The word “psychogeography” intrigues me. I know it’s a Thing. I know it was invented in the 1950s. I know important people have written important words about it, but I have dedicated my adult life – since first hearing it – to not looking it up.
This is a deliberate gap in my knowledge. I love words above virtually everything else, and not looking up a word deliberately is akin to the deliberate asymmetry of a Japanese garden. Here is an imperfection which (unlike my constant typos and ever growing collection of habitual misspellings), was put there because it belongs there. Nestling among all the words I use is this one, and the beauty of it is that not many people DO know what it means, which leaves me at liberty to use it for whatever I wish.
You see, in the absence of finding out its official meaning, psychogeography has not languished on a shelf gathering dust. Oh no. I’ve had that word out. I’ve taken it for a run. We’ve brushed down the narrow lanes of Sussex together in an open top car. We’ve had an affair. Me and psychogeography, we’re like THAT.
Psychogeography is the word that explains why I refer to a road near me as “Barely Proximitous”, when it is properly titled “Ardley Close”.
Psychogeography is why The Park At The Top Of The World is called that, instead of its rather prosaic MAPLY name. Psychogeography is that road where Jenny had that tumble on her bike – you know the one, just behind the Turkish shop. It’s the bridge where we kissed. It is why Milk Street is called Spilt Blood (the sandstone paving slabs on that street are splashed and marked with iron, and when it rains…). It’s why I cannot walk from Canon Street to the Guildhall any more, because the route has been filled – for years – with snipers, waiting for me.
I have no idea what psychogeography means, and please don’t inform me.
It means this, to me.