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THE COMMUTERS No.1


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for the lost boys of the ouse Heidi Blake The water rolls itself along the shore in wake of some great vessel passing by along the river where Virginia wept and fell into the clouded deeps once more. Where boys have tumbled, singing, into dark, their mothers, laying hands upon the banks, have cried, their stars forever dimmed, and reached their mourning arms up to the cackling lark in supplication. Stop, they cry, your song! For there is nothing where my boy is gone. Forgetting those asleep upon its bed the river rushes up the banks and calls the children forth in splashing cries who skip and dip their hands into the glistening wet. And moving through the trees, the evening sun throws light like glinting shards upon the scene, throws up its rays, a momentary dream, before the twilight swarms and day is done. This laughing light: a piercing, broken gleam. For all is darkness where these boys have been.


Iceland Álvaro RodrÍguez Marqués Graphic Designer and Photographer


The erotic promise of the maiden aunt Poppy McNee

The rooms are full of the warp and weft of the tide, and the wealth of the Thames has prostrated itself at her feet. She has seen empire rise and recede. These days her visage is rather underwhelming, stiff and boxy, with grander cousins at her feet, and unwise latter adding weight to her figure.

overwhelmingly male. His second and longest trip to Italy was funded by a wealthy patron, and it is on this trip, that seduced by Vitruvius, Palladio and the watery murk and bright stone of Venice, he became pregnant with the ideas that would form the Queens House.

Her exoticism is lost, the tourists mostly wander past, on up the hill to queue for photos and ice cream. She was conceived in another water city, and she was born speaking a foreign language, a different mathematics. As exotic buildings tend to be, she was the product of wealth, but there is little to show of her once formidable influence despite a concerted effort at a tart-up. Now she just has the appeal of a damp maiden aunt with a slight foreign accent.

Inigo travelled bravely, despite the comfort of wealth and protection, he went away and came back changed and with a different language in his head. This was a Grand Tour before the idea of young wealthy men travelling became formalised, but the output of his travels implies he didn’t see travel as an act of status or consumption. From the Queens House the busy movement of City Airport is visible, in this age when travel is a comestible. We consume it, we photograph it and never look again at our images, we travel with little risk and little commitment. It is rare these days to let a journey reach into your head and rearrange the walls.

The profession of architecture bends time enough that Inigo Jones was considered young at 40 when he began the commission for the Queens House. The current industry would not be such a surprise to him, as it is made in his image, gingerish, privileged and

Your maiden aunt is easily offended by crass sights, and while

her view is protected, she cannot help but gaze across the river at the city changing and seeping into something new. Glassland is springing out of the old brown city. The calypso of the Olympic site, an exhibition of wealth and empire would be recognisable to her. Glassland would appear as something other, the rank and file of glazed façade modules piled and stacked and racked, a catalogue of engineered German units. The upturned white chickens of the O2 centre would appeal, mass entertainment and meaningless monumentalism has been consistent in London since her youth. Apparently revolutionary ideas are often stolen, purloined, transplanted and sold again as new. The Tulip Stair in the Queens House is a true act of architecture, and a stolen one. The stuff of it, the stair resting on stair, the light flowing as movement should, makes it more than an assembly of air and stone. True acts of building like this resonate with us, it should not be surprising that the Tulip Stair is thought to be haunted.


We see ghosts only where we can sense a building or a place is more than just its constituent parts. Ghost sightings and ghost stories appear in places that are more than we expect to find, places with architecture. Criticism of architecture must have one eye always on death. The politics and people that conceived the Queens House are gone, and their whims and follies are not our own. Soon the Queens House shall celebrate her 400th birthday,

and we should look back, and look forward. To live in London today is to leave a far greater detritus of stuff behind than a person centuries ago, though much of it is concealed from our own protected view in third world landfill. But the buildings that will remain after we are gone are unlikely to be those of Glassland, and the ghost stories of the future will not be told about the haunted 34th floor. The space there is not redolent, not worth making a story about, or feeling the hairs of the neck lift.

Reflection upon mortality is essential to the production of good architecture. The awareness of the city in a century, full of new and strange familiar people, allows us to see beyond the lure of the new and sexy to beauty, beyond ideologues to our own half-forgotten principles. Just as in love and the act of art, meditation upon the world without us allows us to be our better selves, and remember the city of the future.


Chromosome

Micros Jeroen Claus Holding Hands When cells in your body divide, they need to make a perfect copy of all of their genes to make sure no information is lost. Sometimes, though, these copies don’t want to separate from one another. They stay connected together, even if it means failing cell division.


