Caught by the River


22nd November 2013


From The Guardian: Jon McGregor looks at the lost, sunlit world caught in Justin Partyka’s photographs of the East Anglian Fenlands – JP: The sensation I experienced then, and which I still experience when I get back there now, was something I can only call emplacement: the rare feeling of being firmly and rightfully placed in the landscape, attached to the world. Under the enormous East Anglian skies, your own body can feel very small, but everything else feels small as well.

From Robert Macfarlane:
“Three years or so ago I stumbled for the first time into the ‘unreal city’ of Norbiton, a dazzlingly strange thought-experiment in virtual topography, counterfactual space, town-planning and tapirs, constructed by the writer Toby Ferris. Shades of M John Harrison, shades of a witty Sebald, strong shades of Italo Calvino. Norbiton extends its demesne fitfully: its most recent expansion concerns the ‘Pastoral’: ‘The pastures of Norbiton, with their sheep and their goats, their shepherds and oaten pipes, their wolves and wolfhounds, are long since subducted beneath the great cordillera of the city. In the city the rolling hills all run underground, walked only by transhumant ghosts and their grizzled flocks. But fragments occasionally surface…’ How can you resist such a lead in? I recommend Caught by the River readers to explore Norbiton, but (caveat lector) once entered, it is a hard place to leave.”

Nature Studies: We’ve cleaned up most of our rivers – but what about the rest? A troubling article on the state of our chalk-streams by Michael McCarthy in The Independent.

The photography in this film is so good that if you get the chance to see it on a big screen I reckon you should. Otherwise, it’s available on-demand from Curzon Home Cinema. Highly recommended.

Big Map Blog (via The Island Review): One of this week’s exciting discoveries is the Big Map Blog, where interesting maps of all kinds are published and discussed. These are mostly historical maps (and related images), some of which are truly beautiful and shown in incredibly high definition.

Breanish and the Creators of Earthlines: Mark Cocker visits the Isle of Lewis and meets Sharon Blackie and David Knowles the founder editors of one of our favourite magazines, Earthlines.


From Peter Watts’ blog, The Great WenSecret London: streets beneath streets of London: As I crossed Charing Cross Road from Soho and stood on an island in the middle of the road waiting for a No 24 bus to pass, I happened to look into the grille beneath my feet. I have instinctive curiosity when it comes to London holes but this is the first time I’ve really seen anything of interest, as, to my surprise, I could make out what appeared to be a subterranean street sign set into the wall a few feet below the ground.