11 April 2019, The Tablet

Comprehensive cartography


 

Here Be Dragons
BBC Radio 4

Geoff Bird, the producer of this spirited attempt to “navigate terra incognita”, has form in experimental radio. And so Paul Farley’s trip along the outer margins of cartography began with a series of sound collages in which half-heard voices whispered, Latin American music came and went and fragments of poetry swooped incrementally out of the ether. Gradually the tides of aural soup receded and we were left with Farley and the poet, Zoe Skoulding, negotiating their way along an Anglesey beach.

Whereupon the relevance of the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack declared itself. Surrounded by marram grass, and with a view of Snowdonia looming through the mist, Zoe had her nose in a map of Havana: a classic Situationist strategy, we were informed, where the traveller attempts to make sense of one landscape by using the outline of another. “Should we be panicking?” Farley wondered. “Possibly,” his companion – who confessed to “visualising urban textures” – shot back.

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