Monday, 4 May 2009

the first quarter - and a bit

“Right, so you’re travelling around Britain by the light of the full moon. And I kind of get why. But, erm, how does it work exactly? I mean, how are you tying all these trips together?”

Here’s a closer look at the themes of "Moonwalking". So when in future I say you can connect anything to the full moon, people will have a bit more faith. The following is a short list of wheres, whens, whys and this-is-where-I-got-to-before-that-big-cat-on-Dartmoor-gobbled-me-up(s)…

Intro
White Witch, Waltham Abbey
(Astrology)
In December 2008, I felt the best way to sort my life out would be to walk around Great Britain by the light of the full moon the following year. No, I didn’t just feel it; I knew it. Things were becoming a little strange, a little coincidental. It all started with an email warning me about an impending moon enema, a tarot reading from a sexy witch, and a man with one arm and one eye strolling past a church.
January
Greenwich (Royal Observatory), to Pole Hill, Chingford
(Astronomy)

The Royal Observatory shoots a green laser north along the Prime Meridian of the world – the world’s Meridian because of the full moon. When it’s cloudy, you can’t see it (you can’t see much of the moon either). So, instead of following the jolly green trail, try finding your way along the Meridian with a wrinkled map and no torch – though be careful not to stumble onto guarded media property, smash your head open on ice, or hunt the Krays after dark.

February
Birmingham – the canals
(War and waterways)

From the sky, under a crisp full moon, the rivers, lakes, brooks, streams, canals – the veins of British leisure and industry – glow. It’s beautiful. And deadly. Birmingham lost thousands of men in the Second World War. Its canals guided the Luftwaffe to the beating heart of the city. During the ‘winter storm’ of 2009, I retraced the flight paths of the bombers under a Bomber’s Moon. And nearly drowned. For a trip that almost ended in disaster, my greatest achievement was discovering the Pen Museum, and a man with a fetish for semi-lunar nibs.

March
Battle and Brighton
(Violence, accidents and suicide)

Andy Parr from the East Sussex Police recently funded research into the effect of the full moon on violence. Dr Lieber, a Californian psychologist, did the same in the 1970s. So I contacted both men to learn more about their intriguing discoveries. And then I headed to East Sussex, where I met Ben from the Highlands who threatened to feed me to imaginary water horses. And, with a good friend, I patrolled the streets of Brighton looking for a punch. Then the fog came in.

April
Whitby
(God and Religion)

What do Dracula, God, the full moon, a lady called Hilda and a man in a top hat have in common? On Easter weekend, I packed my bags and headed north to uncover the murky history of beautiful Whitby in an unforgettable pilgrimage. A night with Harry the Dracula fiend followed by a 13-mile pilgrimage between 13 churches to discover why the full moon is so important to the world’s religions. A perfect Easter. Oh, and the strangest coincidence so far - involving a gravestone and a promise.

And here’s what’s coming up…

May Dartmoor When a paranormal investigator invites you to a private tour of Dartmoor, who you gonna call? No-one, as there’ll be no signal on th’moor. It’s time to hunt for moon lore. June Edinburgh What better to do on a warm summer’s night than walk around a Scottish city in a bra, surrounded by thousands of women? It’s time for a marathon. I hope it’s warm.

That’s the first half of 2009 – the International Year of Astronomy, the Rob Year of Moonwalking. I’ll put a summary of later months up soon. I was originally reluctant to reveal too much about my whereabouts, what with all the terrorism about. But I’ll take my chances. I mean, if the water horses didn’t get me...

No comments: