Saturday, February 22, 2003

The discovery of poppy heads and the polypod bowls, or braziers, on which the heads were cooked, points to an incredibly long and complex relationship to opium in the Glasgow area, stretching back many thousands of years.
Opium’s ability to deliquesce the barrier between waking and the dreaming, perhaps allowed those ancient psychonauts to interact with their spirit world. The ‘swelling space’ and unutterable and self-repeating infinity of De Quincey’s visions may have found their counterpart in the deliberately induced trance states sought by these prehistoric users.
Once and Future Cathures

“And in truth the bulls, in no way being restive, or in anything disobeying the voice of Kentigern, without any tripping or fall, came by a straight road, along where there was no path, as far as Cathures, which is now called Glasgu…”

The city of Cathures began its life on the banks of the river Clyde as a site of pilgrimage for the adherents of the ancient religion of Druidry. This place, and particularly the hill which now serves as a Necropolis, or Hill of the Dead, was in those times a grove of sacred oaks, or living place of worship. What rites were carried out there is the source of much speculation, but it is likely that this entailed the sacrifice of animals and perhaps even of people.
Cathures, or Caer Clud (fortress on the Clyde) was originally considered to be an iron-age fort, which was supposedly destroyed during the building of the Rottenrow Maternity Hospital. Fortunately, it seems that they only scratched the surface and the original, and deeper, structures were sturdy enough to withstand the building work.
More recently, in the 1840’s, Thomas De Quincey (‘The Confessions of an English Opium-eater’, ‘The English Mail-Coach’, etcetera) paced restlessly about his room at No 112, high on Rottenrow. Looking east towards the Necropolis and south to the Cathkin Braes, and in the throes of the feverish visions bequeathed by a life long addiction to the black drop, De Quincey watched as fiery arms embraced the city. This Miltonesque (not to say paranoid) phantasm, brought on by the 8 to 12,000 drops he daily ingested, can be seen as a foresight of the post-industrial plight of the people of the City of Glasgow, and perhaps also a glimpse into the drug-fuelled rituals of our ancestors.
to be continued...

A Company of Vagabonds.

(purveyors of Vagabondage)

A society of flaneurs dedicated to forging new and unexpected pathways through city and countryside alike.
Freewheeling psychogeographers intent on uncovering the hidden, the forbidden, the derelict, the subterranean.
We will identify those spaces and places that have slid below the ken of planners, developers, councillors and others intent on crushing the subtle spirit of place. We will forge alliances with other like-minded adventurers, with the intention of spreading the message of the pleasurable negation of grids, fences, private property, danger zones, one way systems, etc.
We will construct our own maps based on such principles as amusement, drunkenness, derangement, chance, telepathy, beauty, concupiscence, etc.
We will endeavour to uncover the high strangeness of place by walking the land, burrowing in library stacks and combing the liminal space between waking and dreaming.
A pair of stout boots, a stick and away...

To take part in the first official outing of ‘A Company of Vagabonds’ contact:


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