Today I walked the second walk in this series and made the following list of additional words:
man in a suit
look both ways
green wheelie bin
girl with a trolley
sound of a bin moved
bricks and old stones
worn out face
smell of cooking
man walks through a green door
plastic coffee lid
old brick wall
cordon around a tree
push to open
With the new lists, I have written the words up on paper in ‘squares’, and in the example below, those words from the first walk which were not relevant in the second walk have been rubbed out. Of course, as with most things, the presence of the word, or the object is never fully removed; although it may not have been visible on the walk in a physical sense, it still existed a part of my memory.
I’ve made a similar work with the prose version of the list of words. Here is the prose version of the first walk:
and here the words and attached sentences have been removed.
As well as this method of constructing what one might term a ‘document of experience’, I have also used the typed versions as a means of recording. Following the second walk, I removed from the prose, all the words which I erased from the first list but left the surrounding words of their relevant sentences intact. Into the gaps I then inserted sections of prose from the second walk.
Everything leaves a mark somehow and whereby in the pencilled versions of the prose I can erase the pencil and still leave a trace, I cannot do the same with an electronic document. Leaving the rest of the sentence intact therefore works in the same way as the trace of rubbed out words. If someone is seen in a street one day, they inevitably leave a trace, somehow, and, when they are no longer visible in that place, this trace might still be seen.
The following prose is that of walks 1 and 2 combined, as described above:
An engine purrs. A woman with The engines of the buses roar. walks towards me. The Somewhere in town a siren is sounding. of a bus’s brakes, and then its A man walks towards me with a cigarette in his mouth. He hasn’t lit it yet. A sightseeing bus turns around, ready to begin its tour. telling of its departure. Outside the pub on a blackboard is advertised; a. Leffe is also served here. A man gives a A woman checks her sunglasses while behind her a man in a suit walks aimlessly as if he’s not long woken up. as I cross the zebra crossing. A man with a On the edge of the pavement, a heap of refuse sacks are left waiting to be collected walks towards and then past me. Ahead, on the opposite side of the street, a shop and a restaurant stand empty with boarded windows. A young man with a The red man is lit so I wait to cross. I look around. saunters down the road while a A woman pushes a pushchair and from amongst the rooftops a spire points to the sky. at the traffic lights. I see people with I notice a glass dome, I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed it before. making their way to the train station. The lights are red, then red and amber and the traffic moves. On the window ahead of me are written some Chinese characters and on the road, a sign cautions everyone to look both ways. are on patrol. A bus called the Having crossed the road and walked a little, a signs says dead end and down that dead end stands a green wheelie bin. drives past and a man gives his daughter a A barrier is down at the exit of the car park beside which a group of people are out for a family walk. There are two trees on this side of the street. I hear come from a car, while up ahead, a cuts the pavement in two. Up another road, in the distance, a man crouches. I walk past an iron gate and on some railings see a French flag – a poster advertising a market. A wedding party stands on the pavement. The A young girl with a trolley stands at the side of the road dominated by the mound. just before I reach the road and so I wait a while. On the lamppost, a sticker with 404 has been stuck on. I look up the empty street towards the city centre. A couple carry identical A man with a rucksack walks with a group of others; girlfriends and children. happy with their purchases. I cross the road and see A car stops at the junction, loud music pouring from its open window. The car screeches out. littering the pavement. One of the wedding guests talks about sales. Ahead is the castle tower. A Walking down the road I notice a camera hidden away like a big eye watching everything. hangs on a bollard and nearby lies a discarded blanket. Up ahead, a A car is parked with four parking tickets tucked beneath its windscreen wipers. I look; a takes my attention for some reason. On the pavement, old confetti appears stuck down. There’s a row of empty cycle racks. The street is quiet, a and I hear. A man wearing walks towards me. Round the corner, the I notice the small windows of the houses here and a tree which grows near the old railings by the river. Some are painted a different colour to the rest – just a few of them.. and ahead I see an arch over the entrance to a courtyard. Birdsong is mixed with the gentle sound of water. A flag flutters above the tower. and a group of To my right I hear the sound of a bin moved across the floor. A shop window has metal shutters pulled down and a padlock is coiled around the railings like a snake. Along the road is a bookshop. talk as they walk past. Dirty water gathers at the weir. On the road, a cordon contains sand, paving slabs and gravel. There’s litter too. Above me, the ancient windows of the tower look out. A lifebuoy waits for an emergency while the Two men carry shopping bags and down on the river, three ducks negotiate the litter in the water. on the water. A and I hear 118 is written on a sign. I don’t