Patrick Keiller is perhaps best known as the director of Robinson in Ruins and Robinson in Space, and occupies a similar territory of urban contemplation as authors Owen Hatherley, and Iain Sinclair.
This is a selection of essays, and is something of a mixed bag. I thought that some were really excellent, such as those on ports or Cedric Price, which easily justified the purchase price for me. However there was a degree of repetition, and at times it felt like you were reading a slightly obsessive phd dissertation on Walter Benjamin.
Overall an enjoyable and illuminating read, though a dry at points.
Film-maker, artist, theorist, psychogeographer (an intellectual strategy he was practising long before the broadsheets cottoned on to it) and all-round polymath (hmm, isn't that a tautology?), Patrick Keiller is much-loved in our house. His films (such as Robinson in Ruins) repay repeated viewings, reminding one variously of Peter Greenaway, Chris Marker, Laurence Sterne, Walter Benjamin and Jorge Luis Borges. I admire the combination of erudition and eccentricity and a very English Surrealism (with one eye firmly fixed on the Continent). His work is also, this must be stressed, very funny, with often unexpected juxtapositions, insights and cultural references piling up to brilliant and mad effect. The good news is that those facets of his work are all present and correct this wonderful collection of his writings from the last few decades. Taking in cinema, architecture, Surrealism, time, space and just about everything else, it adds up to a fascinating glimpse into Keiller's mind - arch, witty and very cultured. London and Robinson in Space [DVD]Robinson in Ruins [DVD & Blu-ray]The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Oxford World's Classics)The Early Films of Peter Greenaway 1  [DVD]
This was potentially interesting and bought on the basis of a Radio 4 Start the Week's shopping puff. The discussion was stimulating. as for the book, it should really be properly edited (who does that nowadays? the author of course..) and sold as a substantial set of notes to accompany the films that get repeatedly mentioned. (And I mean repeatedly.) Still, some perceptive remarks about how view our surroundings. Prompted me to buy a Harvard UP book by a Finn called Erkki Huhtamo, offering a thorough treatment of the Panorama - rather more expensive but a properly produced book.