Across Wales in a Straight Line

Still thinking about Jeremy Deller’s new documentary, “Everybody in the Place”, which I wrote about yesterday.

I keep coming back to a moment when Deller mentions the paranoia associated with the countryside today. He connects the impositions brought against rave culture to the Inclosure Acts of the 19th century and the feeling which remains today that you can’t walk about in nature without feeling like you’re doing something wrong.

This reminded me of a YouTube series I’ve been watching unfold over the last couple weeks in which a man attempts to walk across Wales in a perfectly straight line.

It’s funny and ridiculous in equal measure but I’m constantly struck by his perpetual terror and paranoia. It is constant — so much so that the endurance factor of his adventure becomes secondary to the stress of him feeling like he’s doing something he shouldn’t. Interestingly, the camouflage offered by his standard-issue British Army gear is as practical as it is authoritative. If you’re afraid of breaking the law, make like you’re above it.

If you want an idea of how even the UK’s wide-open areas are enclosed within the mind, look no further than this.

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