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Essays » Like a Grunge Keiller (published 10/09/2013)

Saint Etienne’s album So Tough was recorded the same year that Patrick Keiller shot his seminal film London – 1992. The album and the film forever linked in my mind via navigating those painful final years of Tory misrule from a Hackney squat, So Tough spinning on the turntable. The album provided a sweet pop soundtrack to the Fletcher-esque world of rainy caffs on a ‘Kentish Town, Tuesday’ in Black Wednesday era London. The songs were interrupted with snatches of dialogue from post-war kitchen sink dramas set in a punch-drunk pre-swinging city. The coming together of a Saint Etienne soundtrack with Paul Kelly and Kieran Evans’ Keiller-inspired essay film was the perfect marriage, more of personal topography of London entered via a dawn train from Croydon than the ‘state of the city’ film essay that Keiller achieved. The film and music in Finisterre construct a palimpsest of the capital in 2003 much as Keiller’s film captured ’92.

John Rogers on the influences behind his new book This Other London – Adventures in the Overlooked City.