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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Signs of movement 

Cathy and I did a seminar at Lancaster the other week based, at least in part, on the virtual worlds work we've been involved in. The journey was an epic of delayed trains, missed connections and travel adjustments, all of which worked out quite happily in the end. In the process we seemed to collect a rainforest of tickets (see pic). It all made me think of tickets as signs of movement. There's all sorts that can happen - wrong tickets, lost tickets, no tickets - whole stories can turn on the ticket. The ticket becomes the bookmark - even the souvenir. And sometimes the ticket is the proof - it tells the journey taken, the time, the cost and even (I noticed this on close inspection) the name of the purchaser. All very handy for those acts of surveillance connected with claiming expenses! I loved tickets as a child. The top-deck journey around the suburbs, the foot of Nottingham Castle and into the Old Market Square signified glorious independence. Often the journey was the best bit. I held on to my ticket as if my life depended on it (if an inspector got on and you couldn't find it, you'd be turfed off). After the excitement of the journey all you had left was the ticket. It was symbolic of something. I tried to collect them....and failed. I've never been the collecting type. But still so much connects to the ticket. It's all woven into the totality of the journeying experience - a bit like one of the nodal points Cathy and I were talking about. Yesterday I read something that seemed to capture this. In a review of the latest novel by Javier Marias, Alberto Manguel wrote 'every event, however minuscule, might develop into a sprawling web of roots and branches.' Despite a slight technical uneasiness with the word 'event' I found inspiring. In fact inspiring enough to re-mix as 'every ticket could explode into a sprawling web of roots and branches'. Apologies Alberto if that's plagiarism; I'm sure you understand.

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