London - City of Disappearances edited by Iain Sinclair
Posted by elsie katz on Wed, 19 Apr 2017
A lifetime of London. It must be like having a pound in your pocket and only finding fifty pence of it worth spending. I'm an ex-Londoner. Good.
Iain Sinclair's anthology often strikes gold. He knows a number of older people who have bygone memories of 70s London and before. Two old Jews, members of my own lost tribe, Emanuel Litivinoff and Josef Rudolf make the spirit of the old East End walk. I also like some of the fantasy writings, the poetry of Bill Griffiths, and Steve Beard's accounts of the worship of Dagon and the cults of Belial and Tammuz. Beard had me fooled for a minute, thought they were real.And Driffield gives us a fine slice of West London bedsit land, a bookseller masterthief mystery a life gleaned from secondhand throwouts and nation backways finds.
And yet reading the book tired me. If you are a Londoner you live in the outer 'burbs or in town. You can only last a long and happy life in town or in the inner suburbs that are sort of town if you are a millionnaire or you have a council flat. Ben Watson's Madness in Somers Town, written inside the Crowndale Estate resonates.
Interesting memories, well researched history, imagination. What 's absent is enjoyment. None of the authors, and they haven't disappeared most still live in London, none or next to none of them like it.