Cool Dead People Antonio Gramsci (January 1891 – April 1937) Writer, philosopher, politician, Marxist Nicola Pizzolato As a hunchback with thick spectacles from impoverished Sardinia, Antonio Gramsci never considered himself cool. Gramsci’s family moved around regularly while he was growing up due to financial difficulties. Initially moving to Turin in his early twenties to study literature and linguistics, he became the voice of the working class movement, swaying the Italian motor city. He joined the Italian Socialist party in 1913, and subsequently help found the Communist Party of Italy in 1921. He earnt a reputation as a notable journalist towards the later part of the 1910s, establishing the weekly newspaper L’Ordine Nuovo. His writing was forceful. Driven by powerful logic it held much sympathy for the underdog, while

directing sarcasm at bosses and politicians. Readers of his columns imagined Gramsci as a towering, broad-shouldered man with an imposing voice, and were regularly disappointed when they met the rather diminutive figure who strived to make himself heard by large audiences. Throughout his life Gramsci was a pain in the neck for the bourgeois, fascist Italian ruling classes and the dogmatic leaders within his own party. In 1926 Mussolini’s Government enacted a new wave of emergency laws arresting a range of political opponents, including Gramsci. The fascist judge who sentenced him for ‘inciting civil war’ stated in court it was necessary ‘to stop this man’s brain for twenty years’.

It was during incarceration that Gramsci created his most subversive legacy: he sketched his ideas and theories on history, revolutionary politics, popular culture and literature into his Prison Notebooks, a series which amounts to several thousand pages. Much of this work revolved around the concept of ‘hegemony’; the idea that societies not only ruled via coercive political and economic relations, but also by manufacturing consent. Gramsci succumbed to poor health and psychological stress while in prison and died in 1937, but his analysis was prescient of the world of today.


William Blake, William Blake, William Blake, William Blake, say it and feel new! When daffodils begin to peer: watch out, paranoia’s round the bend. I sit and worry about money who very soon will have to die.

japanese jokes Peter Porter

I consider it my duty to be old hat so you can hate me.

Somewhere at the heart of the universe sounds the true mystic note: Me.


On Curiosity Anon

Many people enjoy describing the work they do as ‘creative.’ I am a creative, they say, as if no other generation has used intellectual resourcefulness to solve problems or ask questions. Both play and science have a profound art at their root, that of being curious. In play, you are curious in an unstructured way, whereas the scientific method is just a way of being curious within human scaled boundaries. Next time you are stuck, do not be creative, be curious, as the best ideas, innovations and adventures happen because of curiosity about this weird world, and the inside of your own weird head. Focussed curiosity is the best tool our species has developed, and it is your birthright.


Commuter expectations Nicole Rice

We’re 16 and we’re crammed in tight: my best friend and I on the back row of a converted VW Kombie, a kwela-kwela taxi swerving violently between the Port Elizabeth lanes.,. The scrawny white youth to my left shifts nervously with his pocket knife. We shift right and settle next to the black mama with her Pick ‘n Pay shopping bags. The blaring kwaito silences our thoughts. We’re commuting the 10 km from my friend’s house in the suburbs to mine on the beachfront. We were supposed to take the bus but it never arrived so we took our chances, going against our parents’ rules. We make it home safe, but shook up. It could have been the kwaito rattling our bones, the glimpse of a weapon, or the swerving. Most likely all three. Twelve years on, I find myself similarly crammed in, but in London now and on a train commuting to and from work. I can’t see any pocket knives, my biggest concern is the prying eyes trying to read over my shoulder. The music is my own, blasting through my earphones. The chaotic reality of public transport

back home is long forgotten, and I find myself continually complaining about the state of it here. Over-priced, over-crowded, late. So much so that in the end I leave it all behind and get on my bike. A commute with its own different risks. My expectations had changed. I’d lived in Korea for two years. This is London. I couldn’t compare the transport here to that of a medium sized metropolis in a developing country. Yet here I am doing just that. Back home, public transport is largely supplied by kwela kwelas. They are the most readily available and affordable way of getting around, supplying two thirds of the country’s public transport; predominantly used by the country’s poor. These taxis have a reputation. Not just for being unroadworthy, but for being driven as though the road has no rules. This reputation isn’t without foundation as there are 70 000 kwela-kwela crashes each year, according to a study by the Automobile Association of South Africa. That’s double the crash rate of all other types of passenger vehicles. In South

Africa, 36 lives are lost on the roads each day. Three of these are on minibus taxis. There were just 34 deaths on Britain’s roads in 2012. Less in a year than in a single day in South Africa. The population in the United Kingdom is 10 million more than in South Africa. I’ll leave the math to you. One consolation for the irritations of commuting in London is it is safer than the commutes people face in other parts of the world. Our perceptions are defined by our expectations.

glossary of terms VW Kombie: “Minibus taxi. From the Volkswagen proprietary name Kombi, from the German Kombiwagen. Volkswagen minibuses were the first used in the initial stages of South Africa’s minibus taxi transport revolution of the early 1980s, although today other vehicle makes are used.” Kwela-kwela taxi: “Police van, or minibus taxi. From the isiXhosa and isiZulu for “climb on”.” Kwaito: “Music of South Africa’s urban black youth, which first emerged in the 1990s. Kwaito is a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house music beats. From the Tsotsitaal or township informal amakwaitosi (gangster).”


