I met an old student of mine this evening. He spends his time cycling up and down the land, writing a book about England, reaching back to ancient forms of imagining the landscape. His interest is in recovering a sense of Albion that has been covered over, using William Blake's ideas about the imagination as his impetus. It seems to me, thousands of years after the neolithic age, in the Tesco age, with devolution raising the question, 'what is it to be English?' and everyone obsessing about carbon footprints, a return to the landscape, not on the basis of a nostalgic impulse, but as a way forwards for an hybrid identity that pushes England's mongrel identity into a positively mongrel future, might the way forward. He tells me that Blake would turn in his grave if he knew how Jerusalem has become the anthem for football yobbos (or rather football asbos) painted in St. George's Cross on the terraces. A new Jerusalem would be more mystical, more pluralising, more in tune with the mysteries of the landscape and deeply respectful of the elements.
Edinburgh: Returning after two decades
5 hours ago