Topographic Tales


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I’m Going In A Field by Ivor Cutler

I’m going in a field
I’m going in a field
I’m going in a field to lie down

I’ll lie beside the grass
I’ll lie beside the grass
I’ll lie beside the green grass

I’m going in a field
I’m going in a field
I’m going in a field to lie down
Yellow flower in the grass
Yellow flower in the grass

I’m going in a field
I’m going in a field
I’m going in a field to lie down

My lover’s eyes are blue
I’m going in a field to lie down

Green grass, yellow flower, my lover’s eyes are blue

I’m going in a field

If you know me over and above a cursory viewing of this blog, you’ll hopefully already be well aware of the work* of Maxim Griffin. I can’t recall how I stumbled upon his particular take on the landscape that surrounds him however I think it likely that it was via a certain idiotically owned social media application, and for that alone, I’m willing to forgive it its many failings (well a handful of them anyway).

Since making that accidental connection with what Maxim was up to out there in the east of Lincolnshire, I am proud to admit to becoming an immediate and vocal convert to the cause.

I followed his comings and goings on Twitter, I made sure I secured copies of Lincolnshire Life magazine – which featured regular articles by him, I even invested in four small, but spectacularly good paintings finished with his signature (which Royal Mail mislaid for over a month before eventually deciding to return them to me – can’t blame them for trying to take ownership by stealth mind).

So when news arrived that he was working on a book “of words and artworks that capture a year spent on foot in the Lincolnshire landscape” through Unbound (a “crowdfunding publisher that gives people the tools, support and freedom to bring their ideas to life”) I signed up to support the project there and then, to help ensure that a book I really wanted Maxim to write, became a book that I would eventually get the chance to read.

That was back in March of 2018 – but if anything is worth doing it’s worth doing slowly. 

Fast forward through to Saturday 11th June 2022 and my copy of Field Notes arrives – a red-letter day and no mistaking, and on an initial dig through the book it’s clear that the work involved in the last four years has been time very well spent indeed.

Georges Perec wrote that within society, railway trains only begin to exist when they are derailed, and the more passengers that are killed, the more the trains exist. And while Maxim writes rarely of railways, Field Notes does an admirable job in derailing the landscape around him (and beyond) through his repeated journeys out into the edges, with the alchemy that follows bringing everything around him into a brilliantly realised existence. 

I could ramble on about Field Notes for longer than would be helpful, however before I switch off to give it the time it deserves I was reminded of an interview with Bill Drummond in The Guardian (from an age ago) that I recently came across in the archives here at Weir HQ on “the strange wisdom of theatre maverick Ken Campell”. In the piece Bill talks about the various lessons he learnt as a result of time spent with Campbell with the first of those taking place on the day after he met him:

Bill,” he said “Bill, don’t bother doing anything unless it is heroic.”

Evidently Maxim received the same advice.


BLOG - Field Notes image

*Never sure whether this is the right term – answers on a postcard please.

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