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250 × 190 × 20 mm
416 pages
195 illustrations, 123 in colour
01 Oct 2003
  • £19.95

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London from Punk to Blair Joe Kerr, Andrew Gibson

London is known around the world as a metropolitan, ordered city full of tourist attractions and exclusive shops, but the real face of the city – disordered, chaotic, sprawling, vigorous, untamed – remains unseen and unexplored. London from Punk to Blair is a richly illustrated portrait of Europe’s foremost capital. An array of contributors, including poets, journalists, teachers, historians, wanderers, drinkers, photographers and foodies, offer a selection of personal and subjective readings of the city since the late ’70s. Using maps, journeys, pictures, narratives and signs, the contributors chart a variety of literal and metaphorical explorations through modern and postmodern London, showing how it works, and how it fails to work; what makes it vibrant, and what makes it seedy. From West End galleries to strip pubs in Shoreditch; from millionaires’ loft apartments to buses and suburban Tube stops; from film, fashion and gay clubs to punk bands, ruinous factories, pigeon filth and the vagaries of weather, London from Punk to Blair embraces the city like no other book has before. London is too complex and fragmented for any one person to comprehend fully, but this book goes a long way to help you discover what lies outside, and inside, Zone 1. The book will open your eyes to parts of London that you have never seen, or even knew existed, until now.

‘Finely printed and lavishly illustrated, this volume of essays is full of insight into the diverse experiences that constitute the recent history of London.’ — ArchitectsJournal

‘This rewarding collection of thirty-four essays, supported by contextual photographs, brings into clear focus those dramatic shifts in the fortunes of the metropolis . . . in a cover-to-cover reading gives a satisfying sequence of perceptions which slowly build on each other . . . beautiful revealing insights into particular ways of understanding and using the city.’ — London Society Journal

‘Read this fascinating glimpse of our capitals recent past by all means. Let it do as it promises and open your eyes to parts of the city you have never seen before.’ — Diplomat Magazine

‘The introduction is a powerful evocation of changing London through the past 25 years. Co-editor Joe Kerr is a great writer . . . there is plenty for every taste. The fun is in the discovery of new and rediscovery of old alike.’ — Building Design

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Joe Kerr is Head of Programme in the Department of Critical & Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art, London, and co-editor of Autopia (Reaktion, 2002) and London from Punk to Blair (Reaktion, 2003).

Andrew Gibson is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Ulysses (2002), Samuel Beckett(Reaktion, 2010). He is coeditor of Reaktion's London from Punk to Blair and the author of Joyce's Revenge: History, Politics and Aesthetics in Ulysses and James Joyce, the latter also published by Reaktion.

Introduction – Joe Kerr

London and Language – Katie Wales
The Metropolitan Playground: London’s Children – Jenny Bavidge and Andrew Gibson
Gay London – Mark W. Turner
Wild Women, Wild Men – Hanif Kureishi
An Unimportant Fire – Salman Rushdie
Cosmopolis: London’s Ethnic Minorities – Panikos Panayi
White Hair Right Now: Styling the London Man – Caroline Cox
The London Suit – Christopher Breward

From GLC to GLA: London Politics from Then to Now – John Davis
Armagideon Time – Charlie Gere
Staging Royal London – Fiona Henderson
CCTV: City Watch – Niran Abbas
Sex, Power and Miracles: A Suburban Triptych – David Gilbert
The Transformation of Political and Cultural Space – Hilda Kean
The State of London – Mike Phillips

Blowdown: The Rise and Fall of London’s Tower Blocks – Joe Kerr
End of the Line – Rod Mengham and Marc Atkins
Rats with Wings: London’s Battle with Animals – Gargi Bhattacharyya
Abandoned Buildings – Nicholas Royle
Higher and Higher: How London Fell for the Loft – Tom Dyckhoff
Down in the Dirt – Patrick Wright
Slow Flow: Thirty Years of Transport in London – Helen Caroline Evenden
Architecture’s Urban Shine and Brutal Reality – Murray Fraser
Meteomedia; or, Why London’s Weather Is in the Middle of Everything – Tom McCarthy

Altering Images – Andrew Gibson
Punk – Michael Bracewell
Tales from Trash City – Paul Davies and Julie Cook
Imaging Brixton – Allen Fisher
Secret City: Psychogeography and the End of London – Phil Baker
Occult London – Roger Luckhurst
Groundswell – Sarah Kent
London in the Early 1990s – Patrick Keiller
Imaginary Landscapes, Jumbled Topographies: Cinematic London – Pamela Church Gibson
Crime and Memory in the Capital – Robert Mighall

Photographic Acknowledgements