…Scarp by Nick Papadimitriou

I saw Nick at the Edinburgh Book Festival and it was the link to psychogeography – and the presence of Will Self as the chair – that convinced me to attend his event. Nick is an unassuming, ordinary looking chap. The kind of chap who might be in front of you ordering coffee, the kind of chap who might pick up your discarded newspaper to read on the bus. Except it would seem Nick rarely uses the bus or any other form of transport other than his legs.

Although I have only started Scarp, Nick’s reportage of what he thinks and what he feels is honest and far-reaching, even though it comes in the thinnest wrapping of personal context. Reading, I felt a  renewed sense of confidence of how to locate myself in my own scarp. I suddenly felt my flights of fancy – not just my writing fancies – were not so fanciful after all. They just need realising. I knew when Nick began to speak he was not an ordinary person; he thinks and feels very differently from me and yet instead of feeling alienated, I am enjoying a warm sense of shared discovery.

There is a whiff of Tolkien in his writing and having been devastated by falling in love with a chap who lived in the shadow of the North Circular, any author who can make East Finchley, Brockley Hill, Harrow Weald and Pinner sound magical has real power in his words and his world.

And I just love the word escarpment.

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