Iain Sinclair: The Last London

This is an interesting short film from the London Review of Books, where Iain Sinclair discusses the motivations for his most recent book The Last London. Writing about the city over the last 40 years has made his name as a singularly distinctive author, but as this film proves, he’s had enough. His sense of anger and frustration with what’s happened to London is palpable, and that’s something I can relate to. As a Northerner, I was born with a genetic predisposition against ‘LunDun’. To us, it was like Mordor was for the hobbits, but my first visits to the city in the mid-1980’s coincided with reading what is still one of my favourite novels – Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game – a book that benefits from a powerful sense of place, with much of the action taking place in the ‘edgelands’ of London. After that the city became for me an intriguing prospect, full of mystery and secrets. Back then it was still a place where you could feel the history of everything that had happened there, and also sense the gravity of what was coming. Through the 1990’s it still retained some of that appeal for me, but in the last 20 years it’s been “made over” in all the ways I disagree with. Sinclair expresses all this much better than I could ever hope to, so I recommend watching the film and if you’ve never read any of his work before – which I admit is not for everyone – then use Lights Out For The Territory as an accessible entry point and take it from there.

Iain Sinclair: The Last London

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