Biography/map project – all the places I’ve spent the night

A few weeks ago, in those crazy moments between turning off the light and actually falling asleep, I had an idea to make this map as a way of preserving memories: a map of everywhere I’ve spent the night in the UK.

View Places I’ve spent the night in a larger map

I’ll call it an ongoing project because a) I’m not dead yet and will (hopefully) spend the night in other places in my life, and b) I might remember some things I’ve forgotten thus far, but I think it’s pretty complete. (The one major exception at the moment is the location in Wales where I spent my first birthday – got to find our roughly where that was. I suspect there also might be a few more around Merseyside – mum & dad’s friends/family – from when I was very small.)

The pinpoints with a dot in them are precise, the ones without a dot are not as precise either because it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly where it was (such as camping at a festival) or for privacy reasons (nearly all private houses are dropped at the nearest cross-roads). The only one that is inaccurate because I can’t remember exactly where it was is the one in dropped in Hexham – we got a lift from Hexham station to a nearby village, and I don’t think I ever knew what that was called.

The colour of the pins represent how many nights I spent in the location in a nice spectrum- light turquoise-y blue is 1-2 nights, mid-blue is 2-4 nights, deep blue is 5-10 nights, pinky-purple is more than 10 nights and red, a home of less than a year. Long term homes (a year plus) break the nice getting-redder colour sequence and are in green.

From the map, it appears I have never spent a night in Lancashire proper, including Greater Manchester (unusual given the clusters on either side of it), or in Wales apart from when I was very small.

On the off-chance I’ve spent a night at your house, or spent a night with you somewhere I’ve forgotten, do please let me know so I can add it to the map. Either leave a comment or email me.

I very much like the idea of making a hard copy version of this from a big map and a whole lot of coloured pushpins. One day…

Navigating the fictional but real world

In Liverpool in 1998, I bought a book from a publisher clearance style bookshop called ‘The Breeders Box‘.

It’s set, primarily, in New York, around Greenwich Village – where I have never been – and for the first four, five times I read it, I had to imagine what the area looked like, how the streets fitted together and where things were in relation to each other.

The last time I read it – a couple of years ago – I realised I could look up the area on Google Maps and I could navigate all around, looking at the positions of stuff and blurry satellite photos of the tops of buildings.

This time I read it, I went back onto Google Maps, looked up the area then clicked for the street view – I could see the shapes for all the buildings in the area then plonk my little guy down where, say, the fictional eponymous club was on Spring St and look at the street itself, both sides and moving back and forth along the road.

I wonder how I’ll be able to interact with the real version of the fictional world in another ten years time.

Southport is on the map

The Google map to be precise.

On the default screen when you go to maps.google.co.uk – the level of scaling to show pretty much all the UK in one screen, Southport is listed alongside Liverpool and Preston – but numerous cities around the country, like Sheffield, York and Bradford, are missing.


One zoom point further out, Liverpool and Preston disappears, leaving Southport and Manchester the only noted locations in the whole north-west.


I realise this is probably because Liverpool’s name tag would run into Manchester’s (and other cities would have similar text spacing issues) while Southport’s name tag can just sit right out in the sea but still, I prefer to think Southport’s tourist board have paid off Google for the exposure and/or it’s a shout-out to the countless former Sandgrounders like me out there who really should go back and visit the old place more often.