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This review is taken from PN Review 110, Volume 22 Number 6, July - August 1996.

VISCERAL CHUTNEY IAN SINCLAIR, Lud Heat and Suicide Bridge (Vintage) £5.99

1969 saw the publication of Children of Albion, Poems of the Underground in Britain, edited by Michael Horovitz, with a reproduction of 'Glad Day' on the cover. I seems not to have occurred to Horovitz that Blake's 'children of Albion' are villains, as far as possible from the recovered innocence of 'Glad Day'. One of the things I appreciate about Sinclair is his schadenfreude, never more evident than in his exploitation, as if in malicious defiance, of the true Blakean character of the 'children of Albion'. In this reissue of two books first published in 1975 and 1979 by his own Albion Village Press, he concentrates on just those aspects of Slayd, Hand, Kotope and co. that associate them with the Krays, Jack the Ripper and Ratcliffe Highway.

De Quincey would have recognised Sinclair as one of those 'Murder-Fanciers who 'profess to be curious in homicide; amateurs and dilettanti in the various modes of bloodshed'. In Lud Heat, inspiration of Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor, Sinclair writes of 'the unacknowledged magnetism and control-power, built-in code force' in the vicinity of each of Nicholas Hawksmoor's churches, for example St George on Ratcliffe Highway, shown on the map of Blake's London in the Longman edition and scene of the murder celebrated by De Quincey as 'the great exterminating chef c'oeuver of Williams at Mr Marr's… a ne plus ultra in art!' No opportunity to bring Blake into the reckoning is lost -'Yeats at the time of the Ripper murders, researching into ...


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