for guitars he says. No it isn’t Noel.
This whole furore has stemmed from the inability to sell all their tickets straight away. This has been correlated with the booking of a hip-hop act as one of the headline acts. Almost certainly this is a very lazy & incorrect correlation. But what has bothered me is the backlash from the likes of Gallagher & certain comments I have read in the media & web. Some of it is almost sinister. I would not want to be part of a festival in which many of its participants were so abhorred by the thought of a hip-hop act headlining.
I think the Glastonbury organisers should be commended for booking Jay-Z. And if the festival is to retain its significant cultural status it has attained, musical plurality is a must. I didn’t listen to much hip-hop when I was 18 years old attending my first Glastonbury. And I certainly hadn’t seen any live. Seeing Credit To The Nation changed that, and I’m grateful.
Chernobyl, Pluto's Realm
Photographs of the landscape around Chernobyl.
My favourite are roads that haven't been ridden for years. Sometimes, I leave a log on the road to see if someone else will travel here. When I return in a year or two, seeing my log has not been moved suggests that I still have no followers
Also: two more series' of photographs on the same subject: 1986-2006, and nuclear nightmares by Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong