'One of the basic situationist practices is the dérive (literally: "drifting"), a technique
of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérive involves playful-constructive
behaviour and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different
from the classic notions of journey or stroll.'
Published in Internationale Situationniste #2, 1959
I am always interested in exploring the underside of the city, particularly when it
includes rivers. Today on a rainy Bank Holiday Monday, we set off along the Irwell,
to find out what happens to it beyond Victoria Station, where it disappears on the
map. This usually means it is culverted, but in this case not. There are so many
bridges that it almost disappears, but there are no tunnels, and to our delight, we
kept refinding it.
Once the river has gone under New Bridge Street, there are riverside paths on both sides,
green and lush, giving the impression of being far from the city.
But then the path takes us back to the margins of the city, the edgeland, which is