A note on 'psychogeography'

1. Trading on Empty

In the early 1990s, when Fabian Tompsett created the East London Section of the London Psychogeographical Association he was reviving something that had previously never existed. This presented the appearance of a mystery. Later, after Tompsett had moved on, it became fashionable for bourgeois creatives and others (various looters of academia and poetry, plus associated hacks, life-stylers and urban designers) to claim to be 'psychogeographers'. What was left of the appearance of a mystery was drained away in the lifeless pages of Alastair Bonnett's Transgressions, which (it was claimed) was a 'A Journal of Urban Exploration'. In assisting with this, Tompsett suppressed within a material form what had previously been imminent.

Since then, through processes of re-marketing, retrospective reinvention and rebranding, etc., 'psychogeography' has been historified and Tompsett's original product, (though its chic is truly shabby, it was once an authentic proletarian vision!) belongs entirely to the middle class. Like any other commodity, psychogeography became emblematic of boredom. It is all about clichés.

2. PhD dipstick

To: nonism.org.uk
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:05:18 +0200

Dear Andrew,

I’m writing to you regarding your involvement with the Equi-Phallic Alliance and the Listening Voice. I’m researching a PhD on the re-emergence of psychogeographic ideas and practices in the 1990s, based at the University of Essex. I’m particularly interested in the proliferation of groups and individuals self-publishing on psychogeographic themes at that time. I’ve gathered quite a lot of information and spoken to individuals from some of the more well-known UK groups, but I’m particularly keen to find out more about the EPA. I’ve read what I can uncover online and in publications from the time, however it would be really great if you’d consider having a chat about those activities, or be willing to let me interview you for my research?

Let me know if you could spare the time to meet up, alternatively I could submit you some written questions if that would be more convenient?

Please let me know if this is a possibility as it would be really great to be able to talk to you and discuss the EPA for my research.

Many thanks,


3. Mearth speaks!

Subject: The EPA & PFC and your PhD research
Date: 20 October 2014 22:25:16


Thank you for your recent enquiry concerning The Equi-Phallic Alliance and Poetry Field Club and the nature of its activities in the 1990s and in subsequent years.

Whilst it is correct that the actions and proceedings of the EPA/PFC were, for a short period of time, deemed by some to be 'psychogeographical' - and indeed some activist-writers did consider themselves to be 'psychogeographers' - the EPA/PFC were never part of any psychogeographical movement.

In both its literary and activist forms the EPA/PFC were, ultimately, wholly independent of the supposed psychogeographical milieu. Psychogeography, as it re-emerged (or, to be more truthful, as it was enacted), was no more than a desperate post-oil crisis bourgeois attempt to add value to the notional worth of already hyper-inflated real estate. It achieved its maximum impact with its first gesture. After that wholly imagined instant, the perceived 'psychogeographical moment' collapsed into nothing. There was no 'psychogeography'. You are a fool.

What had come and gone in that uncentred and dispersed instant left behind it a formless array of empty spaces into which posers, conformists and other inadequates placed themselves. This to show how self-abnegation is eternally 'hip'. All of this can be seen in the incorporation of 'psychogeography', as both subject and 'radical' fashion accessory, into the sleazy world of academia; the fake gesture was finally grounded in the domain of gimps, faux radicals and aspirational arse-lickers like yourself.

That is exactly where it belongs.

Best wishes


4. Pretended Spatial Relationships

To: nonism.org.uk
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2016 23:16:20 +0200

We will uncover the underchalk at the gogMagog hills in Cambridge on Sunday 14th August.
We will commence proceedings at 3:33pm
Contact us for details including meeting place

From: nonism.org.uk
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2016 16:54:27 +0100

Go into the tomb; bones, old bottles, dried leaves long dead and dust from sources once formed into inner and outer, etc.. In the next room find new products: two big sofas (room for three on each, quite comfortable and subtly coloured to match most interiors), a sideboard, rugs rolled up, curtains folded, an occasional table, the alcove behind the TV containing shelves for books, photographs, etc.. A sense of where you have been and where your are going. The ‘comrade this’ and ‘comrade that’ of family life. The what-I-am-not of things has already been identified so the hardest part of the war is done, the battles fought and the way won to the next room. Flesh room. Empty room. Diction. Style fetish. The fist reforged for when sentiment, personified, steps back smiling . . . Now, put down my urn, look at me and eat this knuckle sandwich.

(Nonism is not, nor ever was.)



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