russell higgs

29 May 2007 748 views
 
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photoblog image tuesday 29052007

tuesday 29052007



"Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, I do like to be beside the sea, I do like to stroll along the prom, prom, prom, Where the brassbands play Tiddley-om-pom-pom! So just let me be beside the seaside, I'll be beside myself with glee."

Yesterday I spent the day in Brighton, by the sea, catching up with my friend David.

We've been friends since 91 when we both moved to Brighton. David and I worked as care assistants for the same person, thats how we met. I lived in Brighton about 18 months in all and then I moved back to London. David has continued to call Brighton his home ever since.

It was a cold and rainy day yesterday, not conducive to much flânerie. So much of our time together ended up being spent inside cafes etc.

David is a very generous friend and he paid for most of our time, but it still made me realise how much it kind of bugs me that generally our public space tends to be business space, cash register space, rather than free space. Or at least the social choices we most often opt for tend to be consumer social experiences rather than free social experiences. Spending and Consuming are considered to be almost the natural heart of any time spent with friends outside the home. I find myself suspicious that as a society we generally take for granted the idea that friendship goes hand-in-hand with consumerism, as though they were one and the same thing, as though there were really no other means of having a good time out of the home unless loads of money has been spent.

The pleasures of Human Interaction and Public Space have become conflated with Consumerism and Profits. I think its important to pay attention to that conflation.

And don't get me wrong- while i'm sat here sternly wagging my typing finger at the world, pontificating here on my web soapbox, -it was nonetheless lovely to be catching up with my friend yesterday, and being in multiple locations throughout the day is always one of my favourite experiences, even if they're homogenised spaces that demand we consume something. And its unfortunate we were compromised by unfriendly weather out doors.

Its just, I guess it highlighted for me that these past few years here in London I've been consciously trying to find alternative ways to spend time with friends in public spaces, without money being involved, without equating love with consuming material things etc etc.

I'm still learning and realising just how huge Free London is and how broad and varied all the Free available options are here, everyday. Discovering Free London is like discovering a secret garden, and much of it is often hiding in plain site, a parallel universe to the world of cash registers and muzak.

tuesday 29052007



"Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, I do like to be beside the sea, I do like to stroll along the prom, prom, prom, Where the brassbands play Tiddley-om-pom-pom! So just let me be beside the seaside, I'll be beside myself with glee."

Yesterday I spent the day in Brighton, by the sea, catching up with my friend David.

We've been friends since 91 when we both moved to Brighton. David and I worked as care assistants for the same person, thats how we met. I lived in Brighton about 18 months in all and then I moved back to London. David has continued to call Brighton his home ever since.

It was a cold and rainy day yesterday, not conducive to much flânerie. So much of our time together ended up being spent inside cafes etc.

David is a very generous friend and he paid for most of our time, but it still made me realise how much it kind of bugs me that generally our public space tends to be business space, cash register space, rather than free space. Or at least the social choices we most often opt for tend to be consumer social experiences rather than free social experiences. Spending and Consuming are considered to be almost the natural heart of any time spent with friends outside the home. I find myself suspicious that as a society we generally take for granted the idea that friendship goes hand-in-hand with consumerism, as though they were one and the same thing, as though there were really no other means of having a good time out of the home unless loads of money has been spent.

The pleasures of Human Interaction and Public Space have become conflated with Consumerism and Profits. I think its important to pay attention to that conflation.

And don't get me wrong- while i'm sat here sternly wagging my typing finger at the world, pontificating here on my web soapbox, -it was nonetheless lovely to be catching up with my friend yesterday, and being in multiple locations throughout the day is always one of my favourite experiences, even if they're homogenised spaces that demand we consume something. And its unfortunate we were compromised by unfriendly weather out doors.

Its just, I guess it highlighted for me that these past few years here in London I've been consciously trying to find alternative ways to spend time with friends in public spaces, without money being involved, without equating love with consuming material things etc etc.

