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Acts of Resistance

24 Mar

Choosing to walk is invariably an act of resistance:  resisting threats to our mental and physical wellbeing and resisting trauma caused by natural or malign forces – forces that may not be in our control.  But this is not now a call for civil disobedience, quite the reverse.  As we face an uncertain future with personal restrictions imposed to maintain public safety, we must consider how even walking in the open can impact on others.  This is a call for community and inner resilience.


There is much to feel positive about in the response of the local community to the coronavirus.  There are also other more worrying reports of selfish and exploitative actions.  In the moment that lockdown measures were imposed, I used my solo walking exercise and made small interventions to support the reserves of community resilience, if it should falter in the weeks ahead.


I’m without symptoms and barely been in contact with anyone outside close family for over two weeks, yet in making these boxes and taking them outside, I was conscious of the need for cleanliness.  They are fully recyclable and no batteries required!

I last made similar interventions as part of the Act of Resistance event that I led with a group of about 20 participants in Dewsbury at last September’s Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography.  That event took place at the time when a “no deal” Brexit loomed, and it felt as if an emergency was imminent.  Seems a lifetime away.   I asserted that actively challenging the control of space and place is an important part of psychogeography.  Participants made small interventions in the urban landscape to foster community kindness, before gathering for a short performance walk as a demonstration of unity.

Read more here: Act of Resistance_ahowe_4wcop

Walking is a political act.  But also important to recognise when control of space is necessary for our own survival.

The experience of walking is a dynamic balance between sensory perception, memory and imagination.  Taking away the physical experience does not prevent walking taking place in our imagination, so amply demonstrated in Phil Smith’s “Guidebook for an Armchair Pilgrimage”.  From your room, you can travel anywhere your imagination takes you.



The End is Looming

20 Sep Postbox loom band Andrew Howe

Everyone has seen Royal Mail elastic bands scattered along footpaths and driveways.  This litter phenomenon is a frequent cause of complaint in the populist media.  I am reliably informed that the bands changed from red to a pale beige in 2010. Apparently, the red bands were more biodegradable and “officially” easier to spot… but it didn’t seem to reduce the numbers being cast to the ground.  Perhaps they were changed back to blend in a bit better with the dust, or may be beige is cheaper.  (Elastic bands cost Royal Mail nearly £1billion per annum)

Birds peck at them.  They get caught on hedgehogs. Being the good waste and resources consultant, I began collecting them for reuse.

The craze for loom bands came and went.  The Government sold off the Royal Mail.  I decided to make a small contribution to returning the bands to the Royal Mail via my local postbox:

Post box loom band Andrew Howe

Post box loom band Andrew Howe

Post box loom band Andrew Howe

Post box loom band Andrew Howe

Post box loom band Andrew Howe

Post box loom band Andrew Howe


You can do this more formally if you like, by sending them, free of charge, to: Royal Mail, Rubber Band Recycling Department, Freepost, Tomb Street, Belfast BT1 1AA.  But I’d like to think these little interventions will proliferate on many more postboxes around the country.  My band has been in place nearly a week, and either no one has noticed it, or people quite like it enough not to remove it.

Things come and go , some things go round and round, but there’s always an end eventually.