''See You at Mass, Johnny''

By Iain Sinclair

criminal-joseph-losey.jpgThe Criminal, 1960

A Prison visit to Joseph Losey’s 1960 feature The Criminal

Film writing went badly wrong when they started putting mug shots of critics at the head of their crimped columns: an assembly of defeated careerists like executed Jacobites displayed on Temple Bar. In truth, the business had been sliding downhill for a long time. Sentimentalists talked of Manny Farber and sometimes of Raymond Durgnat, as three-dimensional humans whose interests stretched beyond puffing product by means of snippy journalism. An alternative occupation: the conditioned reflexes of disaffection. If you criticise, for cash, you also burnish the status of the thing you are criticising. The thickets of film theory are thorny and impenetrable: inventive ways of not-seeing by not-reading. Mainstream cultural blagging is reduced to: lists, bullet points, gossip about ugly prizes for beautiful people. In a territory where preserved reviews reek of air miles and formaldehyde, of Alex Walker’s atomic hairspray, you can go back, time and again, to Farber: the language lives. He knows how to walk a paragraph, how to make it move. Here he is on The Prowler by Joseph Losey: “Sociologically sharp on stray and hitherto untouched items like motels, athletic nostalgia, the impact of nouveau riche furnishing on an ambitious ne’er-do-well, the potentially explosive boredom of the childless, uneducated, well-to-do housewife with too much time on her hands”.

Farber’s hyphens are wielded with the forensic intent of Céline’s ellipses. His list-making achieves its authority through startling conjunctions, a ring-fuck of sticky clauses zooming-in on that empty-handed housewife and her deathly furnishings. I think now, revisiting the conversational directness of Negative Space, that Farber can stand alongside Ed Dorn and Douglas Woolf as a master of fast-twitch public prose in America. The wit is never spiteful and self-serving, but it hurts: reminding us of what we are missing. Film is never more than the history of something that has gone. The documentation of botched opportunities, qualified failure. Any viewing is a complicated investment, making greater demands on time and patience than the private act of navigating passage, on your own terms, through a book.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a list in the right hands. A Godard or a Ballard can do a lot with a good list or questionnaire. And quality gossip remains part of the package, the underbelly of industrial cinema. But I am persuaded that we have settled for the wrong mythologies. We have been too timid. We arranged retrospectives for safe titles, safe stars (safely excessive), safe narratives (revisions of revisions of revisions). You can, if you insist on it, negotiate British culture by way of film-as-cluster: accountancy and money-laundering, random sexual conjunctions in location caravans and obliging hotels, the outwash of spoiled politics. Certain films - The Third Man, The Criminal, Blow Up, Get Carter, Performance - can be deconstructed into a social narrative: a fiction of suspended history. Going back over that ground, the financing, the squabbles and jealousies of the set (the kind of material revealed in the John Fowles’ diaries of the filming of his novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman), the over-considered clothes (Harold Pinter finding it impossible to do country), the close interrogation of image and sound (on a loop), might begin to revise what we think we know. The finished film - the product - leaving aside frame damage, director’s cuts, censorship elisions, is a fixed strip of time. We can run it, repeatedly, until we invent new meanings: elegant fables, lies like truth.

A nice touch in a recent novel by Chris Petit reconfigures the legend of The Third Man to suit an astringently paranoid thesis: that the dim newsreel of politics and society is a posthumous nightmare. A big sleep on an uncomfortable office couch after drowning in a liquid lunch. Anybody becomes everybody in this convulsive fiction. Spy as author. Author as spy. Undercover operations as first drafts of future scripts. No pitch is too fantastic. Novels decay into movies. Movies into contrived disinformation. In library clips - staged or genuine - the CIA poet-spook James Jesus Angleton, homburg balanced on weird centre parting, reminds us of a minor character actor to whom we can’t quite fix a name... Richard Wattis? Some innocent - seeming, stone-crazy, sexually warped, Norman Wisdom bank manager. We are free to edit the tapes, the more degraded the better. Petit’s current efforts, so he tells me, are aimed at reducing the content of the image to zero.

“Angleton had gone to Wales thinking he was about to pull off his greatest coup only to find the whole thing was a practical joke at his expense and Greene’s revenge for a minor episode in Rome that Angleton had quite forgotten. He had once fixed Greene up with a prostitute, knowing she would give him a dose of the clap.

