On the last day of the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference in London, a group of delegates went on a field trip to study â€˜urban subversionsâ€™. They watched parkour practitioners on the South Bank, skateboard tyros in the Undercroft, and graffiti artists in the Leake Street Tunnel at Waterloo. In the tunnel they were obliged by me to take note of what was on the ground as well as on the walls.
Thanks to organisers Oli and Brad, this was all very interesting, but Iâ€™m afraid my eye was drawn away to rather ordinary chalk marks that had almost certainly been left by hash house harriers. Iâ€™ve mentioned this urban version of cross country running before. Recreational runners may not be exactly subversive but they do extend the range of uses of streets and public spaces. And as they pound through the city in the early hours of the morning they leave pale traces of their passing in the form of chalk arrows and symbols.