Posted by: Hackney Tours | November 10, 2008

Kick out the jams

Ever looked at those people strolling about nonchalantly during the daytime and wondered what they get up to? Well today Bookpacking followed a few of them to the most excellent Housmans bookshop in Kings Cross.

Owned since 1959 by Peace News, the shop’s amiable manager Malcolm had organised for host MC5 legend John Sinclair to come in and plug the new book he edited, Headpress 28. If you’re a youngster like (ahem) Bookpacking, your only direct knowledge of MC5 might be the sample on the KLF’s What Time is Love: “…Right now it’s time to bring on the dance ‘Mofos’”. (For anyone not hip to the street, daddy-o, that’s a bad word and not an 18-30 holiday island). The audience was the usual mix: poets like Niall Ferguson (Rimbaud-rhapsodiser extraordinaire), aging radicals and confirmed hippies.

Rocking up proper rock ‘n’ roll late, in a quiet gravelly voice John read from the book. Some Kerouac, a polemic on the radical ethnic restructuring of New Orleans (never let a free-marketeer anywhere a blank canvas, seemed to be the message) and a poem.

As he stopped to chew the Kings Cross rain-sodden fat, the few that had real jobs – albeit with elasticated lunch breaks – went back to work, formulating as they jogged through the puddles. “A dog stole my sandwich? No, er, I had to help an old lady who was mugged? There was a bomb alert at Greggs? Nah. Aw to hell with it. I’ve just been to see a rock and roll star, Boss!”

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