on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 2 Jan

Nairn’s London

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 7 Comments



Natürlich steht London auf meinen Reiseplänen des Jahres. Indisch essen mit Bob, einmal Arsenal spielen sehen, am liebsten gegen die „Saints“, Brian Enos geplante Installation mit Kompositionen für massiv beschädigte Lautsprecher, im Hyde Park auf einem Liegestuhl liegen, und am Ufer der Themse ein Interview mit Marianne Faithfull führen über die kleinen Lücken in ihrer Lebensgeschichte – natürlich kann es ganz anders kommen.

Im Überschwang meiner Londonpläne bestellte ich mir gleich mal zur Jahreswende einen Reiseführer, der in einem Jahresrückblick besonders angepriesen wurde. „Nairn’s London“. Sah schön altmodisch aus,  das Cover, und wurde angepriesen als „intensely subjective meditation on a city and its buildings“. Das gefiel mir, und erst, als ich das Buch in Händen hielt, bemerkte ich: ups, es erschien ein Jahr vor Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, anno 1966. Ein Zeitreisebuch. Ich schlug einen Ort nach, an dem ich vor kurzem war, nahe St.Pancras Station.

„Right again, and you’re in Midland Road. You might as well be round the backside of New Street at Birmingham or London Road at Leicester. It is one of the most astonishing transformations in London, a jump of a hundred miles in a few yards, achieved with the unemphatic red brick and hypnotic arcading at the Goods Station. London for a moment – and just for a moment – seems fussy und flurried, using two words, where one will do.“

Wenn Gedächtnis und Wunschdenken mir keinen Streich spielen, erinnere ich mich an die „hypnotischen Arkaden“ von Goods Station. Aber wieviele Orte werden sich so gewandelt haben, dass man sie nur noch mit der Phantasie von Nairn erleben kann? Gewiss, manches widersteht dem reissenden Zahn der Zeit: „The whole of this place at the back of St. Pancras is incredibly moving: tunnels, perspectives, trains on the skyline, roads going all ways. If you get nothing from it at first, stay there until something happens: it is really worth the effort.“ Like listening to Brian Eno’s „Neroli“ while entering Goods Station.

This entry was posted on Freitag, 2. Januar 2015 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    „This is a marvellous book. It’s simultaneously an aesthetic manifesto, a treatise in practical mysticism, a compendium of good tips on where to drink, a brilliant collection of one-liners, and as thorough a primer on how to see as anything written by John Berger. It’s also probably the most opinionated, prejudiced and selective guide book on London ever written.

    From it, you can trace a direct line of descent to Iain Sinclair’s psychogeographies of the capital, Peter Ackroyd’s sensitivity to London’s mystical leylines, and Jonathan Meades‘ sheer bloody minded curmudgeonliness. Ian Nairn is the daddy of them all, and this is his masterpiece.“

    – R.D.

  2. Bob:

    Indisch mit dir zu essen was Spass – und ich freue mich, dass Saints endlich Arsenal im PL geschlagen haben!

  3. Ian M:

    The Westway. London Fields. Battersea Power Station seen from the train on the way to Kent. Shadwell seen thru the window of a DLR train, under an indifferent sky. McDonald’s on the King’s Road, early evening in November. Powis Square in January sunlight. 3am „night safari“ around King’s Cross in mid July 2012, the madness and the law all around, dubstep vibe of the Subway restaurant at that hour, coffee and silence, Eurostar all the way to Avignon in 3 hours from St Pancras. Jamaica Road, Bermondsey. Trafalgar Square falconers: pigeon dispersal zone – 4 bronze lions, Spanish schoolkids climbing them, lion indifference under an indifferent sky. The Shard when it was still under construction. The Gherkin when it was still under construction. Electronics shops on the Tottenham Court Road. Turkish food in Dalston. Turkish coffee in Shoreditch. Chance meeting: an American woman outside LN-CC who works in music, we chat. I mention Plateaux of Mirror, she describes it as „real intensive care stuff“. I laugh. Coffee at Nico’s on Westbourne Grove (is it still there?). Weird dilapidated mansions at Kensington Palace Gardens sometime last decade, before the real money moved in. Brick Lane, graffiti on doors on Fournier Street. Getting off a bus at the wrong stop in the Murder Mile, Hackney and not getting murdered: it’s calm, hipsters walking past with „2013 beards“ even though it’s 2014. The Ikea advertising on the plastic wallet they give you for your Oyster card. The M&S food outlet that used to be Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy restaurant.

    Before [Pharmacy]:

    After: [M&S Simply Food]

    I think I bought a cake there. Reduced price.

    Karl Marx’s ridiculously extravagant grave in Highgate Cemetery, someone had left an orange on it. William Friese-Greene’s grave at the same skeletonyard. London, England, UK, Europe, Northern Hemisphere, Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way, Space. Spacetime.

    London, not a city I know, much: but I like the fragments I’ve seen. Love ‚em.

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    What a joy to read this in the morning, Ian, in a cafe in Aachen city….i’m a London afficionado….there are a lot of good people in that city:) – and Hampstead Heath is my favourite place for strolling – and loneliness of a good kind….

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I will have a look if that cafe is still there on Westbourne Grove. The street is important for one of the Damon Albarn’s songs on EVERYDAY ROBOT, i think it’s „You And Me“ – in fact, for me, it’s my all time favourite Damon Albarn album including all his different projects, No. 2 is „13“ by BLUR. No list intended:)

    Today i’m in the mood for an audio experiment. Everybody’s singing praise about D’Angelo’s new album, I don’t think his style might be my cup of tea, but the reviews I read make me curious to let me fall into this world – very loud, on good headphones. Maybe it transcends my limitations in taste.

    „Real intense care stuff“ it won’t be. But, speaking of The Plateaux of Mirror, you should (nearly blindly) get a copy of Thomas Köner’s new album. My incredible amount of empathy tells me you might fall for it:)

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I met Moko Jumbi
    He walks on stilts through all saints row
    Looking over the brew now, for a possession loss
    People sound, no days off
    In September, when the sun sets soon now

    In you, it radiates on you
    Seven high they’re rising
    Over on the other side
    Of September when the sun sets soon now

    Jab jab, digging out a hole in Westbourne Grove
    Tin foil and a lighter, the ship across
    Five days on, two days off, in September
    When the sun sets soon now


    Some days I look at the morning trying to work out how I got here
    Cause the distance between us is the glamour’s cost
    Late night on the shop floor what language was i speaking
    Not sure I remember the thrill and fall
    Always in me
    Let it go

  7. Ian M:

    Not heard the Albarn album yet, although I liked Dr Dee a lot. Properly occultist, totally genuine.

Manafonistas | Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz