Car Park Life
Gareth E. Rees

‘A retail park Heart of Darkness.’
– John Grindrod, author of Outskirts

‘Compelling, insightful and teeming with mid-life spirit.’
– Andrew Kötting

‘I have stood in the psychedelic plains of Patagonia, thumb out in the hope of a passing vehicle; I have walked through a smoking lava flow in Iceland; but here on the central barrier of the concrete access ramp to Herne Bay’s rooftop Morrisons, I am a true pioneer.’

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Car parks: commonplace urban landscapes, little-explored and rarely featured in art and music, yet they shape the aesthetics of our towns and cities. Hotspots for crime, rage and sexual deviancy; a blind spot in which activities go unnoticed. Skateboarding, car stunts, drug dealing, dogging, murder

Gareth E. Rees believes that the retail car park has as much mystery, magic and terror as any mountain, meadow or wood. He’s out to prove it by walking the car parks of Britain, journeying across the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh, much to the horror of his family, friends – and, most of all – himself. He finds Sir Francis Drake outside B&Q, standing stones in a retail park, and a dead body beside Sainsbury’s.

In this darkly satirical work of non-fiction, Gareth E. Rees presents a troubling vision of Brexit Britain through a common space we know far less about than we think.

Praise for Car Park Life

‘A retail park Heart of Darkness.’
– John Grindrod, author of Outskirts

‘Compelling, insightful and teeming with mid-life spirit.’
– Andrew Kötting

‘There's no shortage of books nowadays seeking out the hidden corners of our towns and cities, but few set themselves the challenge of exploring seemingly such unpromising terrain as Car Park Life. Against the odds, Gareth Rees succeeds brilliantly in illuminating these neglected spaces and in bringing their unexpected stories to life.’
– Merlin Coverley, author of The Art of Wandering

‘Extraordinary. I loved it, and will never take my Asda car park for granted again.’
– Angela Barnes

‘Drives all over the psychogeography genre, and leaves the bodies buried beneath the tarmac.’
– Owen Booth, author of What We’re Teaching Our Sons

‘Knocks “psychogeography” into the dustbin of history where it belongs!’
– Wayne Holloway, author of Bindlestiff

‘A funny, perceptive, deeply relevant parable… Rees is a writer of deep seriousness and political commitment with an urgent message.'
Literary Review

‘This is a funny and unflinching account of a brutalising disconnection of non-spaces. Without slummily glamourising the abject, Rees teases gems of texture, irony, night skies, accidental poetry, mis-assignations and everyday apotheoses from the tyre marks and trolley bays of supermarket car parks, Waitrose to Lidl. He does not spare himself. Doing the easy bit charmingly – evoking homogeneity – he then does the difficult bit even better: making himself witheringly vulnerable to these spaces. Gareth E. Rees gets the car parks; but more unusually, he lets the car parks get him.’
– Phil Smith, Mythogeography

‘From faux architecture to surveillance zones, live geese to dead humans, and psychogeography to dogging, it’s all here.’
Tina Richardson, Walking Inside Out

‘Gareth Rees has a talent for taking the most unpromising and marginal features of modern life and using them as a lens to focus his writer’s eye on discovering the profound hidden amongst the prosaic.’
Psychogeographic Review

‘Gareth Rees answers questions that you never even knew you had about these all too familiar places.’

‘Despite the thin veneer of corporate blandness and control, car parks turn out to be places of history, nature, and mystery. They are also spaces of passion, sex, violence, murder, and burning rubber. They are self-willed.’
Stonecrop Review

‘It will probably be the strangest book you read this year, but I can’t recommend Car Park Life enough as a clever and entertaining work of non-fiction that will make you laugh, force you to think, and encourage you to pay more attention to the fringes of society. You might be surprised what you find there.’
Cultured Vultures

‘Very readable psychogeography combined with Brexit and capitalist horror.’
Fiendfully Reading

‘A poignant yet entertaining story about an urban adventurer and the discoveries he makes… Compelling, original and highly recommended.’
Never Imitate

About the author

Gareth E. Rees is author of occult Hastings memoir The Stone Tide (Influx Press, 2018), acclaimed psychogeographic work Marshland (Influx Press, 2013), and an album of spoken word and chamber music, A Dream Life of Hackney Marshes (Clay Pipe Music, 2013). He has written weird fiction and horror tales for titles including This Dreaming Isle, The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2, Unthology 10 and The Lonely Crowd. He is the founder of the website Unofficial Britain (www.unofficialbritain.com), lead singer in garage punk band, The Dirty Contacts, and guitarist in psychedelic noise duo, Black Arches.

Paperback ISBN: 9781910312353

Ebook ISBN: 9781910312360

Publication date: 22 October 2019

Formats: Paperback / eBook

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