Today we launch a new project called A6 Notebook – an A6-sized notebook about the A6 road in England. It’s the first in a series of notebooks inspired by the coincidental overlap between standard paper sizes and British road numbering.
The hardback 156-pp notebook is an invitation to explore your own creative meanderings while notionally following the route of the A6, which runs for 300 miles across England from Luton in the south to Carlisle in the north.
A6 Notebook is available for £11 plus p&p from our shop.
We’re delighted that Joe Moran agreed to write a Foreword. He’s the author of On Roads: A Hidden History, a brilliant examination of the social and cultural history of Britain’s roads. A historian with a focus on the recent past, Joe combines meticulous research with a poet’s ear for language – it’s worth following his blog and seeking out his other writing (including the recent Armchair Nation: an intimate history of Britain in front of the TV).
The Foreword is followed by an introductory essay on the A6, with further information sections at the back. The main body of the notebook is blank for your own notes and doodles, with footnotes marking destinations and points of interest along the way.
A6 Notebook is the first in a series – we plan to tackle the A5 next. We first had the idea about eight years ago and have been photographing the various A-roads while on trips away (we’ve blogged about it a few times). At first, the project was going to be an A0-sized poster, but we realised notebooks would be the natural medium for the idea, not least because of the rich symbolic connections between travel and the creative process. As Joe Moran writes, “Roads have long been a source of creative inspiration and narrative drive, from the Canterbury Tales onwards. But they are also a metaphor for the creative process itself. They are drawn like lines on the landscape, and they transport you from one place to another while often making the journey as interesting as the destination.”
The project is intended as a celebration of British A-roads, which were long ago relegated in importance by the arrival of motorways, and have never enjoyed the same mythological status as American highways, but nevertheless play a significant role in the psychogeography of the British Isles. Joe Moran writes that “A-roads serve as the road system’s unconscious, often stretching for miles without being signposted or acknowledged, disappearing into street names and getting caught up in one-way systems but still always there, connecting up different areas of our lives serendipitously.”
The A6 has played a serendipitous role in our lives too – I grew up near the Wellington Road stretch in Davenport, and Sue studied design at Stockport College, about halfway along its route. A6 is also a good size for a notebook, so it feels like the right place to start. But this is just the beginning of a journey for us – we have several more notebooks to produce over the next few years before the set is complete.
We’re hoping there’s at least a small market for notebooks about A-roads. You can order yours for £11 plus p&p from asburyandasbury.tictail.com