The possible reasons were worrying, and in descending order of probability they were: he had become disgusted with me, he had nothing to report, he had been sectioned. Now I know the real reason. He has recently completed the last section of a walk round the M25 in the company of Iain Sinclair , ending up in the bar of the Welsh Harp in Waltham Abbey. He had accompanied Sinclair and other companions on two other sections, and each time had come heroically misprepared: boots when he needed trainers, trainers when he needed boots, a leather jacket which "will cook him if he wears it; cripple him if he carries it". For the first leg he carries a rucksack filled with books. At a pub his socks have to be cut from his feet.
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I doubt there has ever been an author who took doing the legwork more seriously, or more literally. It all starts with rage, as so often. At Well, what can I say? At safe distance. Away from its poisoned heritage. Its bad will, mendacity. The tent could consider itself exorcised. Blisters, lack of breakfast-serving pubs, lost umbrellas or cameras out of order are part of the adventure, just like roads that lead nowhere, rubble, trash, broken and left-behind vehicles and consumer goods.
He shares stories of the rich and the poor inhabitants of Greater London, reflecting on present and past, gangsters and politicians, writers and artists, businesses and landscapes, both industrial and natural.
The roads are connected, but form no coherent storyline, they just lead on and on, delivering details of meaningless encounters. Reality as a strange maze, leading nowhere. This certainly is not a book that can be easily consumed in an afternoon or two. It took me more than six months to work my way through it, slowly, with breaks.
The author himself invites to those breaks as well, constantly looking for a good pub to relax with a pint, or to change socks. I am quite sure I will not follow the itinerary of the novel in real life, but it was a fascinating walk in the mind!
Meandering round the M25
Much of his work is rooted in London, most recently within the influences of psychogeography. His early work was mostly poetry, much of it published by his own small press, Albion Village Press. He was and remains closely connected with the British avantgarde poetry scene of the s and s authors such as J. Prynne, Douglas Oliver, Peter Ackroyd and Brian Catling are often quoted in his work and even turn up in fictionalized form as characters; later on, taking over from Iain Sinclair is a British writer and film maker.
Iain Sinclair : London Orbital : Width Of A Circle
The Last London by Iain Sinclair review — an elegy for a city now lost A final instalment of prose-poem essays championing the local and avant-garde against corporate capitalism and political arrogance Iain Sinclair on the south bank of the Thames, London. After that came a series of astonishing books that reinvented the London novel — White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings ; Downriver ; Radon Daughters — as well as a steady stream of essays, films and samizdat poetry pamphlets that were circulated like relics among those in the know. What, then, does his city look like today? The Last London is an elegy for a London that is now over. The artists, the homeless, the eccentrics — the people Sinclair has always been on the side of — are moving out, or being moved out. The city seems to want him out too. The argument is familiar, but its urgency is new.
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He enlists the help of several others to film the motorway from several points, drive endlessly around it and dig up stories and potential beauty behind the motorway. A film about a motorway? However I have seen many documentaries about unlikely subjects that have surprised me with wonderful little snippets of information or analogies that are clever, witty or insightful. I gave this a chance because I had hoped it would be of that sort. However this sets it art house stall out from the very first scene with a horrible narration and split screen footage of never ending roads. The narration is the key failing of the film.