The White Heron Beneath the Reactor by Gary Budden & Maxim Griffin

4 out of 5 stars

Dungeness is a place that has been on the edge of our society for a while now, home to a now decommissioned nuclear power station and military zone including some strange looking listening ‘ears’ this shingle desert was a place that some people made their home. It is a place that has a remarkable variety of wildlife too. There are over 600 different types of plant and it is one of the best places to find insects including some that are found nowhere else.

It also has an abundance of birdlife, too and it is that that which drew the lifelong bird-lover, Gary Budden, here. He was here to find the white heron, better known as the great white egret, but before he had even got out of his car, he had seen greenfinches, a bird he had not seen for a long while and is under threat.

On this shingle spit where land ends and the sea begins, things are never absolute, everything changes every single moment of the day. He was here though to discover other things too. Partly about the place and to contemplate why things were here and why this place is such an enigma, but also to discover things about himself and his love for the liminal and the melding of music, landscape, nature and punk.

It is a strange book, it feels deeply rooted in Dungeness and at the same time, edgy and untethered. However, it is the images by Maxim are really what make this. He has an utterly unique way of making art. They are utterly captivating pictures, bold and full of energy. I am proud to have been one of the 100 contributors to make this a real book.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    Oh weird, I thought I commented on this and I can’t see it now! I will share the fun fact that I did my Geography A level fieldwork standing in the warm sea at Dungeness, measuring how quickly it drained through the pebbles! This looks like an interesting if slightly odd read.

    • Paul

      Very odd. There was nothing in the spam folder either. Not sure what happened there, Liz! Sorry. Odd would be the right word. Most of my school did their Geography in Swanage from what I remember (I did history)

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