Tuesday, 20 December 2011

a field student of little and great emples

What can account for the lost 't's of the Lee Valley marshlands of old? Might they be found underneath the Walthamstow reservoirs, perfectly preserved in the alluvium?

Laura Wright and Robert Elms talked about some of Walthamstow's linguistic heritage today - 19/12/11. Their discussion is available to listen to again at


starting at about 1hr 37min.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

a field student of Ballardian epiphanies

Field Study's Man in E17 loves a good edge; in fact and fiction he and I virtually live on them. We're particularly fond of fried edge on toast - or toasht to indulge ourselves a little more. 'Edgelands' is a term we are becoming more familiar with having listened to Gareth Rees guided talk about the Hackney Marsh edgelands. We have found out we may be a character in the Marshman's chronicles of this liminal place - as one of the ritual riders making their way to work (or elsewhere) - on the good edge of the marshes. Gareth's talk can be found via 'Gareth Rees Scoop' on the


menu. Look for 'Mapping Your Manor'. Gareth shares his enjoyment of the rise of the Olympic Park at the edge of the marshes. This new city, capital of the Olympic ideal, is enriching Gareth's edge. The development is causing us some concern, the salient points of which we shall drift to rather than getting straight to.

J G Ballard is credited as being one of the seminal authors of the urban edge, and Will Self and John Gray can be found in virtual conversation about J G Ballard at the Watershed. Mr Self and Mr Gray share accounts of some of their Ballardian epiphanies while, we suspect, also subconsciously exchanging mineral water sipping techniques - essential to any sophisticated discussion of edgelands and emptiness.

At this time of the year Field Study's Man in E17's morning ride across the marsh edge sometimes takes in the spectacular sight of the winter sun hanging low on the south eastern horizon as an intense silvery and golden aura veiling the emerging city. Could he and I be on the verge of a Damascene moment; an epiphanic conversion to Pierre de Coubertin's vision? One day I may find my selves in the midst of a landscape as envisioned by Victorian painter of apocalypses, John Martin. Will we be flung into the abyss of Olympic doubters?
Will Self' makes a comment about the future starting to seem dated; 'a recasting of the past through an increasingly atomised landscape'. Will Self also mentions H G Wells in his appreciation of J G Ballard, concerning prescience. Wells called for the establishment of "Departments and Professors of Foresight". According to Wikipedia his call presaged the development of modern academic futures studies by approximately 40 years - study now more commonly coined as 'futurology'. 'Futurology' is a term frequently used by Iain Sinclair in his attempts to debunk the mythology of the modern Olympics. Is there prescience in Ballard's, Kingdom Come, given recent consumer riots and the second coming of the Westfields?

While the government and various other authorities are fretting about the possibility of explosions, calling on a huge military force to safeguard the games but also add to the likelihood of Olympic bankruptcy, what we may also want to fret about, according to Self and Gray's discussion, is community implosion. Would the Olympic site, as a gated world, be an exemplar of such virtuality becoming real again by breakdown?

Field Study's Man in E17 is deeply suspicious of Anish Kapoor's Olympic Tower. To us it is potentially a site of a sinister scientific experiment. During the Olympic Games the air will be so ideologically charged - 'electric', 'buzzing' - that there will be an opportunity to harness those forces and use them to power a Utopia fusion project. Not Utopian but Utopia. In this project all Utopias, past, present and future, will be sucked into the vacuous structure and fused - creating The Final Utopia. Key to the harnessing of the forces of Utopia fusion is the Higgs Boson particle. Why? Because one said so.

In a moment of foresight  (dare we say Ballardian epiphany and cosmic identification with thee Higgs Boson?) we saw an imploded future in which rightful denizens of The Final Utopia are carnivorous Buddleia davidii. The mutation to carnivorousness (carnivory?) is caused by a leak from the tower of the element, 'Implodium', carried to the shrub by butterflies. In a horrific nightmare of John Wyndham-ian (a term which came  out of the Self & Gray discussion)  character we witnessed goring by Buddleia on an Olympic stadium scale - every aspect of it reproduced in ultra high definition and 4D surround sound. The more Ballardian dimension of this epiphany is that no-one is actually gored by Buddleia - it's all a dream or nightmare that you, once you have been exposed to Implodium, cannot stop having. The most tangible emanation of the highly infectious nightmare is extreme mass insomnia and a terrible phobia about closing one's eyes - even for a blink. Reality becomes hazardously soporific for those people contaminated.

