Thursday, 30 June 2011

Forthcoming Events

Ahoy there my lovelies

The LRM will be setting sail to magical lands this Sunday - July 3rd - as it's first Sunday of course. That's no surprise (although our destination will be). One of the things I love about The LRM is the way it ebbs and flows; people free to come and go and still being a treasured part of the collective.

In an unprecedented move due to popular demand (a phrase I have never, ever been able truthfully to type before) I have done a wee bit of forward planning and can publish our first ever events diary. It also features another first; a repeat of a previous expedition due to the amazing response to our modernist heroines tour.

July's First Sunday Derive - one of our regular explorations of the city, playing out on the street and looking at Manchester in a different way. This month we will be focusing on music, sound and memory. This Sunday, July 3rd 3pm meeting at the memorial tree in Piccadilly Gardens. (Don't forget the awesome ancoats peeps tours happening all weekend too)

Manchester Modernist Heroines - this walk celebrates the stories of ten inspiration women who shaped the 20th century city but whose achievements are overlooked by the history books. Saturday July 23rd 2pm; unlike our other events this one is ticketed so please book your ticket here If its full please register anyway or leave a comment so I can gauge the appetite for another walk. This is a repeat of the previous event which is - thrillingly and- back by popular demand. Part of an ongoing project with our friends at where you can download a copy of the accompanying 'zine which collates work from a range of contributors

Drinking in the City - this tour looks at the impact of alchohol on the streets, telling tales of Manchester's lost pubs, prohibition, moral panics, class struggles, romantic liasions, famous raconteurs and comedy encounters facilitated by booze. Will end in a pub, of course! Starts Sunday September 2nd, 2pm at Piccadilly Gardens

Chris Mills - hooray! one of our very favourite musicians is back in manchester for a very special gig. With special guests and copious amounts of cake. September 9th at The Britons Protection tickets £5

Security, Freedom and Fun - this walk will focus on what makes us feel safe; what features have been designed into the city to keep us secure and whether the price we pay for this is too high - what are the real threats to Manchester and what limits should be set on freedom? October Sunday 2nd, time tbc

The September and October events are a collaboration with the rather wonderful Manchester Mule

I hope to see you playing on the streets with us, everyone is welcome and all our walks are free (how could we put a price on wandering the streets?)

For more details please email or follow us on twitter @thelrm

Love and golden apples

Morag xx

ps pictures used are mostly random snaps from my wanderings

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

archive #3 what is psychogeography

This is the introduction to Where are You? Manchesters First Accidental International Festival of Psychogeography. I've resisted the urge to edit or amend....

View subject to change but this is what we can see now. It’s a few hours before the festival starts so please excuse our poor grammar and giddy bewilderment

When I first heard the word psychogeography I had a wonderful turnaround moment of clarity, a little epiphany. It encompasses lots of things I’m fascinated by but I still find the best way to explain it to you is with a picture.

Names have such power – they give life and strength and meaning although that’s something different to everybody of course. But they limit too and it’s the same with maps – its hard not to be seduced by boundaries, Perhaps I like making maps because I’m useless at following them, A straight a-z misses out all the splendid wonkiness of life.

If you asked 20 people to draw a map of the basement they would all make something different and I bet none of them would resemble the ordinance survey or a fire plan.I’ve always loved aimless wandering and exploring, my favourite pastimes include catching random trains and finding secret passages across town and (best of all) watching urban wildlife… but hey! I’m not just an idler, I’m a flaneur and this is a derive… disorientation as experiment, play as an artistic statement…

The Loiterers Resistance Movement is about this and more. We got our name from Phaedra who was lamenting the lack of uncommercial public space in Manchester; she said having fun in Brisbane gives you a suntan but in Manchester all you get is as ASBO.

Sometimes it feels like its all about money and power in our post bomb nirvana. Every space has an advert on it and why is Canal Street the way it is? Why aren’t there any nurseries or greengrocers or haberdashers in the village? Who made gay a business opportunity? How does that make you feel and what if it’s meant to be your space but you don’t feel welcome?

