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On walking... and stalking Sebald

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Publication Type
General Interest Book
Phil Smith
Date Published
15.2 x 23 cm
Number of Pages
£12.99 (paperback); £25.00 (hardback)
Purchase Info
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The Court, The Street, CHARMOUTH, Dorset, DT6 6PE
01297 631456 / 561335
Supplier Info

Triarchy Press publishes intelligent, new alternative thinking about organisations and society - and practical ways to apply that thinking.


Publisher's website 2014

Phil Smith of Wrights & Sites' fame (and otherwise known as Crab Man, Mytho and Anton Vagus) is not the first to walk in the footsteps of W.G. Sebald, whose The Rings of Saturn is an account a walk round Suffolk 20 years ago.

What is remarkable is that Phil's own walk was quite as extraordinary as Sebald's and that he matches Sebald's erudition, originality and humour swathe for swathe.

On one level On Walking... describes an actual, lumbering walk from one incongruous B&B to the next, taking in Dunwich, Lowestoft, Southwold, Covehithe, Orford Ness, Sutton Hoo, Bungay, Halesworth and Rendlesham Forest - with their lost villages, Cold War testing sites, black dogs, white deer and alien trails.

On a second level it sets out a kind of walking that the author has been practising for many years and for which he is quietly famous. It's a kind of walking that burrows beneath the guidebook and the map, looks beyond the shopfront and the Tudor facade and feels beneath the blisters and disgruntlement of the everyday. Those who try it report that their walking [and their whole way of seeing the world] is never quite the same again. And the Suffolk walk described in this book is an exemplary walk, a case study - this is exactly how to do it.

Finally, on a third level, On Walking... is an intellectual tour de force, encompassing Situationism, alchemy, jouissance, dancing, geology, psychogeography, 20th century cinema and old TV, performance, architecture, the nature of grief, pilgrimage, World War II, the Cold War, Uzumaki, pub conversations, synchronicity, somatics and the Underchalk.

Phil Smith, the CrabMan, is an academic, writer and performer who, for 20 years, has worked mainly as a playwright in experimental, physical, community and music theatres. Over 100 of his plays have been professionally produced. Since 1980 he has been the dramaturg at TNT Theatre, Munich. Since 1998, as part of the Wrights & Sites group, he has also worked on site-based and walking-related performance, and subverted forms of the guided tour. The idea of "mythogeography" arose within the work of Wrights & Sites to describe their efforts to free heritage and touristic sites from monolithic identities. Phil has numerous other collaborative projects under way: a 2-year research and performance project on one city street; a week-long, geology-oriented walking/performing project; making three films with filmmaker Siobhan McKeown. Finally, he is conducting 3 years' funded research at Plymouth University.

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