What follows is a series of posts based around the theme of ‘Reverie’ made by the artists Kate Genever and Steve Pool, the visual anthropologist, Amanda Ravetz, and myself. Here’s mine, which begins with few lines from Scott Walker's 1969 song On your own again:
You're on your own again,
and you're your best again.
That's what you tell yourself.
I’m an only child. Here’s me on my new bike with a proud Mum on Dunstall Walk (and in front of that original fence which separated the estate from the cornfield and the rest of the countryside beyond) around the time that Scott Walker was existentially reflecting on his life after the events of May 1968, and in what is probably my second-favourite-ever song.
I certainly relate to those lyrics. When things go slightly wrong – for instance as I fail better once again to attract some research funding – my fall-back position is always to say to myself that I don’t care, I’m better off on my own, I can do these things on my own in any case.
But sometimes I know that I have to come out of my shell, and that I should let others into what I’m doing. I did this last month when – not with a little trepidation – I invited some other, shall we say, hopefully, ‘interested’, parties – artists Kate Genever and Steve Pool, and the visual anthropologist Amanda Ravetz – to walk around the Middlefield Lane estate with me so that they could see the estate and, perhaps, shake me out of the insularity that an only-child-state, and a deeply personal research programme like this can perpetuate. In the end, of course, I needn’t have worried – it was just really nice to be able to walk around the estate with them, to show them the places and spaces of my childhood and, especially, to hear and see their responses to the estate.
The most gratifying aspect of our ‘preamble’ for me was that, without any prompting from me, they all recognised just how spacious, green, and well-planned the estate was. The other thing I liked was that they felt I was getting quite angry when I was telling them about how the original architectural and landscape planning of the estate had been messed about with over the years, especially in how the Modernist centre-piece of the estate, The Precinct shops, and its adjoining flats had been demolished, and of how it had been replaced by an incongruous set of new-build bungalows. If you want more of a flavour of that anger, have a look at a post from a couple of years ago ‘A new estate just like the old estate, only NEW!’here.
The next post comes from Amanda herself ...