Car Park Life
Gareth E. Rees
‘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.’
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
‘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
‘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
‘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
Praise for The Stone Tide
Puts the ‘psycho’ into psychogeography.
– Andrew Weatherall
Simultaneously quotidian and grotesque, The Stone Tide is the funniest, most readable, most intelligently self-searching book I've read in years.
– M John Harrison, author of Light
A complex map of past lives, hiding places, and scarred psyches.
– Aliya Whiteley, author of The Beauty
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