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2013-01-19

"London: From Punk to Blair"


Link to The Guardian bookshop

"In the 10 years since this book was first published, London has, says Joe Kerr, been 'convulsed by change on a seismic scale' [not at Brent Cross, it hasn't]: globalisation, the 7/7 bombings, the financial crisis, last year's [sic] riots, and the continuing 'vertiginous vertical expansion of its skyline'. But despite such traumas and transformations, London remains London, and the essays in this volume try to make sense of this ancient, beguiling city.

In more than 30 articles, writers eloquently explore what it was like to be in London 'in the dying years of the last century'. The 'atmosphere of slow decline' in 1977 was replaced two decades later by the '24-hour city, caught up in an unceasing cycle of consumption'.

"Highlights include:
  • Katie Wales on London's languages (there are as many as 700)
  • Nicholas Royle on its abandoned buildings and the 'empty spaces at the heart of big cities'
  • Tom Dyckhoff on London's brief fling with Manhattan-style loft living; and
  • Roger Luckhurst's descent into the occult city, tracing how London has become 'a sublime object that invokes awe and evades capture'.


London from Punk to Blair
Revised Second Edition

Reaktion Books
Joe Kerr and Andrew Gibson

'This re-release of a noughties classic will show you the gritty undercover aspects of our great capital city. It offers an awesome selection of essays that take you on a journey from London in the 1970s to the present day.' – Loaded

‘Full of insight into the diverse experiences that constitute the recent history of London.’ – Architects’ Journal

‘Let it do as it promises and open your eyes to parts of the city you have never seen before.’
– Diplomat Magazine

‘A powerful evocation of changing London through the past 25 years. Co-editor Joe Kerr is a great writer . . . there is plenty for every taste. The fun is in the discovery of new and rediscovery of old alike.’
– Building Design
From galleries to clubs, pubs to Tube stations, crap weather to pigeon crap, London from Punk to Blair is a brilliant anthology of personal and subjective readings of the capital since the late 1970s, which takes on London like no other book has before.

Joe Kerr is Head of the Department of Critical and Historical Studies, Royal College of Art.

Andrew Gibson is Research Chair at the Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London.


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