Jessica Ward Tree Map 2013 Digital Image


TINY NASTIES Tonsiloliths are the third known gateway to the other worlds. His breath really was the breath of Hell.

The elderly be-ribboned shire horse of the drunk, disconnected and discombobulated has been proven to be the 63 bus.

Leonards food fax was making his chicken unpalatably dry. He was starting to over rely on printing cream sauce. The tomato was becoming an unpalatable pink.

The most dreaded word pair is Replacement Bus.

In 2015 all the lost noses of the British Museum were found cowering in the basement of the Queens Head, in accordance with the Theory of The Diaspora of Classical Appendages. It is thought that the noses are more likely to naturally form collectives than other appendages.


the green man Poppy McNee time passes Heidi Blake the days got longer. so long the night refused to fall. the two clocks syncopated in the glum grey hall. the ice-cream jingle pierced the street. and deep inside she could not breathe. It would not come – she fought for breath! pressed by time’s incessant ebb. the long black hands of sneaking death snaked round her face each tick! tick! tick! an incremental robbery, a thousand tiny depletions. death by a million pricks! the sun sank into sleep, gathering straw skirts at the earth’s black feet. the lanterns burned in the dimming street. the leaves curled in shadow-soaked trees. and deep inside she could. not. breathe.

For winter the green man comes down into the city Orange light pulls him into the streets to poke moss into gutters breath damp in your sheets drown a young fox in the drain. He is the black mould in the lungs of the women who clean your office. The pavement lifts as roots rise to follow his passing feet To spring sun in the high places.


I am getting fat and unattractive but so much nicer to know.

japanese jokes Peter Porter


Cool Dead People César Manrique Cabrera (April 1919 – September 1992) Artist, architect, sculptor, conservationist. Chris Spence Born is Arrecife, Lanzarote, Manrique is an unlikely cultural icon. A frugal man; he didn’t drink or smoke and enjoyed going to bed early. Considered by some to be one of the pioneers of abstract art in Spain, Manrique held his first exhibition during 1942. He studied technical architecture at University in Ternaries, before dropping out after two years and enrolling at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid to study art. In autumn 1964 Manrique moved to the Lower East Side of New York, where he mingling with the local of artists, journalists, writers, and creatives. A grant from the Rockefeller Foundation enabled him to rent his own studio and produce a number of works which were exhibited at some New York’s most prestigious galleries, including the Guggenheim. Often inspired by nature, while in New York Manrique grew tired of life in a metropolis.

He returned to Lanzarote, where he channeled this passion into architecture. His first project was the grotto, Jameos del Agua; a restaurant and nightclub built amidst a natural underground lake. His creations often integrated into the natural landscape, became notorious for their simplicity. His fascination with lava led him to build his own house in 1968 amidst the trail from a volcanic eruption. A unique example of a building integrated amidst nature; it creates an oasis in the centre of a river of petrified bluish-black lava, whilst utalising natural volcanic bubbles to make an unusual living space. Manrquie also specialised in creating sculptures of found objects, with many of his works using metal and wood flotsam. One of his most prominent sculptures, Fecundidad (a ‘monument to the Lanzarote farmer’), is a 15 metre high montage of fishing boats fragments.

A committed conservationist, Manrique campaigned throughout his life for sympathetic development on his native Lanzarote. The resulting planning laws have, until recently, prevented the development of high rise buildings and advocated the use of traditional construction materials and colours across the island. Manrique died in a car accident near is his Lanzarote based home in 1992. His studio-home has now been converted into the ‘César Manrique Foundation’ to further his artistic and personal ideals.


Love Adele Kirby

After the breakup of my first relationship aged 21 I felt very single. I mean I was single, but I had a nagging feeling that I probably should have been romanced for more than seven weeks. Ever. At 25 I was still single and in a cycle of bemusement, despair and curiosity. How was I getting something so natural, so normal, so wrong? Was I missing key emotional programming? Perhaps I had a hormone imbalance? Surely it wasn’t only my unresolvable lack of fashion sense? My sexual preference became a subject of speculation, while I seemed unable to get past a first coffee to confirm either way myself. By 30 I had developed a remarkable talent for falling for men who forgot to mention their current girlfriends, were gay, fictitious, or only wanted to be my friend. From time to time, though not the sharpest tool in the shed, I would realise a guy was displaying interest in me. I just couldn’t feel a damn thing in return beyond friendship. To the disappointment of all involved, my last house warming was a platonic and slightly awkward sausage party.

