Ghost Milk: Calling Time On The Grand Project
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 05 April 2012
- Travel Writing
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<i>"When did it begin, this intimate liaison between developers and government, to reconstruct the body of London, to their mutual advantage? Dr Frankenstein with a Google Earth programme and a laser scapel." </i>Iain Sinclair is an utterly fascinating man but one that can't stick to the point for long. Compared to W G Sebald, beautifully decsribed by a reviewer as a 'gonzo Samual Pepys' he is an experience in itself. The book will not be to everyones tastes, but it's easy to read if nearly unclassifiable. At once a polemic against the grand project (the soulless, spin of commercial architecture) and in another part memoir, part mediation of relationship of poetry and geography, part eulogy of J G Ballard, part walkers diary. This is a mesmerising, chaotic, unfocused wander through the mind of Iain Sinclair.<i>"You have a name for your book?" Mimi said."Ghost Milk.""What does this mean?"CGI smears on a blue fence. Real juice from a virtual host. Embalming fluid. A Soup of photographc negatives. Soul food for the dead. The universal element in which we sink and swim""Crazy, Mr Sinclair" Mimi said, "Crazy again" </i>He is a walker, deeply connected to his surroundings through art and history, walking through a multi-layered landscape and it is a joy to walk with him. He is self-deprecating, amusing, poetic, passionate, sometimes over the top and whether you agree with his politics there is some food for thought here; corruption and waste on a grand scale, erosions of freedom, ecological disaster, a dearth of future and a destruction of history.<i>"Dominent colours: dirt-rose, morbid soot, pigeon shit. The railway stations have been around so long they have become accepted natural features. Like cliffs or mountains. London grows its fossils by accretions of indifference"</i>He doesnt just wander Londons and look on horror at the olympic site, he visits other grand projects: millennium museums and coporate works of art, Manchester's old Trafford stadium, travels up the M62 to muse on the idea of Supercity (<i>"Post-industrial muddle extended, in the London architect bloodshot eyes, into a single hallucinatory city"</i>). He interviews artists and their fascinating interview excerpts and diaries dot the text. It's a pure melting pot, a maelstrom of ideas.<i>"The Trafford Centre has its own microclimate and it smells like dead television. Like the after-sweat of an Oscar ceremony; hope dashed, lust curtailed, fear tasted." </i>I do recommend it although perhaps start with his more famous works like London Orbital. Still it's an experience like no other.
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