It has been a better weekend than expected. I had to leave Londres for a stag party in Boggy Mountains. Even at the end of the world people want to get married. I took the opportunity to cycle in the mountains going to and from the cottage we stayed in. Everywhere you go is beautiful countryside and the bridleways were a pleasure to cycle. I saw a pair of Wheatears visiting from Africa – not a sight you see in Londres. Monbiot describes these hills as upland deserts, victims of the depredations of capitalistic sheep. I agree that we shouldn’t expend a lot of resources trying to maintain defunct agricultural landscapes, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the current landscape.
The stag party itself was pleasant enough. Often in a group situation I find myself on the edge, but in this group a couple of others seemed more out of place than I felt. I’ve been thinking about my participation in groups, and my fear of being taken over by groupthink. Perhaps even thinking about it helps me feel more positive about being in groups. It’s a shame my last venture in that direction didn’t end well.
I discovered that my brother is a menace when drunk.
On the train back to Londres I read Lefebre and Harvey on cities. I’ve been reading them with the idea of studying a little further. They were enjoyable to read for their own sake, and I had forgotten how much there was to agree with in Chapter 3 of Harvey’s Rebel Cities. He talks about urban commons in a complex way, making it clear they often get co-opted as part of the city-as-investment factory. But he sees a way to make urban commons ours for good too. In particular he references Murray Bookchin’s federated communities as a way forward. Bookchin was one of my political loves some years back, and I agree with Harvey that he had thought about the problem of organising commons at scale more than most. Any resident of Londres has to think about solutions that scale.
It’s a good sign that I enjoy reading these academic texts. It makes me feel more confident about the value of a little more study. The question will be whether academia would value the idea of me studying enough to give me actual money in a time when the government is pretending there’s a shortage.