Psychogeographic Review’s Recommendations – May 2013


This past month Psychogeographic Review has been reading:

Scarp   ‘Scarp’ – Nick Papadimitriou

Nick Papadimitriou’s meditation on walking, landscape and his upbringing in North London under the shadow of the ridge of land he refers to as Scarp

Spring Returning   ‘Spring Returning: a selection from the works of James Farrar’ –                                    Christopher Palmer

James Farrar was a young airman who died in World War Two.  This is Christopher Palmer’s moving collection of Farrar’s poetry, prose, diary entries and writings on the music of Delius

Wales   ‘Wales: An Archaeological Guide’ – Christopher Houlder

A comprehensive field guide to the archaeological sites of Wales; an invaluable tool for exploration as well as an entertaining read

Ryecroft   ‘The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft’ – George Gissing

A writer at rest reflecting on the quiet pleasures of life that he is at last able to enjoy in his final years after a lifetime of hardship and injustice

Good Soldier   ‘The Good Soldier’ – Ford Madox Ford

A portrait of deceit and hatred and one of the key works of early modernism

Wasp Factory   ‘The Wasp Factory’ – Iain Banks

Gender, identity, myth and ritual; all brought to life with Banks’s pyrotechnic use of language

Father and Son   ‘Father and Son’ – Edmund Gosse

Edmund Gosse’s ‘study of two temperaments’ – his recollections of a Victorian childhood, his loss of religious faith and the father whom he loved but constantly fought against

Europe   ‘Journey Through Europe’ – John Hillaby

John Hillaby’s original and engaging account of his walk from Hoek van Holland to Nice via the Alps; a journey across a continent in flux


Meanwhile, we were listening to:

Gapland   ‘Gapland’ – Charles Swain and Lost Trail

Travin Systems’ Chieftain picks up North Carolina’s Lost Trail in his battered Escort as he slides across the slick bitumen and up into the timberline.  A four track exploration of their beloved backroads, backwoods and the nature of car travel with turning synths, descending haze and irresolute house

To an End  ‘To an End’ – Helm

Captivating debut solo LP of drone and sound poetry from Birds Of Delay’s Luke Younger aka Helm.

Affinity   ‘Affinity’ – Affinity

Sadly neglected jazz/rock fusion album from 1970 featuring the extraordinary vocal talents of Linda Hoyle

Working Man's Dead   ‘Workingman’s Dead’ – Grateful Dead

Also from 1970: the Dead’s take on country, blues and folk laced with spine-tingling harmonies

And watching:

In the Fog   ‘In the Fog’ – Sergei Loznitsa

Sergei Loznitsa’s bleak tale of collaboration and revenge in Nazi-occupied Soviet Russia

Pan's Labyrinth   ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – Guillermo del Toro

A Mexican/Spanish co-production merging fantasy, myth and parable against the background of the resistance movement in the early years of Franco’s regime in Spain

Rumble Fish   ‘Rumble Fish’ – Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola’s black-and-white homage to German expressionism and the French New Wave staring Mickey Rourke and a young Matt Dillon.





‘Felix: Lighter V. 4’ – Graham Hooper

Film of Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic free-fall (helmet-cam footage) reversed and slowed down to last as long as the Bond film ‘Skyfall’. See it on YouTube here

About Bobby Seal

Freelance writer, poet and psychogeographer
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6 Responses to Psychogeographic Review’s Recommendations – May 2013

  1. Great Northern Cycle Way says:

    So much stuff; so little time! Will be Spotify-ing Infinity a little later. Will be googling Barter Books in Alnwick for the Wales Antiquities Guide. (If you’ve not been to Barter Books put it on your life-list). Is there much on Wat’s or Offa’s Dyke in it? Did I dream it or did Scarp get some off-ish reviews from The Grauniad?

    You only need to add Renaissance “Turn of the Cards” for this to be the ‘capo di tutti capi’ of all lists 😉

    • Bobby Seal says:

      Yes, I know Barter Books – an amazing place. You’d probably need to go somewhere like that for Houlder’s book. I got my copy in the 1980s and I think it’s out of print now; which is pretty typical of the Psychogeographic Review approach: recommending out of print books!

      ‘Wales: An Archaeological Guide’ has got more on Offa’s Dyke than it has on Wat’s, but I guess that reflects the fact that we know more about the history of one than the other.

      If you like any of Nick Papadimitriou’s other work, such as the ‘Ventures and Adventures in Topography’ podcasts from Resonance FM, you’ll like ‘Scarp’. I think the guy’s brilliant, a total original.

  2. Great Northern Cycle Way says:


    The Houlder book remains elusive despite some heavy googling. However I did find this short review from ‘Welsh History Review’, Vol 8 pg 122 which illuminates the value base of seventies academia…

    “Christopher Houlder, Wales: an Archaeological Guide (Faber and
    Faber, 1974. Pp. 207, 29 plates, 40 figs. £ 4.50) provides a superbly-
    illustrated list of 240 selected prehistoric, Roman and early-medieval
    field monuments, divided into forty-five areas convenient for the tourist.
    Priority has been given to accessibility, and there are full references to
    the National Grid. The author provides a brief outline of the archaeology
    of Wales and a helpful classified bibliography. Mr. Houlder, an official
    investigator of Welsh ancient monuments, based at Aberystwyth, is
    admirably equipped to encourage the archaeological enthusiast, profes-
    sional or lay, to put on his gum boots.”

  3. Billy Mills says:

    Ford Maddox Ford and the Dead; are you me?

  4. Billy Mills says:

    Schedules are good.

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