Greene said the last laugh was on Angleton because the episode had given Greene his penicillin plot for The Third Man.

‘Harry Lime was based on Kim, of course’.

Angleton was the model for the naive American writer of cowboy stories, played by Joseph Cotten, in a swipe at Angleton’s intellectual pretensions”.

The editors of Petit’s revisionist thriller, in which present-time achieves its oxygen only by asset-stripping the past, told him he needed a simpler title. The Passenger, they said. Thereby opening another can of worms by tapping into Jack Nicholson’s strategic anomie, Antonioni’s fastidious tourism: memories of showboat tracking-shots in a fly-blown Spanish town. The sound of an overhead fan. Through such cultural cannibalism, we begin to appreciate incidental details and to diminish the gravity of plot. We learn how to forget. How to look at an alien world through eyes borrowed from a corpse.

Films stored in memory are not the simple occasions they seem to be. Not in a London where identity is never resolved and the polarities of geography and cultural affect shift by the hour. The drift out of one territory into the next, one political allegiance to a worse, is registered by skid marks in fogged celluloid. In charity shop cassettes that shudder on exposure. In fluctuating sound levels. Memories are not accessed in cavernous, smoke-filled buildings, the Alhambras of Tooting and Streatham, not any more. Viewings are private. You meditate on a favoured scene, a misheard line of dialogue; the way a man crosses a road, a woman flicks her hair. What was once a seamless progression, the dream somebody was having on your behalf, is now dirty evidence; the surveillance footage of pain and loss.

Coded sequences, sanctioned by film historians and explainers, transport you to another era. Old gangsters love that corny TV/movie shorthand. Midnight tremors, involuntary flashbacks, held in suspension with whisky and pain-killers. The Kray corpse-handler Tony Lambrianou - 15 years in prison, a carcinogenic afterlife on the wrong side of the river - couldn’t stop banging on about the gaudy neverland of Carol Reed’s London: Petticoat Lane with the implausible backdrop of St Paul’s. The heart-on-sleeve pieties of Wolf Mankowitz’s Whitechapel fable, A Kid for Two Farthings, miraculously legitimatised all that ugly stuff with bread-knives, rolled carpets and Ford Cortinas in the Blackwall Tunnel. Lambrianou had another riff, knuckling moist eyes, about Jimmy Cagney going to the chair, playing yellow, for the sake of a straight priest and a troop of dead-end (actor) kids.

I came to Dalston for the first time in 1961, to track down a poorly-released feature by exiled Hollywood leftist Joseph Losey. My own exile, from industrial South Wales, had taken me to a film-school in Electric Avenue, Brixton. I relished the anonymity of pollarded avenues, makeshift chapels of exotic allegiance, street markets peddling pulp paperbacks. Navigation of the city depended on finding the places where films were shown. A Touch of Evil as the ballast in a double-bill at the Paris Pullman, South Kensington. (An intimidating weight of inherited wealth in tall houses. Mansion flats with covered entry-tunnels and uniformed porters. A scrap of migrant London that Polanski identified for the token exteriors in Repulsion: Italian restaurants with garlic-chains and straw-nested Chianti bottle, hairdressers soliciting endorsement). Breathless at the Academy in Oxford Street. L’Avventura loitering on the King’s Road and looking so bleached-blonde, so painfully composed, even then. (Manny Farber nails the mid-period Antonioni method as: ‘Band-aid compositions - the girl, like a tiny tormented animal, backed against a large horizontal stripe of white wall’). Remorseless Bergman, thumb-prints of the absence of God, at the top of a long hill: the Everyman, Hampstead. Rio Bravo, a casual pick-up, walking home through Stockwell. Choreographed gunshots that would, in years to come, leak back into local topography. John Wayne and Dean Martin permeating a covert political execution at the tube-station. Two, three films a day. Mostly achieved by way of the Northern Line. Connections between cinemas taking years to confirm. The stories of those journeys, the walks, are more convincing than the films that provoked them. Such is the process of ageing with a city.

