Thursday, 23 September 2010

Psychogeography: Synchronised Travel

Last night Psychogeographers around the world (we're still not sure whether the SHOP club member who was in New York actually did it or not, yet) synchronised their watches with SHOP and set about discovering city streets seldom ventured, or familiar ones from a different perspective and recorded the journey how they saw fit.

Taking directions from a hand out or live via twitter, feedback so far suggests mixed results.
We will post accounts from fellow travellers as we get them. So far, we know of the discovery of a curiosity shop and a 'nice pub'.

Here's how SHOP's own Synchronised trip played out:

Our starting point was Hotel Du Vin...

Woo, look at how the nature mirrors the architecture and look at those lights that don't look like a scarey monsters eyes.

Now walk in any direction for 50 to 100 paces and turn 180 degrees...

At this point we saw the traffic lights reflect off the trees, but the camera didn't pick it up very well and we couldnt draw it very well either. Trust us it was the most beautiful thing since that carrier bag blowing in the wind in American Beauty.

Continue walking in that direction until you see something blue...

Not the most wonderful examples of the colour blue, but blue none the less. After seeing this something blue, we noticed lots of other blue things. It's blue da-ba-di-da-ba-da.

Make a left turn and walk 50 to 70 paces...

We ended up right in front of this brick-work-art-work on the front of the eye hopital building, reminding us of the heady days of hedgehog flavoured crisps.

Walk in any direction until you see something that either is, or looks like the number 7 or 11...

Quite a claim! We didn't wait around to see if it could hold that many taxis, we had more discoveries to make.

Take the first left and continue walking until you find somewhere to sit...

On the way to find a seat we came across this little sign we hadn't noticed before.

We sat in a bus shelter. Someone's a little bit tired?

Choose any direction and walk for 25 to 50 paces...

This was where all the budget went: We flew in some professional leg models from Miami for this particular shot. As you can see from the results, it was worth every penny.

Continue walking until you see an unusual colour, shape or texture. Turn 180 degrees...

The mysterious tiled optical illusion on the outside of Cafe Delight on Perry Road provided us with our unusual shapes and one might on occasion say it twisted our melon man.

Keep walking in any direction until you see an archway or an unusual architectural feature...

Is there a better archway in Bristol (nay the world, nay the universe). There's only one way to find out...Fight!!

Head for home, but continue looking for something that catches your eye.

This caught our eye. Orbs of light, fancy!!

Wow! The stairway to the centre of the Earth (Nah, forget it let's go to the pub).

We ended up doing a kind of circle of the block and so were in very familiar territory, but we agreed it's still a worthwhile exercise as you are forced to engage with the streets and achitecture as apposed to using them as a corridor on your way from one place to another.

Monday, 20 September 2010

How to Play Synchronised Travel

Travel a synchronised path with others and discover whether parallel lines ever meet. Synchronised Travel enables you to see your own city with fresh eyes. It's also a useful way of enjoying travel with friends, family, or strangers, whilst separated!

There are two ways to get involved with this experiment:

1. You can either come to SHOP at Wednesday 22nd at 7pm and be given a map with a start point on and a set of directions. All the start points will be different, but conveniently close to SHOP. We then synchronise watches and head to our start points to begin travelling according to the same set of directions.

2. Or, you can make the way to your own start point, be it in Bristol, Berlin or Bora Bora and follow the instructions in real time on Twitter. This means anyone can play!

Whilst SHOP encourages you to to use some means of recording the journey; take a photo, do a dance, strike a pose, write a poem, you can also just enjoy a quiet moment or do nothing at all.

Psychogeography: Barman's Knock

Saturday saw SHOP undertaking another Psychogeographic adventure in the form of Barman's Knock. This experiment consists starting at a favourite pub or bar and ordering your own favourite drink. You then ask the barperson who serves you what their favourite pub or bar is and what they drink there. You then proceed to that pub or bar and order their recommended drink and repeat the exercise with whoever serves you.

