Karl Jung is a Grass: Booze, performance with slideshow, 2012

I want to talk about the importance of booze in psychogeographical activity, so I'll tell you a story about boozing.

I've been walking with this artist called Laura Oldfield Ford. She has a blog about regeneration, politics and urban landscapes called Savage Messiah, and she also produced a zine of the same name all through the early 2000s which has just been published as a collection by Verso books.

She walks and writes, and then does these intensely detailed drawings of the landscapes that she walks through. I'd never seen any of her work in the flesh before I met her, and it is so detailed and large scale that in reproductions it looks like pencil, but it is all made with biro.

I got in touch with her for this project, thinking that I could maybe interview her about the way she works. I explained the project – that we were putting on an event about different approaches to using psychogeography in art - and she agreed to meet. In fact, we agreed to take a walk. I'd explained that I was fascinated with fringe politics – nationalism, political islam – stuff that happens in marginal areas of the city.

So she said we should walk to Walthamstow, which is full of BNP of EDL groups, as well as being a base for the various banned groups started by Anjem Choudary –

Islam4UK, and Muslims against Crusades amongst others.

We walked up from Hackney Marshes along the canal, with the Olympic site peering at us from the over the goalposts. She spoke about being part of a long line of English landscape artists, and trying to reclaim the idea of the pastoral from Conservatives.

Her political background is in Anarcho-punk and the free-party squatter scene of the 90s.

When you think about rave culture, it was a unique moment for the working class and the countryside. A kind of peasants revolt not seen in England since the Enclosure acts.

A reclaiming of land long since lost to the gentry, and a violent incursion of direct, realised politics, onto the formalised structures of private ownership.

She spoke about the criminal justice bill of 1994, which effectively outlawed rave culture, and disbanded the community she was part of.

The current Occupy movement is basically like a less fun version of the squat party scene, but has a lot of validity in terms of directly enacted, self-organised politics. Especially, I think, when its core members are no longer the self-aware, self selecting activists who say they represent the movement. My feeling is that Occupy could become a movement spearheaded by the non-societal, a truly unwanted underclass – long term homeless, street drinkers and those special paranoiacs who have gone 'off grid' to keep from being watched.

At the same time as toasting the politics of the rave, we joked about the nightmare of squat politics: the hardcore vegans who wouldn't allow milk in the shared kitchen, the hypocritical reality of imposed anarcho-syndaclism.

We walked, and we talked. She told me about raves in the basements of hideous pubs, pointed out places where she had spent the afternoon dancing to hard techno in family beer gardens and roofs where she had woken up blistered and burnt after falling asleep in the sun.

I had taken a few weeks off drinking, which had given me a strangely passive and clear view of the world. Everything you say when you are sober is owned by you, you can't attribute it to anyone or anything else, which makes the world seem blandly cold and obvious.

Laura wanted a drink, and I was happy to get back to the warmth and confusion of boozing, so we began to stop in pubs on the way.

A Wetherspoons at 3pm in Leyton, full of old white people, blank schizophrenics in jogging bottoms, and a woman in her 90s who bought two pints at the bar, downed one of them in three gulps, gave me a wink, then tottered back to her table to finish off the other one.

Laura said that you always know its a good boozer if there are mobility scooters parked outside.

Eventually we got to Walthamstow. Laura had found some BNP pubs for us to drink in

– places where meetings were held openly, and the occasional arrest was made for some racially aggravated crime or another.

I dress like a student, so the whole pub tensed up as I entered, but luckily, being a male/female pair, the staff and punters cut you a bit of slack. Especially after you buy a few drinks.

This pub was notable not only for its predominantly shaven headed clientele, but also an old Jewish couple, drunk on cheap wine. The old lady was dancing to Rhianna with a small child in the middle of the pub, whilst the old man clapped and sang along in Yiddish.

I started to tell Laura about my theories about alcohol; that alcohol is the entheogen of the Northern Europeans.

I believe that we use alcohol like other cultures use hallucinogens, or opium, or hashish. A protestant version of the shaman state. But here we are all shamans, or at least, on a Friday night, we are all apprentice shamans.

Maybe the high priests of alcohol shamanism are street drinkers - with super-strong lager and cider as the purest way to achieve transcendence.

To leave your body and shudder and shake and shout down to the street whilst floating above your head. To vomit and cry and see the future or the past in brown clarity.

