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Shed Summit

Shed Summit

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Published by Triarchy Press
One of a collection of 17accounts recording A Year of Walking by drifter, mythogeographer and crabman Phil Smith. The full set and a collection of other resources live at www.mythogeography.com
One of a collection of 17accounts recording A Year of Walking by drifter, mythogeographer and crabman Phil Smith. The full set and a collection of other resources live at www.mythogeography.com

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Published by: Triarchy Press on Dec 08, 2009
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12/08/2009

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Shed Summit
On a blistering hot day – 14
th
July - we went to explore the areaaround Welcombe Barton – recycling shed on our way in, then along walk down to the Welcombe Mouth beach – “geology! Theearth crushed together and rising – process the hut to the beach likeSpanish penitents… – each of us wearing hut hats…” - failed to getto either Ronald Duncan’s or Rev. Stephen Hawker’s sheds –  between two ignorances, the rocks of the combe shimmered in theheat. At his church in Welcombe, opium-soaked Hawker not onlyinvented Harvest Festival he also introduced the practice of opening the North Door during baptisms in order to let out theDevil (brought in by the un-baptised child) and then locking thedoor and keeping it locked until the next baptism. Along the way tothe beach and back again by a different route we found manylocked sheds and huts, ready for weekend owners. During the ShedSummit the people were there, weekending, and in one case theyinvited us all into their garden to process about their shed, to present our shed to theirs, and to photograph them and us together with the sheds.I was overwhelmedwith associations – 
TheLast Battle
by C. S.Lewis where, in a shed,the ape presents adonkey in a lion’s skinas Aslan – I hired a joke lion skin fromFantasy World on ForeStreet (I couldn’t quite
 
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remember the name and I just looked it up in Raimi Gbadamosi’s
The Dreamers’ Perambulator
, couldn’t resist running over more pages, walking through names, most but not all commercial, nolonger a directory, already ‘out of date’ when it was never ‘in’, buta route ‘in itself’). I brought along various clothes for Simon, todress as the ape – but there was never a right moment to performthis. We saw an advertisement for a performance by the “amazingsuicidal birdman” and I remembered I had written
The VillageProject
while living in a shed; a play based on the life of Blaedudd, King Lear’s father, who tried to fly and died in theattempt. I remembered the dystopian shed in
Ambitions,
writtenfor the same company – Gog Theatre, full of smoke from exploded pc’s, written twenty years ago, after visiting some early-days-of- pc-games designers.The difficulty of performance and the ease of ritual; parade, pseudo-pilgrimage stripped of belief. I was to ‘lead’ the paradewith a staff made from pieces of the cutup shed. The best part was being able tohand the ‘staff’ over to various‘pilgrims’.Stephen made a Schwitters-esquespeaking scarecrow, Cathy made poetrywith potting plants, Simon made a mini-shed-gallery of shed imagery. I mademini-performances. I wrote with a pieceof Cynheidre coal into soil, listening to atape my friend the poet and former miner Mogg Williams sent me, recorded in hisshed not so long before he died. On the
 
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tape he says something like: “maybe then it’s all been worth it, thistime in the shed, the loneliness in the shed, if the poetry has beenrecognised…” It was odd at the Summit. I lay dozing with acandle, ‘
Blaedud the Birdman
’ book by the sheet I was under.There was a strange post-theory air about the talks I attended, areturn to empirical nuts and bolts. Death of the theorist. Next to our shed within a shed a large shed was being constructed from palletsover two days. Rubbing hands Simon and me squashed raspberries(loganberry substitutes) into our hands, the robbers, beheaders of St Nectan. Inflatable buildings, smooth skins off which slidcausality, all marks of manufacture disappear by expansion,empiricism stretched thin becoming flat and smooth andunquestionable, an a-skin. We were swamped in our shed early on by national and agency photographers sent by editors with askewed impression of the event. Should we always refuse to pose?Discovered the North Cornwall mythos of St Nectan: how on hisdecapitation, at which he picked up his head and walked back tohis shed, he lay his head on a stone, whichremains stained. The church at Welcombeis dedicated to St Nectan. At the start of our walk I handed out pieces of modelling clayfor the walkers to make little models of their own heads, to carry in their hand or  pocket, to be aware of seeing things frommore than one view point, to offset the self as the ‘only’ walking consciousness.Susan Blackmore concludes her 
Consciousness: An Introduction
(London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2003) with ‘waking up’ – she

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