In the blink of an artificial eye Field Study's Man in E17 made our way to the Large Haddron Collider to warn the scientists of the consequences of Higgs Boson detection and harnessing. He and I banged and banged at the perimeter - the edge - of the site but our bangs were not big enough (boom! boom!) to be heard. We returned to the Olympic Park and pleaded with a security guard to call the games off - there's still time, it's not too late. They did not listen.
Sometime later, you might picture Field Study's Man in E17, in Charlton Heston-ian guise, floundering on the banks of the globally warmed tidal waters of the Lee - substitute horse for coconut shells and er, well one is not so deranged as to imagine eternity with that Girl Friday. Apes would not be one's nemesis but ferocious Buddleia. So here is that bit of futurology from Charlton Heston.    

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

a field student of prudence and prurience

Dick Turpin featured in the ramblings of Lost and Found in E17 a while ago and has just galloped through the thoughts of Field Study's Man in E17 again. Delusions of criminal grandeur are rare in the mind of this here field reporter and what elicited the highwayman this time is a dilemma concerning the taking, photographically, of other person's property in public spaces. It is not only the taking of photographs but also the reproduction and dissemination of the images which is at issue. There are criminal aspects to this aspect of the law, as well as civil. It may be illegal to photograph strategic locations e.g. military bases. It would be a civil issue in law to photograph another person's property and reproduce and disseminate the images without their consent. Of course, the legal details are not straight forward and I wouldn't pretend to be familiar with them nor competent in their use. 
So photographs I took on Newcomen St (a public highway) of building façades have not been reproduced or published here.

Also, it seems there may be some grey in the area of hyper-linking to other web sites without the consent of their owners, so I have opted for straight forward references which I believe do not require permission.
This can be understood as taking myself too seriously although the reaction to the law and my understanding of it serves as an illustration pertinent in many respects to some of the content or themes of the post.
As a further illustration of the restrictions on reproduction of images, try going to Newcomen St, London via Google Maps - and use the 'street view' facility to view some of the building façades. One of the buildings, featured in this post, has been adjusted so as not to show the faces or identities of the building's ornamental busts.
As Field Study's Man in E17 I drifted on London's streams of tarmac consciousness looking for situations with which to nourish my psyche. Utopia bobbed about tantalizingly in the distance and I wondered if prurience and self interest have any currency there. Alas Utopia submerged into the course of one of the capital's lost rivers and I was left wondering what to do about my self-interest and prurience. Could I discover sites of deeply topographic and mythogeographic delectation; ambrosial delights (if you will) to cleanse my soul and inflame less prurient passions?  How might nectarous situations encountered further afield in London (if the place exists) be compared and contrasted with others closer to home in Walthamstow, E17 (if the place exists)? Where in E17 might I enjoy such spectacles as the façades featured in the absent 'photographs' below?

1. façade of 9, Mollison House, Newcomen St, London - with ornamental busts and flag pole. 

2. doorway to 9, Mollison House.

3. detail of one of the busts. Each bust portrays a different person.

4. detail of another bust and a plaque commemorating John Marshall. 

5. close up view of another bust, also showing staining by grime/air pollution.

Who the stony figures are, when they were created and what they represent are questions which are each likely to have rational answers however this is not necessarily the place to find those answers. They can be characters waiting to be invented by whoever takes the time, space and energy to notice them. Add spuriousness to self interest and prurience. Were they gagging, wheezing and coughing in the grime laden air of the ravine that is Newcomen Street? Is that what made me look up and notice them for the first time after years of opting for this bottleneck into Borough High Street, rather than the others (similarly bottlenecked) to the north and south of the junction? Do 'functional' and 'junction' come close in the working vocabulary of Transport for London, or whoever it is that creates and manages what I think are despicable locations - 'dysjunctions'. Just how horrific and macabre are their fume stained faces leaching, exuding, expiating some foul superunnatural particulate matter? Is this purgatory? As if the air were not smut ridden enough Field Study's Man in E17 started thinking about flag pole jokes. As you can't see by their expressions, the worthy and most philanthropic and charitable figures of yore were not amused by my attempts at light relief. 
Oh no, you don't think I actually stood on the pavement beneath them telling them flag pole jokes out loud do you? That would be mad or a little eccentric to say the least. No no no, I just had to think the jokes through because, you see (or rather you don't), they can read my mind. Yes, amiss it is of me to make light of mental illness if, that is, imagining stone ornaments (distressingly) reading my mind is a symptom of mental illness - a paranoid delusion.