I began to consider myself a disinterested asexual. Friends, fiction, media and even complete strangers fed me romanticized rubbish about ‘love happening in its own time’, ‘meeting the right person’, ‘you’ll make the time when you want someone’, and how young I was. I had apparently been that young for the last 10 years, while my generation were marrying, baby making and even divorcing. Was I to be assured I was ‘still young’ at 40? It certainly seemed statistically likely I would still be single by then. And my god I didn’t have time for this dating crap. I genuinely considered dating and relationships to be some strange affliction; the work of a cult whose grand masters had neglected to initiate me. However, I was happy, ridiculously busy, independent and had some 2,000 friends on Facebook. So whatever. And then at 31 I met this guy. He met all four criteria for any man who caught my passing interest: straight, single, wanted to be more than my friend and, despite my initial suspicions, real. He was a Danish grand master of Viking voodoo and to my shock I realised. all that bullshit was true.

It was like I had suddenly been admitted into the great conspiracy of love. In weeks, one man effortlessly transformed me from the ‘Relationship Grinch’, to a woman who no longer turned to the Diary of Doom as a reason for being unable to fit dating in, to work out every hour which her date could be fitted. It may have taken its sweet time, but love has happened as promised, in its own time, with me meeting just the right person. The right key to my complicated lock. And what he has taught me is that having a heart with a complicated lock isn’t the same as having a heart with a damaged lock. That had been my fear: that I was broken, unfixable, that the years passed were therefore wasted, as would be those to come. He is worth every year I waited doubled* (*although fortunately not actually doubled, as then I really would be a 40-year-old spinster...) . And now it seems that as a new inductee to the great conspiracy of love, it is my duty to also put forward a decade’s worth of romanticised rubbish to people with equally complicated hearts. I promise you though; complicated is not damaged. The right person will make it worth the wait.


Jessica Ward 2013, Screenprint


shift

Heidi Blake

It’s 8am, she’s stationed at her desk, watching the morning unfurl (the firmament gathering frail tendrils of diminished mist back into itself; rolling out fresh sheets of early air). She sees the corporate boys bowl in with arms of coffee and sweet things, fanning out with their swagger and big-talk as the girls slip past like withered sylphs in the gypsy-wear of catalogues and shop-fronts, slapping their mags on newly-polished desks, swinging their bags below chairs, hailing each-other in the lipstick-tones of office pretence and fluttering in the stale gusts of passing men. She’s thinking of the things you said: turning them over in her head; wondering where you are, where you went when you left. She’s hoping to find you again, though your chances are slim, and dwindling still now, as you sit and wait, chilling in cool time, allowing yourselves to feel free. Nevertheless, there is always this – (even if you fail to be what you might have been) the morning boys; the girls; the light air; the fact of a future all the same, the hope of finding something there.

gratitude Barbara Jean Hart Gratitude cures grief. It is the ointment for the sore, the magic pill for what is ill. No more weeping heart, not when you can commit to gratitude. It works for small griefs, for job loss, children growing away, for lovers and cats gone astray, for loosened teeth and limbs and skin gone saggy and grey. Then it comes to the fore and cures all. Thank god for life lived, once joys, past passionate embraces, sunny days, beloved faces, birdsong, and mice that play another day. It works, dammit, but for the small hard nuggets that never heal.


Nebula

Micros Jeroen Claus The smallest universe Nature is full of elegance on the grandest of scales, from the staggeringly enormous to the unimaginably small. This molecule exists in our bodies, ten million times smaller than exhibited here. Yet despite its diminutive size, it is as full of mystery and wonder as the largest of solar systems.


Hidden transcripts Nicola Pizzolato Historian At a certain point in the past century, mankind created machines with speed of elaboration that far surpassed that of human brains. The advent of the internet has morphed these machines into an apparatus of gigantic significance for social and psychological control. We are living in a dystopian present in which this enormous tool, only lacking its own will, is activated millions of times every second for the seemingly benign purpose of display an advert. As occurred earlier in the twentieth century with automation, the internet brought forth the dream that technology would emancipate society, but digital advertising as it is currently evolving belies two basic tenets of the ideology that has accompanied the internet since its inception: that it is going to bring a new society and that it is empowering democracy or liberating for the individual. Let’s start with the latter. The volume of information about our behaviour in possession of .com companies is coveted by both governments’ security agencies and cybercriminals. In addition to the ones personally identifiable, they reveal the

intimate side of our personality: our deepest desires, insecurities, and perceptions of ourselves, which software extrapolates from zillions of internet searches, e-commerce shopping baskets, and clicks on banners. As a result, the data is stored in cloud computing can provide a quite accurate prediction of our psychological reactions to companies that want to sell us a sofa or a last minute trip to Gran Canaria. And, yes, they also help governments to track our activities.

the amount of ourselves we give away. However, taking these precautions is time-consuming and contradicts our innate faith in the transparency and good nature of the World Wide Web, to which we have been indoctrinated by Google, Facebook, Amazon and the like. In fact, as internet users we leak evidence that it is impossible for us to erase. For instance, ‘fingerprinting’ allows companies to record the unique configuration of a device during several transactions, until a database can associate that device to a certain pattern of online behaviour, and sell this information to a company. The wealth of data empowers the entities that can own it, rather than the individuals who unwillingly provide it.

