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Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... Jim Sallis is the one who isn’t Bill Clinton’s official favourite purveyor of fiction, although his sequence of crime novels featuring the New Orleans polymath Lew Griffin (writer, melancholic, occasional lecturer in French Lit, sometime PI and full-time avatar of the author) has plenty of superficial similarities to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins project ...

The Colossus of Maroussi

Iain Sinclair: In Athens, 27 May 2010

... They hunted dogs with guns, the Berliner said, to clear the streets for the Olympics. He was in Hackney now, an architect, but he had been in Athens in 2002, when the deals were going down and the grand project was underway. I sat in an afternoon pub, beside a street market that seemed to have migrated across town from Notting Hill, close to a stretch of the Regent’s Canal that had been peremptorily closed, fenced, drained ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... Baroness James, making a rare visitation to a blighted metropolitan zone, downriver of Tower Bridge, has written a very useful book, a book on which I will be happy to draw for years to come. That was back in 1972. Title? The Maul and the Pear Tree; co-authored by T.A. Critchley of the Police Department at the Home Office, where James then earned her crust as a Principal in the Criminal Policy Department ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: My Olympics, 30 August 2012

... The Owl Man has gone. He has left Hackney, left London. His gaunt property, close to the newly fashionable barbecue pitch and managed wildflower meadow of London Fields, has been made secure and rigged with scaffolding. Above mildewed steps, pasted with boot-smudged council notices, a wonky sign, hand-painted in red on white, is still visible: DISABLED BIRD OF PREY KEPT HERE ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: Eccentric Pilgrims, 30 June 2016

... To the rat-a-tat-tat​ of a drum, they march on London. Climate protesters? Milk-price complainers taking inspiration from their cousins across the Channel? Some historical re-enactment rump? It must be charity. Look at the cameras. There aren’t enough of them to bring out Boris Johnson, who never failed, in all the years of his mayoralty, to insert himself on the television ‘news where you are’ for London: in hardhat, bicycle helmet, scrumcap squashed down on the finger-flicked golden mopflop of thuggish charm ...

Dysfunctional Troglodytes with Mail-Order Weaponry

Iain Sinclair: Edward Dorn, 11 April 2013

Collected Poems 
by Edward Dorn.
Carcanet, 995 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84777 126 1
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... The publication in Britain of Edward Dorn’s Collected Poems is a big moment, a bonfire of the verities, for the embattled tribe of local enthusiasts, veterans of old poetry wars who are still, more or less, standing. Dorn’s face is news again, live and loud, on a cover laid out like a wanted poster, or the freeze-frame of a sun-bounced downhill skier, against a backcloth of enlarged script (his own words, not the usual blizzard of corporate logos ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... A recent episode in a jobbing writer’s life found me interviewing Carolyn Cassady (author of Off the Road: Twenty Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg) in her comprehensively occupied Belsize Park flat. The unreality of this situation – talking, shoulder to shoulder, with one of the Beat Generation’s best-preserved icons – was ameliorated by the fact that our paths had crossed a number of times over the last fifteen years ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... Panic on the peninsula. Outrage in North Greenwich. The gas-holder, familiar to motorists skirting the perimeter fence of what is now the site of The Millennium Experience, set ablaze. Flames visible across the river from Beckton Alp to Parliament Hill. ‘A man said to have a slight Irish accent said: “This is the IRA. We have planted bombs at the southern entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel ...

The Man in the Clearing

Iain Sinclair: Meeting Gary Snyder, 24 May 2012

... Coming through the woods, down a soft winding track, two minutes shy of the time we have been instructed to arrive, 10 a.m. on a bright Sunday morning, we see the man already there in the clearing, his right hand on the dog’s collar. Two minutes later, you feel, and he’d be gone. But this is the right person, undoubtedly, the one we have come to see ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... Lord Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, single shareholder in the late lamented Millennium Dome on Bugsby’s Marshes, talked confidentially to an unseen interrogator who appeared to be crouching on the floor of his chauffeured limousine as he drifted across London; and who remained, within earshot of an eavesdropped soliloquy, while the real PM perched in his office, alone with his compulsively agitated gizmos, grape-peelers, yoghurt spoon-removers, young men who read newspapers for him and blunt Irish fixers chewing on unrequired advice ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: Swimming on the 52nd Floor, 24 September 2015

... Not many guests​ arrive at Shangri-La, the cloud-shrouded lamasery/hotel that occupies the paying mid-section (levels 35-52) of the London Bridge intervention known as the Shard, by way of a 149 bus out of Haggerston. This on the day of a seasonal Underground strike that has to be explained to bemused knots of grounded tourists as they squeeze through a complexity of automated barriers, encumbered by caravans of luggage ...

The Last London

Iain Sinclair, 30 March 2017

... So:​ the last London. It has to be said with a climbing inflection at the end. Every statement is provisional here. Nothing is fixed or grounded. Come back tomorrow and the British Museum will be an ice rink, a boutique hotel, a fashion hub. The familiar streets outside will have vanished into walls of curved glass and progressive holes in the ground ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... In the mornings, there is a clinging, overripe smell that some people say drifts in from the countryside, a folk memory of what these clipped green acres used, so recently, to be. Mulch of market gardens. Animal droppings in hot mounds. The distant rumble of construction convoys. The heron dance of elegant cloud-scraping cranes. Flocks of cyclists clustering together for safety, dipping and swerving like swallows ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... This morning there is a man in a short black coat running across a high brick wall; a hunchbacked fly springing sticky-fingered from perch to perch, before dropping heavily into the street. The wall – weathered yellow brick grouted with carbon deposits and grime – is enough of a barrier to have doubled in television films, cop shows or faked documentaries as the exterior of a prison ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... They dig​ and the earth is sweet. The Hackney Hole is eight square metres, straight down through the lawn of a decommissioned rectory. This secret garden is separated from St Augustine’s Tower by a high wall of darkly weathered brick. The proud stub of the square tower is all that remains of Hackney’s oldest ecclesiastical building, a 16th-century revision of the 13th-century church founded by the Knights of St John ...

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