6. detail of doorbell at entrance to Mollison House.

Perhaps I should have rung the bell and asked for help. The building is, or has been, a part of Kings College/Guys Hospital - a department or office of sociology and psychology. Please ask your colleagues to stop reading my mind, I might have pleaded. It is distressingly ironic the area is so congested by motor traffic, and thus the air as polluted, given one of the area's principal residents is a hospital. I have driven a van (for work) a lot in that area although recently I have, thankfully, been able to do most of the work by bicycle and on foot. By those means I can see a lot more.

Too much, may be, for someone prone to prurience, for as I reeled from the psychic trespass I turned my gaze from the north to south and found a fine example of a lion and unicorn coat of arms - the heraldic coat of arms for the United Kingdom. I was impressed by their 'endowment' prominently displayed upon the façade of The Kings Arms public house. I don't know of any other 'lion and unicorn' in which the beasts' retracted phalli are still so prominent; fantastically, comically and luridly even.              

7. the façade of The Kings Arms, with heraldic coat of arms. 

8. Lion and Unicorn coat of arms

9. detail of coat of arms showing the Unicorn's retracted phallus.

What this interest says of the near nobody I am is likely to be of little consequence. Indeed, the subtleties and complexities of that coat of arms are above my head in many ways. 
There are though more notable figures strutting their stuff in the euro-political bestiary over the crisis of confidence in the Eurozone. David Camerom's lion-hearted (depending on your ideological stance) veto of 'the new accord'* has got Alex Salmond's horn in a twist over the lack of a risk assessment for the Scottish economy and those of the other devolved governments or nations. 'Risk assessment' sounds very lame and very easily conjures analogies with 'Europe' as an interfering control** freak. True to Tory bravado on issues of British nationhood, David Mundell, the only Scottish Conservative MP, is reported in the Financial Times*** as commenting on Alex Salmond's need for any fig leaf to ‘save his embarrassment’. Not quite!
David Cameron might regard himself as needing to be less modest especially when accompanied by his yapping pack of protective bulldogs. He seems intent, even hell-bent, on protecting 'the City' which could be regarded as an island state according to its own laws and fiscal customs. Cameron's Utopian Kingdom will not kowtow to the delusions of mainland Europe; 'genuine fiscal stability unions' threaten to smother the golden glow emanating from the rainbows end where is 'the City' and the promise of Mammon.
This cynicism is obvious and clichéd; I don't deny. When I returned home this evening from work in another field of London dreams at large - a day of traipsing up, down and around the swanky affluence of Wimbledon - I planted myself in front of the evening news to watch the spectacle of Conservative MPs congratulating and supporting their leader on his steadfastness. Was it really David Cameron PM who single-handedly vetoed the accord? What seemed perverse to me was their barracking of their Liberal Democrat colleagues, revelling in the trashing of whatever political credibility the 'Lib Dems' had left. The political vaudeville may be very amusing evening viewing however the spittle infused glee in the mockery convinced me this was stupid, irritating, ridiculous and contemptible. There are derisive and vulgar slang words beginning with 'd' or 'p' which less polite people could use to refer to people (mainly men) behaving so crassly. Not me; well not that you could hear or read off the page. I think those characters on, 9 Mollison House might have read my thoughts though. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Watch out for lions and unicorns in Walthamstow.





** - Jon Swaine, 'Bent banana and curved cucumber rules dropped', The Telegraph, 24/7/08. 


*** - Andrew Bolger, 'Salmond seeks explanation from Cameron', Financial Times, 12/12/11.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