Darkest Dalston was The Criminal by Joseph Losey. Typecasting, even then. My original Hackney excursion involved the suspension of everything I thought I knew about London. The disorientation, crossing under the river, a bus from Liverpool Street, affected my initial impression of the Losey film. It became a screen through which I witnessed a city of shadows. Robert Frank used the privileged viewpoint of upper-deck travel to provide himself with necessary difficulty. My nocturnal view through a wet and greasy window raised one question: what are they frightened of? The extended parenthesis of Kingsland Road became the trailer to Losey’s film, the reason for that not-unwelcome retreat to the monastery of the prison system. Under strict discipline, life takes care of itself. The Routemaster stop-started past hospitals and unredeemed pubs, such as The Fox, where - it is alleged - the Brink’s-MAT robbery was plotted. My fellow punters, appreciating that a night out was no guarantee of a good time, were soon to decamp for Loughton, Ongar and the Epping Forest fringe. Film, I understood, becomes part of the occasion of its viewing. Part of the place where it is viewed. Evidence of what is left from one small argument between money-brokers and broken artists, the vanities and insecurities of performers and manipulators: memory traces of the vanishing world in which these events happened. Voyeurs and exhibitionists rub each other up the wrong way. Life’s victims, critics with funny suits and over-considered hair, write about what they are missing.

Stanley Baker, who played Johnny Bannion, the Welsh-Irish-Cockney hardman, was of interest. He’d got away from the Rhondda and attacked the layers and potentialities of the metropolis with a physical hunger that critics called ‘American’: brooding, in-your-face, finding the right gesture. Losey, before he used Baker for the first time, in Blind Date (1959), said that he’d been aware of the beetle-browed Welshman, lowering on the scene, for years. But had resisted the pitch, leaving this professionally working-class actor to another blacklisted Hollywood exile, Cy Endfield. Hell Drivers (1957), a caravan of overambitious egos and time-serving journeymen - Patrick McGoohan, Herbert Lom, William Hartnell, Alfie Bass, Gordon Jackson, Sean Connery - was shot on ‘bad’ roads within a mile or two of Pinewood. Dr Who meets James Bond meets the Prisoner: in a poverty row audition for the next twenty years of television. Hell Drivers is a budget Xerox of On the Waterfront. Closet Marxist labour wars cartooned as Baker’s no-frills Brando substitute and McGoohan’s cod-Irish Iago lock antlers in a Berkshire gravel pit. Snarl for snarl. Home Counties noir at its ripest. The Baker eyebrows, in their full arch, recall Nye Bevan.

As Norma Barzman, wife of Losey scriptwriter Ben Barzman, reveals in a gossipy aside in her ‘intimate’ memoir, The Red and the Blacklist, Endfield panicked about his career, returned to Washington and couldn’t find anyone to take down his confession. The names he wanted to name were all forgotten.

“In Hollywood, Cy dragged himself from office to office, begging someone to please let him name the organisations he’d belonged to, how much money he’d contributed, and who else had engaged in similar activities. Finally, he found someone who took careful notes, but at the second session, he was told politely that the files already carried the names he’d mentioned (by that time we’d all been named at least a dozen times), and, in general, he had no startling new data to offer. The ritual of confession had lost its magic, cleansing power. He made the hegira to New York and Hollywood to bear the tidings that he’d spilled his guts. But a new breed was taking charge of the film world. According to our neighbours, he encountered open contempt. He returned to London, worn and harried, tail between his legs, with the dread realisation that it had all been for naught. Work on multimillion-dollar films would not suddenly and miraculously open up for him. When Cy did eventually find work, it was around the time others of us were being hired. He directed Zulu with some success, but we heard he wasn’t able to enjoy it”.

Endfield couldn’t set himself up as another Kazan or Schulberg. Nobody cared, his apostasy was forgotten rather than forgiven. There would be no honorary Bafta. The Zulu experience was much happier for Michael Caine who launched his interminable career (which included a Losey turn in The Romantic Englishwoman) by playing a toff-in-uniform. The producer of Zulu, Stanley Baker, cleaned up-enough to buy a white mansion, near the racecourse in Epsom. Charlie Richardson, South London businessman, scrap-dealer and torture buff, came along for the ride. Location hunting doubled with the acquisition of mining rights.

Stanley Baker, according to Losey, possessed ‘dark, wavy hair and a great deal of arrogance and machismo.’ The machismo was evident (and approved by the locals) at my Dalston viewing.

