Rights of Common in the Blackdown Hills.

I’m getting an increasing sense of excitement about tracking down and visiting commons, and I’m finding myself more interested in the obscure and the idiosyncratic than the great and iconic. A village pump near the A303? Bring it on. The problem here is that, for the very small commons, tracking them down becomes a matterContinue reading “Rights of Common in the Blackdown Hills.”

Non-fiction writing and films about place

Most books about the land seem to follow a fairly standard form if they’re not focussing on one particular place or telling a general history. A series of chapters takes an instance of the land type under consideration, describes it, describes a personal encounter with it, and uses it as the basis to make aContinue reading “Non-fiction writing and films about place”

The genre of place: three mid-Devon commons

I’ve always been a map nerd and I’ve been tracking down potential commons by spotting the pale yellowy-orange patches of Access Land. It’s how I found Wick Moor, up at Hinkley Point. OS Explorer 114 – Exeter and the Exe Valley – has revealed not an awful lot close to home, but North West ofContinue reading “The genre of place: three mid-Devon commons”

Wandering around in the mind of Patrick Keiller on the Somerset coast

Where to begin describing the commons at Hinkley Point? Perhaps by starting with the obvious – the presence of the existing nuclear reactor (the second) and the building site for the third, which I believe is the largest building site in Europe at present. There is nowhere on these fenland commons which are not dominatedContinue reading “Wandering around in the mind of Patrick Keiller on the Somerset coast”

Mythmaking in Wiltshire

With the easing of lockdown and general frustration at being caged indoors as spring takes off, I’ve been doing some exploring of commons.  The first trip was following a walk near to Shaftesbury in the Cranborne Chase AONB, from a Pathfinder walking guide to Wiltshire, The Mendips and Somerset – this series has been centralContinue reading “Mythmaking in Wiltshire”

On D.H. Lawrence’s ‘England, My England’

Following on from reading Peter Linebaugh’s The Magna Carta Manifesto (2008), I read the D.H. Lawrence short story England, My England (1922), believing it to be a rare example of a literary treatment of a common. Peter Linebaugh is, to mind, prone to exaggeration and generalisation to make a point and so I should haveContinue reading “On D.H. Lawrence’s ‘England, My England’”

The social and personal experiences of place

One of the things I’ve loved deeply about filming is working with others, hearing what they have to say, and putting that across in my work. In fact, the only film I’ve ever made entirely solo was my Exe M5 bridge film, Abridged. As someone who’s spent far too much of their life isolated, thisContinue reading “The social and personal experiences of place”

The hauntology of the commons

I’ve been aware of the existence of hauntology for a while, but not engaged with it. It’s often come to me connected with rather obtuse, deliberately difficult bit of writing, performance and philosophising. It turns out, I’ve not only been missing the point entirely, but been missing out massively.  For hauntology connects the dots forContinue reading “The hauntology of the commons”

East Devon Roadtrip.

Everything’s just got too familiar with me and commons over the lockdowns. It’s become just about what I read in books, the commons I remember like Tunbridge Wells and Walthamstow Marshes, and the commons I come across in research like the wet meadows bordering Hinkley Point, which I’m dying to visit. For medical reasons, I’mContinue reading “East Devon Roadtrip.”