look at the rest of it. Below the bridge is a drowned bicycle and a submerged traffic cone. There are some old plastic bags snared in the branches. I walk beside the old walls. On the pavement is the stain of a splash just where the weeds grow and where petals gather like the paper confetti. Little Derick’s doin ok – a scrawled message on a hoarding says. I wonder who he is. A A building here is a mix of bricks and old stones, On the opposite side some new flats are being built. From a building opposite – a pub – a rainbow flag hangs. In the yards of a block of flats are some bicycle racks. Two chefs take a break for a chat while up ahead a traffic warden chats with someone less fortunate. A man in a luminous jacket with a worn out face looks out for litter. A sign says 20 zone. and on the wall of a building I’m made aware of CCTV. An arrow points towards another road while up ahead, the concrete monster looms large. Hooks on the front of a building wait for absent baskets of flowers. appears on his bike and we engage in A pigeon descends with a flap. mainly about the weather. Posters look tatty beside that ugly building – all bricks and shadow. A man with A sign says except cycles. on his arm waits while A woman carries a pink bag and behind a net curtain in a restaurant window a man sits, as if he is hiding from something. is erected nearby. Are they going to knock the ugly stuff down? I wish they would. A Here palm trees grow. E1 bus stop. Here the smell of cooking hangs in the air. E2 bus stop and a sign for the library. bobs on the opposite side of the street but on my side it’s all bird shit. A The sound of an engine – not heard by the man wearing headphones. An old sock lays incongruously on the pavement; where is the other one I wonder? scuttles across the path, in amongst the cigarette ends. E3 says a sign at one of the bus stops. Ahead I see the steps I’ll walk up. A strong shadow cuts across and in the distance I hear A bus ticket blows past and over the road I see the steps near which a traffic cone has been unceremoniously left. An old man with a flat cap walks past and opposite, waiting to cross the road is a man with a red waistcoat. Then comes the crossing sound. We walk across. – a wedding perhaps? Green lights but I cross anyway, there’s no traffic. A bottle of I walk up the steps and see a green sweet and further down a broken bottle. There’s a The mound rises up behind the walls while on the ground are some dropped chips from the night before. has been left by the steps. waiting for a visitor, but above it a roll of barbed wire warns against intrusion. A satellite dish sits silently on the wall of another house and above it, a green spire shoots like some massive flower. Here it’s I can hear the sound of running water. and On the pavement is a pile of dog shit. I pass lampposts no.2 and no.3 and see ivy clambering over the wall like a thief. Up ahead a man walks through a green door above which, tumbling on the wall are some red flowers. A coke can sits at the edge of the pavement and on a step someone has written the words libya libya; why I don’t know. Up ahead is a corner. There’s a black door and in the middle of the pavement a plastic coffee lid. Below the gutter runs, as if unsure of its path. Lamppost no.4. Like the ivy, a plastic sheet escapes over another wall. I see an old step over the lost gutter which now goes nowhere. Ahead is a half-painted bollard. A There’s an old brick wall above which the thick trunk of a vine twists and turns. has been left on a car parked on double-yellow lines. The driver’s seat is decorated with a Three metal boxes are stacked at the alley way to the street at the end of which is the corn exchange. Here is lamppost and a gathering of. says one of them. I notice an just as the smell of fills the air; someone is cleaning. Ahead is a litter bin past which a man pulls a. I pass a red door then a blue door, a bicycle and a pillar box. On the pavement is a A boy with a knitted jumper walks with his parents. Up ahead, a cordon has been placed around a tree and above the roof tops is a green dome. I round the corner and see two people Push to open says a sign. There are a few A pigeon wanders aimlessly. On the pavement is a load of spilled. There are French flags again. The market’s here. A girl in walks towards me and I walk past a stall selling and on towards a which snakes its way down one side of the square. A man in a luminous jacket walks past me. An engine purrs. Ahead, three telephone boxes wait for conversation, but for the moment, there’s just the sound of Here is the market office and back where the buses leave a number of fans are whirring.
I am also interested in the visual interpretation of memory, i.e. what it is that we remember. Of course it may be different for different people, but whenever I think of a part of the walk and think about what I am seeing, I realise that the image is a very vague interpretation of reality. Below is a drawing which is a drawing of my entire walk, drawn with my eyes closed so as to focus my mind on the memory image, from the left of the page to the right. The image below is my ‘memory’ of the first walk.
After the second walk, I rubbed the entire image out, leaving a trace of the original drawing on the paper. Over this I then drew my ‘memory’ of the second walk (below) and will repeat this process throughout the duration of my walking this particular route.
These examples are all in effect palimpsests: whereby even though I have erased words and images, traces of them can still be seen on the page, just as traces of the past can still be found everywhere throughout the city – the past is never fully effaced.