Filed under: Bookshelf, Reading | Tags: brickdust, Laura Oldfield Ford, Savage Messiah
Curious book, affected me in all sorts of ways. Primarily, it made me very sad, and nostalgic, for a life I had in a city that’s not really there any more. I’m far from in touch with the London Underground these days, but in my last couple of years in the city it seemed the world Laura Oldfield Ford describes was nearly gone (indeed, that’s the point of the book, in many ways). The parties were fewer and uglier, the squats rarer and farther flung. I miss those days of staggering from demo to squat to warehouse to pub and around again, miss them very deeply, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never stand in squat juice again.
The book’s not without problems: it probably read better in instalments, it tends to become a bit repetitive taken in bit chunks (although that drifting repetition is also part of the point, I guess); Ford’s relationship with her circumstances and with those around her occasionally gave me pause for thought – in some ways she struck me as a smarter, artsier version of how Laurie Penny / Penny Red comes across these days, a little in love with the drama and violence of it all while still crying foul. Ford (who I’d be surprised if I haven’t met or at least stumbled over at a party) definitely liked a boot boy, and seems overly impressed with violence for its own sake. But then I’ve got fired up watching a cop car on fire on the TV enough times to know sometimes politics isn’t everything…
There’s stuff here I found problematic. But as a romantic evocation of a life I miss it was pretty vivid.
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