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Mandelson’s Pleasure Dome

Iain Sinclair, 2 October 1997

... It gets me every time. That hallucinatory instant. Da da da da da, da da. The Pearly Queen drill of the EastEnders signature tune, as the map spins and the known world is stood on its head; what you thought was the blunt lingam of the Isle of Dogs is revealed as the East Greenwich peninsula. That vertiginous, and slightly desperate, readjustment of consciousness is what you face as you emerge, high on diesel fumes, road rage and subterranean paranoia, from the tiled bore of the Blackwall Tunnel ...

The Colossus of Maroussi

Iain Sinclair: In Athens, 27 May 2010

... were going to hunt dogs, Victoria Park wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Those dogs stayed with me when I left for Athens. I had seen film footage shot two years after the 2004 Games, of loping beasts, freelance canine caretakers patrolling the overgrown wilderness of the futurist sculpture park that once surrounded the Olympic complex out at ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... observed, Boswell ‘was a man whom no one could respect, and whom few could help liking’. Mr Royle succeeds where most have failed, and I find that strange, for Boswell was, manifestly, an Edinburgh figure: born there, schooled there, a city advocate, Kames’s protégé. Francis Jeffrey, a boy in 1790, once helped carry the intoxicated Boswell to ...

England’s End

Peter Campbell, 7 June 1984

English Journey 
by J.B. Priestley.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 434 60371 6
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English Journey, or The Road to Milton Keynes 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth/BBC, 158 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 563 20299 8
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Crisis and Conservation: Conflict in the British Countryside 
by Charlie Pye-Smith and Chris Rose.
Penguin, 213 pp., £3.95, March 1984, 0 14 022437 8
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Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland 
by James Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 164 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 297 78371 8
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Literary Britain 
by Bill Brandt.
Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Hurtwood Press, 184 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 905209 66 4
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... horrors he described have gone. Part of Bainbridge’s problem with the present is the past: All my parents’ bright days had ended before I was born. They faced backwards. In so doing they created within me so strong a nostalgia for time gone that I have never been able to appreciate the present or look to the ...

Cows are more important

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘The Discomfort of Evening’, 24 September 2020

The Discomfort of Evening 
by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison.
Faber, 288 pp., £12.99, March, 978 0 571 34936 4
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... a world of covert obscenity: ‘I took a slice of white bread from the basket and put it on my plate upside down so that it looked just like a pale toddler’s bum, even more convincing when partly spread with chocolate spread, which never failed to amuse me and my brothers, and ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... the early days, before the tent was erected, and I was intrigued, a year on, when the LRB offered me the chance of a second visit, to see how work was progressing. I duly reported my shoe size (which hadn’t changed much since the previous trip) and the registration number of my car ...

The Man in the Clearing

Iain Sinclair: Meeting Gary Snyder, 24 May 2012

... operations. Or the present hunger for natural gas. ‘A lot of public land,’ Snyder told me, ‘has to be converted, in the most organised fashion, into hundreds and thousands of gas wells. It’s like the original oil era. They’ve tricked a lot of public land by offering inducements that haven’t been followed up on. It’s rocks and hard places ...

The Last London

Iain Sinclair, 30 March 2017

... faded CGI panoramas of satisfied customers who never lived in the world as we know it. So? I’m trying to teach myself the grammar of a terminated city in which every sentence begins with a confident clearing of the throat: ‘So …’ That’s the entry code. It’s as if you’ve been shoved onstage, without lines, in a play you’ve never read. Smile ...


Will Self: Walking out of London, 20 October 2011

... In the first few years of the last decade I undertook a series of what I called – with a nod to Iain Sinclair’s circumambulation of London – ‘radial walks’. These were tramps of between three and five days from my home near the city’s centre out into its hinterland, following either a cardinal or an ordinal point of the compass, depending on which direction most appealed to me at the time ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum, 19 May 2016

... blood between the rival Leave organisations. is financed by the insurance tycoon Arron Banks and blessed by Nigel Farage and Ukip. Vote Leave is led by Michael Gove, Gisela Stuart and Boris Johnson, with the support of other longstanding Eurosceptic ministers and former ministers, such as Iain Duncan Smith, Nigel ...


Mary Wellesley: The Wyldrenesse of Wyrale, 26 April 2018

... I had hoped for a woodwose and would have settled for a wolf, but found golf courses instead. My Ordnance Survey map told me there were 14 on the peninsula, which is now a suburb of Liverpool flanked by the rivers Dee and Mersey. The anonymous Gawain poet tells us that in this place, ‘Wonde þer bot lyte/þat auþer ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... felt cradled by this bare soil,’ Chiara Ambrosio, a filmmaker and anthropologist, told me, ‘contained and absorbed by it, a place of origin and convergence.’ When the surface of the world is so overloaded with competing narratives, with shrill boasts hung from every blue fence and plastered over buses and police cars and refuse trucks, there is ...

Where are we now?

LRB Contributors: Responses to the Referendum, 14 July 2016

... spend three years trying to get out, and the next three years trying to get back in. A nightmare, my own: to be locked in a dark, stuffy nursery cupboard with Boris, Michael, Nigel and their pals. England will become a place the young want to get out of, in search of fresh air and light.James ButlerThere is​ now a knot at the centre of British politics. If ...

The Strange Death of Municipal England

Tom Crewe: Assault on Local Government, 15 December 2016

... of human conditions. The gracious words of Christ, ‘Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto Me,’ will be addressed not only to those who with their own hands fed the hungry, and clothed the naked, and cared for the sick, but to those who supported a municipal policy ...

We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp, 11 August 2016

... young and white, but there was an older generation too – veterans of the struggle. Behind me a young man who had come with his mother dipped into a Waitrose bag and – perhaps eager to pre-empt the charge of champagne socialism – produced a mini bottle of prosecco. Once we started off, the sun at a blistering peak, the people around ...

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