My introduction to psychogeography came in 1982 when the Falklands first became real islands – as well as a conflict. The far side of the world crash-landed in our living room and I drank black coffee and watched, aged 11.
Later I realised that maps are not just about miles, they are about connections of all kinds. Distances can stretch and shrink.
The name of a country, town, important person – an old woman – can catapult me through time. Faded news reports dazzle again. The South Atlantic swells and I drink a skinny latte and watch history shore up at my feet.
In the spring of that year they dug a giant pit in the shape of a grave. It stretched north, south, east and west, growing as eager townsfolk took up spades and bent their backs to hollow the blackened earth. Over the weeks the pit was filled with millions of words torn from newspapers, TV interview transcripts and antiquarian journals as the people thronged to bury a lexicon. The words were burned by torches and interred under a deep layer of soil. Then came the rains. The soil washed away and the ashen words reappeared like a stain, a scar.
An obituary stated that oxygen was his making. Air, and good publicity, had delivered fame and fortune. In reality, success was mechanical. He invented a forced-air pump that inflated almost any object. Industrialists, financiers and the public sector all bought into it. With a quick shot, the pump blew air into balloons, bubbles and even man-made fabrics. Clothing was puffed and padded, foodstuffs aerated. The air was a cushion. But the cushion collapsed. In the pump factories, the failure was systemic. Bad engineering caused multiple injuries. Whole communities were scarred. And, his cruel mind clouded, he ran out of breath.