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Swandown in Hackney on 5/10/2014


I am introducing a screening of ‘Swandown‘ for Gareth Evans, in the Hackney ‘Hole’, on Sunday 5th October at 4.30. 

More details available here:

Swandown (12A)

Directed by Andrew Kotting with Iain Sinclair
2012, 94 mins

5 October 2014

Introduced by Iain Sinclair
In association with Gareth Evans
Many thanks to Andrew Kotting

“This documentary by quirky British film-maker Andrew Kötting and the eccentrically brilliant urban historian and social geographer Iain Sinclair traces a journey they made recently by sea, river and canal from Hastings on the Sussex coast to the site of the 2012 Olympics. Their vessel was a pedalo in the shape of a swan, Kötting wore a dark three-piece suit and Sinclair jeans and a battered baseball cap, and the aim was to draw attention to the antisocial, hubristic stupidity of the Games and their chosen location. Along the way the pair comment on the surrounding countryside and its history, using old newsreel film and quoting from Edward Lear, Conrad, James, Eliot, Edmund Spenser, Edith Sitwell, Pound, Brecht and Werner Herzog, and occasionally they let others do some pedalling.

Like a cross between Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat and WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, this is a constantly beguiling movie with an underlying touch of bitterness, especially towards the end. The best line comes from the author of graphic novels Alan Moore, who takes over briefly at the pedals and remarks of Sinclair: “He doesn’t think that anything should happen in Hackney without his permission.”

– Philip French, from The Observer

Dawn til Dusk: A Swan Song. Freya Gabie
Sunday 28th September, dawn until dusk plus viewing from the tower of St John at Hackney Church, 2-4.30pm

The Swan Song is an expression born from an ancient belief that the swan, a silent creature throughout life: emits a beautiful, haunting song only once, at the point of death. An articulation of loss, transcendence, beauty, entropy: it encapsulates a moment of both rupture and rapture. It is the boundary point between two states: the edge. In ‘Dawn til Dusk: A Swan Song’, artist Freya Gabie will give the ancient condemned site of St John’s Rectory Garden its own Swan Song, attempting to give the landscape a voice at the moment of its death.

“70×70 – Unlicensed Preaching: A Life Unpacked In 70 Films” now available for pre-order

Allow me to write a short note:

This is a great book which is also a reference book with information about the 70 movies, the locations, the events, the story behind the 70×70 event and a London that has already disappeared in less than 2 years.

A beautiful book outside and inside, the product of a love and a dedication that is beyond financial gain, and idea that is so foreign these days.

A true must-have for anyone involved in anyway with Iain Sinclair, movies, London and books.

PS: feel free to post (no registration required) a comment about the book if you’d like.


70x70-cover-spec-1.indd 70x70-book-15.indd

Iain Sinclair
70×70 – Unlicensed Preaching: A Life Unpacked In 70 Films

Published 23 October 2014
RRP £25
ISBN: 9780992643454

Published by King Mob
in association with Volcano Publishing and Purge
Distributed by Central Books

On turning 70 years old on 11th June 2013, Iain Sinclair – writer, filmmaker, poet, walker, perpetual seeker of the perimeter and reluctant magus of the media school of psycho-geography – found it hard to resist the offer of the opportunity to make his choice of 70 films that related to, and are oft interwoven across his entire writing career. This was a chance to have these films shown in a variety of venues and resonant locations across London – a city Sinclair has made his own, a city he has (re)defined.
This book features both Sinclair’s explanation of the films chosen and their relationship to his novels and his life along with the resultant forensic documentation of this epic curatorial journey – film as mirrors, film as portals, film mutated through radio waves – additions to the teeming city ghost voices, film as a journey to no fixed abode.
Sinclair spoke at many of the events, a constant updating and realigning, placing his choices in the here and now and soon to come. Predicting, proposing, provoking. He was aided and abetted by old friends, fellow writer Alan Moore, film-making co-conspiriators Andrew Kötting (Swandown) and Chris Petit (London Orbital), along with film academics Colin MacCabe and Gareth Evans and other manifestations from his fictional/factional role call. All seventy of the events were documented and these words and images now form an impressionistic memento of Iain Sinclair’s 70×70 year, a defining corollary to this writer’s extraordinary life.

Pre-order to buy the book at a reduced price, with the inclusion of a unique 7-frame strip of film of Iain Sinclair on his 70th birthday, shot by Stanley Schtinter & Susu Laroche .

The books will be mailed to you in early October.

Click here to go to the pre-order page

“And I’m at the Battersea Arts Centre, with Toby Jones, on Sept 30th”

At times Iain launches only snippets. I haven’t managed to find anything about this one. Anyone out there?

And doing a reading at Canterbury University at 6pm on the 29th.

