Friday, 15 February 2013

Reflections on a year of Landscapism


And so my first 12 months of blogging on the landscape - of landscapism - reaches an end; a repository of thoughts given their head.

My aim has been to provide a forum to bring together, promote and discuss themes, subject matter and marginalia of all kinds on landscape: finding the connections across the landscape divides.


To ask questions about landscape management, the false dichotomy of urban v rural, tensions between sustainable transport, biodiversity and community food production and the new National Planning Policy Framework; to propose a Manifesto for a Working Landscape.

 To provide an evolving gazetteer to exploring landscape on the web; and suggest a biblio-resource for reading the landscape, ranging far and wide, from William Morris' News From Nowhere to Ross Raisin's God's Own Country; from Urban Wildscapes to Writing Britain: from Wasteland to Wonderland; from a wild utopian trilogy to a midwinter handlist to help survive the dark months.

To find wildness, places to be left alone with yourself; to seek out Robert Macfarlane's holloways, old ways and wild places, meander on paths and trackways, wander amongst ash: the shaggy signs of Pan and ramble on the urban fringe. To eulogize the watery life blood of the landscape where, men  may come and men may go, but I go on forever.


To explore landscapes of the past: a triptych of ruins, carved into the landscape, Avebury stone circle: 'an uncanny landscape', Dial Garreg: a story of stone and war propaganda films; to feel the history of a temporal space. As well as remembering more personal cognitive artifacts, a scrap of a memory: Arcadian dreaming.

To listen to songs which, like the grass, are evergreen; the sounds of PJ Harvey - Let England Shake, the Roman Roads of Land Observations, Dennis Wilson's River Song and the radical call to arms, The Land Song. To proclaim Here's a Health to the Barley Mow!

To gaze upon the local topographies and vaster world's of Pieter Bruegel's Hunters in the Snow, David Hockney's A Bigger Picture, maps of the Old Straight Tracks of Glastonbury and the beginnings of a rising Pandaemonium stoking the Industrial Revolution.

To return to special places, the landscapes in particular of Kenilworth Castle, Bolton Abbey, Cold Ashton, Worth Valley and Hergest Ridge. To turn off the gadgets and experience the landscape where the path, winding like silver, trickles on; to ask, is there no end to this accursed forest? and enjoy being stumped.


To find new discoveries and different perspectives; a sense of hope in the age of collapse, the alternative future vision of the Dark Mountain Project, the practice of walking as drifting and seek inspiration from a new Westcoasting life. 

And to drift around the margins: listening to sound mapping, musing on a comedy of landscapes, enjoying Jimi Bush and the palimpsest designed landscapes of rural riding

All the while, perhaps, seeking Jerusalem; a personal, progressive and magical 'land of dreams'.

7 comments:

  1. Hi Eddie

    All of this, and more! your blog has prompted some interesting ideas, made some unusual connections, and challenged a few assumptions along the way. I've enjoyed your approach very much, particularly the way it is informed by, but not enslaved to, previous writing about landscape in all its forms. With best wishes for the next stimulating 12 months!

    Ian

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words Ian. I didn't know much about this blogging lark but its been a thought-provoking experience, especially coming across other people's writing and ideas, such as your own. Keep up the good work yourself!

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  2. It's quickly become one of my favourite blogs, always interesting, often inspiring. And must agree on - Let England Shake - Last English Rose especially. Keep it up.

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    1. Thanks Matt, much appreciated. Nice to find and hear the thoughts of like-minded people such as yourself.

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  3. What a great year, here's to many more!

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  4. You have certainly given yourself a lot of scope Eddie, but have more than lived up to expectations. I love your approach and range and support for all those interested in landscape ideas. Keep at it! best wishes, Diana

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    1. Thanks Diane

      I know; landscape,sense of place and space pretty much covers everything, so the scope is a bit wide. Thanks for your encouragement and I've really enjoyed the posts on your own blog.

      Eddie

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