Every time I open a browser I initiate a cascade of automatic signals among half a dozen machines located in different continents. It is a communication using esoteric languages and syntaxes, made of such things as ‘scripts’ and ‘tags’. These are hieroglyphs to the average user but the public at large seems more concerned lately with this mysterious process, and there are now ways to know a bit more about the reason why freaky ads follow you around the internet. For instance, the add-on Ghostery tells you which remote datagrabbing companies are alerted by your browsing (I could count up to 78 in one site), and you can block some of them. Cookies too, can be blocked. And controlling privacy settings in sites we visit can curtail

It’s a relief that, as I open a browser, make a search, or type a URL, all these hops between machines occur even before I can blink my eyes. Its speed helps maintain it below a certain level of consciousness and preserves that users’ naïveté that corporations studiously cultivate. They count on it. And after all, it’s about serving an ad. The new, freer society that the ideology of the internet promised is not far off from the old one. It’s capitalism, even if algorithms now target clients. The dream of the internet doing away with structures of power turned out to be a delusion, and its ideology masks a technology that has managed, yet again, to accommodate economic polarization with social acquiescence.


The Creation had to find room for the experimental novel.

japanese jokes Peter Porter


Autocomplete Kirsten Flemming

Google Search 30-10-2013, London Input Search: Positive Gender.

women have women have it easy women have smaller brains women have 3 brains women have prostate women have testosterone

men have men have periods men have periods too men have uterus men have rights too men have estrogen

women do women do it better women do not like me women do the choosing women do this more than men women do do not speak in church

men do men do it better men do makeup with michelle phan men do complain men do yoga men do cry

women can women can vote women can be as brave as men women can have it all women can do conference women can do it

men can men can stop rape men can lactate men can breastfeed men can multitask men can get breast cancer

women love women love women women love beards women love men women love quotes women love money

men love men love men men love handles men love women men love quotes men love the chase

women find women find bald men attractive women find me intimidating women find me repulsive women find attractive women find me boring

men find men find me attractive men find attractive men find your style men find sexually attractive men find me boring

women make women make movies women make less than men women make love women make better leaders women make music

men make men makeup men make their own story men make more than women men make more money than women men make love

women are women are better than men women are like women are from venus men are from mars women are shallow women are stronger than men

men are men are from mars women are from venus men are better than women men are like quotes men are like rubber bands men are all like that


Jessica Ward Branch Ladder 2013, 30 x 30 cm, Como silk and found branch


Why you commute Anon

You commute because of: • The industrial revolution • The second industrial revolution • House prices • International travel • Modern medicine • Henry Laurence Gantt • You fell in love with the park up the road • School catchment zones • It isn’t the 19th century anymore • You like falling asleep with strangers • The London tube began as a philanthropic project • Frederick Winslow Taylor


Joe Snow Icecream head


Elyse Howell-Price Ending up in King’s Cross, 2009


The morning cast Ruth Oldham

At 8.30 we pass the two Chinese brothers, two peas in a pod, about seven and five, identical jackets, identical rucksacks. They’re walking up the hill. We’re going down, straight into the sun. Due east. At 8.40, alone now and heading briskly down the rue Malmaison, I go past the girl with long black hair coming out of the new flats with the elaborate railings. At 8.43 I find myself walking behind the woman with the cropped silver hair and the long black woollen cardigan coat. At 8.50, two metro stops into the journey, the guy with the glasses and the beard gets onto the same carriage as me (the second from the front). At 9.10, walking down the rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, again straight into the sun, I pass the couple that I always pass. I couldn’t describe the guy, but the girl, walking on the left and always talking animatedly, catches my eye. She has a well cut fringe, red lipstick, a caramel coloured overcoat.

And so the current cast of morning characters goes by. The strangers whose world aligns with mine for a few moments each day. In a couple of months, maybe even next week, the cast will have changed. Most are gradually forgotten, but the image of some remains. A few years back my journey to work involved walking the length of Bethnal Green Road. About half way down on the right I would go past a jewelers, and every morning I saw a pair of disembodied hands placing the rings and gold chains in little black velvet trays in the window. And I often wondered if the tall guy with a ponytail still walks along the rue Boyer every morning, playing a ukelele. He was my morning chronometer. If we crossed paths near the metro station all was well. If we crossed paths at the beginning of our street, near our flat, then I was running late. I have since moved, and no longer have reason to walk down that street in the morning – but the image lingers. A friend recently told me about a surreal early morning conversation he had with a guy carrying a ukulele. He got off the metro at the stop that I used to get on. It’s good to know he’s still there.


