zondag 14 augustus 2011

London Psychogeography with Tom Vague

The cheap thrills of Ebay!

Tom Vague's 'Rachman Riots and Rillington Place', an episodic treatment of certain key moment in the recent history of Nothing Hill, is a real page turner even though I had never heard of most of the people discussed (Christie Evans, Rachman, Michael X). They are probably household names to the average Londoner.

On the face of it Vague's treatment of history is conventional to the point of barbaric idiocy: his use of a timeline to structure the narrative can hardly be called sophisticated and his refusal to interpret events or people psychologically or sociologically would be below most hystoriographers. 

Almost all history is written by dinosaurs but Vague is of the 1-2-3-GO! school and the result, raw and elementary, creates a lot of space for your own associations, relevant knowledge and mental garbage to fill the gaps. In the context of psychogeography Vague is moving in the opposite direction of most psychogeo writers. Instead of writing about a spatial entity from the perspective of the individual (place and space presented as malformed after a rollercoaster ride through the maelstrom of the personal madness and deep emotions of a very special person (as, you are aware, all writers (boring fucks) are)). If you read carefully - the last page gives the biggest clue - Vague presents this almost as the autobiography of Nothing Hill with him as the inspired mouthpiece, his own biography mixed with that of the subject. He is the place. 

1 opmerking:

  1. V.S. Naipaul has an well-written essay on Michael X in the collection "The Return of Eva Peron." A very creepy huckster...