Iain Sinclair’s praise of Savage Messiah, a book by Laura Oldfield Ford (the Guardian, 22/12), has left me eager to pick up a copy:
One response to our stunned impotence in the face of financial meltdown, political chicanery and the creeping surveillance society, is to indulge in fugues of entropy tourism. Badlands dérives. Websites clanking with scrap metal, the refuse of military hardware, sump-oil lakes, pastiche Tarkovsky. The recent invasion of the Lower Lea Valley (the Olympics site) by fork-tongued instruments of global capitalism, hellbent on improving the image of destruction, has been duplicated by raiding parties bearing cameras and notebooks, the tattered footsoldiers of anarchy: retro-geographers, punk Vorticists. Sentimentalists of every stripe are undertaking knotweed rambles as pilgrimages to rescue the last remnants of locality by reciting threatened names made sacred by generations of unacknowledged predecessors: Hackney Wick, Temple Mills, Isle of Dogs. Every trudge around the perimeter fence of the Australian super-mall and its satellite stadium is a recapitulation of William Blake’s itinerary, as laid out in his mythopoeic masterpiece, Jerusalem: “thro’ Hackney & Holloway towards London / Till he came to old Stratford, & thence to Stepney & the Isle / Of Leutha’s Dogs”.