The art of looking up Zoe Berman Designer

Cities are made up of buildings wedged and jostling together, to create a metropolis that houses all the internal spaces required for work, sleep and leisure. Most of us spend our days passing from one indoor space to another – home, transport, office, cafÊ, gym, drycleaners, restaurant, supermarket, home. Much of our outdoor time is a sprint from one enclosed space to the next.

We tend therefore to focus our thinking about the successes and failures of architecture to those places where we spend most of our time; the solid stuff. Good, bad, ugly buildings.

Greedy, hungry London is constantly building up, and out. Built structures vie for space. Above, the sky is being cut into, consumed and reshaped by the structures below.

What if we turned out attention a little more to the stuff outside, and to the inbetween spaces. Not the solid, built places we inhabit everyday, but the spaces left over, in between what has been built. The empty space above buildings, the patterns left on the skyline.

Next time you walk the city, explore the sky-scapes we are creating. By focusing on the void (rather than the solid), these drawings study the sky as a tangible object in itself. They seek to draw attention to sky space, and encourage you to look up.


Ross Blake Untitled 36


Cool Dead People Anna Comnena (1080 - 1153) Byzantine princess, scholar, physician, usurper. Chris Spence

Born in 1080, Comena was the eldest child of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium. A precautious scholar, from a young age she studied literature, poetry, Greek language, sciences, astronomy, medicine, history, military affairs, geography, and maths.

the decision, Comnena, along with her mother and husband plotted to depose John. When the emperor died in 1118, the trio made an assassination attempt during Alexios’ funeral. However the coup failed, and following the botched rebellion Comnena was ostracised from court.

Particularly excelling at medicine, Comnena was also a capable administrator. Her father put her in charge of one of Constantinople’s largest hospitals, where she was responsible for ‘10,000 patients and orphans’. She also taught medicine at a number of the city’s medical institutions, where she was considered an expert on gout.

After the death of husband she spent her remaining years in the convent of Kecharitomene on the outskirts of Constantinople. Exiled from public life, she threw herself into study, where she wrote a 15 volume political history of the Byzantine Empire ranging from the 11th to the 12th Century. Her resulting work, the Alexiad, stands as a unique biographical account of a king’s reign written by a princess. To this day it is still used by thousands of historians around the world as one of the main written sources charting the first crusade.

Although the oldest offspring of the Emperor, Anna was overlooked in the Byzantine succession in favour of her brother John II Komnenos, who was four years her junior. Aggrieved at


Joe Snow Greetings from Science


Peacockfork tiny future music predictions

The Music Forecast - Alex Peacock 31.11.2013

Mutual Benefit - Love’s Crushing Diamond [December 3rd/January 13th via Other Music Recording Co.] Listen to: “Golden Wake” Because: Organic and naive acoustic songs, definitely one to watch.

Magic Trick - River of Souls [December 3rd via Empty Cellar] Listen to: “Come Inside” Because: Acoustic and intimate while retaining a great stereophonic and instrumental depth.

Tourist - Patterns EP [ December 2nd via Method Records] Listen to: “Together” Because: Compelling and deceptively simple dance music; rich depths of melodies are interspersed by soulful vocal samples.

Younger Lovers - Sugar in My Pocket [December 10 via Southpaw] Listen to: “Ballad of Two Stubborn Men” Because: Fast, to-the-point melodic lo-fi guitar based pop punk, catchy and honest.

Gloom Balloon - You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Disaster/Fix the Sunshine [December 3rd via Maximum Ames] Listen to: “Infinity Starts Over” Because: Acoustic and Personal, opened for Pavement and Jeff Mangum which is a good indicator.

Xiu Xiu – Nina [December 2nd via Graveface] Listen to: “Don’t Smoke in Bed” Because: Xiu Xiu covers eleven songs by the jazz legend Nina Simone in the way only Xiu Xiu can.

Erol Alkan – Illumination EP [December 2 via. Phantasy Sound] Listen to: “A Hold on Love” Because: Dark and pulsing dance music from Phantasy’s enigmatic record owner.

Kele Okereke - Heartbreaker [9th December Beatport] Listen to: Heartbreaker Because: Bloc Party frontman directly exposes his love of UK garage and underground dance.


When Borges met Tarkovsky Sean McAlister When Borges met Tarkovsky Brought to you by the NecroNetworkTM This interview was conducted on the upper decks of Charon’s ferry, crossing the Acheron. Passing overhead is Piranesi’s Carceri made manifest. A solitary, inescapable dripping sound is the only backdrop to these two souls’ voices; the boat makes no din. Jorges Luis Borges : [In Argentinean] Now, before we start, what kind of questions are they? Andrei Tarkovsky : [In Russian] Excuse me, what is your name? JB : Well, Religion, but . . . I suppose that if one attained one hundred and fifty years of age, one would be quite mad, no? [An awkward silence descends. They begin again.] AT : In terms of a special trend in the USSR, there is no “New Wave.” Being in my thirties, I simply belong to the youngest generation of Russian filmmakers. My generation tries very seriously to explore the relationship between form and content.

