A walk from Gravesend to the derelict Cliffe Fort and back, along the opening stretch of the Saxon Shore WayRead More
You can now listen to my interview on Resonance FM, on the Suite 212 show hosted by Tom Overton and Juliet Jacques.
I was on the show discussing Hollow Shores, Judderman and the upcoming The White Heron Beneath the Reactor, covering a range of topics including Derek Jarman, Dungeness, punk rock, birdwatching and the apocalypse. Enjoy!
A fully illustrated 64-page hardback book about Dungeness, white egrets, climate change, Europe and apocalypse. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES.
White herons. Nuclear power. The desert of the south-east.
Gary Budden, a lifelong bird-lover, returned to Dungeness in Kent – famous for its shingle desert, its nuclear power station, and Derek Jarman’s cottage – in the autumn of 2018 on a bird-watching trip. In the car park of the RSPB reserve, he watched greenfinches on a bird-feeder for the first time in several years – birds once commonplace, now under threat of extinction.
Entering the reserve, he saw the bird he had come to see: the great white egret, a towering white heron among the reeds, visible to the naked eye even from afar. Common on mainland Europe, but, a rarity and a source of excitement in the United Kingdom. Until now.
As part of Kickstarter's Make 100 initiative, and working with renowned landscape artist Maxim Griffin, The White Heron Beneath the Reactor is an illustrated landscape punk essay exploring the bleak, otherworldly and captivating landscapes of Dungeness, the effects of climate change and a warming world, our relationship with continental Europe, and the looming fear of apocalypse.
The author and artist have collaborated on a number of previous projects (such as Heaven is a Marsh in Winter), as well as continuing their ongoing solo investigations into the strangeness of the British landscape. They like working together and seeing how words and images can work together; how collaboration produces something unique that neither individual would have produced.
Inspired by their favourite limited releases from obscure punk, psychedelic and folk labels, and the lavishly produced, extremely limited weird fiction books they covet, Gary and Maxim decided to create something similar. The Make 100 initiative seemed perfect for what they wanted to create. The White Heron Beneath the Reactor is a poetic interrogation of place and landscape in the current political climate; it is also a beautifully produced collector's item for the bibliophile in all of us.
The book is LIMITED TO 100 hardback copies, with full colour illustrations.
With your help, we make this book a reality.
Extract from the introduction to Magnesium Burns: The Collected Zines, 1999–2011 (Punk Positive Press), by Melissa Eider.
The 'landscape punk' scene of the mid-to-late-2000s was formed around the nexus (some said unholy trilogy, some said bunch of wankers, depending on your view on the whole thing) of NOMADIC TRIBE, DEAD INDUSTRIAL ATMOSPHERE and SCARP.
Ranging from gypsy-traveller style folk-punk to dark and brooding epic crust and post-hardcore, the scene took a great deal of inspiration from not only classic works of eco-themed English literature like Richard Adams' WATERSHIP DOWN and THE PLAGUE DOGS (the Brighton-based FALL OF EFRAFA being the most noticeable band to do this), but also the popular genres of London-focused psychogeography, deep topography and urban landscape writing as popularised by writers such as Nick Papadimtiou, the politically charged landscape writing of American writers like Rebecca Solnit, the weird fictions of people like Joel Lane, and crucially the Incognita series of books republished by Malachite Press.
The Incognita series included lost classics by Alexander Baron, Hecate Shrike, Maureen Duffy, Michael Ashman and D.A. Northwood, among many others, resurrecting a valuable archive of hidden London literature. The tracks 'Juddering' and 'Demon of Woodberry Down' by SCARP, both references to Northwood, became iconic of the scene and have remained enduring classics of the punk, post-rock and hardcore underground well into the twenty-teens.
NOMADIC TRIBE released only one album, the critically- regarded but commercial flop, 'Concrete Palimpsest', a record heavily indebted to nineties underground hardcore acts like SCATHA, A FIELD IN ENGLAND and SEDITION.
DEAD INDUSTRIAL ATMOSPHERE (their name of course an homage to the great LEATHERFACE) are still going strong. Albums like 'City of Worms' and 'Miracle at New Cross Gate' are considered staples of any discerning underground music fan's collection. They tour regularly across the UK and Europe, but have distanced themselves somewhat from the landscape punk scene.
SCARP split acrimoniously and with much bad blood, effectively ending the scene; something which has been well documented elsewhere (in the pages of Magnesium Burns in fact – read on).
These are the notes for a talk I gave at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival 2015, as part of my involvement writing for the website Unofficial Britain. The other speakers were David Southwell, Gareth E. Rees and Tina Richardson.Read More