Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Nomadology


The figure of the uprooted wanderer has fascinated civilised societies through the ages. There is evidently something about a certain kind of movement— movement with no ostensible aim, direction, purpose or destination — that nags at the sensibilities of the sedentary order. Lack of attachment to any one place makes crossing boundaries and transgressing categories part of the nature of the wanderer, casting him as a bearer of upheaval, arousing suspicion and mistrust.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Rare Horrox sighting


On the rocks. Joshua Tree. 
Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Zabriskie Point


During visit to the US in 1975, Michel Foucault was persuaded to take a road trip to a remote desert region on the eastern edge of California. When his party reached Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, his host, an assistant professor at Claremont Graduate School, produced several tablets of LSD. Foucault would later describe what followed as "the greatest experience of his life."

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Burke on the Sublime


The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature, when those causes operate most powerfully, is Astonishment; and astonishment is that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror. In this case the mind is so entirely filled with its object that it cannot entertain any other, nor by consequence reason on that object which employs it. Hence arises the great power of the sublime, that far from being produced by them, it anticipates our reasonings, and hurries us on by an irresistible force. Astonishment, as I have said, is the effect of the sublime in its highest degree; the inferior effects are admiration, reverence, and respect.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Nazis of Rustic Canyon

A couple of miles’ walk north of Pacific Palisades, entangled in the undergrowth of Rustic Canyon, lie the ruins of one of L.A.’s more peculiar landmarks. All that remains of Murphy Ranch is a series of crumbling, graffiti-daubed concrete foundations, twisted metal, burnt-out shells of abandoned buildings and a distinctly unholy atmosphere. For while the wreckage of yesterday’s industry is no rarity in the hills around the L.A. basin, this is a ruin with a darker history than most.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Ancestry & Alibis

"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel— as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them— wherever you go." — Anthony Bourdain 

* * *
You go out into the world to acquire all manner of habits and learn all sorts of languages, but the one tongue you neglect most is the one you’ve spoken at home, just as the customs you feel most comfortable with are those you never knew were customs until you saw others practice completely different ones and realized you didn’t quite mind your own, though you’d strayed so far now that you probably no longer knew how to practice them. - Andre Aciman, Alibis.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Nomadic Genes


For 99% of our existence as a species, anthropologists believe, humans have lived as nomadic beings. As we've evolved, settled, become more sedentary and rooted, an impulse towards travel, exploration and novelty has remained in our nature. This instinct has more of a hand in the life choices of some than others, however. One theory as to why this might be, writes David Dobbs in the National Geographic, comes from the field of evolutionary genetics:

Monday, 5 June 2017

Walking


In the 1993 edition of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs argues that there are two kinds of people in the world: “foot people” and “car people”. The former are those who tend to organise their lives around pedestrian travel, who “prefer doing their workaday errands on foot, or feel they would like to if they lived in a place where they could”, the latter those who prefer “hopping into the car to do errands, or would like to if they had a car.”