A new issue of 'Smoke' magazine has been out a few weeks (issue 2.) It's brilliant. Available throughout London. Some excerpts: firstly from a column purporting to be by Iain Sinclair (which isn't by him at all, but is hilarious); secondly a proposal for a shipping forecast for London:
"The plan was to walk away from London. This negative goal, this quest for absence, excited me, and I wore the expression of one pulling a half-eaten bus-map from the styrofoam detritus of the motorway verge. Behind me, (Marc) Atkins and (Bill) Drummond wore the expressions of men improvising plans for reconfiguring the city's rage, hopefully into some sort of fugitive photographic exhibition. While out in front the sculptor Rachel Whiteread wore a small fur bikini and flip-flops and was singing a song about dwarves going off to work which I didn't really understand, but before I could ask her what it meant she started telling us about her next project, which was to fill the inside of a telephone box with clear plastic resin, in order to make people think twice about things. Drummond said he'd once tried to fill the inside of a telephone box with urine, but had been arrested." [Psychogeography Corner]
"But as I fall asleep each night, it's not the wild coast of Orkney, or the inky-dark Straits of Dover that I dream about. As the sound of passing taxis blends with the announcer's voice, I dream of spent clubbers marooned on the concrete reef under Centre Point, just a single spindly coconut tree for shelter. Bus conductors lash themselves to their poles as Routemasters brave high seas around the treacherous cape of Hyde Park Corner." [The London Shipping Forecast, Sebastian Brennan]
The shipping forecast idea is lovely. Reminds me of a track that's been on constant rotation on my iPod in recent weeks: Alan Licht's 'A New York Minute' (Amazon.com). It's a fifteen-minute collage of radio weather reports for New York region from January, 2001 on New York's 1010 WINS Accuweather. That's it. But it's completely beguiling. Each report last 30 seconds or so and runs straight into the next, constructing a constant stream of variations on cold, snowy weather, attempts at levity punctuating the quotidian warnings to carry umbrellas. The layered forecasts build something of the hypnotic repetitions more familiar in Licht's guitar-based minimalism. It becomes a drone - a wash - the varying speech patterns of radio presenters becoming addictive, particularly when listening walking around another city, like London. It's beautiful.