But there’s still magick too if you want to find it.Did you know the grass mounds by Urbis are designed to make you want to play – but are deliberately to small to hide behind? I like that bit of town, all the kids making it their own territory. Legend has it there’s a medieval street somewhere underneath the triangle – its where the great Elizabethan alchemist John Dee lived when he was sort of banished to Manchester. I imagine his ghost finds the museums shiny glass surface an excellent scrying stone. (You can see the arse mark of a devil conjured by Mr Dee on a chair in Chethams but that is another story)

Anyway, I was thinking about all this on Sunday. We were taking pictures for the launch night quiz. The autumn light was glorious, everything was glowing and a friend and I were rushing about showing each other favourite haunts before the sun set… I’d love to tell you what we saw but then you’ll know all the answers and the quiz will be no fun… there’s some great prizes by the way, all treasure I’ve found on the city’s pavement… its amazing what you can find when you’re looking but I really ought to stop. Too much stuff is suffocating.

We walked home through the park, eating falafel and laughing at how beautiful it was and how peaceful – mostly because everyone’s too scared to go there at night. I would be too if I was on my own (that’s another map I want to draw, a collaborative one about street harassment but I can’t quite figure out how to make it work, what do you think?)

It felt like the only place in town the modern panoptican couldn’t see us – cameras everywhere these days and don’t get me started about the beetham tower, there’s not room. We discovered new constellations amongst the stars whilst a fox watched us trespass on his land. Back on the street halogen glowed and litter blew around us as we passed the old factory and a roadside shrine. There was some barbed wire on the kerb – a morag trap – I fell and cut my leg.

As above, so below

I hope you like the exhibition (mmm.maps are sexy) and enjoy the accidental festival. It should evolve over time, there’s some great work coming to us soon from 56a via Italy that I’m very excited about, plus reports from the various expeditions and explorations. Please add your own embellishments, stories, maps and musings.

The LRM are planning further actions and some point soon we might even publish our manifesto.Its central tenet will probably be that we like flowers growing out of the side of buildings and yuppification makes us sad.

Glittery love and golden apples

The Loiterers Resistance Movement, December 2006 xxx

funny but in some ways i feel we've travelled so far but in a different light it's all still the same.

archive #6 what is a derive?

Dear friends, lovers and loiterers

I hope you are keeping warm, positive and open minded in the current challenging conditions. Apologies this email is out of sync with First Sunday but there a few things I wanted to share

Recently I have been questioning the relevance of the derive and been fearful it has become commodified and recuperated by so many that as a tactic is has become meaningless . When the dark times are upon us how can walking help? Have we become nothing more than social ramblers? It is true the term has been misinterpreted, misused and devalued by some utter tosh, much of if very expensive and flashy.

I was feeling sad about this but then, of course, i went for a wander and felt again the rush of excitement at an unexpected view, a serendipitous collision with the path of a friend and then I paused to hear the whispers beneath the roar of Christmas shopping.

Yes! The derive is still a relevant and beautiful tactic but it must be only one of many if we are to create our fantasy city. David Wilkinson made me cheer when he wrote to me “we are never too late, recuperation is never total or infinite. History is a process – (it was said) history was over, capitalism was smooth and efficient and people had forgotten how to fight back, And look where we are now! Student occupations and Len McCluskey make me do silly happy dances. There’s lots of places you can stand within a fundamentally contradictory society, both metaphorically and physically”

Psychogeography is an evolving and rich tradition; it has changed over time and will doubtless change again. The Situationist Internationale still holds an abiding fascination for me. Of course their true power is contested and accessibility, openness and co-operation (which The LRMN strive for) were perhaps not their strongest points. However their echoes resonate, perhaps now stronger than ever with student occupations, the return of the Okasional Café to Manchester (hooray) and roving protests disrupting the spectacle of christmas consumption whist striving to avoid kettles – such protests are nothing if not psychogeographic albeit on an unconscious level amongst the participants.

Possibly my favourite SI work deals with what, for me, is key to true social change – the integration of ideas into a "Revolution of Everyday Life" where everything we do is meaningful; a separate activist class is as damaging as being ruled by a cabinet of millionaires. “People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouths” Raoul Vaneigem.

One of the most elegant descriptions of the derive I have found is by Greil Marcus who says “The point (is) to encounter the unknown as a facet of the known, astonishment on the terrain of boredom, innocence in the face of experience. ..the physical town replaced by an imaginary city” He is clearly a wise man, and not just because he has also eulogised the best (well, my favourite) band in the world

Builing on this The LRM have identified 5 key characteristics that derives have that make them different to a commute or suchlike.

