Thursday, September 01, 2005

Instructions are contained on the tape, which you will find in the blue rucksack.

Deciding that it was time to see more of Romney Marshes we set off clutching a batch of the recent (and free) walk walk walk leaflets jointly published by East Sussex Council and Paths to Prosperity (ah yes regeneration through outdoor exercise). The leaflets include a map and copious instructions. These are of the " instead of continuing along the footpath, turn right at the junction, continue for 300 metres (330yds) and then follow the footpath uphill to reach a sign, ignore the left hand turn (the surfaced track) cross over and follow the edge of the field before bearing right before..." variety. It soon became apparent though that in order to follow the prescribed (doctors orders) route one had to be reading the guide almost continuously and that the landscape was something glimpsed (rarely) in between sentences. A textual experience then.

Seeing by wireless...
I am writing this in a house which is opposite (give or take a patch of green) where John Logie Baird made some of his first televisual experiments. Apparently Logie was ordered to Hastings for his health and combined bracing walks to Fairlight with knocking up dodgy apparatus in his rooms (his landlady eventually threw him out after one incident too many). The house now has a blue plaque on it and sometimes at night one can see the ghostly blue light of an unseen screen illuminating the sitting room walls. If only all site specific installations were like that.

Which all ties in rather nicely with last night's Science and Seance programme on BBC2 in which various eminent inventors (Baird, Marconi, Edison etc) were shown to have a belief in the spirit world and a desire to make contact with the other side. I will admit to an interest in such things, though as the programme went on one did wonder why the voices of the dead are always deemed so much more interesting than the patter of the living.