STEWART LEE – EXTRACT

EXTRACT from forthcoming POST-NEARLY PRESS book, the 5th in the Conversations Series, with STEWART LEE – here discussing Iain Sinclair and White Chappell: Scarlet Tracings

It had the same effect as From Hell had on me, and Arthur Machen subsequently. It made London come alive in four dimensions – suddenly you’re looking all around. And what I like about Sinclair is – I like so many things about him – but I like the fact he writes these compound sentences of ideas that are really funny. Another thing – and I’m not sure he was aware he was doing it – in the 1990s there was a division between factual writing and fiction, and now, the supposedly factual things, like The Last London, are written by this persona, which is a self-conscious parody of who people think Iain Sinclair is, which is a bookish flaneur, wandering around, regarding the world, and seeing… he wouldn’t see that [hits table] – he would think about where it was from; how it had got into this building; what that told you about the transport network. I find it inspiring how he’s basically worked out that if he writes in this character, there’s no difference between the fiction and the documentary. It’s all viewed through the prism of this narrator character. Who is him, admittedly. But I don’t think he can live like that narrator does, all the time.

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