a field student of Busby dreams

Of what does a lowly aphid dream? This is what, as Field Study's Man in E17, I have been asking (and trying to remember?) while going about my humble and bumbling business in the mists and fogs of a season which otherwise feels so unseasonal and discombobulating. I have been worrying about the persistence of the leaves on the trees. Shouldn't more of them have fallen by now or rather, at the time these photographs were taken several days ago? So much withered green and dessicated yellow hanging overhead - a marcescent nightmare or sweet dream for a roaming aphid; the most recent guise of Field Study's Man in E17. I could be in heaven amidst all this yellowish autumnal senescence to which I am so strangely attracted. In the canopies which know no abscission I have sought comfort in the floriferous vision of Busby Berkeley choreographed to the strains of Artie Shaw. In this lack of a windfall it is by a waterfall I have dreamed of flowers past and to come. 
Here are the remnants of another Berkeleyesque vision pasted on the dereliction of Newington Causeway not far from Elephant and Castle. It is a reminder of my recent dalliances with other visions of scantily clad rites of spring and summer. How fruitful and sweet will the honeydew of this far flown forage be?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

a field student of haunted mists

yesterday at the allotment

a field student of spurious origins dines on a parasol mushroom

FRP Hornbeam's Insect Hotel

It is a long way to travel, from Bunhill Fields to Walthamstow, when being a creature much more small than great. Field Study's Man in E17, in the guise of a tick, failed miserably to latch on to any sanguineous psycho-geographers in the course of his journey. Add to this problem of scale the evolutionary problem of having acquired six more legs with which I scurried in a ridiculous fashion. 8 is just too many. With the blood of ancestral poets long gone I faced a crisis which required seizing a shape shifting opportunity. In the supernatural twilight hanging over Walthamstow Marshes I became with the barely audible (to human ears) proclamation, "I am become Fungus Gnat!" In this form I drifted on the haunted breezes of the marshes and so made my progress a little more effortlessly towards home.
Having stayed in the grand habitation which was 'InnVertebrate' I found myself at another insect hotel in the borderlands of E17. This hospitality was of a much more thrifty character although I confess to having some doubts about the place. There was a curious and disturbing resonance which I struggled to put one of my six legs on until the screeching brakes of a bus propelled me into the shower scene of Psycho and Bates Motel where Janet Leigh as Marion Crane met a grisly end. Bernard Hermann's stabbing sound effects were created by stabbing a melon (you know).


It being Saturday morning, all this paranoia, psycho association and macabre musing was swept away by the conviviality of Organiclea's wholesome, local and organic produce stall.     

Organiclea Stall, Bakers Avenue E17 - Saturdays, 10am - 3.30pm.

Is this serendipity? How was it I chose the form of a fungus gnat in my journey of tiny significance? Field Study's Man in E17 is reading, The Stream, by Brian Clarke. In this story, it is the law of continuing that decrees provenance. And so by the law of continuing Field Study's Man in E17, intrepid fungus gnat extraordinaire, was greeted by a sight of humongous sustenance - thanks to Ru K, parasol mushrooms foraged in the Broxbourne area. Oh great law of continuing, you gave me food and shelter from the blazing November sun.    

Field Study's Man in E17 being enticed by a parasol mushroom.

As I hovered about Roger, preparing to plunge into his parasol, I was distracted by the noise of heated debate - the cladistical ructions of a Springtail or Collembola conference taking place in the Bakers Avenue Bug Motel. The parsimonious debate concerned the classification of their species. Some of the springtails asserted they are insects while others something else, more ambiguous, more 'inter-cultural'. Cladistical purists were having none of this identity politics. Central to the ruction is the issue of mouth parts. Insects have external mouth parts while Collembola have internal mouth parts. Quips about insects never being able to keep their mouths shut murmured in and out of the assorted shafts of bics and biros. Sensing this dispute might escalate I adopted the role of mediator - peace maker. We are all mycophyles and here is a stall of earthy mycogastronomic delight. Let us engage our mouth parts in the noble art of eating. 

As we sat down to gobble on our dish of fried parasol mushroom seasoned with coarse ground pepper the parsimony abated and we began to tell the tales of our ancestry in a quest for a universal origin. I scratched out a cladogram in the mud. Here is a diligent student's diagram of my 'tree'.

As I waxed lyrical on the ancestry of Field Study's Mandibles in E17 there was a decidedly irritated and objecting voice calling out, "Spurious, totally spurious psycho-cladogrammatics!"  