The Criminal is built around it. But the hair, by 1960, had gone, replaced by a brushover, patent-leather skullcap. Being in the criminal life was all about style, the Look. No self-respecting face ever wore a flat cap like the one Stanley sports when he walks out of the prison gates. The Kingsland Road Italian suit, the narrow horizontal-stripe tie, yes. But the cap was in the wrong movie. It belonged on the terraces of This Sporting Life. The London Look aspired to George Raft or Ray Danton. Dirk Bogarde, Baker’s great rival, was characteristically feline about the Welshman’s first day on the set of Losey’s Accident. ‘Hideous toupee, thick stucco make-up. Stanley spent hours curling his eyelashes. After that he was marvellous.’ Manny Farber pegged Accident as ‘the most elegant infighting... a symphony in Bogarde-Baker nuances around the cooking and eating of an omelette.’ The Criminal is a ‘baroque realist’ prison drama with a vestigial heist plot tacked on. The romance element, involving a bemused Margit Saad, is a smokescreen to ameliorate the testosterone stink, the banter and bonding of this alternative seminary. Saad’s prison visit, in nun-like white trenchcoat, is a Bressonian insert: austere Catholic geometry in a bleak winter room. A confessional in which nothing is confessed and the world is located as an antechamber of hell. The fractured continuity of The Criminal stems from the thirty-five minutes hacked out of the delivered cut. But even this works in Losey’s favour: life outside the prison walls is an hallucination, the women have no more reality than the pin-ups taped to the trustee’s wall. The coming-out party, the American cars, the good-time girls are all part of a lifer’s wet dream: a fantasy stitched out of James M. Cain and David Goodis, or Mickey Spillane slush from the library cart.

The budget for The Criminal, as David Caute points out in his exemplary book on Losey, was £60,000. (Not much more than the amount lifted in the film’s racetrack robbery at Hurst Park). Caute is very good on contracts, budgets, expense accounts. He understands that film production is essentially a machine for manipulating credit (like the present fashion for stealing bankable art). The old legends of Mafia laundries are all true, but that’s just the start of it.

Norma Barzman depicts the European afterlife of the Hollywood political exiles: patronage and smart parties in London, lunches with Picasso in the south of France, hackwork on deranged epics. Samuel Bronston cities tricked out of dust-storms of corrupt capital. Heart-attacks in swimming pools. And endless free travel: drinking, furniture-buying, lunch-fucking, talking long-distance on white telephones.

“Finally the phone rang. A boozy, self-pitying Joe [Losey]. ‘Norma, come and get me.’ He didn’t have to tell me where he was. I drove down to the Carlton Bar. I had to half-carry him and pour him into the car. All the way to Mougins, he raved and ranted. With bourgeois values how could you have an honest relationship between a man and a woman? His jibes went from the general to the particular. By the time we rolled under our Provençal archway, Joe was savagely attacking the beautiful stone entrance, the majestic cypress-lined driveway, then Ben, then me. ‘You’ve sold out for a swimming pool and a pump that doesn’t work! I used to think you were different. But you’re no better-in your doll’s house with pool. You don’t deserve to write. What would you write? It wouldn’t be worth reading or seeing. Corrupt shit! You’re both shits!... I’m through with you guys. I’m leaving’

There’s so much going on off-screen that it’s astonishing how well The Criminal coheres. I remembered it as a London film: a deserted park, a Soho café with posters for Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard, American cars in empty British streets. Oblique prompts give a fictional gloss to Baker’s admiration for Albert Dimes, veteran of a notorious potato-knife duel with Jack Spot in Frith Street. Gangland figures like Dimes are ghosts out of Gerald Kersh’s novel Night and the City - filmed with some panache by Jules Dassin (a long-term Losey rival). Dassin could do heists, the plotting, the slow build-up, the real-time suspense. Losey couldn’t be bothered. When he slummed, he wanted it known that he was slumming. The escape from the prison van, carried out by a solitary heavy (the notably sculptural and long-coated Nigel Green), is so fantastic that the final reel becomes a posthumous dream. The willful suspension of disbelief, the absurdist comedy, prefigures the sorry saga of the Kray Twins springing Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell from Dartmoor. Film crime and true crime rub along in a cosily cannibalistic relationship (copyright: Edgar Lustgarten). Both are extensions of place. They define the city as a quest for the perfect location shot. The most convenient parking place. The hippest off-piste restaurant.