And doing a reading at Canterbury University at 6pm on the 29th.


Unlicensed Preaching: A Life Unpacked In 70 Films @ ICA

Scan 2 web

28 Sep 20147:50 pm | Cinema 1 | £7.00 to £11.00

Book Tickets

This pre-launch event celebrates Unlicensed Preaching: A Life Unpacked In 70 Films – the book documenting Iain Sinclair’s 70×70 film season (his selection of 70 films to mark his 70th year).

Published on 23 October 2014, this is an advance opportunity to get your copy of a radically inventive and deftly realised furtherance of Sinclair’s monumental film curation.

Contributors include Alan Moore, Chris Petit, Colin MacCabe, Barrie Keeffe, Gareth Evans and Andrew Kötting.

To observe the occasion, recently unearthed never-before-seen footage will be screened from Subversion In The Street Of Shame, a convocation of London’s literary underground held over three days in 1994 at the Bridewell Theatre, off London’s Fleet Street. It documents the last public readings of Robin Cook/Derek Raymond and Kathy Acker, as well as the very first ‘Moon and Serpent’ performance by Alan Moore; other performers include Sinclair, Chris Petit, Brian Catling, John Healy and Stewart Home. Petit and Sinclair will be present to add their unique memories of the event.

Following this will be a rare screening of Marine Court Rendezvous(directed by Chris Petit/Iain Sinclair; soundtrack by Susan Stenger).Originally presented in 2008 in London’s Sketch Gallery as a 12-channel video installation, Marine Court Rendezvous comprises a series of documentary-fictions shot in and around Marine Court, St Leonards-on-Sea – a 1930s crumbling modernist building in the style of a Cunard luxury liner. In essence ‘a film that was never made’, it creates a half-world of intertwined narratives, combining fragments of new footage with exiled characters and disembodied voices from diverse cinematic sources. When presented as a grid of surveillance-camera images rather than on 12 separate screens, it echoes Marine Court’s array of windows while peering voyeuristically inward and gazing wistfully outward.

Petit, Sinclair and Stenger will speak about the making of Marine Court Rendezvous before the screening.

Street of Shame and Marine Court will be preceded by the three minute short Iain Sinclair: 70, 16mm footage taken by Stanley Schtinter and Susu Laroche on the morning of Sinclair’s 70th birthday.

Seven frames from the original negative of this film will be included in each book on the night.

The event (in brief):

Iain Sinclair: 70
Subversion In The Street Of Shame – In two parts, with live commentary by Iain Sinclair and Chris Petit
Marine Court Rendezvous – Preceded by a talk by Iain Sinclair, Chris Petit and Susan Stenger


James Bruce May on writing “On Herons’ Wings”

Recently we posted about a poem dedicated to and inspired by Iain, written by author, James Bruce May.

We asked James to tell the story behind the poem and he kindly did.



On Herons’ Wings (for Iain Sinclair)

James Bruce May – HARK Magazine, Issue 2, summer 2014


Dusk in a disused church, Highbury and Islington way, good few years ago. Plastic chairs, red wine in plastic cups, beer in tins. I sat with a hushed gathering listening to a poet read, the turning of his pages crisp in the chill dusty air. A siren interrupts, close then distant; the poet pauses, lets it fade. He smiles at the blue interlude, looking about us with a glint in his eye. ‘Perfect ambience for London,’ he says. ‘Takes me back to the squats of the Seventies.’ I think of looking back, of knowing London better.

I was there to hear Emily Critchley, experimental poet and my Creative Writing teacher, forerunner, friend. Emily championed the avant-garde in her Write London classes. We’d read London Orbital, thought about psychogeography, thought about drifting, about graffiti, about sand beneath stones, faces behind estates, territories, migratory paths of commuters, the transient tides of trend. We’d been encouraged to get out there, to have a look, be open to influence, to write all it down.

Suburban excursions, everyday discoveries, passing people, passing puddles, the detachment of sunsets from high-rise blocks, the beautiful brickwork of railway arches. I tried to write, but where to begin? Then that rainy day in Pimlico, giving up, going to a friend’s across the river, tired from wandering around, my journal damp and empty. I stood on the bridge and watched a heron trace the Thames alone, carrying everything I’d seen on its outstretched wings, away.

In the days that followed, I tried to piece together images from those walks into a poem. I tried to be true to the experience, convey something of the bewilderment I’d felt. Later, when I wrote to literary magazines, the work was met with rejection, time and again. I almost let that heron fly, but I recalled the disused church, the poet under the rafters. He’d walked so much further, innovative with every step, a beacon for new writers like me. How could I give up with such a vanguard to follow?

(James Bruce May read Creative Writing at Greenwich University and Goldsmiths College in London)