Wednesday, 29 May 2013


For much of today I have walked down minor roads that run parallel to autoroutes. The cars and lorries speeding past, me dawdling along. I remembered Autonauts of the Cosmoroutes, one of my favorite books. It matteroffactly documents Julio Cortazar and Carol Dunlops' trip down down the important autoroute from Paris to Marseilles. The Autoroute du Sud. Carol and Julio treat the whole thing as a grand challenge. An expedition. They stop over, sleeping in their van, at every service station, even if they are only a few kilometers from the last. Treating the motorway and the services as a long thin country that they had come across. Adventurers in a foreign land. Never leaving the motorway the journey took them weeks. They got into all sorts of administrative bother, partly because they were inviting friends to visit, with gourmet meals and partly because they were hippies and it was the early eighties.

Thank you Angus.

1 comment:

  1. Thank *you*, Jonathan. Here is some more hippyness in return, from an earlier generation and a different continent. In my copy of Carlos Castaneda’s “Tales of Power”, its pages now beige and spotted, the glue coming unstuck, there is talk of walking.

    One ramble involves “the right way of walking”, where you move without attracting attention, there and not there (this reminds me of strolling late beside Manchester’s Southern Cemetery in the 90s trying to emulate the projection of *mu* or nothingness talked about in the manga “Lone Wolf and Cub” so as to pass invisibly among small groups of drinking youth).

    Another wander through walking along which Don Juan guides his disciple relates to a meditative practice where you walk until you are no longer conscious that you are walking, until the inner voice falls silent. I’ve tried to track down the quote but this is as close as I came:

    “You must learn how to stop your internal dialogue at will. At the beginning of our association I delineated another procedure: walking for long stretches without focusing the eyes on anything. My recommendation was to not look at anything directly but by slightly crossing the eyes, to keep a peripheral view of everything that presented itself to the eyes. If one keeps one's unfocused eyes fixed at a point just above the horizon, it is possible to notice, at once, everything in almost the total 180-degree range in front of one's eyes. That exercise is the only way of shutting off the internal dialogue. The internal dialogue is what grounds us. The world is such and such or so and so, only because we talk to ourselves about its being such and such or so and so. The passageway into the world of sorcerers opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off the internal dialogue”.