Daydreaming Guest Post: LoneLady on psychogeography, ghosts and soundtracking the city


I read recently ”(The Ghost) is the really permanent citizen of this earth, for mortals, at best, are transients’.  I get carried away with this…searching for presences, visitations. A haunted space coexists behind the surface. Manchester ‘s post-industrial landscape lends itself very well to a haunting. All this is my idea of fun.

For a long time I didn’t know about psychogeography, or all the movements and practices around it. But when I did find it, I knew this was a way to describe what it was I had been doing all along. I love Iain Sinclair, Laura Oldfield Ford and so on, but its important to not become too  suffused with other peoples’ dialogues. I want to develop my own language, continue my strange quests and not always explain them.

Ruminating/daydreaming/imagining are pretty much my key ‘skills’. Writing songs is a way to invoke worlds, to fabricate other / new realities. Being an artist is like living in an edgeland. If you’re receptive and willing, everything around you becomes animated with a rich inner life, free from fixed meaning.  All these processes take place in the imagination so it is necessarily private at first; I use these skills, if that’s what they are, as starting points for creative work.

Its also about working with what you’ve got, about being open to the transformative potential of something apparently unremarkable. Inventiveness borne out of resourcefulness. A patch of scrubland, a cracked forecourt, an overgrown canal path. Walls, concrete. Trying to invest these things with new magic and meaning.

Sometimes it is to do with a split. Recluse-behaviour. Dereliction, rubble, anxiety patterns. A retreat into the landscape; I’m not necessarily recommending it. Sometimes these ruinscapes are a reflection of depression and anxiety. There can be dangerous gateways, both in music and in the landscape. Walking or psychogeography is a way to recover, to soothe, to utilise these states. Psychogeograaphy can offer space for the imagination to unfold at its own pace. There’s solace in a patch of scrubland or derelict building because it seems to reflect your mental state and understand; it offers a habitat, a place to belong. There’s an oblique but deeply felt connection and communication.  Children are natural psychogeographers; we used to invent magic kingdoms, our days seemed elastic, timeless. I’m always looking for those magic kingdoms.

This selection is a fragment of the kind of music that seems to bear the atmospheric imprint of its environment, in this instance the mostly cement-coloured excitements of Northern cities, those cities of a thousand moods. Razorwire Skies seems to deliver me to a place of fleeting sun-bursts and shadows, as if just after a storm.

Julie Campbell, A.K.A LoneLady, is a solo singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Manchester, England. Campbell’s music is of a post punk sensibility, embracing an approach that integrates lo-fi recording techniques, scratchy guitar-funk, the machine pulse of electronic music, and pop catchiness. Also drawing inspiration from visual art , literature and architecture, Campbell first started making recordings on a 4-track cassette recorder in her towerblock flat in Manchester while completing a Fine Art Degree. Her second album, Hinterland, was hailed by the Quietus as a “vibrant and urgent combination of genealogy and vision – and it is this that truly makes it a masterpiece.” All four singles released from Hinterland reached the ‘A’ Playlist on BBC6 Music and Campbell also received a Sky Arts nomination for Best Breakthrough Artist.


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