- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 42 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Sept. 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00F0SB4Q6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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This Other London: Adventures in the Overlooked City Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Where others detect esoteric patterns (Sinclair), striations (Richardson) or hyper-subjectivity and hyper-empiricism jumbled together (Papadimitriou), John Rogers remorselessly extracts the everyday from itself. He avoids obsessive enthusiasm: “I don’t look too hard” he writes of a “fragment of the mansion where the Langthorne monks retired”. But sometimes he looks very hard and deep indeed. Yet he explicitly dispenses with a certain kind of immersed and aesthetic walking: “I also didn’t fancy... superimposing a chest X-ray over the map and walking around my rib-cage.” He takes a swing at “what it is now fashionable to call ‘edgelands’”. He tosses strategies aside as so many prophylactics getting in the way of his direct connection to the terrain.
What Rogers seeks is an everyday “freedom” where “[T]here’s no barrier between you and the world”. Such straightforwardness characterises his wanders; just as Papadimitriou’s Stonehenge, Rogers tells us, is “the Mogden Purification Works”, so his own god is an inflatable Sonic the hedgehog and his Pan is the ivy itself.
Or so it seems...
After all, Rogers “listens to roads”.
And he is always convivial, both in his prose style and in the wonderful encounters he recounts along the way – and yet he is often solitary. A lone-ness at the heart of wandering blokedom. He is a pilgrim perpetually tempted by Soccer Sunday and tripped up by a dodgy left knee that must be fed alcohol; as thirsty as the plant from ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Rogers is always being drawn back down to the pavement and through the pub door.
Rogers transcends all ordinariness - “I’m prepared to give reason and rationality a day off” - as he interprets London through the unsteady prism of Mrs E. O. Gordon’s Prehistoric London: Its Mounds and Circles.
Every time you think you have him framed, he damages the gilded cage and slips away. This is not a work of theory, this is a handbook disguised as a shaggy dog story. And there are so many great adventures to be savoured here. Rogers is an honest companion with a fine line in anecdotes and historoids. One final, price example: it turns out that Cricklewood Pumping Station doubled as the Titanic’s engine room in the 1958 Pinewood movie of the liner’s doomed voyage A Night To Remember. Now, when you wed that to the fact that the film also uses un-credited footage from a failed Nazi movie shot on a ship subsequently used for mass murder... then the ordinary becomes stained very dark and weird indeed .
This is a fascinating journey to interesting places off the beaten track.
John Rogers explores Londons out reaches with a in depth knowledge of the history of places around the Capital we take for granted everyday.
Most recent customer reviews
I live in devon but was born in London, like my parents. Great to read about the parts we don't usually visit.