Matthew Watkins’ book You Are Here is, to his own acknowledgement, about many things: it starts with the physical and biological beginnings of the cosmos, but it’s really about the social and historical evolution of a Kentish city, Canterbury. How can these two be connected, you ask? Well, quite well so it seems, and Watkins has done this quite cleverly and stylishly by using lovely illustrations to take us from the big bang (13,798,000,000 to 11,000,000,000 years ago – and Watkins should know since he is a mathematician and physicist) to his first mention of Canterbury (in 800 to 230 BCE), or at least the place it was eventually to become known as.
However, the book is also not just a history of Canterbury, it’s also a psychogeography of Canterbury. We can see this transition – from the accounts of social history, to Watkins own personal explorations of the city – when he starts to focus his discussion on its more urban aspect, 2004-2006. By the time we get to 2014, Watkins’ book has turned full-blown psychogeographical in his journal-type entries, which are oriented around his discoveries, made through walking the actual city itself.