Patrick Keiller: Robinson in London (1994)

The opening of Patrick Keiller’s London (1994) goes: Dirty old Blighty, under-educated, economically backward, bizarre. A catalogue of modern miseries with its fake traditions, its Irish war, its militarism and secrecy, its silly old judges, its hatred of intellectuals, its ill-health and bad food, its sexual repression, its hypocrisy and racism and its indolence. It’s so exotic… so home-made. Enjoy the segment on the atmosphere of the UK 1992 election results. At the time, the press foresaw a split result, possibly a minority government, or even a coalition, yet John Major prevailed. The Conservatives won a 21 seat majority, the slightest … Continue reading

William Blake: London

Blackfriars Bridge, London/ by C Horner

    I wander through each charter’d street Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.  And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe.   In every cry of every Man, In every Infants cry of fear, In every voice: in every ban, The mind-forg’d manacles I hear    How the Chimney-sweepers cry Every blackning Church appalls,  And the hapless Soldiers sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls    But most thro’ midnight streets I hear How the youthful Harlots curse Blasts the new-born Infants tear  And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse  WILLIAM BLAKE   Picture: … Continue reading

Making London a city-state

In recent years, there has been plenty of talk of devolving powers to London thereby allowing the city to exempt itself from the same tax rate and regulatory measures as the rest of the UK. It’s not surprising that the case for decentralisation should be made on such grounds. London is the centre of political and economic power in the country. But it is also the city of squats, warehouse raves, hipster cafes and the liberal commentariat. It’s clear why special powers for London may be resented by the rest of the country. However, it’s also the case that the … Continue reading