Started on 7th January 2010 [00.46]

This is a scrap book dedicated to the study of London's weeds and the wild places where they grow.


What is a Wildcorner?

A Wildcorner is a term referring to a gap that has been left to grow wild in the city. The term encompasses every wild piece of land no matter the size, from large disused sports grounds to small patches of commercial wasteland, to a crack in the pavement. As long as this gap in the man made landscape harbours some kind of weed, then it is considered a Wildcorner.

Wildcorners and Wildcorridors* are dotted all over the capitol and vary in content, depending on their location and history. One thing most have in common is that they are normally restricted in someway from public access or boarded off and hidden from public view altogether. In this blog we focus particularly on the Wildcorners of south east London.

* Wildcorridor; a word used to describe a channel or pathway made inside the metropolis that also facilities the propagation and growth of weeds. This includes railway sidings, wild rivers and canals.


Urban and Suburban Weeds

By the term 'weeds' we are of course referring to the cities wild plants and flowers. But their are also two other weeds that grow in the city.

'Graff' like its botanical relation, has many families and strains. Both of these weeds can often be found together, sharing many qualities including their adaptive nature and unregulated status. Both in many cases, originally entered and populated the city using the railway network.

London's third 'weed' is invisible and uses the tops of tower blocks to propagate. Pirate radio like its weed relatives, grows away from the public eye and is constantly adapting to exploit these same gaps across the cities FM radio spectrum, fighting and flourishing in-between the commercial stations.


This scrapbook also encompasses the languages, cultures, legends and folk tales that grow in and from the wild places of London.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Eksman and Herbzie [ Cyndicut 97.8 / 1998 ]


Two of Jungles and DnB's legendary mc's, tearing it up on Pirate Cyndicut Fm, dj logons show.

Strange Codes



The Backwards Music Station was found on various frequencies on the short wave band until about 2004 with the transmissions apparently coming from both the United States and England. There are debates whether the station is some complex form of communication known as LINCOMPEX from a 'Number Station' or whether it's simply feedback from Naval transmitters. Despite the debate, the sounds are still rather unearthly.

Black Magic



This is from the video description posted by 'jonrev' on Youtube :

" On a late-November evening in 1987, two Chicago television stations were victims of a broadcast signal takeover.

After an earlier hijack attempt on WGN-9 during the 9:00 News , a broadcast on WTTW-11 of the Doctor Who episode "Horror of Fang Rock" would be interrupted by a man wearing a Max Headroom mask. The crazed person uttered mostly gibberish and bashed the Chicago Tribune and its subsidiaries, before he dropped his pants and was spanked by what appears to be a child. 90-seconds later, the program returned to normal. To this day, he remains at large.

This is a subtitled version of the original footage added as a courtesy due to the low audio quality of the recording. This is a rather old version, eventually I will add new annotations in response to how some of the audio was interpreted.

EDIT:
Thanks to a new video with the audio cleaned up, I've found out that he is indeed saying "I still see the X". And the person with the flyswatter is the one who said "Bend over Bitch". "

Steel Injection - London tube graffiti 1990 - 1994

171 Bus at 8.30 AM, May 2006 [phone footage]

Tracing the Water Cycle [a Live Ritual] - excerpt phone footage



Tracing the Water Cycle (A Live Ritual), is a live experiment in which the audience is invited to private room that will act as a periscope for exploring the outworld.
Jack Thurgar and his sophisticated map recycles a rich imaginary from different sources: re-contextualization of found footage, recordings and new fictions.
The installation will put together an impossible sequence in a form of live collage; from the open scene (sequence from the very first home-video from the artist) this intricate flow of water will travel in time and space, and while Jack Thurgar will be guiding us in the dark room, his alter-ego the explorer Solomon Wild will show us his personal recordings throughout his global wanderings.

- Lucia Rivero, 'Smashing Time Show' 2011

The ritual works as a loop. As the conductor, I channel the water through the analogue equipment, which is placed in a circle on the floor. Using a timer for precision, I turn on or 'open' each piece of equipment, connecting them to create a path for the water to form a magic circuit. As the water threads its way through the machines I orchestrate its twists and turns until it reaches its ultimate conclusion.

- Jack Thurgar, 2011

This to my knowledge, is the only existing footage of the live ritual. The whole piece lasts around 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the footage starts a few minutes in [as the plug in the bath is pulled] and misses the last five magical mins.
If anyone has other footage of this magical event, please do get in contact.
Thanks.

INTERNAL NETWORKZ - Vol:1 The Quaggy



Internal Networkz is the first in a series of video documentaries exploring Lewisham's connecting wild corridors, such as its rivers and train lines. In this first volume, the viewer comes with us on a journey as we explore the path of the river Quaggy. We pick up the route at its end, where it flows into the River Ravensbourne at Lewisham Train Station. We follow it where it passes underground at the police station and on, through suburban parks and the backs of houses through south east london. Unknown to us at the time, as we traveled up river, riots came to the streets of Lewisham. We keep to the river and slip through the world above us unnoticed. We explore and study the secret markings left under bridges. We look for links and clues of London's underground legends and mythologies. In particular, for traces of 'The Lewisham Natureman', a mysterious character from South East London 'Graff' folklore. He has never been seen and only appears through the tiny symbol [often carved] which can be found in the wild corners and corridors of the capitol, mainly in Lewisham and her surrounding boroughs. The symbol is that of a crown, formed from a circle of figures holding hands [like the crown used in the logo of Lewisham borough] , with a single dandelion growing through it. Some say he is not a man at all but some kind of spirit of nature. A contemporary, urban Green Man or Herne, who walks in these wild places where the weeds grow. The small tag has also been linked to another figure in local street folklore; Solomon Wild. Solomon is believed to be some kind of urban explorer / amateur scientist of London's wild cracks, he is thought to be conducting a ongoing study into The Lewisham Natureman legend. But some believe the two are in fact the same person and Solomon is the one leaving these tags. Either in attempt to propagate the myth, keeping it alive and fake his own results. Another version describes Solomon as not a scientist but as a vagrant herbalist and shaman, who uses these places to rest and grown his herbs and food. The hidden tag is said to be a simple and discreet 'i was here' message to his friends and those who know where to look. There are many legends on the underground.

