Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Bring this one back from the dead...

I'm partway through Lights Out For The Territory, and I still can't decide whether it's brilliant or a pile of self-important balls - or possibly somewhere in the middle. I wonder whether it made more sense in the years before you could read about all this "secret history" stuff on wikipedia and a host of blogs - when esoterica really was esoteric?

Also, I think this comment from China Mieville's BLDGBLOG interview is quite interesting and on point:

Novelists have an endless drive to aestheticize and to complicate. I know there’s a very strong tradition—a tradition in which I write, myself—about the decoding of the city. Thomas de Quincey, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Iain Sinclair—that type-thing. The idea that, if you draw the right lines across the city, you’ll find its Kabbalistic heart and so on.

The thing about that is that it’s intoxicating—but it’s also bullshit. It’s bullshit and it’s paranoia—and it’s paranoia in a kind of literal sense, in that it’s a totalizing project. As long as you’re constantly aware of that, at an aesthetic level, then it’s not necessarily a problem; you’re part of a process of urban mythologization, just like James Joyce was, I suppose. But the sense that this notion of uncovering—of taking a scalpel to the city and uncovering the dark truth—is actually real, or that it actually solves anything, and is anything other than an aesthetic sleight of hand, can be quite misleading, and possibly even worse than that. To the extent that those texts do solve anything, they only solve mysteries that they created in the first place, which they scrawled over the map of a mucky contingent mess of history called the city. They scrawled a big question mark over it and then they solved it.
Also, re his prose style, I think it would improve, if someone went to his house, and wired up the comma key, on his keyboard / typewriter, to a small electric shock machine.
 

viktorvaughn

New member
Has anyone got a link to his beef with Ian McEwan that is referred to earlier in the thread?

I've started 4 and finished 1 (the Hackney one).

He is a good and entertaining speaker, tho, would recommend him in the flesh. Funnier than on paper.

The Hackney one I could relate to a bit, knowing the area, whereas the Ghost Milk one goes into grumpy old man territory a bit too much, the modern world is a bit shit, oh and by the way here are 20 pages of a Chinese poets thoughts on living in the Lea valley.

I think regards the quote below I never read him literally, in the sense that he was actually uncovering some objective or hidden truths, more just wallowing in his own enjoyable mystic/tangential readings...
 

luka

Moderator
i think hes a very bad speaker. terribly timid. i cant deal with that in a public speaker. its endearing at any other time. not when someone is supposed to entertain you.
the books get increasingly middlebrow. the hackney one was actually offensive. the new one is even worse. lights out is where the rot sets in but its not a bad book. its lightweight but its good. white chappel, lud heat and suicide bridge are all very good. after that its all an erudite form of journalese.
 

viktorvaughn

New member
i think hes a very bad speaker. terribly timid. i cant deal with that in a public speaker. its endearing at any other time. not when someone is supposed to entertain you.
Really? Weird. I've seen him like 4 times and he seemed fairly assured. He's got a bit of a middle class, self depreciating, brainy uncle thing going on in in manner but under pinned with a bit of confidence, humour and erudition...

Having said that the one thing he wasn't great at was a big thing at South Bank Centre, whereas the other three or so times I've seen him speak were in really small local bashes, poetry nights etc so maybe it's the scale thing? Probs more confident preaching to the converted/hardcore at a thing on Hackney than a bigger one at SBC promoting his book.
 

luka

Moderator
i saw him at stratford library where he was outshone by a more confident and fluent patrick wright, who wrote a better book about hackney. i
 

luka

Moderator
its a gentle book but a lovely one. ghost milk was unreadable and the hackney book was twee. this restored some of my faith in him, although there was nothing new there.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
So are all the artist-poet-visionary types he talks about in Lights Out - Gavin Jones, Aidan Dun, Chris Petit etc - actually the great lost visionaries of our age, or is he just puffing his mates? Patrick Keiller I like...
 

viktorvaughn

New member
So are all the artist-poet-visionary types he talks about in Lights Out - Gavin Jones, Aidan Dun, Chris Petit etc - actually the great lost visionaries of our age, or is he just puffing his mates? Patrick Keiller I like...
I saw Chris Petit at a talk with IS and they were reminiscing/bitching about how they used to get commissioned to make docs by the BBC but it didn't happen any more. Not hugely interesting but ok.

Then I watched Petit's film Radio On which I found extremely boring.

Have you read Patrick Wright's A Journey through Ruins? IS bigs it up all the time and it is good. Fascinating reading about Dalston in the 80s. Each chapter is a bit like a self-contained essay and the topics vary widely from Bow Quarter (currently in the news cos missiles are going to positioned there for the Olympics) and it's changing status and occupation through 80s and perceived yuppies moving there to fluoride in the water.
 

luka

Moderator
Yes isn't life in your 20s exceptional- a filmic sequence of seratoninotinous polaroid snapshots, budding intellects at full throttle...

a desperate kind of groovy!

As pornography is to erotica, so life in your 20s is to reality.

All of which reminds me "craner"- I saw your uncle yesterday- he was pushing a pram full of greasy old newspapers round Catford in lederhosen.
lool.
 

rubberdingyrapids

Active member
king-mob.net

he's doing a series of film screenings...

john smith's hackney marshes from 1976 (anyone here seen it?) is showing tonight - considering going if i feel less ill in the next few hours...
 

luka

Moderator
Yes isn't life in your 20s exceptional- a filmic sequence of seratoninotinous polaroid snapshots, budding intellects at full throttle...

a desperate kind of groovy!

As pornography is to erotica, so life in your 20s is to reality.

All of which reminds me "craner"- I saw your uncle yesterday- he was pushing a pram full of greasy old newspapers round Catford in lederhosen.



it seems to be getting more ridiculous by the post.
I saw the London Orbital video just recently, worth a look, though unfortunately now tainted by the Audi advert Sinclair did- I kept on expecting him to say, "Especially in a car as comfortable as this one". But he didn't.
Nonetheless there is the notion of ecstasy as a third of Thatcherisms' invisible triangle, with attendant interviews...

Lud Heat really is very good as well. It has the quality of channeling. One of those books you can have around and open at random.

& you only have to write one book after all.
So many attacks on Craner. Vicious, unhinged, obsessed.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
It's funny when you stumble across people completely losing it in old posts. I imagine a lot of them don't even remember what they were angry about. I saw one in the grime thread the other day.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Dunno maybe you'll give a fuck something real happened anywhere else but the old dude continuum in London.
:crylarf:

Yeah lads still shot round my way, some dude got the fuck kicked out of him for no reason right between the private hospital and a primary school, left for dead and a taxi ran him over, killed the kid a few months back...

You want to big up the fallacy of road yeah? Grow up.

George Ezra was their soundtrack.

London is the one.

Big up London's music scene and grime we're the true soundtrack to that shit...

We do trap now... On 1Xtra.
:crylarf::crylarf:
 
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