JB : Ah, well. I remember telling that story to a lady who missed the whole point. She said, “Of course, it must be because being deaf he couldn’t hear what people were saying about his necktie.” That might have amused Oscar Wilde, no? AT : So you find that the man you live with should make his world dependent on yours? JB : Yes, I know, but they creep in, and they worry the writer, not the reader. The reader accepts anything, no? Even the starkest nonsense. AT : When I talk about it, it doesn’t mean that I require devotion from anyone. These things are impossible to demand. Love can’t be enforced by power. So my point of view isn’t dangerous to anyone. JB : So there you have, I think, a new metaphor; and, of course, with a nightmare touch about it, no? The idea of a web made of living men, of living things, and still being a web, still being a pattern. It is a strange idea, no?

AT : Did I say that? We only talked about the male-female relationship. And I was not able to express something without having my assertiveness attacked. JB : Everness, of course, is better than eternity because eternity is rather worn now. Ever-r-ness is far better than the German Ewigkeit, the same word. But he also created a beautiful word, a word that’s a poem in itself, full of hopelessness, sadness, and despair: the word neverness. A beautiful word, no? AT : One always tries to discover concealed meaning in my work. But wouldn’t it be strange to make a film and at the same time try to hide one’s thoughts? JB : And I suppose there mostly for the technique, the surprise ending. I don’t like that trick, do you? AT :


Jessica Ward 2012, Graph Branches, Ink on graph paper 2013, Dripping Branch, Ink on paper


Who is spared in the end from leaving? Despite his gold and all his jade, Is a man not bound to go there? Am I a shield set with turquoise? A stone secured in a mosaic? Will I ever walk this earth again? Will they shroud me in fine mantles? Here on earth, I think of those who ruled before me, As the place of sounding drums draws near.

16th century Songs of Cacmatzin


Rainbow serpent Poppy McNee

Ali likes Uncle’s above-ground-swimming-pool, All cool light blue and warm plastic skin. Ali lives in the pool shed with his mum, Uncle looks after them. It gets hotter than it did in the other place, and Ali’s mum is sad most days. Ali is waiting for his mum to be happy again, or not to be sad. Then Ali and his mum will be allowed to go in the pool. Uncle is busy forgetting, and his mum is always remembering. One night Ali sees the snake in the pool. It is all colours, and it looks at him, from its small big eyes and it says, inside his ears, it says HELP. Ali is frightened because he was going to say the same thing. He runs inside; snakes are dangerous and bad and kill you. Like everything else here. In the morning it is still there, hiding coiled many times under the wooden edge. It is biting its own tail in fright. It is angry and trapped. It is big, and it is tiny, it is an old man the size of the world, in the palm of a small boy. Ali asks the big question, in his head, he asks HOW? And the snake says take me out, into the grass, and I can find my way home. Ali’s mum cannot get up today. They have no breakfast. He might as well help the serpent, because today is long. Ali gets in the pool, to grasp the bright serpent. The water is deep and cold. He swims through caverns deep underground. He flies in the clouds, and he falls to earth in a million droplets. Ali plunges through secret lakes and rivers, from mountain to sea. Ali sees an old man singing to him, and he can understand the words. The song is not language, and he finds the bright snake, hiding under the water, and he grasps him in his hand. The snake is as heavy as stone, as earth, as music and as rain. Ali’s body becomes water. His legs are rock, and on his belly he holds the land up, out of the sea. His hair grows a forest, and the sun beats a shine on his bones. Fire moves over his cold skin and he dreams a million years. Ali’s uncle comes. He is shouting but Ali cannot hear. He is too far away; deep below ground, under time, under red rock and parched earth, tickling the ribs of rivers and the toes of great trees. Ali’s tongue flicks out, and his eyes glow all the colours of time. Ali’s Uncle has pulled him to the edge His mum is above him, but he cannot speak. There is only a deep, old river sliding where his voice was. They carry him to the front lawn to wait for the ambulance. Ali’s mum is holding his head, and her tears are pulling him out to the salt sea, far from the land. His eyes open, and the small snake coiled at his wrist creeps out, into the hot grass, and away. The water is gone, the river pours from his skin, his nose and eyes and ears. Ali’s mum sees the serpent eyes of her son, and the scales under his skin, Ali’s mum hears the drums and the old man singing. She had thought there was nothing holy in this place, of red faces and angry cars, of worry and forgetting. Mum holds Ali, and the small snake pours away, underground, into the giant chasms he has cut with his teeth, into the deep rivers that are his laughter, scales shining after the rains and the moon leaping at his touch. For a moment, they can be free, but after this it will be up to them. The important man in stripey green from the ambulance says YOU ARE BLOODY LUCKY TO BE ALIVE, KID, and Ali and his mum smile, they understand the voice of the snake in the mouth of the man.


