- Select a page at random from the A-Z
- Follow the directions 'second right, second right, first left'
- If you come to a dead end, retrace your steps and take the next turning
- If you come to a park or piece of open ground, cross it and continue following the directions
- Do not consult the map
This kind of approach to wandering is one that was practiced by the Situationists(http://ingridnewton.blogspot.com/2010/01/navigating-city.html) in an attempt to defamiliarise themselves from their habitual methods of navigating the urban landscape. Sometimes called an 'algorithm walk', it is characterised by a randomly generated set of repeated instructions, the idea being to break your normal destination or purpose-based motives for traversing the map - the so-called 'locomotion without a goal'. The idea is quite simple - choose a starting point and you're off. In theory anyway. The reality proved to be quite different and extremely frustrating!
The throw of the dice selected Page 35 of my A-Z which turned out to be Chingford - one of the far distant north eastern squares on the A-Z. It proved to be quite a marathon just to reach it as there is no tube station on that page. My journey involved a tube ride to Walthamstow Central and then a bus northwards. On emerging from the tube into the bus station, I had completely lost my bearings and had to ask the lady bus driver if this bus was indeed going north as I hoped. I might as well have been asking if it went to the moon for all she understood me. I gave up and got on....
Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium at the bottom of my page of the map was the walk's point of departure. A striking Art Deco building which was affectionately known as the Lord's of the Dogs, it sadly closed in 2008 and is now earmarked for housing development. A good start to the walk but from then on it was anything but plain sailing. My first 'second right' turned out to be a dead end - with a playing field at the bottom blocked off by a mesh fence. Ditto the next turning. Following turnings led to a school, or into a maze of suburban streets that just fed into eachother in a perpetual circle. The next road was so long that by the time I got to the bottom of it, I couldn't remember if I was going left, right or just mad. In a fit of pique I abandoned the process and just wandered aimlessly. According to the rules - a total failure, but at least I had given it a go.
When I got home and sorted the through the day's photographic trawl, I noticed several themes emerging, as usual in a totally non-intentional way. For a person totally disinterested in sport of all kinds, I seem to have taken quite a number of sport-themed photographs.....
.....and as for red, I just can't seem to avoid it.
To be continued