One of the earliest authors to have been retrospectively linked with Psychogeography is Daniel Defoe. I had read Robinson Crusoe (OK) and Journal of the Plague Year (interesting) so this time round I read Moll Flanders. And I really enjoyed it as a book.
So I dug up this transcript of an old radio interview with her. (No, of course she wasn’t interviewed by the radio. I made this up.)
Transcript of an interview with the retired Mrs Seagrave, who was once known as Moll Flanders.
Interviewer So, you were born and bred in London.
Mrs Seagrave As far as I know, dear, yes. I was given up for adoption, you see. I only know what I’ve been told. I was brought up in Colchester.
Interviewer You’re an Essex girl, then.
Mrs Seagrave (Laughs) Yes, that’s me alright!
Interviewer But you’ve lived in London all your life?
Mrs Seagrave A lot of it, yes. My first husband moved us here when we got married, back when I was still a teenager. We lived in Mile End, in a place his brother found us. But I moved around a lot after he died.
Mrs Seagrave Oh, all over. Hammersmith, Rotherhithe, Southwark. The City even.
Interviewer Where was your favourite?
Mrs Seagrave Hammersmith was the nicest. I had some very handsome rooms there. And I was in the height of what I might call my prosperity then. A proper gentlewoman I was in Hammersmith, which is what I always aimed at being. But I probably know the City best. My spiritual home I guess you could call it. Know it like the back of my hand, or used to. It’s all changed now, of course. I can still map you some of the walks I used to take regular. Long Lane, into Charterhouse Yard, out into St. John’s Street, crossing Smithfield, down Chick Lane, into Field Lane, and onto Holborn Bridge. The crowds there used to be in Holborn! You could lose yourself so easily if you weren’t careful. Or if you wanted to! (Laughs).
Interviewer You’ve lived both north and south of the river, then. Do you have a preference?
Mrs Seagrave North, sweetheart. I mean Rotherhithe was OK, but the streets were so narrow and difficult. And as for Southwark! Well, when I lived there you used to see men in the most awful circumstances, who were below ruined, whose families were terrified of them and all of them lived off charity, yet they all managed to drown their sorrows every day. For me it was a wicked place!
Interviewer Where else have you lived?
Mrs Seagrave Ohh, up North, and in Bath, and I’ve had two spells in America. The first time because I married a Yank. Well, he was born in America but his family were English, unfortunately.
Interviewer Why unfortunately?
Mrs Seagrave There were complications, is all.
Interviewer And the second time?
Mrs Seagrave Well, see, I was born in Newgate, they tell me. And it’s when I ended up back in Newgate that I thought it time to get out of London for good. We were in America for a long time. I’d quite happily have stayed and retired there, but my husband, this last one, wanted to come back to London. Not that he’s from here. My Lancashire husband, I call him. Keeps him on his toes. Wonders if I have others in other places. Maybe I have, at that. (Laughs).
Interviewer So, you don’t like living in London?
Mrs Seagrave It’s such an extravagant place. You simply can not live here without a lot of money, unless you stay in and bury yourself in privacy, which isn’t me. And they value people so much by appearance here. It’s so easy to fall into bad company. Well it is when you’re young. Not that it’s much harder when you’re older (laughs). But its home, sweetheart, at the end of the day, isn’t it?