London Walks

While in London last week for Tinderbox Weekend, I had the pleasure of a couple of walking tours through secret gardens and the familiar haunts of many writing greats. Throughout the tours, the guides asked us to imagine London as it was 300 years ago, and (though I’m a little embarrassed to say so) I found myself wishing for a locative media app more than once so that I really could get the feel for it.

The narrative flow of the tours was interesting, too. I noticed a distinct narrative arc in our guides’ historical accounts. Each stop of the tour would begin with the necessary dates, flow into a story—often with a gossipy and speculative tale, give way to what history is known for sure, and then offer a tantalizing hint about the next tour stop. Because of this, each stop felt distinctly like a book chapter.

There is also something to be said for locative narrative during these tours. Aware of Brian Greenspan’s work on the subject, Mark Bernstein and I both commented on how interesting a locative narrative would be in London’s narrow, winding streets.