update 2: argot


Related Posts



It's been a while; comments are now closed.

  • May Miles Thomas - 18 December 09 -

    Thanks Karen,

    I appreciate you taking the time to look at my site. I’m still grappling with navigation issues and trying to decide whether my desire for randomness – the default position of all bona fide psychogeographers – is proving too much of an obstacle for some viewers. Originally I designed the site with a repeat function for the chapters, so maybe it should be reinstated. That said, I’m just about to post another update with a review extolling the defiantly random nature of the site. I’d be interested to know what others think. But I agree with you – it’s about time other UK cities got a look in when it comes to psychic meandering. Iain Sinclair’s had a good enough run at it…


  • Karen - 18 December 09 -

    Hi May

    Congratulations on the site – it looks fabulous! I would appreciate some tips on navigation however, as I managed to jump from chapter 1 to 41 in one move… it won’t let me go back and I keep repeating myself – any tips to solve this? When I enter the site I click Harry and it repeats. When I click the map, it goes to a random chapter. Is this meant?

    It’s really original and interesting – finally a city other than London plotted intelligently and devoid of the usual cliches MMT is Scotlands’ answer to Iain Sinclair – with an intellectual potrayal of a city from a unique perspective.

  • May Miles Thomas - 17 November 09 -

    Thanks very much for your comment, it’s much appreciated.

    You’ll notice I attributed the AG quote to ‘Lanark’ but I wholly agree with you that it’s not necessarily the author’s own opinion, rather, as you point out, the mindset of the fictional character he depicts. That said, given the provenance of the novel and the reputed 26 years it took AG to write, I’m convinced a large part of Gray’s id (as opposed to my ‘if’) wove its way into the narrative.

    It’s curious what you say about ‘the shy and desperate boy’ of Thaw. For me, it poses interesting questions about the state of the Glaswegian male psyche and how the persistent myth of Glasgow as a hard place – hard working, hard drinking, hard fighting city – both informed Gray’s work written at a time of the city’s decline and in its present, post-industrial, pro-consumer, service sector economic state. Did Alisdair Gray invest his character with so much self-doubt and confusion to the point of ‘nemesis’ as you describe, because deep down he foresaw the role of the Glaswegian male become atomised (perception being everything in this city)?

    Like you, I was in exile for years, working in London and Berlin. For me, the return trip to Glasgow was an odd experience because every time I came ‘home’, I had to grapple with a different place, different attitudes while still aware of the low hum of Glasgow’s default mode: mouthy, raucous, uncouth, overfriendly, impulsive, proud, decent, sentimental, aspirational, infuriating etc.

    I’m glad you like the blog. Tonight I officially launched the website proper – http://www.devilsplantation.co.uk – which I hope offers an entirely different kind of narrative.

    All the best,

  • MacCruiskeen - 16 November 09 -

    “As for Alasdair Gray’s observation, his ‘if’ – I don’t believe artists have a monopoly on the life of the mind. Nor do they have the right to deplore on others’ behalf a seeming inability to live imaginatively.”

    I really enjoyed reading this article, and you make a lot of very good points, but you’re missing something fundamentally important about that Alasdair Gray quote: those words you quote are not Gray’s own considered opinion, but a rash statement by one of his fictional characters, the young Duncan Thaw. And it’s by no means irrelevant that Thaw – a fictionalized version of Gray’s younger self – ends up committing suicide in despair at the age of 23, after art fails him and he fails art (and life).

    Certainly it’s pretty damn hubristic to think that nobody ever inhabits a place imaginatively unless an artist has already done their imagining for them. But consider where the hubris comes from: it’s essentially the bravado of a shy and desperate boy. And the hubris is followed by the nemesis. One of Thaw’s big problems is that he can *only* “live there imaginatively”, yet his imagination is neurotic and very quickly consumes him. In the end, it destroys his ability to live “there”, or anywhere, really. For Thaw, art is a substitute, or an attempted substitute, for the life he can’t live. But life won’t be fobbed off that easily, or not without exacting a heavy price – as the book shows: reborn as Lanark, poor Thaw has to go through purgatory: “You [Lanark] are Thaw with the neurotic imagination trimmed off and built into the furniture of the world you occupy.”

    Anyway, as a Glaswegian in exile, I’m glad to have discovered your excellent blog and I look forward to reading more of it.

  • a beattie - 12 October 09 -

    great to see that you are continuing……superb writing……..