Did you know that Dunfermline is mentioned in Moby Dick, the town’s monks used to eat porpoise rolled into spiced balls and the King was partial to a bit of whale tongue? You do if you’ve read From Hill to Sea – Dispatches from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective. Recently published by Bread and Circuses, this is Limekilns psychogeographer Murdo Eason’s first book and it has rapidly gained an enthusiastic international following.
The collection of essays charts Eason’s walks around Fife and occasionally further afield. Like a true psychogeographer, he is guided not by map or compass but by impulse and intrigue. In this way, the tired and tatty can become inspiring and new and the beautiful and familiar can be sinister and strange. Eason likens psychogeography to exploring the world as a child would, without preconception or boundaries: ‘as is common with any drift, with a little attention, a surreal world can reveal itself’.
Eason talks of footfall democracy, Deleuze and Guattari and the immersive derive as he meditates on the Ghosts of Little Moscow in Lochgelly, dreams of the sheep with golden fleeces who grazed on Largo Law, traces the coffin road from Pattiesmuir and greets hip, 60’s hippos in Glenrothes. The COBRA artists, Jules Verne and the tragic murder of a boy in Wemyss all feature as Eason listens to the echoes and whispers of past structures and activity. Even a walk around Paris recalls his old school in Glenrothes.
It’s clear that Eason’s reading sends him out onto the road and the road sends him back to reading and research. His writings are interspersed by poetry, word patterns and photos while most essays are accompanied by eclectic music recommendations.
You don’t come across much psychogeography outside London and other big cities so it’s refreshing to discover one on your own doorstep who, in turn, finds on his own doorstep such rich psychogeographic pickings.