Humming Towers: The Allure of Electricity Pylons

The latest issue of Ernest Journal features an edited extract from Unofficial Britain, with evocative illustrations by Johan Keslassy

Words: Gareth E. Rees

The latest issue of Ernest Journal is out now. It features an edited extract from Unofficial Britain, with some wonderfully evocative illustrations by Johan Keslassy.

Back in 2008, I began wandering the Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes with my cocker spaniel, trying to escape the demands of life as a new father. I became obsessed with taking photos of one of the electricity pylons, which stood apart from the others in the Middlesex filter beds, a Victorian ruin repurposed as a nature reserve.

When I started my blog The Marshman Chronicles in 2011, the pylon featured in an early post, and became the focus of my short story, ‘A Dream Life of Hackney Marshes’, in which the protagonist begins a romantic affair with the structure. This led to my first book deal with Influx Press (Marshland, 2013) so you could say that it was the pylon which got the creative ball rolling for me.

Ten years, four books and many short stories later, my thoughts on the strange allure of pylons are featured in the latest issue of Ernest, which you can order here and read at your leisure – for instance, in your living room, a snazzy café, or on your prison bunk bed.

It’s an edited extract of my book, Unofficial Britain (Elliott & Thompson, 2020), but enhanced with specially commissioned illustrations by Johan Keslassy. It’s a magical thing to see an artist’s interpretation of your work and I’m really pleased with the results.

I share issue 11 of the Ernest journal with plenty more good stuff about place, travel and curious histories, including the healing waters of the Westfjords…. Java’s volcanic rituals and industry… nature and artifice on St Kilda… a new era of bio-design… Hvaldmir the Russian spy whale… and seeking the wild west in the wild east.

Go and check it out – you won’t be sorry! Ernest Journal.


Gareth E. Rees is author of Unofficial Britain (Elliott & Thompson, 2020) Car Park Life (Influx Press 2019), The Stone Tide (Influx Press, 2018) and Marshland (Influx Press, 2013).

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