Visionary writer with Hastings links launches new book
The book centres on London but opens on the shoreline of St Leonards using the Banksy graffiti as a starting point.
‘The only way I can hear the word iconic without grimacing, Sinclair states, ‘is to substitute it with the word moronic’.
As Sinclair has found a way of reading and decoding the streets, you have to find a way of reading Sinclair.
It has become lazy vogue to cast him as ‘impenetrable’ - a printer’s devil who spits out indecipherable words, yet his writing is often rife with sharp observational humour - “Pre-coffee contortionists with their personal trainers”.
Like anything in life we get out what we put in, if we get out at all. Here the return is way more than we bargained for.
Sinclair charging (trudging) ahead across the territory, smashing it up, leaving the broken tarmac and paving stones of cliche and preconception in his wake; chewing up the scenery. A mad stenographer of the past, hungry for, and wary of, the future, which will cede, in its turn, to another, haunted, unresolved past.
Mad prophet and seer, an unnatural, yet obvious, successor to Blake. We can expect nothing less than brilliance and skewed insight as he re-imagines everything, re-casts it in an unseen, unforeseen light.
This is a man who describes the desecration of London to create a venue for the 2012 Olympic Games, as ‘A theme park without a theme’.
But don’t set your watch by Sinclair. If you are after a quick easy read, a beach novel, best get off the bus at some brightly lit destination.
Remain on board for a heart-rending surveillance report of a man who has sat, belongings bundled up, on the same bench of a small park for so long he has become assimilated into the street furniture, only to became a ghost and pass out of all knowledge as soon as he realises he is visible to others.
Sinclair also offers a fascinating account of an eccentric who burrowed deep beneath his London home to create a complex and extensive labyrinth.
Everything Sinclair has written is worthy of attention, but in this latest work he has re-summoned the relentless, feverish, energy of his first London writings, pushed well beyond them, lighting out for new territory.
Everything is stripped back to raw beauty and despair - terror and magnificence.
Here he is totally possessed, raving, inhabited by the city. Buried London is frantically clawing at its own coffin lid. Sinclair has gone rogue, dug himself into the landscape like the character in Geoffrey Household’s 1939 thriller.
This latest dispatch evokes the delirium and blind truth of his overlooked early offering ‘Slow Chocolate Autopsy’.
Last London encompasses the lucid ravings of a mad man, who time will ultimately prove to be more sane than those who have created such a maelstrom of social injustice.
You wonder if the title is a statement of intent, from Sinclair, a barely concealed escape plan. But there is no escape. London is temporal, existing in myriad time-lines, varying states of decay.
Even if the man who calls himself Sinclair never writes about the city again, his alter ego, Norton, prisoner of London, is still doomed to haunt its streets in perpetuity. The city is a trap. Sinclair was ensnared long ago.
Iain Sinclair will be reading from Last London at the Black Huts Festival on Friday October 27 at the Electric Palace Cinema, from 8pm.
At The Kino Teatr, Norman Road, St Leonards, Ian will be joined, on Sunday October 29, at 6pm, by film maker Andrew Kotting and John Rogers, for the multi-media event Lights Out for the Last London.