Pause for a moment to inspect the team photograph of Soho Rangers F.C: grinning recidivists in borrowed shorts (borrowed from much smaller men). Stanley Baker is the sponsor and manager (it looks as if he’s nicked Nigel Green’s camelhair coat and trilby). Albert Dimes has his arm around ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser. There’s the scrap-dealer and freelance dentist, Eddie Richardson. Eddie was the brother of Charlie who was involved with the Zulu adventure: land speculation, mining rights, misunderstandings with hitmen. (A small part for Nigel Green). There’s nothing more showbiz than a gangland funeral. Two hundred mourners trekked into Kent to see off Albert Dimes. Baker paid his respects with a magnificent floral tribute. Ron Kray sent a monster wreath: ‘To A Fine Gentleman

Dimes - mother Scottish, father Italian - came to Saffron Hill in the Thirties. The influence of the Sabinis (an inspiration for Graham Greene and Brighton Rock) was still felt; four streets, a delicatessen, an ornate church. Bannion’s rival in prison is an Italian (played by Grégoire Aslan). His name is Frank Saffron. Bannion’s ‘B’ Wing is token Irish (any Celt will do). When he faces a punishment beating from the fearsome O’Hara (Neil McCarthy), the big Paddy enquires: ‘Are you an Irishman at all?’ And then, grinning like an earth-mover, he rolls up his sleeves. His cellmate Flynn (Tom Bell), ribs bruised and battered by Stanley, takes down a crucifix from the wall. When there’s a bit of business to enact, Saffron gets word to Bannion. ‘See you at Mass, Johnny’

The Criminal was unlucky enough, in terms of reviews, to be released a day after Saturday Night and Sunday Morning with its obvious literary pedigree and gritty ‘northern’ realism (actually Nottingham). But Losey’s film carries more intriguing baggage: a proper respect for Hollywood prison dramas (with their ambiguous politics) and echoes of European art cinema (the snowy death-in-the-fields of Truffaut’s Tirez sur le Pianiste, which opened in the same year).

Even through the smoky fug of Dalston, it was evident that The Criminal was immaculately shot in harsh black and white. Robert Krasker’s photography made Losey’s film look like the culmination of a series of British realist dramas directed by the likes of Endfield and Val Guest. Baker appeared in most of them, sometimes a driven copper with a bad marriage, sometimes a villain: two sides of the same coin. The Criminal predicted, in its use of a specific sub-culture, future projects such as Performance and The Long Good Friday. The relationship between Baker, Losey and Dimes would be reprised, and mythologised, in the later transactions of James Fox, Donald Cammell and David Litvinoff. But it’s always the topography that gets skewed: Cammell talks about being led deep into the ‘East End’, when he means the Old Kent Road. The London of Johnny Bannion that I’d extrapolated from my Dalston viewing now seemed more distant in time than forty years: a winter of the soul. I held on to the provisional poetry of locations within a few minutes of the Merton Park Studios. Five men meeting at a bandstand. Distant church bells. (A Losey obsession, which he dated, erroneously, to Rome, Venice and Eve.) An ugly bridge across an unseen river. A signature double-decker bus barely registered among back-projected traffic. (The contrary of Hitchcock’s ironic exploitation of postcard views: most known, least seen. Most sinister. A tradition that runs through to Patrick Keiller). Losey’s London is factored from location-hunting Polaroids. The last flicker of dying consciousness in a snow-covered field. Bannion, cradled by his nemesis, Mike ‘The Snake’ Carter (Sam Wanamaker), mutters an Irish act of contrition, through a Jewish mediator, to a cold English landscape. Wellington boots, spade and a thin Italian suit. Earth hard as concrete.

Scenes that take place beyond the Piranesi-theatre of the prison are unreal. That’s where most of the cuts took effect. The actors are all in different movies. Jill Bennett (once Mrs John Osborne) appears, fractured through a kaleidoscope, at Bannion’s coming-out party. And is immediately ejected. (Like Norma Barzman - and the Jeanne Moreau of Eve - she was a former Losey lover). The gangland bash begins to feel like a wrap party for exhausted cast and crew at the end of a difficult shoot. Personal agenda infiltrates the fiction. Bennett, the script suggests, is an addict. The film offers no convincing evidence of this. Her performance is robotic, unmotivated: an Antonioni sleepwalker who has wandered onto the wrong set. It reminds me of Osborne’s turn in Get Carter, his ability to produce sexually-neutral spite and malevolence. Sam Wanamaker’s villain, gloves and ivory cigarette-holder, is the template from which Osborne’s lethargic gang-boss is printed. (Wanamaker was preoccupied with reviving that authentic fake, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre).

