The Learned Pig

Art – Thinking – Nature – Writing

Tag: cities

  • An Oral History of the Whitechapel Monster

    An Oral History of the Whitechapel Monster

    A digital found text poem by Sam Fulton, charting the trajectory of the Whitechapel Fatberg, an enormous mass of congealed fat in the sewers beneath London.

  • Way-Hame Poems

    Way-Hame Poems

    “For a time, I used to get the train from Dunbar to Edinburgh and back again at least twice a week.” Poetry from a rhythmic commute – by Hannah Lavery.

  • We Were Strangers

    We Were Strangers

    A friend of mine passed away a few months ago and, although we were never especially close, his death affected me deeply. For a time afterwards I found myself impelled, on my lunch breaks, to leave the office block in central Manchester where I work and spend an hour walking – briskly yet purposelessly –…

  • Shopping centres, caves and the fate of us all

    Shopping centres, caves and the fate of us all

    If you leave Nottingham train station and head towards the centre of the city, you will eventually come up against a large brown wall barricading the city. Actually it is the backside, or front (it’s hard to tell), of a shopping centre called Broadmarsh. Like a museum gift shop, the only way is through. I…

  • A New Map of Berlin

    A New Map of Berlin

    Anton Newcombe, leader of the psych-rock band The Brian Jonestown Massacre, is one of my more unlikely acquaintances in Berlin. His recording studio is just a few blocks from my apartment, north-west of Nordbahnhof, where affluent Mitte begins to meld with the predominantly Turkish, working-class neighbourhood of Wedding. I sometimes cycle there for a late…

  • A New Map of Berlin

    A New Map of Berlin

    I had no intention of bicycling in the snow, this winter. I started riding just seven months ago to stave off the inevitable corrosion of old age. I have no tolerance of cold. I grew up on the beaches of Sydney, where anything below 15ºC is thought of as gelid. In Berlin, the average winter…

  • A New Map of Berlin

    A New Map of Berlin

    I am an inexperienced cyclist. As far as possible, I avoid Berlin’s main arteries and stick to the backstreets. Bike lanes constricted by car traffic, tram tracks and intrusion from roadworks and heavy construction make me nervous, so my routes are often haphazard interconnections of empty footpaths, public and corporate plätze, service alleys, old river…

  • A New Map of Berlin

    A New Map of Berlin

    Fehrbelliner Strasse intersects the indefinite, porous border between the old East Berlin neighbourhoods of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg. Forming a T with the sloping green space of Volkspark am Weinbergweg, the street is lined with pretty late 19th-century altbauten that had survived artillery and aerial bombardment at the end of World War II, and featureless…

  • Plant Migrations

    Plant Migrations

    With human civilisation comes ecological engineering. Over 10,000 years we have changed the world in increasingly dramatic ways. Many of these changes have been deliberate. Many have been the unintended consequences of our unquenchable curiosity and our anthropocentric thinking. How soon did early modifications of grasses in the fertile crescent of our imagination become commodities?…

  • Binbag, Pavement Tree, Chainlink Fence

    Binbag, Pavement Tree, Chainlink Fence

    Dandelions poking through a chainlink fence; brambles sprouting from an unknown corner; a binbag gashed open, spewing out its contents; scattered leaves; a dead fly. Mimei Thompson paints the everyday and the overlooked. She imbues commonplace subject matter with a sense of strangeness. She works fast, with transclucent oil paint on very smooth, white, non-absorbent…

  • When It Breaks

    When It Breaks

    When the side of the building falls, it is a spring morning, April, not yet dawn. And there is no warning. The crack was there for a long time, all up the side, visible on every floor. Everything’s broken, all broken. You can’t worry about these things. What Sondra’s mother told her: You stop worrying….