So, KNOCK 1: SHOP started at The Colston Yard and ordered our favourite drinks there:

KNOCK 2: Dean served us at Colston Yard and his favourite pub is The Hatchet, where he said he'll drink anything, but usually cider. So, we proceeded to the Hatchet and partook of the appley alcohol:
KNOCK 3: Basically, it more or less went down hill from here! A japester of a barperson, Jenna at The Hatchet, decided to stitch us up good and proper by 'claiming' her favourite drink was absinthe and she drank it at Elbow Room. We were pretty horrified so decided at this early stage to cheat and go to The Woods as they are owned by the same people apparently. Well, cheats never prosper, as it was closed for a refurb. So to Elbow Room it was, and to a chorus of 'gayboys' from it's charming and eloquent patrons, we walked in and up to the bar. Brett was extremely gallant in his offer to down a shot of absinthe if it meant we could get out of there as quick as possible:
I'm the gween fwairy!
Down the hatch...
A satisfied customer.
KNOCK 4: Lorraine at Elbow Room took us from the ridiculous to the...? In the form of vodka and cranberry juice at Goldbrick House; her favourite poison at her favourite place:
KNOCK 5: Emily at Goldbrick House hadn't been in Bristol very long and she liked Paintworks best as it was near her house, but another (closer) favourite of hers was Browns and she liked Stowfords and lemonade there, which quite frankly sounded gross. Especially after a succession of similarly sweet drinkies. However, true to the rules, we gave it our best shot by buying a can of lemonade and retiring to the Bristol Uni PhD offices above Browns (we have connections you know).
KNOCK 6: There we found a saviour, Pawel who joy of joys didn't like cider or juice or 90% volume spirits, he liked a nice pint of .... Dark Side! Which is a stout. And he liked to drink it at Eldon House so that's where we went:
At Eldon House we were served by two people to make things a little confusing. Maya and Maddoc liked drinking OVD and ginger beer (think that's what she said) and Janet (think that's what he said) at The Lanes and The Apple respectively. Midway through the Dark Sides though, the Death Knoll sounded in the form of last orders and so ended our game. Not without some relief as another pint of cider would have caused considerable reflux and a pint of OVD just sounds like a sexually transmitted disease.
In conclusion, SHOPsters were not overly impressed with this experiment, but that's okay because Psychogeography is all about discovery, good and bad. We reckon it would be better in a city you're not so familiar with, as when some starts their answer with 'my favourite bar is Elbow Room' you cannot help but have a sinking feeling in your stomach. And that was only Knock 2.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Psychogeography: This Is Ours

A few weeks ago, or maybe it was months, a nice young man came into SHOP having unintentionally found himself on the Christmas Steps (he was visiting a friend in Bristol for the day). He read about the Zine Library on SHOP's a-board and being very friendly and enthusiastic came in to chat and find out more.

We talked for a while about Zines and the shop and then he gave me three different Zines , which he had made and which he just happened to be carrying when he just happened to be passing the shop when he just happened to be in Bristol.

As he was leaving, he stopped, came back up to me at the counter and gave me a painted, yellow treasury tag with some round coloured stickers on the back. He said 'have one of these. They are for anytime you are somewhere and you feel you don't belong. Mark it with a sticker to remind you that it's yours too."

Look out for them.

It did occur to me that this might not work so well in commercial art galleries.

Psychogeography: Jayne's Lonesome Night Walk

Last night, I was at home, alone and at a loose end. It was late-ish, but I wasn't tired so I decided to go for a walk.
Two things nearly stopped me; it seemed Autumn had asserted itself leaving no hope now of going back to Summer. The nights felt to me to have drawn in quickly and walking in the dark seemed suddenly menacing. In addition, I would be forced at least in part to follow the route I take six days a week, to SHOP, which I thought would be all too familiar.
Once I started walking, these things didn't matter at all as I had forgotten that the route, the city and the establishments would be in reverse; the places that aren't open at 10am, are open at 10pm and those that are open in the day, at night have their lights dimmed and shutters pulled. There were no potted shrubs outside the gym and the strange motorway barrier that acts as security for the local shop was firmly in place. Yet the normally darkened bars and restaurants were full of light and life.
And people. Far from being intimidating, the streets were exciting and interesting. An open window allowed me to eavesdrop on music and voices, I passed a man wearing shorts and flip flops with nothing else, carrying a plastic bag, going - where? Two old ladies with arms interlocked and some staggering drunks. The lights on the boats on the river looked Christmassy - at one point the smell of the river mixed in with a smell of frying and vinegar from a takeaway, to bring to mind childhood holidays.
The vignettes I glimpsed are my favourite: a man in a pub shakes a finger in a exaggeratedly comic manner across the bar to another man, who is nonchalantly leaning on a beer pump. The people around them all laugh. Suited waiters, waiting with hands clasped in front of them for late hungry diners. A man smoking and swaying outside a house.
At the same time as I look, smell, walk, I think. I think of my sister, I haven't seen her for ages. Part of an old love song is playing languorously on loop in my head, 'when we first met, I surprised to get, that feeling'. I try and guess what my loved ones are all doing right now. I try and imagine what strangers in faraway places are doing right now. I think about something I heard on the radio that interested me, I briefly consider learning Japanese. I remember something hurtful, I see a car that reminds me of a old boyfriend. Things like that.
I turned back at at the roundabout and made my way home, following the same route on the opposite side of the road. Eventually, I turned from the main road into the gloom of a side road, a last car's beam lapped my back, surging up round my ears to sting my eyes, before receding and leaving me in the dark. At home, everything was as I left it; a book thrust aside, the cat, asleep and unmoved on the bed, and silence now. I got into bed and wrote this.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

