Now in contiguous Drops the Flood comes down,
Threat’ning with Deluge this devoted Town.

Now from all Parts the swelling Kennels flow,
And bear their Trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all Hues and Odours seem to tell
What Street they sail’d from, by their Sight and Smell.
They, as each Torrent drives, with rapid Force,
From Smithfield or St. Pulchre’s shape their Course,
And in huge Confluent join’d at Snow-Hill Ridge,
Fall from the Conduit, prone to Holbourn-Bridge.
Sweeping from Butchers Stalls, Dung, Guts, and Blood,
Drown’d Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench’d in Mud,
Dead Cats and Turnip-Tops come tumbling down the Flood.

- Jonathan Swift, A Description of a City Shower, 1710

A hole in the city, Aldgate A hole in the city, Aldgate A hole in the city, Aldgate A hole in the city, Aldgate A hole in the city, Aldgate

A hole in the city, Aldgate

“She smiled and said, Fly, what do you believe in? What do you live for?
What do the stars believe in, Zainab? Where do the dead horses go, what do the birds worship, and what do the rivers live for?”
Carnival, Rawi Hage (Hamish Hamilton, 2013)

I was asked to make a little video for a festival on changing cities in Thessaloniki, Greece. This is what I came up with, some excerpts from my audio walking tour of the lost river Walbrook, accompanied by photographs taken by myself and fellow urban pilgrims.

“And yet, as I climbed above the traffic, I saw a flourishing of weed-life in the fenced-off gaps of this concrete system. Discarded road-signs swallowed up by bright green ivy. The coarse beard of thorn bushes spilling over the steel barriers. This is one of the paradoxes of the city: that in the dead, forgotten spaces thrives an unendorsed ecology.”
— from my forthcoming book, London Clay: A Journey into the Deep City
“your blood is full of barren fields, they are the future in you you should learn to feel and love: there will be no more: no more: not enough to go around: no more around: no more: love that.”
— Jorie Graham, Place

Every urban pilgrimage must include a dog in a van. Photos of the Neckinger Pilgrimage by Natasha Tripney.

Dickens Field, Southwark - a fluorescent green oasis in inner-city South London

In Search of the Lost Islands of Sussex (full article published in The Island Review)