Laura said she had a friend who performed Special Brew rituals for her, back when she used to hold launches for her zine. He would blindfold himself, and then down 3 cans of Special brew inside a magic circle and begin to shout and speak in alcohol-tongues.

Ethanol as a truth serum, vomiting as a cleansing ritual, hangovers as cathartic passages, training for a pissed monasticism.

We moved onto another pub, this time an Irish nationalist bar above a shop. Again, we were confronted by a failure of stereotypes. This bar, which was supposedly the last bastion of Irish Nationalists in East London, was populated by people waiting for the Friday night karaoke to begin, with a black lesbian couple sitting at the front of the pub, drinking pints of Guinness and looking at the song list, deciding what to perform.

For me, alcohol is a big part of city walking. I don't do drugs anymore. I had a nasty few years of tranquillisers and amphetamines. And after a death at a publicly funded art space, the police effectively forced me out of Newcastle where I was living, so I cleaned up and came to London.

Alcohol is the only drug I have left, and it allows connections to form that would or could not be made any other way, things that come out in the conversational ritual of drinking with another person. The feedback loop of agreements or disagreements which allows absurd conspiracies to form between drunks.

The convoluted conversations, full of misunderstandings and mishearings and looping diversions and digressions.

We spoke about the difference between street drinking and pub drinking, and by this time, about 8pm, we had moved onto The Goose, which was where a few EDL marches had started out. You could see why the EDL would meet there. If you don't know, Goose pubs are a national chain, a bit like Wetherspoons, but nastier. But it was Friday, we were pissed and it was busy with a mix of people, so it had a sort of edgy happiness to it.

There were groups of African men drinking cheap spirits and a huge gaggle of Irish girls who we ended up sitting with. There were people in Combat 18 jackets there – proper skinheads drinking cider on their own. Then groups of Asian students getting ready to go out in central London, drinking blue drinks through straws. Chinese couples, eating burger and chips and drinking orange juice. It was chaotic and disgusting. It was actually the only place where I saw any evidence of racism – some nasty graffiti in the toilet,

but with its incredibly diverse customer demographic, it seemed to be sort of hyper-tolerant as well.

London has a strange ability to support these places – where everyone has to get along. Maybe it was cheap booze, unifying across racial division in the area. Admittedly, we were there at 8 in the evening. I wouldn't want to be there at midnight for kicking out time.

The next time I met Laura, she took me to a pub called the Black Circle, which is in the hinterland between Beckton and Upney, between a few motorways and just above the sewage treatment works. It was a Wednesday afternoon and we were the only punters apart from a bloke at the bar on his own, who didn't speak, but just leaned on the bar making a low pitched buzzing noise, like he was talking to himself in another language.

Deal or No Deal was on the telly, which if you have ever seen it, is a game with rules so meaningless that it doesn't actually need to be played. The results could be read out in advance and it would save everyone the trouble of having to watch it. But gaming theories abound amongst the contestants. Noel Edmonds is obsessed with "cosmic ordering" which is where you order what you want from the universe by writing it down on a piece of paper over and over again. Like a magic spell. Within the context of Deal or No deal, the idea of cosmic ordering is a beautiful synecdoche of human reasoning - nonsense versus chaos – a reverse paranoia.

There are tales of the superstitious contestants not changing their clothes for weeks while they stay at the production warehouse waiting for their chance to play the game, apparently cadres and cliques often form up in the contestants - with 'bad energy' contestants being shunned by the group. There were even rumours of a ritual sacrifice, but they were quickly buried by Endemol with court orders and lawyer's letters. But, still, those contestants implicated were cut from the final edits of the season, costing the company hundreds of thousands of pounds for re-filming missing episodes.

We spoke about how “Deal or no Deal” is the perfect program to be on the telly in day-pubs. They should market it as an entire channel for commercial Sky subscriptions, edit it seamlessly - no ad breaks, and no end, just the constant expression of meaningless theories about how to win the game, whilst the real game carries on outside, beyond the walls of the TV studio and the pub. A perfect analogy to day drinking. Wistful and hopeful, bathed in impotence.

The pub was covered in handwritten signs, which reminded me of spells or mantras. I realised that the pub itself was performing magic ritual, cosmic ordering just like Noel Edmonds. It was a two way system, with the drinkers as shamans, but also the building. A living architecture, a magical paranoid ecosystem.

When we left, I grabbed some of the signs off the walls. Here are a few of my favourites.