It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour London Clay: Journeys in the Deep City by Tom Chivers
About the Author
Tom Chivers is a poet and publisher. He is the author of two pamphlets and two full collections of poetry to date, and is the director of the independent press Penned in the Margins.
In 2008 he was the Bishopsgate Institute’s first writer in residence, and has appeared widely at events and made a number of contributions to radio, including presenting a 30min documentary for Radio 4. He has collaborated with the climate arts organisation Cape Farewell and conducts immersive walking tours of London. Chivers is currently an Associate Artist of the National Centre for Writing. Follow @thisisyogic on Twitter, Visit thisisyogic.com
About the book
Part personal memoir, part lyrical meditation, London Clay takes us deep in to the nooks and crannies of a forgotten city: a hidden landscape long buried underneath the sprawling metropolis. Armed with just his tattered Streetfinder map, author Tom Chivers follows concealed pathways and explores lost islands, to uncover the geological mysteries that burst up through the pavement and bubble to the surface of our streets.
From Roman ruins to a submerged playhouse, abandoned Tube stations to ancient riverbeds, marshes and woodlands, this network of journeys combined to produce a compelling interrogation of London’s past. London Clay examines landscape and our connection to place, celebrates urban edge lands: in-between spaces where the natural world and the city mingle, and where ghosts of the deep past can be felt as a buzzing in the skull. It is also a personal account of growing up in London, and of overcoming loss through the layered stories of the capital.
Written in rich and vivid prose, London Clay will inspire readers to think about what lies beneath their feet, and by doing so reveal new ways of looking at the city.
Chivers, perhaps inadvertently, hits on something that is sliding into mythical status – childhood curiosity and exploration of surroundings. The children of the 21st century are so captivated by the world of gadgetry and online presence, that they do not venture outside with the same recklessness and hunger for geo knowledge as previous generations. Go boldly where no person has gone before or you think no one has gone before.
I think it’s hard for many to imagine historical footprints in real time, especially under own foot. The concept of others existing, breathing and surviving in the same place or area, whereas when faced in real time with a cultural and historical relic or area of significance you can actually behold, wander around and see – it’s an entirely different experience.
This book brings back those feelings of excitement at discovering forgotten buildings, ruins, tunnels, bunkers and just in general the thought of people treading the same path during different centuries. It is very much a book of echoes of energy, shadows of experiences, memories and knowledge gained through oral and written historical narratives.
The prose is an interesting balance between experience and lyrical description. The combination results in a visual journey as you walk along beside him, feel his energy – as if you are the silent observer. The voyeur of time, travel, space and presence.
I wonder if decades or centuries from now others will experience the same hunger for pyscho-geology and the energies that have gone before them and perhaps still linger in an attempt to connect.
Buy London Clay at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday; pub date 9th Sep 2021 – Hardback £20. Buy at Waterstones.