New Stock!

We've managed to get our grubby little hands on some new stock recently in all departments.

Here's a select few pieces in a 'Richard Long' Stylee, in honour of Psychogeography month.

SHOP goes Psychogeographing

SHOP got a birthday present in April which was a weekend in a 1969 California Blue VW Camper Van. It just so happened that we cashed said present in during Psychogeography Month, so always one to lead by example, SHOP roped in two Advisory Board Members and used the trip to embark on some experimental travel of our own.
First off, Rhonda the camper van forced us into slow travel as her top speed was 50mph (downhill, with wind) which necessarily meant that we travelled on A and B roads, giving us time to look around us a bit more and so be aesthtically led. Seeing a nice cove, or a forest we stopped for a wander. In doing this we accidentally discovered; fossils, a cliff railway and a beer called 'Beast'.
Second off, we had no destination planned and camped up wherever took our fancy. Doing this had a mixture of results, leading us to a riverside farm on the first night, a bar controversially opinioned people on the second and a lost-in-time 60s holiday camp - complete with The Shining style ballroom - on the third.

"Well, Rhonda you look so fine (look so fine)."

Counter Tourism: the view out over Exmoor and to the sea. Behind us was the Exmoor Beast, but we chose not to be so traditional as to photograph him/her.

Getting shoes back on after paddling inamongst the fossils.

Not Santa, descending from the bed in the roof.

Some strange men on the beach.

Shoes off for paddling inamongst the fossils

A Games Room all to ourselves, with state of the art arcade games. From 1985. Plus, if you
want to know how successful you are with the gents/ladies, a machine here will tell you all for a mere 10p.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER: Psychogeography Month

Yes, yes we thought about calling it something friendlier, but then we thought, ‘no no, SHOPpers don’t need dumbing down for!’ However, for those that don’t already know what Psychogeography is, here’s a bit about just what the fuppery will be going on at SHOP during September:

“Life is a journey so everyone is a tourist.”
Psychogeography is defined as ‘the study of the specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.’ It has otherwise been described as ‘formalised pratting-around’

Psychogeography was influenced by the International Situationists (1958-72), who were in turn influenced by Surrealism. The Situationists feared that cities were losing their unique character and that human life was becoming increasingly commodified through the modern structure of working life that divided an individual’s personality into polarised opposites of work and play. The Situationists dérive (drift) – an unorganised and aimless yet significant walk – was central to their philosophy. Rather than emphasising the final destination of the walk, or its purpose, the dérive focused on the mental journey, the sense of play and the possibility of discovery. During the late 60s and 70s the Fluxus movement developed the idea further by coming up with games and turning their attention to the city as a canvas.

Anyone can experiment in these ways, regardless of where you are, who you might be or how much money you’ve got in the bank and if any of that floats your boat or not one thing is for sure, if you choose to take part in any of the SHOP events this month, or take off on your own psychogeographic adventures, you will end up viewing the world in a whole new way whether your destination is a desert island or a traffic island.


18th September / 7pm onwards / Free (+drinks!)
Starting at a favourite pub, we will all order our favourite drink. We will ask the barperson where their favourite bar is and what they drink there. We shall then proceed there and order their recommended drink, we will then repeat the exercise with whoever serves us, but we will not repeat ad nauseam.

22nd September / 7pm - 9pm / Free
Meet at SHOP at 7pm on the 22nd and be given a destination near to SHOP and a set of directions. Once you arrive at that destination, follow the directions given to you taking notes and photographs to record your experiences at each stage (you can share these with SHOP afterwards if you like, but you don’t have to). Will our parallel lines meet at any point? This can be played simultaneously with others all around the world, so if you are a Shop Club Member in Bath or in Bora Bora it doesn’t matter, get in touch on the day to receive your directions.

