September 08, 2006


Pending a proper post, a few connections and links.

Of all the intriguing moments in Tim Chapman's fascinating interview with Iain Sinclair over at the ever-excellent Ballardian (Sinclair so much more arresting and engaging as a commentator and critic than as a novelist, where writerly obsurantism fogs over all his insights and sharpness), this is one of the most telling:

    Chapman: It was said at the time that Ballard had never actually been to the Barbican before.

    Sinclair: He said that, which was very surprising, but in a sense he doesnít need to because itís almost like his mental landscape. He did say to me heíd never really been to the East End of London ó he had no real interest or desire in seeing it. Heíd done a car trip once to go and have a look at the Millennium Dome but he never got out of the car ó just drove past it and went back again to Shepperton.

    C: Itís probably the best way to see it.

    Sinclair: It probably is, but this is the absolute opposite of what I feel. Always, the way is that you walk. You start from wherever you are and you walk slowly through the city, and your narrative is revealed. He just doesnít feel the need to work in that way at all. He fillets from magazines, watches random TV, and looks at technical reports, scientific journals, and just cuts up and accumulates this material. In the 60s, he was using it fairly straight in a fragmented way, and now itís become finessed into something thatís almost like a standard literary novel, but once you look below the surface itís something else.

... all of which compares interestingly with the following, taken from a conversation between Jeremy Greenspan and John Foxx that I convened when the Junior Boys were in London a few weeks ago:

    Jeremy Greenspan: What Iím influenced by is periphery, or periphery vision, because Canadaís all periphery. Thereís nothing recognizable. You walk around London, and itís one icon after the other, and I think you have this iconic fascination in some of your music: taking iconic images out of their own context. Like Ė whatís Ballardís first book? - The Drowned World, where heís scuba-diving through the city, and thereís the planetarium, and there are these submerged icons Ö Most of my influence is like city periphery, itís like wires, and highways, I think you also have that too. I went last year to the Barbican for the first time, Iíd never been there, and I thought, boy, this must be a real John Foxx influence.

    John Foxx: I used to live near there. I used to walk there all the time.

    JG: Do you know what I mean? There must have been something about that place, just the quality of the plaza spaces, and everything being subsumed into this complex.

    JF: Itís like a model for a London that never was, and it could have been easily, and some of it is like that.

    JG: Would you want to live in that London?

    JF: I almost did live in the Barbican. I went to see a flat in there, I thought very carefully about it, and then, just accidentally, I got one nearby. I just like the way itís all self-contained.

    JG: Yeah, so do I. Itís like Bentall box living ÖI mean, so much of the sort of thing that influences me is this periphery, this strip mall thing, and I think most peopleís inclination when I write about it is that Iím writing some sort of critique, you know, ĎWhy is it that we have to put up with this?í but obviously I find something haunting and beautiful about itÖ

Further extracts from the Foxx/Greenspan dialogue will appear in October's Dazed & Confused....


Ian Mathers on Joy Division... Prompts me to reflect that an absolute gulf separates the Joy Division Event - which can now only be re-constructed from faded cassettes, overlit Super8 footage and primitive VHS - from today's anticipative commemoration. No doubt every one of the Editors' grave-robbing performances has been digitally recorded, as part of a virulently proliferating archive which no-one will ever want to access. (How is it, by the way, that a group such as the Editors, who would have been dismissed as fifteenth-rate JD imitators in 1980, not only escape derision but enjoy a modicum of respect?)


Sometime k-punk correspondent and fancied wit Dejan Nikolic now has a splendid blog...



Must also mention Penman, on top form atm, especially in his dizzying, dazzling disection of George Smiley's diseased lung....

Posted by mark at September 8, 2006 11:17 AM | TrackBack