Saturday Saunter: Maps and psychogeography


Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, again being written in advance. Football highlights again grace my screen as I start this week’s post.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally finished Alphabetical by Michael Rosen. It’s a very fine book, an history of the alphabet and much else besides. A couple of passages in the final pages particularly interested me, including discussions of the derive and the conception of the London A-Z. The derive, a psychogeographical walk seeing the urban in a different way, is a particular favourite pursuit of mine and Rosen talks about walking around parts of London where during the English Civil War (or War of the Three Kingdoms, depending on your philosophical hue) defences were laid out in a semicircular formation to combat the Royalist forces. A derive is possible just about anywhere and, as Rosen says, with guidelines for the walk entirely personal to those doing it.

Recently I bought a road atlas. I like maps anyway and this one was bought to aid future day trip planning. It now lives in the back seat of a car. It is an A-Z atlas, the descendant of the original London A-Z, considered the ultimate street atlas of London and surrounding areas. I have one beside me now and it sat in my backpack throughout my trip to London in February. It was the work of Phyllis Pearsall, who set about walking thousands of miles across the metropolis to create the map. As much as Google Maps is useful, nothing beats a paper reference and particularly one as detailed. A fact that I’ve always liked is that it is common for map manufacturers to include fake streets (or trap streets) in order to beat copyright infringement.

Today’s interesting perspective is from Patrice Evra, a footballer who experienced more than his fair share of racial abuse. This interview from the Guardian is an interesting account of his career and its highs and lows.

I like to illustrate these posts whenever possible though in the last weeks, that has been harder. Like today. I’ve decided to delve into the blog photo archive and pick a vaguely interesting and apposite image. It’s the featured image at the top of the post if on the website or what accompanies the post on the WordPress Reader. It helps to make the post more interesting, especially when shared on social media. That isn’t without its problems either, especially when the accompanying picture ends up being different from the one I’ve described. It’s been sorted for the posts I’ve got lined up. Anyway, today’s is definitely from a deserted country road, taken when walking between Dryburgh Abbey and Melrose a few years ago.

Well, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 12th September 2020. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow returns on Wednesday. A Saturday Saunter will appear here next Saturday at 8.30. Until then, keep safe. A very good morning to you all.

6 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Maps and psychogeography

  1. I’ve read a couple books on maps that have mentioned Mountweazels (as fake places or trap streets are sometimes called), so I was aware of them, but I remain fascinated by the concept. I think a map as big and comprehensive as the London A to Z is prone to errors anyway – there’s at least one edition that shows the museum where I work in completely the wrong location, and I’ve had a set of slightly irate visitors complain to me about it when they eventually found us, though I’m not sure what they expected me to do about it!

    Liked by 1 person

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