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Bohemians / bohemias in climbing

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L Peter Varley 14 May 2020

Hiya. I'm trying to write about climbing places as a sort of bohemia in some ways. 'Boho' culture seems more of a product or a brand nowadays, and it is said that bohemia is always more about nostalgia and memory than presence and participation.  But when and where are /were the climbing bohemias, their meeting places and characters? Places where people live to climb, even if it means living on very scant means, forgoing 'proper' jobs etc? 'Valley Uprising' and 'Statement' seem to give some clues. In retrospect (of course) Llanberis always felt a bit like that to me, with Pete's Eats as a hub, perhaps, alongside the Vaynol and other pubs in the area, and there was a rich cast of recognisable heroes and villains. But then, I was a visitor, a voyeur - an outsider. Are there still hubs  around the world where folk who 'drop out' can commit to their climbing and hang out, long term?

(Apologies - this message also in 'Pub talk' earlier, but perhaps it fits better here)

Pete

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In reply to Peter Varley:

Meersbrook in Sheffield can has a fairly bohemian vibe, if by bohemian you mean crusty, tie-dye wearing jugglers. It's also seems like there are climbers living in every other house. 

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 Tobes 14 May 2020
In reply to Peter Varley:

From personal experience,

Horsham/Natimuck - Arapiles - Australia 

El Chalten - Cerro Torre range - Argentina 

Railey/Ton Sai - Thailand - 

plenty more besides 

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L Peter Varley 14 May 2020
In reply to deacondeacon:

Thanks - yes, that's part of the vibe I guess - and that focus to just go climbing as the central motivation for being there.

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L Peter Varley 14 May 2020
In reply to Tobes:

Thanks, Tobes - and do these places maintain roving/nomadic communities of climbers still, do you know? I can imagine Chalten having quite an international mix of drifters, guides etc. Part of my interest is in how the characters that make up the scene eventually get drawn into consumer society, the world of organised non-casual work, etc. 

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L Peter Varley 14 May 2020
In reply to deacondeacon:

Any places the Meersbrook lot meet, or has social media replaced physical places like cafes and pubs?

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In reply to Peter Varley:

I wouldn't know to be honest.

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 Fergal 14 May 2020
In reply to Peter Varley:

Fort William, the frontier life is tough, see Vagabonds.

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 cb294 14 May 2020
In reply to Peter Varley:

Plenty of Bohemian climbers found on the Czech side of the Elbe sandstone. Most of them, actually!

CB

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 Chris Shorter 14 May 2020
In reply to cb294:

> Plenty of Bohemian climbers found on the Czech side of the Elbe sandstone. Most of them, actually!

> CB

I suppose I must have a Bohemian lifestyle because that’s where I live!

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 Lankyman 14 May 2020
In reply to Chris Shorter:

What would you call a Bohemian who'd emigrated to the Bahamas?

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In reply to Peter Varley:

Smells Field in Cham in the 80’s

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In reply to mick taylor:

> Smells Field in Cham in the 80’

Love the typo! Apposite.

Even more Bohemian in the '70s?

Mick

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 wbo2 14 May 2020
In reply to Peter Varley: Being an unemployed oik trying to do a lot of climbing is NOT a bohemian.. implying a laissez fair attitude to live.  You'll find more in Notting Hill than most climbing hotspots

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L Peter Varley 14 May 2020
In reply to cb294:

Ha ha, yes!

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 cb294 14 May 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

Pray tell?

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 Lankyman 15 May 2020
In reply to cb294:

> Pray tell?


I don't know. I can only guess - Bahemian, Bohamian, Behemoth? I'm sure there's a limerick in there somewhere though.

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 Doug 15 May 2020

Anyone know why the so called bohemian lifestyle is associated with Bohemia (the place)?  Doesn't seem appropriate for any of my Czech colleagues from Brno.

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 Ian Parsons 15 May 2020
In reply to Doug:

Just a guess. The term 'bohemian' suggests, among other traits, an artistic element. Prague is, or certainly was, one of the great cultural centres of Europe; perhaps it was thus a city in which artists tended to congregate?

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 Blue Straggler 15 May 2020
In reply to Doug:

Extending what Ian says, I think maybe it refers to a mostly ex-pat clique that maybe based itself in Prague, although I can't think of one. 
Akin to Paris in the 1920s - Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, various painters etc. 


EDIT - apparently nothing to do with a clique based in Prague!
https://gvshp.org/blog/2013/04/16/how-bohemians-got-their-name/

Post edited at 12:03
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 Ian Parsons 15 May 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Hah! Not one of my better guesses, then.

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 Blue Straggler 15 May 2020
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> Hah! Not one of my better guesses, then.

Well I initially agreed with your guess, with the caveat that I couldn't think of such a clique. 

The Bloomsbury Set confuses the issue as well cos it has a lot of the same letters  

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 Doug 15 May 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

thanks for finding that explantion

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 Chris Shorter 15 May 2020
In reply to Doug:

> Anyone know why the so called bohemian lifestyle is associated with Bohemia (the place)?  Doesn't seem appropriate for any of my Czech colleagues from Brno.

Brno is in Moravia, not in Bohemia but your question is still a very valid one!

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L Peter Varley 15 May 2020
In reply to Doug: it seems the term was coined by folk who romanticised the nomadic gypsies of Eastern Europe, as these folk were 'free', musical, colourful - and some I think settled in France in the 1800's.

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In reply to Peter Varley:

Joshua Tree is ground zero for this. It’s gone from a true dirtbag destination with full time climbers, local artists and weirdos to being overrun with boulderers in pimped out Sprinter vans and people doing Instagram photoshoots with yuccas and thinking they’re Jack Kerouac. 

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In reply to fibonacci moose:

> Joshua Tree is ground zero for this. It’s gone from a true dirtbag destination with full time climbers, local artists and weirdos to being overrun with boulderers in pimped out Sprinter vans and people doing Instagram photoshoots with yuccas and thinking they’re Jack Kerouac. 


I see there's a Jack Kerouac Cabin available for rent at the Harmony Motel! I'm quite a fan of Jack and the Beats. I celebrated my 60th birthday with a pilgrimage to the Vesuvio Café in San Francisco. The bartender insisted the several pre-lunchtime beers were on the house, since I'd come all the way from the UK. I was also very taken with Joshua Tree during our brief stay there during a climbing road trip. Such gorgeous slabs. Does anyone know if/where Jack refers to J Tree in his work? It's been a while since I read him so I might have forgotten something obvious.

Post edited at 14:18
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L Peter Varley 18 May 2020
In reply to fibonacci moose:

This sounds like a great prompt - thanks. I'll investigate further!

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