'The Fire Mix' [six sacred weeds]


This is phone footage, supplied by a member of the public. It is of one of my six small shadow rituals, performed live using each one of the six sacred weeds that make up the 'Fire Mix'.
This was inspired by the footage i filmed of Solomon Wild, believed to be performing an ancient version of this ritual at dawn on the Summer Solstice earlier this year [though this ritual was usually performed at dusk on midsummers eve.]
It was believed that the weeds were 'familiars' / spirits of the crops and by burning them, the smoke would cauterise pestilence and 'noisome influences' from the fertile land.
Also there was the belief of 'Sympathetic magic' which at its core, is the idea of analogy, all things in the universe connected by influences, suggested by their superficial appearance. The heat and the light created by theses bonfires was to aid the sun at the exact moment in the year it begins to wane.
The six weeds were believed to be chosen for their resemblance in some way to the sun and stars. For this series of shadow rituals, they were all tracked down and gathered from various wild cornerz of the capitol.
They are as follows:
Ragwort, Corn Marigold, Corn Poppy, Plantain, Vervain and finally the most magic of all in the mix; St. Johns Wort.
The leaves and flowers are cut off each weed and arranged to form a magic circle.

Summer Solstice Ritual 2011 / Solomon Wild / Secret Filming



I recorded this footage at Sun rise on the Summer Solstice in a piece of commercial wasteland in SE12. It captures, what I believe to be a secret ritual, performed by the mysterious underground character; 'Solomon Wild.' Solomon Wild Folklore

Very little is know about who Solomon is,.. or even if that is really his name or was given to him. All I really know of him is through folklore and myth. He seems to be some kind of herbalist and cryptographer, an explorer and mapper of London's wild corners and cracks. His purpose for and exact line of research is not altogether clear.
I am pretty sure I have received his Short Wave radio transitions a number of times over the years. It has only ever been a one way monologue and he only uses code to communicate by [mainly Morse but sometimes lesser know, older aquatic codes.] The content is usually reels of strange fractured sentences, single words, locations and times.
Despite his anonymity, he has become a kind of distant collaborator to my work. The Summer Solstice Ritual

It is said that every Solstice and Equinox, Solomon performs various rituals, contacting spirits and making magic to both use and aid the seasons. These are said to be held at secret locations around the city. Anticipating this event as ever, I posted messages on various types of forums and contacted others, in order to glean any information I could about the where abouts and/or the nature of this Summer ritual. All my digging proved unsuccessful.
Then, the day before the Solstice, I routinely checked my various threads and to my excitement, found I had one response. This was on the forum pages of the London graffiti website; rockingthecity.com. It simply said '24 Gb 459'. At first I was hugely disappointed, thinking this was just scrambled net coding. But after pondering over it for a while I realised the last three numbers; 459 was in fact a time; 4:59 am. This was the exact time of sun rise, on the day of the solstice. After cracking this, I then worked out that 24 Gb were in fact coordinates for a map. They correlated with my London wall map inside The Lighthouse and pin pointed an area of roughly 2 square miles. It is in the district of Lee in the borough of Lewisham. This is an area familiar to me and knowing Solomon seems to have some kind of relationship to the cracks of the city including its wild wasteland space, I knew it could only be one of two places.
I visited both patches that evening at dusk, as reconnaissance. After circling the walls of each and peering through the gates, I decided on the second place; a piece of commercial wasteland at the corner of Baring Road, SE12 as the spot I was going to return to for the Solstice.
The land used to accommodate a local diary but has been desolate for fifteen years. It is now owned by the Yellow Box storage company but due to on going lobbying by local residence, the companies applications to develop the land have been repeatedly rejected. Over the last fifteen years the land has been cut back roughly 6-8 times. There is a striking variety of weeds in this large patch and is completely closed of to the surrounding main roads by a high grey wooden fence. On it, hangs a large sign which threatened 24 hours guard and dog security by a company called 'StrongGuard'.
The following morning on the Solstice, I set off before dawn. Equipped with my old video camcorder and camouflaged overalls. I used a street bin to climb on top of the bus stop and then lowered myself down the other side. I plotted down in a corner behind the thick bushes of Buddleia on an old mattress and waited for the first signs of day light, hoping it might bring me a glimpse of Solomon. The perfume of the local wild flowers scented the air and it felt like there was magic afoot.
With dilated pupils and a beating heart, I waited in the twilight.
Here is what I saw. ...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Bigga Picture! - the Toulambi tribe

This is incredible footage. The Toulambi tribe have never seen a westerner before and believe the white man [if he exists at all] is a spirit or ghost of a fallen solider.