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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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... the club’s ‘few first editions of Conan Doyle, Poe, Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins’, is enough to invoke, by conditioned reflex, the Agatha Christie cornerstone, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Or as DerekRaymond (Robin Cook) frequently proclaimed, paraphrasing Edmund Wilson: ‘who gives a fuck who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ Raymond, attempting in The Hidden Files to define the ‘black novel’ in ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock

30 November 2000
King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... These sidebars have sidebars, addenda foliate in Mandelbrotian chaos; the narrative folds back on itself, excusing and exploiting well-worn anecdotes. Moorcock sketches his version of the late DerekRaymond (a.k.a. Robin Cook) as a Soho revenant: ‘Cookie was still alive in those days . . . and telling your stories back to you faster than you could recount them.’ Much of King of the City is ...


Adam Mars-Jones

21 September 1995
by Gordon Burn.
Secker, 231 pp., £14.99, August 1995, 0 436 20059 7
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... across London without seeing even one of Burn’s chosen emblems of poignant kitsch? It’s clear that Gordon Burn and Fullalove aspire to the extremity represented by the best of J.G. Ballard or DerekRaymond, by a Crash or an I Was Dora Suarez. Both of these books retain some residual claim to realism, but work by isolating a lurid element in the world and expanding it almost infinitely ...
23 June 1994
... travel journals, a terse culling from Wittgenstein, a children’s book (‘appeals to emotion more than to intellect’, San Fiancisco BEEF), and a plastic fortune-telling device derived from Raymond Lull – who would notice? Who noticed when it was in spate? An art strike in West Cork is a fantastic notion. West Cork is an art strike. West Cork is weather. Neither, unfortunately for the postman ...

The Comic Strip

Ian Hamilton

3 September 1981
... Raymond’s Revuebar is usually thought of as Soho’s superior strip club. It stages not mere skin shows but Festivals of Erotica, it sells Dunhill or Lambert and Butler cigarettes, and it gets itself ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair

23 January 1997
Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... records. A brief affair with the daughter of the champion of the English Revolution, Christopher Hill, Master of Balliol. The interestingly named Fanny Hill was also involved, at this period, with Raymond Carr, Warden of St Antony’s College, which Marks describes as the ‘CIA’s Oxford annexe’. The property that the postgraduate Marks rented in Leckford Road had previously been occupied by an ...
20 October 1994
Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... at the bottom of the page. And an obituary notice in the Independent has always been the genre hack’s best hope of getting into newsprint. There was, for example, fulsome coverage for Robin Cook (DerekRaymond) once he had gone; local colour pieces (memory tapes from the Coach and Horses) outweighing the tepid inches of a life-time’s review space. Cook, that most civilised of men, most troubled ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman

19 March 1998
Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... Bellow and Madonna’s anteroom, while Penman grafted the standard profiles with which all the amphetamine gunslingers proved their manhood: Jim Thompson, Harry Dean Stanton and Robin Cook (a.k.a. DerekRaymond). Penman was the writer who isn’t in the book, talking to people who are, or were, or ought to be. His patch was cinema arcana, curating the ‘sessions men’ as he calls them, jobbing ...


August Kleinzahler: Remembering Thom Gunn

4 November 2004
... which he loved, likewise Trainspotting. Almost anything scatological had great appeal. He also enjoyed the Richard Yates books I shared with him. When I was ill at one point I read through all of DerekRaymond, whom I recommend to anyone with a stubborn bacterial infection. ‘Oh, yes,’ Thom said, ‘he’s wonderful, isn’t he.’ Sometimes we came on an author separately that sent us both head ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate

20 March 2003
All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
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... Anthony Frewin. It was Frewin who encouraged Seabrook to shape this material, to anthologise his devils. Frewin, the author of Scorpian Rising, a paperback original, which performs a sort of DerekRaymond autopsy on Margate, appeals to Seabrook, the pulp addict, in ways that Graham Swift and his Last Orders never could. Seabrook takes his Faulkner neat, binge reading, with chasers of Sir Thomas Browne ...

Long Goodbye

Derek​ Mahon

20 November 1980
Why Brownlee left 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 48 pp., £3, September 1980, 0 571 11592 6
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Poems 1956-1973 
by Thomas Kinsella.
Dolmen, 192 pp., £7.50, September 1980, 0 85105 365 3
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Constantly Singing 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 90 pp., £3.95, June 1980, 0 85640 217 6
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A Part of Speech 
by Joseph Brodsky.
Oxford, 151 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 19 211939 7
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Collected poems 1931-1974 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 350 pp., £9, September 1980, 0 571 18009 4
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... my own skeleton And stands on tiptoe to look out over the horizon, Through the zones, across the ocean. and now we accompany him, not to Brazil, but to Los Angeles, where he is reincarnated as Raymond Chandler’s fast-talking private eye, philip Marlowe, apparently in search of his father. ‘Immram’ is not easy to follow, but then neither is Chandler, who once admitted that he, the author ...

Her Proper Duties

Tessa Hadley: Helen Simpson

5 January 2006
by Helen Simpson.
Cape, 144 pp., £14.99, December 2005, 0 224 07794 5
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... matter the daily engagements of parenthood (with the significant exception of Mrs Ramsay in To the Lighthouse). It’s true that parenthood has hobbled men too, sometimes: to remind us there’s Raymond Carver’s extraordinary and perhaps not quite forgivable accusation, in his essay ‘Fires’, that his children prevented him from working on his stories. The practicalities did for him: a terrible ...
4 February 1988
... demanded by two right-wing newspapers (the Mail and the Telegraph). Here again, though, nature totally outstripped art. Could any mere novelist – Anthony Trollope, Hugh Walpole, even Ernest Raymond – conceivably have come up with a plot in which a highly-regarded, if disappointed, Oxford don first mixes an explosive cocktail to be drunk by his own Church, on being taxed with it denies all ...

Bloody Sunday Report

Murray Sayle: Back to Bloody Sunday

11 July 2002
... Bloody Sunday’ of Irish legend and British embarrassment. Ghosts from a painful past – myself from Japan, my friend, colleague on the Sunday Times and journalistic partner on Bloody Sunday, Derek Humphry, from Eugene, Oregon – had flown in at the invitation (and expense) of HMG to help the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in its renewed investigation into what had happened on that never-forgotten ...


Christopher Tayler: Muriel Spark’s Essays

24 September 2014
The Golden Fleece: Essays 
by Muriel Spark, edited by Penelope Jardine.
Carcanet, 226 pp., £16.99, March 2014, 978 1 84777 251 0
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... grandees like Field Marshal Wavell began to mobilise against her after she took control of the society’s magazine in 1947. Both then and during her subsequent explorations of freelance life with Derek Stanford, a boyfriend and collaborator who became one of her major irritants, she turned out criticism that staged lively arguments in an idiom seemingly designed not to ruffle ageing bookmen: lots ...

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