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Books and Arts; Book Review; English landscape;Up hill, down dale


TOM FORT pedals down the A303 in Britain’s soft south. Paul Barker trudges round Hebden Bridge in the hard north. Both writers are seeking something distinctive about their chosen places. By the same token, both are sensitive to the idea of “non-place”, a phrase Mr Fort uses to describe service stations, shopping centres, airports and the space-bubbles inhabited by drivers. Mr Barker does not name it, but he nonetheless conveys his sense of the same thing—at the fancy grocer’s, selling Japanese wakame and cranberry pressé, or the executive houses with stone bed-warmers on the windowsill and Range Rovers in the drive. These places might be anywhere or, for his purposes, nowhere.

Tom Fort 骑自行车从英国平坦的南部A303道顺道而下。Paul Barker在崎岖的北部的Hebden Bridge附近艰难跋涉。两位作家都在寻找他们所选择的地点的独特之处。同样的,二者都敏感关注 “非场所” 这个概念:Fort 用“非场所”来称呼服务站、购物中心、机场或车手居住的“太空泡泡车”;Barker虽然没有使用“非场所”这个词,但他却表达了同一种概念:在销售日本若目和蔓越橘调酒苏打水的花里胡哨的小店铺、窗台上放着暖床石壶的"行政"别墅,路途中的揽胜越野车。这些地方既可以是任何地方,而相对他的所求目标,又或根本不存在。

Both try not to be nostalgic, but in the end neither can help himself. The conflict is roughest in “Hebden Bridge”, partly because the author himself is implicated. He grew up there and in neighbouring Mytholmroyd. Back in the 1940s the place was “enwrappe”, as he puts it, in “the old ways”. Weaving mills and sewing factories that had claimed generations of his family were still in business, oblivious to their coming collapse. Mr Barker then made the now classic move, the first in his family, to leave home for university, and never come back, except to visit.

两者都尽量使自己不要太过于怀揣着乡愁,然而,他们最终都情不自已。这一冲突在《Hebden Bridge》一书中表现得尤为突出,有部分原因是因为Barker本人与此地有着千丝万缕的联系。这儿以及附近的Mytholmroyd是他成长的地方。追溯到二十世纪四十年代,按他的说法,这里曾以“老传统方式”“缠绕着”生存。那些让他的家族数代人为之操劳的纺织业与服装厂虽然运作如常,却没有预料到它们随后倒闭的命运。于是,Barker作出了(现在再普通不过的)举动:他成为家中第一个离乡进大学的人,并且除了探访便不再回来了。

Meanwhile, others came in, “offcomers”, with new ways—hippies, artists, pagans—just in the nick of time, as the demolition balls were swinging and the stone terraces falling. They squatted and protested. The planners retreated. Bookshops sprang up; mills and chapels became workshops, galleries and flats—then luxury flats, bringing different newcomers. With great foresight, in the late 1970s Mr Barker began to tape-record the old inhabitants, whose stories now fill the most interesting pages of his book.


Mr Barker has also taped an ageing hippy, a graphics designer, a tattoo lady, puppeteers and others, for he knows how much the place owes to them. But the book only really comes alive when he is talking to the old sexton or the weavers who started work at 13 (part-time at 11). Mr Barker knows these people and they know him—and his uncles and cousins. They speak easily, casually, slipping out the detail that hits the spot: the smell of corduroy in the sewing room; a jar taken to the grocer for “a ha’p’orth[注10] of treacle”; words to a mill child (the author’s father) for steadying himself with one hand and working with the other—“Barker, we pay thee to use two hands.”


Tom Fort’s book, named for a well-used English road, is a smoother ride: elegantly written, with a dry humour and an eyebrow raised at the failed “smart solutions” of transport ministers. His object is to reveal the special beauty of the landscape, particularly Salisbury Plain[ and Stonehenge (pictured). Mr Fort is a charming and knowledgeable guide, who can people the hills with shepherds, and the manors and rectories with eccentric antiquarians; who can tell you about an ancient system for flooding water meadows or the common names of chalk-loving flowers and butterflies. It is enough to make Wiltshire your next holiday destination.

Tom Fort的书以一条常被使用的英国公路命名,并且有着更为流畅的内容:优雅的笔触,带着些冷幽默,使读者在读到交通部长失败的“聪明解决方案”时扬起眉毛。他的目的是为了展现了风景的特殊的美丽,特别是索尔兹伯里原野和巨石阵。Fort是一个富有魅力且极具知识的向导,他可以与牧羊人一起居住在山丘上,也可以与性情古怪的古玩收藏家一起居住在庄园中。他也可以向你讲述无边草甸的古老制度或是喜钙的花朵或蝴蝶的常用名。这些都足够使威尔特郡成为你下一次度假的目的地。

The bits that stick, though, are his “non-places”: the Little Chef restaurant at Popham, Amesbury’s Solstice Park, a business development, and above all a hilarious riff on “The Ancestor”, a huge sculpture outside a Holiday Inn—itself an example of “Neolithic chic”, the brochure says. “Very boutiquey, very contemporary.”


重点单词   查看全部解释    
landscape ['lændskeip]


n. 风景,山水,风景画
v. 美化景观

reveal [ri'vi:l]


vt. 显示,透露
n. (外墙与门或窗之间的

eyebrow ['aibrau]


n. 眉毛,[建]窗头线饰

ancestor ['ænsistə]


n. 祖宗,祖先,原种

designer [di'zainə]


n. 设计者

knowledgeable ['nɔlidʒəbl]


adj. 博学的,有见识的

oblivious [ə'bliviəs]


adj. 没注意到,或不知道

contemporary [kən'tempərəri]


n. 同时代的人
adj. 同时代的,同时的,

smart [smɑ:t]


adj. 聪明的,时髦的,漂亮的,敏捷的,轻快的,整洁的

stick [stik]


n. 枝,杆,手杖
vt. 插于,刺入,竖起<


关键字: 经济 学人