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Thread: Iain Sinclair

  1. #16

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    Shapiro is the most famous Lithuanian South African Jew on Charing Cross Road.

    He's writing a marvellous novel based on his life called Schmuck.

    I respect his opinion and consult him on many issues; in return, I give him advice on how to deal with crazy women.
    Last edited by craner; 10-03-2005 at 07:57 PM. Reason: I sounded a bit sarcastic and wished to avoid a misunderstanding

  2. #17

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    Yeah. Shapiro got me into Carl Schmitt.

  3. #18
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    Default Sinclair ... I rate him.

    Iain Sinclair is the author who has most damaged my own ability to write, yet I love his work. Short sentences. Asserting. Themselves. On my prose.

  4. #19
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    I went to see that M25 thing he did with Bill Drummond and what not. Thought that was a bit of disappointment. Too unfocused, and no one involved really turned in a great performance.

    Picked up Lights Out in Oxfam a while back and read it in Autumn last year. Yes, he is dense reading, and I don't buy the notion that looking around closely at the city around you deserves a pompous title like psychogeography or whatever. But there is something to what he does that I do love; the power of chance and accumulation. The layers of urban existence. That sort of thing seems very true to me; archaeology, the archive. It's something that appeals to me from reading too much Cage and Foucault I guess, but Sinclair does turn it all to good effect - even if he does ramble on about his mates too much, you start to wonder how much Chris Petit is paying for all the product placement...

    And I really liked the chapter on Jeffrey Archer.

  5. #20
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    those petit films though - robinson and robinson in space are phenomenal though aren't they, he (petit) also wrote a novel called robinson as well which i really loved. agree about some of his name dropping of obscure film makers and poets but i think that is also part of the culture he has come out of - late sixties art house cinema and poetry nexus i have never managed to see a stan brakhage (sp?!?) but feel i know loads about him because of sinclair
    the book liquid london which he co-produced with his photographer marc atkins is worth an investigation. the archer stuff made me laugh ( the arrogance of the man, he turns down a print from atkins cos he has plenty of pix of the thames already) somehow sinclair kind of blags his way into places through sheer charm alone - the guardian like to call him a literary skinhead but somehow this does not do justice to his subtle insinuations into the edifices of power - an opportunity for a literary heist, smuggling his valuable insights back out before he is caught - a writer on the run (i agree about the comment on the effect of his prose style - both sinclair and hst have ruined mine)

  6. #21
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    To be honest I haven't seen much of Petit's stuff, but I thought his film of the M25 (which ran as a backdrop throughout the entire show) was the strongest part of that whole thing.

  7. #22
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    I don't think Sinclair can write at all. He's not capable of constructing a sentence beyond one or two clauses composed mostly of adjectives: when he does it his prose loses any power and distinction it might have. The same goes for the overall architecture of his books - there isn't one - there's just the rubble of his own ranting nerdy obsessions (eg Jack the Ripper. Need I say more?). And I see he has once again wheeled out the tiredest of postmodernist tropes - a book about someone writing a book - in his latest novel, How many times has he done that now? He thinks he is a satirist but his books have no ethical weight. Its all sub-sub-sub Burroughs laced with some incredibly dubious politics (check Downriver's description of Banglatown for example).

  8. #23

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    He's not capable of constructing a sentence beyond one or two clauses composed mostly of adjectives

    Yes indeed!

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenks
    those petit films though - robinson and robinson in space
    I think you might be confusing Petit with Patrick Keillor who made Robinson in Space & London. I caught some of Petit & Sinclair's film 'The falconer' on TV once and didn't realise that that was what it was at first, just thought what is this pretentious crap - but I found a lot of Lights Out pretty interesting and it has opened up interest in a broader range of aspects of the city than Peter Ackroyd. I've only tried his fiction once and judging by the comments upthread made the wrong choice in Radon Daughters, it's almost comically unreadable & dense. I also find it annoying that he has co-opted the term psychogeography (and this has been further diluted by will self) such that it now is taken to mean a kind of literary-historical reading of urban areas which seems so much more mundane than the possibilities suggested by the situationists

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by minusone
    I think you might be confusing Petit with Patrick Keillor who made Robinson in Space & London.
    yes you're right minusone - don't know what came over me - schoolboy error, shan't happen again (mutter, mutter, credibility in tatters.....)

  11. #26
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    I want to like Sinclair, but I can't, except in patches. His description of Bluewater in London Orbital, for instance, is wonderful.

    But, in general, his writing is not only obscure, it is obscurantist - deliberately making an equivalence between 'poetic' and 'difficult'. For me, the most poetic writing is always the most lucid, and if I have to try hard to read something - whether it be theory or literature - I want some reward. With Sinclair, I just feel frustrated and bored - out of the know. You can rarely settle into the writing; you're always being ushered off to the next unexplained allusion, always left with the impression that there must be something more here than you are ever seeing. I like the connections he makes (but the people he links together - Moorcock, Ballard, Ackroyd, even Alan fucking Moore - are infinitely better writers than him, precisely because they retain a pulp narrative engine), I like the walking methodology, I like the idea of it: but the writing itself always disappoints.

    Heronbone is much better, I really mean that.

  12. #27
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    Anyone who has a problem with Sinclair's style, but is nevertheless interested in the stuff he writes about, might like to hunt down 'A Journey Through Ruins : The Last Days of London' by Patrick Wright. Wright, I gather, is a buddy of Sinclair's, and I've always considered his book as being a more sober companion to 'Lights Out'.

  13. #28
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    i saw 'from hell' (the movie) at the weekend. i think sinclair had hated on it because it wasn't filmed in london and was made by americans (oh no!). it was a great film, one of the best about victorian london i've ever seen.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrymiller
    i saw 'from hell' (the movie) at the weekend. i think sinclair had hated on it because it wasn't filmed in london and was made by americans (oh no!). it was a great film, one of the best about victorian london i've ever seen.
    have you read the book tho?
    it's fascinating. esp the pages and pages of insightful references , like a dvd extra with legs.

  15. #30
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    no, i'd like to, but it's not really relevant to the film. i re-read sinclair's piece and it only convinced me that he's totally parochial, and i was a bit dismayed by the general reaction to the fact that it was made by the dirtectors of 'menace II society' -- sinclair just assumed they were working in bad faith.

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