I'm still learning and realising just how huge Free London is and how broad and varied all the Free available options are here, everyday. Discovering Free London is like discovering a secret garden, and much of it is often hiding in plain site, a parallel universe to the world of cash registers and muzak.

comments (3)

  • Ellie
  • on my chair
  • 30 May 2007, 00:40
Interesting narrative Russell, and absolutely true as well. We're increasingly 'forced' to spend money when we've got free time, although I suppose I'm very lucky to be able to walk on beaches or in the Forest, generally able to park free of charge too, but in the towns it's so different, a 'day out' spent 'doing nothing' costs a fortune! It bugs me too.
  • Ray
  • Thailand [Land of Smiles]
  • 30 May 2007, 14:44
Oh...snap out of it, you aging grouch! You've just gotten soft, and prefer air-con, roof-over-head, pleasant-smelling coffee shops to cold, damp parks. [grin]

There is a lot of cash-register-free space in Bangkok, despite it being a huge, sprawling human hive.
russell higgs: Fundamentally I'm a flaneur. I get immense pleasure from wandering aimlessly.

And often even if it is raining I'll remind myself that theres no real reason for me to respond negatively to getting wet. I remind myself that my auto-negative response to rain is just something I've mindlessly copied from people.

But meanwhile Free London is particularly prominent in my thoughts at the moment because I'm currently embarking on a new project that focuses on the abundance of free talks and seminars and screenings etc around town.
  • Ray
  • 31 May 2007, 06:41
"Flaneur"...a word I have not seen used in a long time. Tends to be an epithet bestowed on one by another, and usually as a derogation. I presume...as this is self-bestowed... you are intending the meaning to be something like "one who wanders aimlessly, observing and philosophising along the way".

I think flaneurs are solitary types, at least when practicing. It's hard to be aimless if you are doing it with somebody....either the other cramps your style, or you [piss] the other off.

I wander a bit...usually on my pushbike as it keeps my feet above the dog excrement.

"Where r u going?"
"Aaah...dunno."
"R u looking for something?"
"Nope."
"When will u b back?"
"When I'm 3H [Hungry, Horny or Hadit]."
"Bye bye [offers cheek for peck]."

Sometimes...when I have returned, and satisfied 3H, I write a story about what I have observed and thought about. http://www.all-my-world.com/pblog/index.php?entry=entry070306-044158

Is that the kind of thing you mean, Russell?
russell higgs: Flânerie is flourishing as a positive meme due to it rhyming so well with our evolving online relationship with information.

I guess it was last popularised in the 60s with the situationist Derive (itself a DADA psychogeographic practice)

According to DeBord, "to derive was to notice the way in which certain areas, streets, or buildings resonate with states of mind, inclinations, and desires, and to seek out reasons for movement other than those for which an environment was designed." The environment was to be used solely for the purpose of one's own personal experience, "seeking not only the marvelous beloved by surrealism but bringing an inverted perspective to bear on the entirity of the spectacular world." And it is very much a sociable group activity just as much as it is a solo one.

And when I think of the Flaneur I tend to think of Dandy Ontological Terrorists such as Grant Morrison's The Invisibles....
http://www.barbelith.com/bomb/

and meanwhile..... thinking about Groovy Popular Terrorists from the good old days of yore, I've just rented 3 DVD documentaries that I've been busting to watch for ages.

"dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y" a film by Johan Grimonprez
http://www.amazon.com/Dial-H-I-S-T-O-R-Y/dp/B0006A9F5K

"GUERRILLA, the taking of Patty Hearst" a film by Robert Stone
http://www.amazon.com/Guerrilla-Taking-Russ-Little-III/dp/B000ADWDG6/

and "A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE"
http://www.amazon.com/Decade-Under-Influence-Peter-Boyle/dp/B0000AKY7F/

will check out your blog post in a while Ray

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