Friday, 18 November 2011

a field student of Blake, Bunyan and Defoe stays at a bug hotel

As Field Study's Man in E17, I made for home via the ravines and gullies of Bunhill Fields; some of the time being the size of a blood sucking tick tucked away in the tunic of the pilgrim, Christian. I waited to latch on to any unsuspecting psycho-geographers who had come to pay their respects to the fore-fathers of their discipline. Would they rub up to me? Many years ago, while at college, I attended a slide show and talk by a visiting lecturer. He was influenced by tombstones and memorials and had been to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris where Oscar Wilde is buried. The slides included an image showing how pilgrims to Wilde's tombstone had rubbed at the genitalia of the statuesque angel; the gesture rendering them distinctly polished. Along with the lipsticky kisses and graffiti the devotion overall has caused some distress to the family of Oscar Wilde. Back in Bunhill Fields there was, thankfully, no evidence of such attention at the tomb of John Bunyan and I was there in a strictly platonic vampiric nonsense. I continued my journey, a blood thirsty creepy crawl, across the way to where William Blake and Daniel Defoe are remembered.

Tomb of John Bunyan at Bunhill Fields.

Merlin Coverley sees Daniel Defoe as the provider of 'the prototype psychogeographical report' - this being, A Journal of the Plague Year. I considered paying imaginary gothic homage to Defoe in the form of a flea in order to make a thematic connection with the source of the plague of 1665; fleas (on rats) carrying Yersinia pestis - the bacterium that causes bubonic plague. I opted instead for an arachnid - the tick, another purveyor of horrible pestilence. I made a link to The Guardian, so in the interests of non-bias here is a link to a report from The Daily Mail which tells of an invasion of blood sucking ticks able to induce (hypothetically) a mass outbreak of hallucinations. This seems to be a rather prosaic psychogeographical scenario here in the shadow of Defoe's grimy memorial. The grime, perhaps from traffic pollution, has rendered the inscriptions all most unreadable. I was tempted to rub them clean but thought better of it. 

Tomb of Daniel Defoe at Bunhill Fields

Attention to the grave of William Blake was less gaudy than that for the tomb of Oscar Wilde although a person or persons had left an assortment of items on the stone (17/11/2011) perhaps as a part of a ritual gathering around the stone to remember and celebrate his life. The things appeared innocent enough.

Gravestone of William Blake at Bunhill Fields
(the actual grave is a short distance away)

As Field Study's Man in E17 I've had cause to think about dance recently, in particular, the painting, La Danse II, by Henri Matisse. When applying for a job as an art teacher I was required to give a lesson on the theme of movement. La Danse II was one of the images I presented in a slide show. I was asked by some of the students why the figures had to be (or were) naked. I began to answer while also thinking of how I might creatively turn the question on the students so they might give their insights. I faltered as I realized my interpretations were potentially contrary to the edicts of the Islamic faith of the students asking the question - a situation for which I was not prepared. Having attended the DV8 performance, Can We Talk About This?, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, I have been reflecting on relevant situations in which I have censored myself. I was interested to read Matisse may have been influenced by Blake's, 'Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing' . Blake's figures are less raw and more diaphanous. William Blake produced a body of works based on Dante's Divine Comedy, for which there seems to be a complex relationship with early Islamic philosophy. I do wonder how Blake's depiction, (along with many others) of Muhammad in the 'Sowers of Discord' could be appropriate in a setting where I feel compelled not to offend. A picture I think more closely related to La Danse is Lucas Cranach the Elder's, The Golden Age - click on this link to view some painstakingly protected modesty.   

Scuttling quickly on, as darkness began to close in on Bunhill Fields I wondered where a creep and crawly such as I might find safe haven in that neighbourhood?

Field Study's Man heading for E17 can recommend the 'bee boutique' having spent a night there snuggled up with all sorts of fellow spineless creepy crawlies.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

