Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Psychogeography by Merlin Coverley

I must confess I have not quite finished this book but wanted to get some of my thoughts down about it before I forgot them.

Psychogeorgraphy is something that anyone who has read Iain Sinclair or Peter Ackroyd will be familiar with as it infuses their ideas of the history and development of London. But what exactly is it is perhaps something that is worth looking at on its own.


If geography describes nature and the physical environment then psycho geography describes the emotional reaction to that environment. The best way to experience it is on foot walking and sensing the different areas.

That's why Sinclair is such closely associated with it. Most of his books involve waking through an environment and then sharing observations and reactions to that space.

The ley lines stuff is more new age and had been largely forgotten until a 70s revival. The original theory related to the countryside and not so much to the urban environment. Ackroyd has picked up on this idea in London. Sinclair raised the idea Hawksmoor churches were on ley lines and there is some hidden force governing the development of certain areas of the capital.

What appeals most perhaps is the idea that a city can have different emotions - sad, happy, stressed etc -  and if you are prepared to walk through with an open mind and a critical eye then those secrets are ther to be unlocked.

Will post a fuller review when I get to the finish.

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