Google Street View update (they’re not evil)

22Mar10

So … Having discovered that Google Street View pretty much gave the whole wide world a good look at the back of the house, and pretty much all of the garden, I asked them nicely to remove it. Which indeed they have done.All you have to do is click on the bit where it says “Report a problem” in the bottom right of a Street View image and fill in the form.

The garden, the garage, the shed, the lovely concrete, the washing-line and the cage-thing that enables the guinea pigs to sustainably mow the lawn … All gone, replaced by a black void which raises more intellectual and philosophical points than most of us can handle.

Coincidentally, this morning I spoke to playwright and author Phil Smith about his new book ‘Mythogeography: A Guide to Walking Sideways’, which is quite possibly the strangest book I have ever read. Partly novel, and partly philosophical treatise, the book is a sort of field guide to exploring and interacting with urban and rural environments. It’s informative and witty, but mostly a celebration of finding, or making, weirdness in the most ordinary (and extraordinary) places. There’s also a manifesto, but as Phil cheerfully admits it’s palpably impossible to follow.

Find out more at www.mythogeography.com

Meanwhile, I have Phil’s book to thank for this priceless little gem: The Bristol A-Z contains a fictitious street called Lye Close, off Canynge Square in Clifton. I rushed to the map, and sure enuff, there it is (isn’t). Apparently they do this to prevent those without scruple from copying A-Z maps and passing them off as their own.

The target-rich Fortean environment of all this includes everything from conspiracy theories and secret societies through to parallel worlds to which only the privileged may have access. And the key to it all is probably the remarkable Phyllis Pearsall. I think I feel a story coming on. Hopefully it’ll pass.

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