k-punk: “I love Simon’s ‘pipe dream’ (appropriate name for so steampunk a conception) documentary on the London overground railway system. (When Luka, Oliver and I last met up, Oliver took us to one of those anomalous slightly off-centre zones near Waterloo which was just under an elevated railway track). Following that railway around would be as fascinating an investigation of London’s interstices as Sinclair’s footsore treking around the M25 was an exploration of the capital’s limits.”
Well yes, and I’ve been meaning to follow up this particular shard. I had in fact thought that Simon was channelling the late 8Ts / 9Ts chaonic / qliphthophic weltenschaung where IIRC this was discussed at some length.
Talking less elliptically, I remember working in Rivingston Street (off Old Street) in the early 9Ts and regularly seeing urban explorers pacing the tree-and-shrub-infested walkways of the abandoned railways. Some of the most evocative views of my life were out the back window of that building and over the roofs of Shoreditch and Hackney. Talk about secret London.
One thing that is quite obvious when you do finally move out of London is that these exciting, liminal spaces are under enormous pressure in London and that is why it is so fulfilling to discover one. Wheras, outside of London — and yes I do know that Sheffield is a particularly special case in this regard — these spaces are far more widespread. They seem somehow to breathe more easily.
It is of course interesting to speculate about the relationship between this phenomenon and the northern origin of so much chaos thinking. Especially Leeds… with its natural migration path to Stoke Neewington…