Jessica Ward Floating Branch Series 2013, 30 x 30 cm, Como silk and found branch


Family Sarah Snowdon “Oh! You’re adopted.” (Cue a sympathetic head tilt)“I’m sorry. What happened to your real mum?” I have a ‘real’ mum. She adopted me when I was two years old. She is the very definition of a mum and I consider her to be very real indeed, as I do my dad. My sister is also adopted.

It has been my experience that these parents are well equipped to deal with the trials of family life. They are ready to emotionally support a child, ready to impart their considerable wisdom, and ready to parent. They have waited long enough for the opportunity and they will not mess it up!

“Oh! Is she your real sister?” And so it continues.

Yes, she is my ‘real’ sister. No, we do not share DNA. But we are sisters in every sense of the word. My sister is my best friend, my other half, my soul mate. - Her DNA is entirely irrelevant. As children we fought, built tree houses with our dad, and performed for family and neighbours in musical theatre productions we secretly devised in the garden. We talk about everything. We are there for each other; we laugh, cry, and rejoice together. I was there for the birth of her child. I will stand next to her when she gets married and our ‘real’ Dad will walk her down the aisle with pride.

It’s a common misconception that those of us who are adopted are in some way hard done by, bereft of real family and emotionally deprived. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but I find this to be entirely untrue. Of course we have our issues, but to be chosen by a family who want a child more than anything and have to jump through so many hoops to get one, is in my opinion an extremely lucky break.

Tread lightly when asking a person about their ‘real’ family and be clear what that means. Being adopted was something that happened to me when I was two years old; it is not who I am.


Jessica Ward Broken Branch Series 2013, 30 x 30 cm, Como silk and found branch


Cool Dead People Richard Phillips Feynman (May 1918 – February 1988) Theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize Winner, raconteur. Chris Spence

Born in New York City, as a youngster Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, who encouraged him to question and challenge orthodox thinking. He studied physics at the MIT and then Princeton University, where he subsequently received his PhD in 1942. While at Princeton he was persuaded to join the Manhattan Project, the U.S. Army endeavor to develop the atomic bomb, a decision which would later come to regret. Bored with being based is the desert, Feynman flexed his intellect and curiosity by learning to pick the combination locks on cabinets and desks used to secure papers. Leaving a series of notes as a prank, he initially spooked both his colleagues and the authorities into thinking a spy had gained access to top secret documents.

After the war Feyman lectured at Cornell between 1945-1950, before accepting an offer from the California Institute of Technology. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics during this period Feynman was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He also created a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. Nicknamed the ‘Great Explainer’, he gained a reputation making physics accessible to a wider audience through both books and lectures, notably his three-volume publication of undergraduate lectures The Feynman Lectures on Physics. He was also a renowned orator and became known to the new audience through his semi-autobiographical book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

A notorious womaniser, Feynman was married three times, and was famous for giving advice on how to pick up a girl in a hostess bar. At Caltech he was known to frequent a local strip bar which he used as ‘second office’, often writing physics equations on paper placemats. Ever one to question the status quo, he was called to the Presidential Commission to investigate the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster in 1986. During the subsequent televised hearing, Feynman demonstrated that the material used in the shuttle’s isolation system was faulty and not robust enough to withstand cold weather by dipping a sample in ice-cold water. After contracting two rare forms of cancer, Feynman died during surgery in 1988 aged 69. His last words were ‘I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring’.


Coney Island Jorge Valle GarcĂ­a Graphic Designer and Photographer


Eh? get involved- write to: thecommuterslondon@gmail.com read at: TheCommutersNo1

Who is it for? The curious The thoughtful The bored The hungover The over-excitable The under-presentable The too serious The distracted The accountants The florists The silly The very silly The visually rapt Wanderers Inventors Makers Creators Thinkers Doers Contributors

What is it About? Connections Collections Ideas Inspiration Antibumf Antimatter Anti-inflammatories Explanations Informations Transportations Exhortations Storytelling Story Swapping Science Fiction Adventures Discoveries Proposals Surprises Banality and Beauty Inception in Motion Weirdities Oddities Transience

Thanks to: editors Poppy McNee Kisten Flemming Chris Spence Heidi Blake music Ross Blake friends Sean McAlister graphics Alvaro Rodriguez writers Nicole Rice Ruth Oldham Adele Kirby Sarah Snowdon Barbara Hart Alex Peacock Sean McAlister Chris Spence Heidi Blake Zoe Berman Nicola Pizzolato artists Jessica Ward - www.jmw4art.com Joe Nelson - www.mrjoesnow.com Jeroen Claus Jorge Valle - www.jorgevalle.net Alvaro Rodriguez - www.alvaro-rodriguez.net Elyse Howell Price


PLEASE DON’T THROW ME AWAY, GIVE ME AWAY.


The Commuters No.1  

The Commuters. A free magazine for those who want more from travel. Share ideas. Share space. Travel better.

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