The Other Part of the Journey

By Jennifer-Lynn Crawford

A fairly direct extrapolation of some Walking Stories content:

some of the group pauses: (blue and redCome to a stop. Watch some of the group walk away
part of the group moves off in a different direction (walk away from the group. keep walking. notice who is walking with you. walk together)
and disperses… ([voice 2We scattered and stood still)

In this case, into a midnight London, still busy with a Saturday Night. I could have been standing still for the traffic around Clapham Common.

How do our space-lines look now? From the train to Eastleigh, Kim, Chris, David and I were all heading in different directions inside the general destination of London. How far back would the map zoom to contain the lines that are Charlotte, Tristan, Bruno, Alex over in the place called France (which does indeed have a very important line demarcating it as France, rather than England, even though both are inside the larger lines representing Europe)… as well as London… the destinations of Clapham, Streatham, St. Albans and Kennington… Tom never left the area called Manchester. I’m now back in a place called home, in Leeds.

A theorist whose work I enjoy proposes that:

”Perhaps we could imagine space as a simultaneity of stories-so-far.” (Massey, 2005 9).

Space, like time, is changing – it is on the move. The frayed edges of boundary lines, like borders… shifting. When exactly did the lines of David-Kim-Chris-Jennifer enter the area of London? We were on a train at night, ourselves a bit frayed, a bit glazed. It seems easier to figure out when we’ve left. Even though the same issue arises – the place called Portsmouth finished…? After the joke about the railcard? Before the one about the propellor-assisted bike? More useful to think that our involvement with the place called Portsmouth finished. We ceased to situate our stories-so-far there; the pub carried on, the pudding arrived and probably another toast was made prior to dis-embarking from the pub. But for the rest of the pub – another table was freed up. We made space. We probably left something there. I didn’t have time to finish my sausages.

And the other lines that were there – Caroline, Jonathan, the Canadian fellow who we joined up with somewhere outside Chichester…

I suppose it is hard not to imagine places as static. They lie waiting for us on maps. We move towards them; sometimes they get further away as we find ourselves in not-the-right-place (aka, the Wrong Way). We get tangled up in places – our trajectories join the trajectories already intertwining towards/around the place called Portsmouth, called London – the places are never stopping. As I move away from London, my story-so-far becomes the train pulling out of Kings Cross. But London’s story-so-far keeps plotting, all those threads… fraying, re-weaving, tangled up with each other. When I get back there, it won’t be the same. I won’t be the same either. We’ll keep going about our own stories until next we meet.

“That tree that blows now in the wind out there, that tired factory on the way to defeat, that person running for the bus … these are things ‘caught’ in the act, but they are acts that are moments-in-process, never to be stabilised. The train transects a million ongoing histories.” (Massey, 2003: 108).

I went to Halifax this morning. It seemed very different from Leeds, despite being not-very-far. The weather was hideous for one. Halifax is far enough away for it to be a bit colder, wetter and windier. But now that I’m back in Leeds, that same weather is here. Not so far after all. Maybe I should go back to Halifax.

Massey, D. “Some Times of Space.” In Olafur Eliasson: The Weather Project. Edited by Susan May. Exhibition Catalogue. London: Tate Publishing, 2003: 107-118.

Massey, D. For Space. London: SAGE Publications, 2005.

Walking Stories – forthcoming!

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