a field student of facts, fatsias and falsities

"Size of a honey bee!"; the incantation from Arabian Nights by which, as Field Study's Man in E17, I began another evening ramble or forage. Here from my black box of digital tricks is an image of a mysterious forest encountered not far from Base Camp Beere. The lack of focus is an indication of the density of the forest and the difficulty I had navigating my way through and out of it. The experience was fraught with mortal danger however, as is obvious by this testimony, I lived to tell, or rather, spin the tale. Below is an image of the forest from a more distant hovering vantage. What misidentifications lurked in the darkness of that fig leafed canopy? Ominous vibrations; the buzz, rub and scuttle of mini beasts waiting patiently for the likes of foolhardy lily livered liberal psycho-geographers such as me. Not for Julian Beere, intrepid trespass into the out of bounds bowels, tunnels and tubes of London's underground. Too risque. Would you find Field Study's Man in E17 blagging his way into the viscera of Westfields, east and west, savagely chatting up security guards for the sake of a cutting edge psycho-geographic class critique? No way! I shall commune with the bees and the birds in the parochial paradise garden of E17. In this, the Great Aralian Forest of Walthamstow, (the E17 Aralia) there is the sanctuary of palmately lobed false consciousness - the sense of security to be gleaned from nice plants in nice front gardens in nice neighbourhoods with lots and lots of nice people. Oasis? Mirage? Even estate agents windows here have been sites for poetry to sooth the prospecting brows of weary house and flat hunters. 

By what misidentification might this Garden of Eden 17 become a Poison Garden of E17? Yesterday evening I observed wasps and honeybees clambering about the flowers of this plant. I was surprised to see the wasps. Shouldn't they all, but the queens normally, be dead by the 12th November? The weather has been so mild of late. Being the budding apiarist I decided to check on my identification - the facts and fatsias of this plant. Is it a fig leafed palm, a flowering aralia, Japanese Aralia - Fatsia japonica? What nourishment is to be had for the pollen foragers at this fly through take away? Will they be getting the right balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates (with trace minerals) to maintain a healthy ...... lifestyle? A little further up the road, flies were opting for the junk food choice of discarded but still fleshy fried chicken bones with dog excrement sauce. Yum. 
I have yet to find the nutritional information label for Fatsia japonica or the fig leaved palm - if that it what it is. In my flits and flights between various internet 'flowerings' of information I came across a link to a plant by the name of, 'false castor oil plant'; another name for the fig leaved palm. This is where the garden of plant names takes on something of a toxic character. The (true) castor oil plant is Ricinus communis - a source of the toxin, ricin - allegedly the stuff of sinister and alarming terrorist plots originating in north and east London. I recommend this web site, 'the poison garden' for a wealth of information and links about the truth and falsities of castor oil plants amongst many others.

Last weekend I went to see, 'Can We Talk About This?' - a play by DV8 Physical Theatre. While I was in thrall to the spectacular invention of the dance and acro-balance I squirmed about in my liberal seat as the same dancers orated on the subject or contemporary history of multiculturalism and extremism, in particular Islamic extremism. In my nice world of flowers, birds and bees it was a challenging polemic to endure though one I recommend going to. Was the latter comment one I feel liberally bound to say? 'Can We Talk About This?' deals with the persecution, intimidation and censorship of individual artists, writers, educators and other public figures as a succession of theatrical inquests. The show does not address acts of mass terrorism although they lurked in my mind as part of the culture of fear about what is free speech for some and unacceptable heinous blasphemy for others. I am heading for the allotment in flight from the urban graffiti hornets whose nest I disturbed earlier in the week.      

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

a field student of paint splatters

8th November. As Field Study's Man in E17, I took a break this evening from studying the complexities of honey bee nutrition; in particular the purpose of proteins in pollen. Vitellogenin (Vg) seems to be one of the most important proteins for the well being of a bee colony because it is used to produce brood food that is a substance akin to an elixir of bee life. Some more insights about vitellogenin can be accessed here. In 'a field student of October forages'  there are some images of bees returning to their hive well laden with pollen. This is encouraging as it suggests they may well be building up stores of pollen and thus the reserves of Vg which will help them re-establish the colony early next year.

But what about the paint splatted images above? Is the ghost of Jackson Pollock at large in Walthamstow? Unlikely. As Field Study's Man in E17 taking my evening constitutional I reflected on my efforts to summon the spirit of Joseph Beuys' dead hare so that it might explain the plethora of pictures to be enjoyed via the E17 Art Trail 2011. Beuys was also a great artistic proponent of fat. Did my circuitous ramble in the form and outline of a hare, the character of which was determined by the shapes of E17's highways and byways, actually succeed in evoking the ghost of Beuys' hare? I have scoured the Guardian looking for reports of sightings of ghostly white hares. It is possible a larval white hare - in fact a liquid lipid body of ethereal white paint - appeared briefly on Wadham Road before, alas, being splatted into abstract expressionist post existence by a driver distracted by the task of texting a message to say he would be home in less than a minute.