1 It should be spontaneous, directionless, aimless (obviously sometimes we have interpreted this flexibly or we would miss the story telling bit at the end… but we never know how we will get from a to b…we follow the flow and are open to digression, diversion and serendipity)

2 Loitering with us is participatory and everyone has a collective responsibility to look after themselves and each other . It would be disingenuous to say we are non hierarchical but we are open to everyone and anyone can become involved, we are always up for collaboration and will never claim to be offering a definitive version of the city (how could we?)

3 Our walks are non commercial; no one makes a monetary profit. We will never charge because the streets are free and belong to everyone.

4 And yes, this may contradict point one a little bit but so what? We aim to disrupt the banal and find new views; to glimpse the magick in the Mancunian rain and the parallel universes swirling around the city. We want to see remarkable sights and with the right frame of mind we can do so frequently

5 First Sundays are for fun and we want to bring pleasure and convivial company. Stop if you are not happy (some walks of course investigate uncanny or dark atmospheres but still should be a positive experience)

I am not idealistic enough to think this is all it takes to change the world but I do believe loitering makes a contribution on the side of good. I must also stress it is a state of mind and you don’t need the LRM to show you how to derive, we don’t know any more than you do - many of us disagree with much of the above - and in fact actually the most wonderful walks are often solitary.

I should also clarify there is a warm place in my heart for expeditions such as guided walks, especially those borne of passion that tell new stories about the streets, complicate official narratives and help us look afresh at the mundane. For examples of inspiring walks like this just think about Manchester modernist society walking the Mancunian way or Steve Millington reconnecting with Hulme. (there are others too of course)

If you have read this far I am grateful and I also want to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped make this such a splendid year for The LRM whether by joining us on the streets or sending virtual inspiration. I wish you all a glorious solstice and whatever you wish the festive season to be.

First Sundays carry on regardless of Yuletide, and I wanted to confirm we will be gathering on January 2nd – more details to follow. we will as ever be marking seasonal changes and abandoning the official path to create new desire lines across the city.

With love and light
Morag xx

PS I just got this email from a first time loiterer who joined after Alan and I spoke to the uni philospophy society about psychogeography ( a talk we hope to reprise for a general audience some time soon) “We had an amazing time. We found a hundred hidden delights and realised that half an hour later we were still only really just behind the pub” above all the derive is an action, a practice, not just a theory so please do come and join us next year

archive #5 diggers, dreamers, fools

April first sunday - fools and diggers and dreamers and planters

Merry fools day one and all!

I trust you are spinning yarns and causing creative mischief; remember there is much wisdom in foolishness. Everyone is so busy I sometimes fear the art of play may vanish and so it is every loiterers sacred duty to make merry and enjoy the things that please us as long as it harm none. Smiling, walking, talking to strangers, taking things slowly – these activities should not be subversive. Truly the world turned upside down remains an idea to relish.

Today also marks an important anniversary; that of the Diggers occupying St George’s Hill and planting the land for the common good (Ok so 361 might not be an officially significant number of years to commemorate an event but our arbitrary obsession with certain numbers always strikes me as daft)

There is an oft repeated cliché that contains much truth (well, don’t they all) when it states we must learn from history or be condemned to repeat its mistakes. Lets also try and learn from its dreamers and wanderers and artists and visionaries; small, everyday triumphs that might not appear in official histories but echo through time if only we care to listen through the static. I wish I had been taught about the diggers in school. A favourite day dream of mine is to imagine if they had won and made the earth a common treasury for all…

Its another cliché but we need to say thank you more often. And we need to make sure we exercise the rights others fought for lest we loose them, including the freedom to roam and play and use the streets for more than shopping. We can, and will, go forth and explore and we should be able to do so without harassment, surveillance and random hecklers. There’s a Reclaim The Night march on April 23rd for those who want to make the point louder and with placards.

April 24 marks 76 years since another pivotal moment in the history of public space; namely the Kinder Trespass (and yes, once again we are partying a little later than everyone else but we think it deservers celebrating all the time) It still puzzles me why radical voices are so rare these days, why more people aren’t moved to action over injustice and why compassion needs to be justified so often. My every day experience is most people are good, and kind, and honest and full of far better ideas than the people in power.

Therefore this First Sunday, April 4th The LRM will doff our collective caps and salute all those who went before and have inspired us, whether we have met them or not. Please insert your own heroes name here ----------------- and if you like please send me an email telling me who inspired you and why. I’ll put it on the website if you wish too.

