I’ve been reading an advance copy of Iain Sinclair’s London Overground, an account of a one-day, fourteen hour walk around what’s now widely referred to as the Ginger Like – a circular (or at least more or less joined up) rail network around the middle distance suburbs of Greater London, places like Rotherhithe, Peckham Rye, West Brompton; all places I’ve been to, but seldom more than once.
Sinclair walks with the engagingly eccentric film maker Andrew Kötting– a man who sounds more fun to read about (or write about) than actually to walking with, but a great character to have in your book. They enter a “fancy junk shop” in Lavender Hill where Kötting describes Sinclair for the benefit of the shop owner:
“This man’s sources are innumerable. His erudition is profound. And truth to tell, a mite tedious.”
Of course it’s Sinclair reporting these words and possibly putting them in Kötting’s mouth; pretty funny either way.
Kötting buys a copy of Bruce Chatwin’s What Am I Doing Here?. (Sinclair puts in a question mark, the book itself doesn't). Sinclair flips through and finds the quotation “Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road and how life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” Sinclair says, “I thought the capitalization or ‘Road’ was a little pretentious.”
I’d say my objection was to “life itself is a journey.” I’d have thought Bruce could have done better than that.