I am currently preparing for a talk I will be giving this Thursday, 22nd June at Quay Arts, the Isle of Wight’s leading art gallery and venue for live events. I was thrilled to be invited to speak about my poetry map, Over the Fields, as part of the events and activities taking place around Richard Long’s show, The Isle of Wight as Six Walks, 8th April – 1st July.
I will be talking about how and why I came to make the map. Regular readers of my (somewhat irregular) blog will know that this was a process of going for walks with my Dad and my son, over 18 months, beginning in January 2014, and ending in August 2015. The map was self-published after being beautifully designed by my best mate, and printed and folded into a pocket-sized A6 fold out full colour working map, with poems on one side and photos and map on the other.
Since then the map and I have been on quite a journey, and I have been able to achieve some of the aims I had for it, and other things have happened which were unexpected but equally wonderful.
I will talk about this tiny piece of greenbelt, and the impact it continues to have on my family. I hope you can join me for a walk through the poems and a chance to think about memory, family and place. And walking itself, and why it continues to inspire creativity.
The new poetry map I have been working on for the last 18 months is on its way to being published…there are still final bits and bobs of writing to do, photos to select and final edits but the art work is taking shape. I am very excited about this as it is highly personal – a map of Furlong territory, especially my Dad’s, and his brothers’ and sisters’ – their ‘second home.’ It continues to amaze me, how much this small piece of land contains in terms of stories, nature and deep history. I cannot possibly cram all the writing and poems, pictures and information I have gathered and created, and am continuing to amass on to two sides of A2 map…maybe this will become something else in the future…
More news and updates on this as it continues to materialise into something tangible. For now, the photos above are of where I lay the other afternoon, listening to many different birds singing, bees buzzing, watching fronds and flowers swaying in the breeze… a ten minute walk from the white noise of the A3 in one direction, and the train to Waterloo in the other.
The picture above is a photo of a photo in Bristol’s wonderful M Shed, which I visited recently for the first time with my son, when we were staying with friends for the weekend.
I lived in Bristol from 1997 to 2005. I moved back to London nine years ago today. I loved living in Bristol – my love was for the city as much as it was for my ex, my friends and life there. I was hopelessly head-over-heels for Brizzol…
I did not expect to see this photo, lump-in-throat time, as I stood for a moment on my own, everyone else busy looking at the Bristol Dinosaur or playing on the old omnibus. The shop in the picture is my old corner shop, Solanki’s at the end of Gwilliam Street, where I used to live, in Windmill Hill. The kind of shop where you would pop in for a paper early on a Sunday morning, and queue up to pay behind someone who was buying 20 fags and a two litre bottle of White Lightning. Solanki’s, a legendary shop in its locality- and now making its mark in the museum.
In all the years I have been feverishly writing long pieces of psychogeographical memoir, poems and stories, I have only very briefly touched upon my time in Bristol, which was mostly very happy. I came away from this visit knowing that in the next couple of years I am going to finally do the writing I started to plan over ten years ago, when I was still living there. It won’t be this year but might be next. Yer’ tis…