the subject is less than serious, and it's a clear reference to the fact that reading this book was really hard, also because I am not a native speaker of english and also because I lack the knowledge of "london" facts.
the subject also refers to the density of information, facts and knowledge on London (and not just london), that this book contains.
it's not been easy to read this book and it's not been easy to appreciate it. often I felt I was about to rule it out as a sort of english Umberto Eco (an intellectual showing off his encyclopedic knowledge of London).
but there is something genuine about Iain Sinclair, and it helped seeing him at a reading at the RFH to have a feeling of someone that is the opposite of a Umberto Eco: a down to earth person.
sometimes you have to let go, let the flow of information get lost in the short term memory; sometimes one has to stop and go back reread, take a note, find a post-it to mark the page, or perhaps even get the shoes, leave the comfort of a sunday read on the couch and venture to a part of London which is not necessarily safe or the best to be (that's in fact another problem: reading this book 12 years down the line doesn't help, because some of the london described by Iain Sinclair no longer exists or it has changed dramatically).
but this is hardly a book calling for a real walk around london: this book is about a long trip deep down in the soul of the city, in an invisible layer where an invisible network connects points , buildings, facts, people who are no longer there, or are not to be seen. THis is a "trip of the mind", into a twilight zone of things that escape the day to day reality.
or it's a period story, telling of people who were coming of age in the recent past, directors, artists, people living on the edge of everything, and how those people interacted, how they crashed, how they delivered their products.
finally, me being italian, I couldn't but appreciate the space given to Antonioni (although it really feels like Iain Sinclair tries to regain some english control of that italian feature), and to his movie that has become so iconic about London.
Now the 400 page book that has been my friend for nearly 7 weeks, lies on the table in front of me full of postit , full of notes, and I wonder if I should go back to it and start all over again, or leave it and move on to the next venture: the orbital!