But the engine of The Criminal is the maggot cathedral of the prison. Its arched roof, its mean windows. A set was contrived in which Krasker, by the use of mirrors, achieved a vertiginous depth and constriction: with verticality, the hierarchies of a closed world, finessed by sweeping crane shots. Which combine, effectively, with affectionate close-ups of the best British and Irish character actors doing the business (being themselves). A master class in budget film-making. Making the most of the accident of an approved script; Jimmy Sangster’s formulaic pap impregnated by Alun Owen’s active sense of ritual, his relish for Liverpool-Irish language.

A mongrel Catholicism, drawing on Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow, tempers Losey’s narcissistic non-conformity. (Owen would return to play an Irish priest in The Servant, with the deranged prison warder, Patrick Magee, as his bishop). Owen’s theatre-workshop bias carries over into the banter, the jigs, the nursery rhyme chants and riots of The Criminal. Losey’s brief exposure to Brecht - a chamber production of Galileo with Charles Laughton - compliments Owen’s experience with Joan Littlewood at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. (He also worked as a stooge for Arthur Askey).

The screenplay is shapely: from the trajectory of Kenneth Cope, returned to prison, a humiliated informer, through to Baker’s final transfer to an easier regime - after he has been set up, betrayer of the riot. Bannion’s let the screws in. Bannion’s let the screws in. Bannion’s let the screws in. Baker walks away, against a chorus of derision, severed from the only community in which he could function. The real world now belongs to a new breed of criminal, the organisation man. ‘Our mutual friend in Highgate’.

Here, sweating, grimacing, are the faces of the new British theatre. Kenneth J. Warren (approved by Pinter). The great, growling Beckettian, Patrick Magee. Murray Melvin (soon to feature in Tony Richardson’s film of Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey). Brian Phelan, the psychotic Pauley - who would later appear in the Losey/Pinter collaboration, Accident. John Molloy (as Snipe) looks very much like Beckett himself, hatchet cheeks, electric-shock hair and eyes that have caught fire.

After London, the film school in Brixton, I moved to Dublin. In the pub we listened to extras who claimed to have done time in The Criminal.

They recollected the experience as a ‘Stanley Baker picture’. (Old lags paid to play old lags). Losey barely registered, a distant presence. The prison, they insisted, memories floating free, had been shot in Ireland. So once again, as with the Fu Manchu series, a mythical London becomes Dublin. Anywhere is nowhere. Baker, by unsupported rumour, was fingered as the banker behind the Great Train Robbery. He produced Peter Yates’ film, Robbery (1967). If these whispers had any substance, Johnny Bannion would become ‘our mutual friend from Highgate’. The man with the white mansion and the racehorses.

Back in London, lodged in Hackney, where I would remain for the rest of my sentence, I learnt that we had a local celebrity, a writer who was working with the Beatles and Dick Lester. He’d written the script of A Hard Day’s Night. His name was Alun Owen. Much of the credit for The Criminal should go to him. Losey’s career inflated, then stalled; good money, bad debts. He drank too much and made peevish phone calls about pigeons and loutish behaviour in Chelsea streets. He believed that he was being overcharged by Harrods. Owen, respected but largely reforgotten, got to live for a time in De Beauvoir Town - before Hackney became a satellite of Moscow, an off-shore investment for Saudi princelings. Before the diamond geezers, admired and supported by Stanley Baker, left town. And films about heists became vanity projects, zippy and post-ironic, made by advertising men and unstoic comedians.

Further Reading

Norma Barzman. The Red and the Blacklist (The Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate).

Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, 2005.

David Caute. Joseph Losey, A Revenge on Life.London, 1994.

Manny Farber. Negative Space (Manny Farber on the Movies). London, 1971. Robert Murphy. Sixties British Cinema. London, 1992.

Chris Petit. The Passenger. London, 2006.

Iain Sinclair is a writer, film-maker and broadcaster. His latest book is Edge of the Orison. His forthcoming anthology, City of Disappearances, is published in October. He lives in Hackney.