I’m thinking of my grandmother right now; her life didn’t have a grand metanarrative and she does not have a Wikipedia entry but she did a million kind things, taught me much (including a love of nature, how to look confident when you are scared and the secret to a perfect trifle) She also got me out of trouble countless times and its fair to say without her love, strength and idiosyncrasies there would be no LRM. I am just sad she never joined us on an expedition; she would have enchanted you I am sure. It would have been her birthday on Saturday (90th if you must know) It’s the first time I’ve not had a place to send a card to and I have been thinking of how to honour her memory.

The destination of this months derive is still a mystery – we can decide on the day depending on what we fancy doing – but its purpose is clear. We will not be dwelling on sadness and frustration but celebrating, remembering, plotting and well… planting seeds. Specifically native wild flower seeds. It will be rather more ramshackle and low key than last month’s barnstorming Hulme spectacular but all are welcome to join us.

We will be gathering at 2pm in The Britons Protection, Great Bridgewater Street and will set off soon afterwards. I do hope you can join us

Much love and foxgloves

PS blimey! a whole email without the word shenanigans xx

archive # 4 new years resolutions

How can we, as citizens, influence the development of our city and create space for art, creativity and conversation? There are other battles being fought for public space to at the moment; loiterers are active in campaigning over Birley Fields, Chorlton Meadows, Swallows Wood, Woodbank Park and more so that is more than a rhetorical question.

I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions and the LRM operates on our own time scale but it feels like the right time to reiterate some of what we stand for, in 2010 and beyond the LRM pledges to
• Stay interesting and resist the grind of commercialisation and recouperation
• Keep finding new ways of looking at the city and collecting the myriad mysteries it holds – there is not one Manchester but many layers…
• Remember the streets are ours for play, fun and creative mischief
• To offer anyone with an open mind a chance to wander with us in an atmosphere of tolerance, discovery and respect for all

We shall carry on building the city of our dreams with every step and finding treasure in the Mancunian rain – please join us for a walk and a brew; you never know where it might lead….

Love and power to you

Morag xx

Archive #2 the metaphysical treasure hunt

It feels a little wrong to have a favourite first sunday but the metaphysical treasure hunt was surely one of the most fun and insightful i can recall. A report will appear sometime soon but in the meantime here are the instructions so you can play it yourselves (pictures are some amusing signs I've seen recently and not related to the text)
Thanks to Alan for collating, and indeed creating most of, the clues. He truly is a loiterer of distinction
[Image]Ask someone not playing the game to print off the instructions, cut them into separate strips, fold them and put them in an envelope.

Make groups of no more than 5 or 6 people.

There are 20 instructions in your envelope – take them out one at a time over the next 2 hours – some of the instructions will take 10 minutes to complete, others can go on for the rest of the walk. You don’t have to complete one instruction before you pick another – it’s good to combine them.
The instructions are open to interpretation – be creative, have fun and play
Follow your shadow – if you don’t have a shadow try to find some

Cities mark their history in stone – once the names have been carved they are rarely heard again. Find a memorial and read aloud the silent words and names.

Find a hole in [Image]the ground – instead of thinking of it as an inconvenience, look at it as an impromptu open-air exhibition or archaeological dig.

Unintended images are everywhere. Look out for simulacra, they are eruptions of secret history. They mean things...

Walk between two arbitrary points or around a block for the next 10 minutes – note what you discover on each circuit. Walk until the streets themselves are taking you for a walk.

Find a way to get to where you want to go by walking in the opposite direction.

Push to the edge of your comfort zone. Notice, if you reach it, the point at which you no longer feel safe. Then take one more step...

The streets are filled with zombies. Move through the crowds without giving yourself away. Observe the dead and their places covertly. Make sure you always have an escape route. Survive by moving.

Look for the non-human. Maps drawn by snails. Birds nesting in alcoves. Spiders decorating windows. Trees on rooftops...

Use the big plate glass windows of your city as cinema screens. Watch them like a movie-goer. Or be a director and call the shots.

Identify and explore edges, where one place becomes another. Travel along a boundary – if you think it’s safe enough, leap across it. Are the edges clear cut? Or are there transitional zones? Enjoy the blurred liminal territories.

Ask as many people as possible for directions to the heart of the city. Keep asking...

Fin somewhere to be private in a public space.

For this week only there is a citywide exhibition of art displays in the windows of the city’s homes. How many can you find?

