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The Friday Game: Leaving

Edge: I'm pretty sure that somewhere within Walter Benjamin's terrifyingly vast Arcades Project, there are a few words about turtles, and the role the sleepy ancients played in the formation of one of the last century's more influential cultural movements.

At a specific point, I think, around the low 1900s, it became quite the thing in fashionable European circles to not just own one of the strange, homely beasts, but treat it to evening walks too, out on the boulevards and byways of the continent's sparkling cities, its sinewy neck safely clinched within a leash (presumably to ward against an uncharacteristic burst of energy which would see your expensive pet zipping away into steadily multiplying congregations of urban traffic).

Taking a turtle for a stroll enforces, amongst other things, a certain kind of speed: it locks you into the reflective amble that helped draw together the early strands of Modernism.

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