'The writer's task is to invent reality.' J.G. Ballard. On a recent trip to Heathrow, I travelled along the Westway. It's been a few years since I headed out on that road, not since a friend of mine passed his driving test and we made a specific trip out west with Low by David Bowie … Continue reading Terminal Realism: Kathy Acker and William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard and Zadie Smith
Trapped In Oslo – The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik
'I stopped my bicycle under a street lamp near Riddervolds Square and spread out the map to see where I was going.' Over the last years, loyal to the time in my life when I eschewed travel for reading, when the word edged out the world, I've taken to choosing a novel or book of … Continue reading Trapped In Oslo – The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik
'They dream only of America To be lost among the thirteen million pillars of grass' John Ashbery I first read On the Road at the age of sixteen, during a family holiday in Anglesey, where I burrowed down in a caravan sleeping bag, taking secret nips from a bottle of White Horse whisky while my … Continue reading Why America?
The Slide Area by Gavin Lambert
'Los Angeles is not a city but a series of suburban approaches to a city that never materializes.' More by accident than any kind of plan, one of the early features of this blog has been the relationship between word and image. And so, to follow that theme, I thought I'd write about a novel … Continue reading The Slide Area by Gavin Lambert
The Shape of A City by Julien Gracq
'There is always that element of surprise when, while walking down streets one expects to be ugly, marred and disfigured by the most degrading forms of manual labour, we suddenly see them transfigured by a ray of sunshine- like a moment of fleeting happiness.' I'll probably never get over the relationship between writing and setting. … Continue reading The Shape of A City by Julien Gracq