Vincent Icolari: Basketmaker. Plaster relief, varnished, ca. 1935
AFTER FLYING, GROUNDING
British novelist Will Self came to New York not long ago to promote his latest published work, a nonfiction book on walking called Psychogeography. When Self arrived at LaGuardia Airport, he was met for a radio interview by Pejk (pronounced 'Pike'] Malinovski, a reporter for the WNYC show, "Studio 360."
Malinovski taped a walk with Self. That was the interview. The first place the pair walked to was the airport's Ground Transportation desk. There, Self asked the woman at the counter for the best route to take in order to reach Manhattan on foot.
"You want to . . . walk . . . out of the airport?" It was as much a statement as a question--or as much a question as a statement.
"Yes," Self replied.
"You want to walk," she repeated, just to make sure she'd heard right. "You mean, like . . . walk."
"Yes," Self repeated.
After she recovered, the Ground Transportation representative pointed Self and Malinovski in the right direction. And soon, after some highway-hopping--and an impromptu cemetery tour--they were walking the streets of residential Queens, Manhattan-bound.
For Self, this airport-walking is nothing new. He has walked from his home in London all the way to Heathrow; and trekked the 18 miles from O'Hare to Chicago's Loop. "Walking after flying grounds one, literally," says Self. "It reconnects you with the earth."
Self began walking for fitness, but he has come to see it as much more, as "an insurgency against the contemporary world, an act of refusal, of dissent."
To hear the entire interview, go to the Studio 360 website at http://www.studio360.org/episodes/2007/12/07
If you've read Will Self's book, Psychogeography, I'd welcome your comments. Thanks to Victoria Harding for the tip!