The pavements and streets are a book. Look for the writing on the city – on posters, on rubbish, on graffiti, on manhole covers, on bins, on drains, on street furniture. Use this to guide your drift and rename the streets.

Stand still, stay exactly where you are for the next 10 minutes and watch the human traffic ebb and flow around your island of calm.

For the next 10 minutes do not speak or use any sign language. Observe how the dynamics of the group affect the drift when you don’t communicate verbally.

Follow your ears – let the sounds around you guide your drift. Hunt for places of quiet or noise – listen out for accidental music and the mutterings of the ghosts under the pavements...

You are now on the hunt – track down as many lions, horses, elephants and ducks as you can find.

Look out for clocks on buildings and in windows. How does the city run like clockwork? How does time affect the use and meaning of a place?

from the archives #1 solo loitering

welcome to new readers, I am so delighted you have stumbled across The LRM. I'm rather sad I haven't had time to sort the place out properly i hope you will forgive the next few posts which are basically highlights from the archive

solstice communique from the LRM 2007

The LRM recently thought about celebrating our first birthday but we decided to build a space rocket and play our melodica instead.

It didn't feel like a birthday because we're still not quite sure we exist. But it's a year since the Accidental International Festival of Psychogeography, which is when we were given a name and started the first Sunday shenanigans (how long does something have to go on before it's a tradition?)

Our manifesto is disgracefully over due; we keep getting distracted by the beauty of flowers growing out of the side of buildings and the tragedy of commercialisation. It will appear one day, when you least expect it, but generally we like chaos more than rules.

We are becoming afraid that some people think psychogoegraphy is just for first Sundays or special occasions and one must be taught how to drift or heed expert directions. This is anathema to the LRM. the greatest derives are spontaneous and often solo; there is joy in comraderie but the true flaneur is content to drift alone.

Don't listen to us! We like DIY (but we're scared of power tools) and we never, ever want people to think we are custodians of some secret knowledge.

Symbols, maps and anniversaries matter because we invest them with power. The solstices have always been an important time for the LRM; we like to melt time and blur the boundaries between the worlds of myth and materialism. Last year we collaborated with The Shaping to dematerialise the gruesome Beetham Tower which for us represents much that is rotten within our glorious city but we won't dwell on past glories.

This solstice practicalities mean many LRM collaborators are spreading magick and mischief outside Mancunia but still we wanted to join together to celebrate both the sacred and profane so we politely ask you, whoever, whatever and wherever you are, to join us in a great experiment and help answer the eternal question 'but what is psychogeography?'

We invite you to play a game with us at a time and place of your choosing on 22nd December 2007.

These are the rules for you to ignore:

1 Stop what you're doing and tap your heels together. Spin around if you feel like it. (the LRM accept no liability for any accidents that may occur due to over zealous spinning so please take care)

2 Head off in whichever direction takes your fancy and wander at will until you want to stop.

3 As you traverse, aim to discover something new and marvellous and look for something you have never seen, felt or listened to before (we bet there will be something)

4 Repeat as desired at intervals through out the day 5 Or don't. If you think this is pointless you may be right. But we think it will be fun and we can create something beautiful from it.

6 If you do have a solstice adventure please send us a few notes, observations, random words or pictures. We will weave them together into a virtual derive, and thus create a psychogeographical dot-to-dot linking freelance flanauers into a unique and amazing work of art (trust us, we will)

Friends and comrades, this Solstice reclaim your footsteps, invent your environment and discover your own psychogeography.

We don't know what it is.

With glittery love and golden apples fromThe Loiterers Resistance Movement

PS The LRM would like to thank everyone who has inspired, frustrated, bumped into, walked, talked and raised a glass with us this year, whether you consider yourself a loiterer or not. You have changed our course and bought new ideas, joy and mischief. We thank you all whole heartedly for this and hope to get lost with you again in the new year

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hello everyone

Massive apologies for the shabby state of the blog - normal service will be resumed soon - but just had a couple of things to share.

The Manchester Modernist Heroines walk is being reprised as part of the RIBA Architecture Festival, it's next Saturday - 25th June - and of course it is free but places are limited so please book here No ticket is needed if you just want to join the discussion at 4pm(ish)

Also, there's an article about The LRM in this months Red Pepper Magazine, a version of which also appears here in The Mule.

love and solidarity
Morag x