About

Occasional dispatches from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective.  Field trips and wanderings from hill to sea … mapping the interstices of past, present and possible …

From the Kingdom and beyond …

Why Fife?

The great sites of psychogeographic exploration have perhaps not surprisingly tended to privilege the urban environment with London and Paris the primary lodestones of psychogeographic endeavour.

Taking a lead from Patrick Geddes, the great polymath, regional theorist, activist and (as yet, unacknowledged) proto-psychogeographer, the FPC believe that both urban and rural environments are mutually constitutive and therefore equally valid as spaces for psychogeographic wanderings.

What better a site than Fife?  A virtual island interzone, betwixt and between the cities of Edinburgh and Dundee; an ancient Pictish Kingdom, bounded by the Firths of Forth and Tay.  Where a New Town is built on a 4,000 year old henge and 18 feet menhirs brood on a ladies golf course, under the shadow of Largo Law.  Not far away, the statue of  Alexander Selkirk, gazes out, projecting his own haunting presence into the psychogeographic mindscape.  If Selkirk was the inspiration for Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, it is the ghost of Robinson who wanders and stalks through many a tract of the psychogeographic imagination. Witness Rimbaud’s supposedly derived verb robinsonner (to travel mentally, or let the mind wander) or the unseen and unheard researcher in Patrick Keiller’s films London and Robinson in Space.

Ideas crackle, tussle and fizz, throughout the ether over this Scottie dogs heid:

Kirkcaldy’s famous son Adam Smith  tossed a large brick into the pool of economic theory with a Wealth of Nations (and let us not forget A Theory of Moral Sentiments) written on a site now housing Greggs the Bakers.  The self-interest of the baker to supply us with Steak Bakes is alive and well. (The debate as to whether Smith, the moral philosopher, has been hijacked by the right will be left for another day). There is also a hauntology of radical socialism. In Cowdenbeath, Lawrence Storione founded the Anarchist Communist League and West Fife elected Willie Gallacher as the first Communist MP.  In Lumphinnans you will find Gagarin Way, a street tagged in honour of the Soviet cosmonaut and from which Gregory Burke named his first play.

Concrete hippos and dinosaurs traverse the urban landscape in Glenrothes; cup and ring marks lie mute on Binn Hill whilst a green witch’s shop sits on the high street of Aberdour to deliver up soothing potions to the contemporary unwell.  A secret bunker channels cold war paranoia and the devil is reputedly buried on Kirkcaldy beach, interred by the occult energies of the dark magus Michael Scot.

These are just a few random scatterings from this space of possibilities. ‘A beggar’s mantle fringed with gold’… a palimpsest of histories and vibrations.  A site for exploration.

Inspiration from the patron saints and goddesses:

Patrick Geddes, Henry Thoreau, John Cage, Rebecca Solnit, Walter Benjamin, Georges Perec, Julian Cope, Guy Debord, Bill Drummond, Giles Deleuze, Joseph Beuys, Alan Moore, Sophie Calle, Victor Branford, Colin Ward, Patti Smith, Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Robert Walser, Kenneth White, Gary Snyder, John Burnside, Don Paterson, Alan Warner, Italo Calvino, John Rebus, J.G. Ballard, Mark E. Smith, Lao Tzu, Paul Auster, Kathleen Jamie, Albert Camus, Werner Herzog, Lewis Mumford, Peter Kropotkin, Keith Jenkins, Yi-Fu Tuan, Laurie Anderson, Joe Sacco, Michel de Certeau, Morton Feldman, Éliane Radigue, La Monte Young, Jean-Claude Eloy, Tom Verlaine, Miles Davis, Samuel Beckett, Phillipe Petit, Marjane Satrapi, Jah Wobble, Ralph Rumney, George Wyllie, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Iain Sinclair, Nick Papadimitriou and John Rodgers, Ian Nairn, Rainer Maria Rilke, Basho, Wim Wenders, Bela Tarr, Bill Douglas, Patrick Keiller, Andrei Tarkovsky….

All material © 2014 The Fife Psychogeographical Collective (unless otherwise stated). All Rights Reserved.

15 Responses to About

  1. Bobby Seal says:

    Wonderful site – how come I’ve never found it before? I’m a sucker for anything that combines poetry and photography! Came to you via Iain Sinclair’s site and will definitely visit again.

  2. dianajhale says:

    As above I’ve just found you via Iain Sinclair’s site and will follow you. Patrick Geddes is one of my heroes as well as many others from your list.

  3. Agree with your comments that urban and rural are equally valid for psychogeographical-topographical musings; and in fact the urban and rural are often cheek by jowl anyway, as I recently described on a recent walk in Bristol’s edgelands:

    http://landscapism.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/ramblings-on-urban-fringe.html

  4. Jean McEwan says:

    Such a joy to discover your website. It’s a time when I’m walking for many reasons and also reconnecting with my Scottishness, as a Perth born exile in West Yorkshire! I look forward to exploring the posts. Many thanks

  5. Fantastic website, exactly my field of interest. Thanks for your interest in Little Forks – lots of ideas crossing over here. Could you email me (hotmail address)? I’d love to send you a copy of the book. Best wishes, Rebecca

  6. Anyone whose blog has this kind of map as a background has got to be worth reading :-)

  7. 4bster says:

    I’m very excited to find this site, and am about to delve into all the archives. As a Fifer born and bred, who left, ventured afar, then came back, I find all of this fascinating. Reminds me of huddled dinner party conversations with other ex-Fifers back in the day.

  8. Cathy Dreyer says:

    I LOVE this blog. Great!

  9. By good chance I landed on your page (looking for symbolic depiction of bee hives (realted to Mandeville) Will come back here for sure… you may enjoy to visit my pages on what I have named ‘literary psycho-geography’ (Amsterdam, Paris, Edo/Tokyo) I am especially pleased to see Geddes referenced in this context. Rightly so! and there are of course hundreds of proto-psycho-geographists, is not the modern novel as it rose from the feuilletons of the 19th century partly fired by the description of space, time and mood?

    • Many thanks for stopping by Tjebbe. I’ve just had a very quick look at your site and it is clear that you have been involved in many interesting projects and research over the years. Fascinating and much to explore. I will certainly return for a more in-depth look. Also glad to hear from another Geddesian! Yes I agree, many proto-psychogeographers – ever since the human form began walking into the landscape.

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