For me there is little if any point in defending the historical standing of the Lettrist International. Histories are always contested and a passive contemplation of the past is pointless. As the Lettrist International knew it is a matter of bringing the past back into play or else forgetting it. In the 1950s the Lettrists adopted the term psychogeography because they liked its pleasing vagueness but today in the anglophone world this word is totally recuperated. Psychogeography in England is now a matter of middle-class literary hacks walking around urban and suburban spaces and then acting as if they have simultaneously swallowed a thesaurus and a very bland work of local history and are ever so politely regurgitating both at once. Not only is this utterly tedious but the sense of decorum with which it is carried out is profusely reactionary.
Today’s literary psychogeographers know nothing of defamiliarising themselves with urban spaces they may have known for years – since they construct themselves as uptight white male bourgeois subjects (regardless of their actual gender or ethnicity their minds are ‘male’ and ‘white’) their sole desire is to master time and space. Standing in complete opposition to this are a multitude of subjective proletariat explorations (and transformations) of time and space. This can be done with drugs – as a teenager I was quite taken with dropping acid and then embarking on bicycle rides – or in other ways. Today I decided to defamiliarise my immediate surroundings by walking backwards out of a block of council flats and into east London. I was surprised by how easy it was to walk backwards down the communal stairs and out of the block. Once I was on the street people mostly ignored me. However I hadn’t gone far before I tripped on a paving stone and fell on my arse. Feeling happy to have proved my lack of concern with bourgeois dignity, I felt able to leave off my experiment in walking backwards (for today anyway).
I have no problem with the meaning of words changing over time – only a reactionary would want to fix meanings once and forever. The reason I’m against the gentrification of psychogeography is because it is a manifestation of bourgeois stupidity. So while middle-class literary fuck-wits remain fixated with sedate walks, proletarians need to find ways to open up exciting new psycho-sexual spaces. And while in the so called twenty-first century neither rock and roll nor dope sound nearly as enticing as they did in the 1960s, we still haven’t done enough fucking in the streets! So from now on where a literary hack would use the phrase ‘psychogeography’ let’s deploy the term ‘dogging’!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by David Cameron on 2012-09-06 00:28:43 +0000
Comment by Basko Sioux on 2012-09-06 00:59:34 +0000
like but you’ll have to go thru/submit a derive report on an actual dogging b4 your critique itself can move out of the bubble of bourgeois-philologique phantasy.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-06 01:30:57 +0000
Report? I’m too busy with the practial activity!
Comment by Aaron Goldberg on 2012-09-06 01:40:05 +0000
actually Ben Dover and 60% of Italian porn features sexual-geographic dogging! And a lot of middle-class literary hacks have dogs.
Comment by Michael Roth on 2012-09-06 04:32:41 +0000
I never dog alone. That just ain’t my style!
Comment by Chris lewis-Jones on 2012-09-06 07:59:50 +0000
psychgeography is an evolving discourse. It has expanded way beyond its complacent Parisian parameters to encompass the study of our relationship to and with not just cofee shops and piazzas but the land itself, thanks, largely, to the influnece of English artists and writers. This is not particularly middle class though it is particularly exciting. I was born and bred on a council estate and I’m a psychgeographic practitioner. And I’m white. So what!
Comment by Nicholas Royle on 2012-09-06 09:23:03 +0000
Pretty sure I’m a middle-class literary fuck-wit.
Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-06 11:00:03 +0000
Zombie more like for ‘Death goes dogging everywhere’ (Joe Orton after WE Henley).
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-06 14:54:32 +0000
It’s the day of the dead!
@ Michael Roth – I’ll be dog gone!
@ Chris Lewis-Jones – It is hard to know where to start with you since you restate in far cruder form what I’ve already said as if this in some way invalidates the very same points when made by me. Of course psychogeography is an evolving discourse and while I’ve never had any interest in preserving it in its original form it doesn’t follow from this that all developments of psychogeography are equally good. I thought what Richard Essex did with psychogeography – possibly the first person to seriously reinvent psychogeography in London – in the early 1990s was really great, but that doesn’t mean that I have to applaud some literary tosspot like Will Self for his stupid and badly written accounts of his walks. You come across like an ethnic fundamentalist when you state: “And I’m white. So what!” in response to me saying about literary psychogeographers: “since they construct themselves as uptight white male bourgeois subjects (regardless of their actual gender or ethnicity their minds are ‘male’ and ‘white’)”. Obviously race isn’t real but it is experienced as real because of racism. If you don’t understand banalities like this then you are a part of the problem – and if you do understand this and still chose to make an issue of your white ethnicity then that is even worse. You may or may not have grown up on a council estate (I wouldn’t know and I don’t care) but you come across in your comment here like a middle-class retard.
@ Nicholas Royle – middle-class literary fuck-wits are incapable of identifying themselves as such….
Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-06 15:51:45 +0000
Is Chris Lewis-Jones really Zadie Smith? I notice that her good self, ie utterly white male literary bourgeois, has been fictional dogging recently all over NW London. Like C L-J ‘she’ also vaunts her council estate connections…
Comment by Doctor Rock on 2012-09-06 17:08:03 +0000
It was a cold and clear day when I set out on foot for Eaglesham,. I planned to stop off on the way to see if I could find the ill-starred Deil’s Plantin’, a hirsute prehistoric bump now surrounded by numerous road extensions. Later I would try to track down Floors Farm and the actual site where Rudolf “The Red-Nosed Dipsomaniac Nazi’ Hess had crash-landed his Messerschmitt Bf 110, whilst in between I would attempt to ascertain the real resting place of the Holy Grail.
Truly this part of the world is no longer ‘quaint’. Busy roads seem to bisect the countryside in every direction, queue’s of 4 x4’s pump diesel fumes into the air, with industrial slurry deposits in nearby fields adding to the sense of Nature at Bay. I watched, horrified, as a young Field Pipit attempted to extricate himself from a pour of effluent, without success. Plastic scraps seemed to decorate every roadside tree. The famous falls just outside the village of Waterfoot showed all the signs of having been subjected to several major parties. Cans, broken glass and used condoms littered the picnic area. Although, I must say, that during the “dogging” days undertaken with my late lamented wife Judith I’d spent many a spunky night up here showing her off to the local menfolk. How she loved to wind down the window of our Vauxhall Astra to take a face full of some likely lads love yoghurt! She claimed it was good for her complexion, and who was I to disavow her of such charming fancies?
Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-06 17:45:29 +0000
‘Drive those crazy (Se)bald-heads out of town!’ (Bob Marley)….
Comment by Mr Brown on 2012-09-06 21:49:33 +0000
Chant down babylon and especially it’s literary representatives!
Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-07 10:20:51 +0000
When Syd Barrett left his Chelsea Cloisters flat for good to return to his hometown Cambridge, he walked all the way back chanting. Halfway he met Will Kempe coming in the opposite direction from Norwich. After a brief discussion about fame and celebrity, they went their separate ways – Syd amongst other things to mull up on Freud’s theories about hysteria.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-07 14:32:05 +0000
And no doubt if Barrett had dropped a couple more tabs that morning he could have hallucinated a meeting with Richard Tarlton rather than the original Falstaff.
I once stayed in a hotel around the corner from where Syd Barrett lived after he returned to Cambridge and one day while I was out at the Cambridge Junction doing some temporary work they changed all the furniture around in the room without telling me, so when I returned to it I thought I’d gone into the wrong room. Every piece of furniture had been replaced but I found my clothes hanging in the new wardrobe arranged the same way as I’d had them hanging in the old wardrobe that morning. I’m not sure if this was an attempt at psychogeographic defamiliarisation, gaslighting, or whether not telling me that all the furniture in the room was being replaced was just an unfortunate oversight. It was certainly a bizarre experience.
When I happened to walk off the main road on which the hotel was situated and into the cul de sac in which Syd Barrrett lived, a white van drew up and a couple of guys tried that classic con of saying they’d been installing speaker systems and had a couple of top class speakers worth several thousand pounds left over and they’d flog them to me for £200. This is the only time anyone has ever tried to pull that con on me outside of London.
I find it hard to believe anyone ever fell for it as the guys doing it are always so pathetic, so you’d think everyone would realise all they’re gonna get is a couple of really cheap speakers (worth maybe £5) packed into a huge box. However, someone must have done fallen for this scam coz for months in the mid-1990s there were always a couple of half-wits – one of whom was really fat – around the Tower Hamlets/Bethnal Green border trying it on. They must have tried it on with me at least half-a-dozen times without ever realising they’d unsuccessfully attempted to con me already….
Comment by Buck Naked on 2012-09-07 21:26:23 +0000
Psychogeography like dogging is best done in the nude!
Comment by Kevin Parsons on 2012-09-08 12:34:09 +0000
The best trips are done on LSD!
Comment by Gusti Ngurah Rai on 2012-09-08 19:40:14 +0000
Ain’t no psychogeography in Bali – too many tourists. Blame Dutch colonialism.
Comment by Justin Feltz on 2012-09-08 20:13:20 +0000
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-08 20:40:58 +0000
I think you’ve found the buried bone Justin!
Comment by Tom McGlynn on 2012-09-09 00:56:50 +0000
Right on shaggy!
Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-09-09 13:22:45 +0000
My attempts at fucking in the street have always failed. Unfortunately my dignity is determined to cling to me…
Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-09 15:21:34 +0000
Don’t worry, LJ – help is nigh. The good burgers of Switzerland who help folk to commit suicide with dignity, are working on how how to reconcile wild exhibitionist tupping in the streets with the sort of cling-on dignity you suffer from…
Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-09-09 17:38:16 +0000
@The Man in the Iron Mask. Fantastic I knew those Swiss cheeses could sort me a roll in the metaphorical alpine wild meadow, if you know what I mean!!
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-09 20:52:28 +0000
Keep it clean!