25th September / 12pm - 5pm / £2 Entry (to cover printing costs)
Do the opposite of what you think a traveller should do. Travel to famous landmark in Bristol and subvert the classic tourist shot, you could take a picture with your back to the famous landmark, or take a picture of others taking pictures, be creative! To take part, come to SHOP between midday and 5pm on the 25th where a list of Bristol’s main tourist sites will be randomly picked out of a hat. You then have until October the 1st to submit your photos to SHOP. The results of the ‘Counter-Tourism’ challenge will be exhibited in SHOP’s arts space at 18 Christmas Steps and on the exterior wall (replacing the Photomarathon results). Email SHOP to pre-register.

Saturday 4th, 18th and 25th of September / 11am – 7pm / Free
SHOP is going to draw SHOP related shapes on a whole load of maps of central Bristol, your experiment starts when you collect them 3 Saturday’s in the month and follow the shape that SHOP has drawn on the map, making sure you take in the new and unexpected places you encounter along the way.

Literary Journey
Pick a book at random from you bookshelf, read until a foreign country is mentioned, then choose a second book somehow related to that country, begin reading again and repeat until you have circumnavigated the globe.

Domestic Travel
Meet up with some friends on a Saturday morning, put your house keys and addresses in individual envelopes and randomly redistribute them. Spend the weekend at the address you pick, if possible keeping social engagements and appointments of the usual occupants.

Expedition to K2
Take any map of Bristol and find grid reference K2. Travel there and enjoy the cultural, gastronomic or aesthetic delights you find.

Travel Pursuit
Make your way to a starting point of your choice wait until you see someone interesting; follow them around the city, letting them be your guide.

Interesting Games
The Interesting Games festival returns to Bristol for its third year this September, on the 17th and 18th. Make the city your playground with games like 2.8 Hours Later (a massive Zombie chase game), Bike Jousting and the Running of the Bulls! FFI

Let’s Do Nice Things: Underground Travel
1st – 30th September (excluding Sundays) / 11am -7pm / Free
Exhibiting the postcards made at August Art Club. The ‘Feed Me’ box will also be set up to encourage visitors to SHOP to write and draw on their own postcards, these will then be added to the exhibition through out the month.

1st September / 7.30pm – 9.30pm / Free
Recent Dave Eggers/Spike Jonze adaptation of Maurice Sendek’s classic children’s book. Friendless Max is having a miserable time, so dressed in his wolf costume, he whisks himself away to a wondrous imaginary world where the wild things live.

16th September / 7.30pm – 9.30pm / Free
Two neighbours live opposite each other on a country road somewhere in Two neighbours live opposite each other on a country road somewhere in Northern France. They hate each other, but one day an agricultural trailer knocks them over and sends them both to hospital. Now paralysed from the waist down each decide to embark on a personal journey, but, seemingly unable to escape each other's destiny. Aaltra is a highly original odyssey, a pitch black and acutely observed comedy

Christmas Steps Arts Quarter Artisan Market
4th September / 11am – 4pm / Free
The monthly SHOP-organised Artisan Market returns. Local makers sell their wares in amongst the other independent traders of the Arts Quarter, in the charmingly irregular setting of the Christmas Steps.

8th September / 6pm – 7pm / Free
Don’t forget FAN meets monthly at SHOP, the second Wednesday of the month at 6pm. FAN means, Friends and Neighbours and it’s a chance to meet to talk others in the community.

37th Chamber
Search for ‘37th Chamber’ on Facebook
The 37th Chamber return to SHOP on Saturday 18th (not the second Saturday as previously) for another night of kung fu and samurai grindhouse classics.

Social Vision
Are you a photographer? Would you like £750? Would you like SHOP to also have £750? Well, why not enter the ‘Social Vision’ Photography competition using SHOP as your subject and be in with a chance. Mail us for full info and an application form.

Little Maps
Fittingly enough for Psychogeography Month, Shop Club Member Nick Soucek is looking for hand drawn maps to add to his blog, ‘Little Maps’, please get in touch with Nick via the blog to donate your hand drawn maps to the project:

SHOP is Closing…
SHOP will be partaking in some Psychogeography of it’s own on the 10th – 13th of September so unfortunately SHOP will be closed during that time, business as unusual from 11am on the 14th.

Now, jog on.