I stumbled across this book on Amazon whilst looking or a gift for my Dad for Father's Day.
Written by two 'poets' Paul Farley and Michael Symmonds Roberts who we are told are of the much mystified 'lyrical' tradition, but don't let that put you off.
The bumf from the back cover sounded like something I might be interested in. Describing an exploration of the interzone between town and country, the ever shifting limnal (I love that word) boundaries between town and countryside. Those unloved tracts of scrubland scattered with the ugly and unwanted detritus of our modern world that encompassed much of the play areas of my youth. The buried green lane, the industrial estate, the breakers yard, the sewerage works, abandoned ruinous hospitals/schools/housing estates and bottle dumps, the ghost railways, the unfinished motorway and the overgrown green spaces that linked them.
Sounded good, but four chapters in, I must admit it isn't all I'd wished for.
The book is set out as 23 short essays covering a range of subject matter such as 'canal's', 'mines', 'cars' , 'ruins', 'hotels', 'paths' and 'dens'. Whilst there are some interesting insights and asides, all to often it becomes a eulogy to these alleged 'forgotten' places, and the authors 'lost' place in time. Concentrating mostly on the north of Britain, with brief forays into the Midlands and the South, they attempt to instill an 'eldritch wyrdness' to these frankly banal industrial landscapes that doesn't always work. They may have seemed exotic places of escape as children, but as adults it's obvious why we steer clear of them. Still, it's early days, maybe it will pick up, but for my money, Iain Sinclair does this kind of thing better, and they seem to draw heavily on the influence of an old Richard Maybe book 'The Unofficial Countryside'.
The authors grew up about the same time as myself, the 1970's. For many of us of that generation, we see it as the last gleaming of the golden age of childhood. Where you could leave the house in the morning, with enough money for a bag of chips and a can of pop, not to return home before the last gloaming of twighlight. Parents never asking what you'd been up to, and to be honest, even if they did, you wouldn't have told them.
I recognise many of the landscapes described in the 'prose' and to some degree have fond memories of them, but I'm not sure that the book ever really rises to the 'psycho-geographic' heights the authors may have imagined for it, many of the observations, though cleverly worded, remain ultimately mundane.
I guess if your childhood was spent watching TV, or glaring at a computer screen it may seem 'edgy' (sorry, no pun intended), but to those of us who explored these places, it's a nice trip down memory lane.