Jonathan Meades

Jonathan Meades’s Pedro and Ricky Come Again: Selected Writing is out now. His 1200-page megafiction, Empty Wigs, is being crowdfunded by Unbound.

Let’s go to Croydon

Jonathan Meades, 13 April 2023

Castlefield with Beetham Tower, Manchester.

‘Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions.’ The London that Muriel Spark describes in The Girls of Slender Means – ‘buildings in bad repair or in no repair at all, bombsites piled with stony rubble, houses like giant teeth in which decay had been drilled out, leaving only the...

Listen to Jonathan Meades introduce and read this piece on the LRB Podcast

Asneaked photograph​ from the earliest years of this century shows the teenage prodigy Wayne Rooney leading his parents out of the sea on a Mexican beach. They are about to move into an unknown world, where they will, all three, lurch from idolisation to easy prey, from objects of pity to mean-spirited envy – the...

Blighted Plain: Wiltshire’s Multitudes

Jonathan Meades, 6 January 2022

In​ his introduction to the first edition of The Buildings of England: Wiltshire (1963), Nikolaus Pevsner wrote with barely contained anger that

Wiltshire would be as wonderful as it must have been in Hardy’s, in Hudson’s and in Jefferies’s days, if the army, and more recently the air force, had not got hold of it. As it is, the army is up in Salisbury Plain with towns of...

Sightbites: Archigram’s Ghost

Jonathan Meades, 21 May 2020

Archigram was an out-of-hours architectural band of six men – Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene – whose day jobs were with big commercial practices and local authorities. They formed in the early 1960s and over the next decade or so produced thousands of designs for ‘cities of the future’ that were highly original,...

Lynda Nead​’s new study of the ways in which postwar Britain was represented by what was not yet called its media is tirelessly oblique. She contrives to see everything through the reductionist lenses of colour and colourlessness. She leans heavily on Raymond Williams’s notion of a ‘structure of feeling’ which supposedly defines the ‘particular and...

Lists​ make us feel better. They take the uncertainty and messiness of life and spray it with a sense of purpose. On low days, I sometimes write to-do lists of tasks I have already done and put...

Read more reviews

Meades is our greatest exponent of what the Russian Formalists called ostranenie, ‘making-strange’.

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences