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London Overground retraces legendary London writer Iain Sinclair’s journey with film-maker Andrew Kötting around the Overground railway on foot for the book of the same name.

The film follows Sinclair reprising the walk over the course of a year rather than the day’s walk of the book. Iain is once again joined by Kötting in parts, along with Chris Petit and Bill Parry-Davies on the 35-mile circular yomp.

Sinclair describes the ‘Ginger Line’ as the ‘spin-drier of capitalism whirling bank notes around the city – a real moment to look at this city of unreal money’ where a new city is emerging. The recently completed Overground circuit provides ‘a tiny little map of what is happening now’ in London.

The film charts Sinclair walking through this changing landscape from his home in Hackney, through Shoreditch down to Wapping where he revisits his earlier book Downriver. In the company of Andrew Kötting once more they ramble in both senses from the Thames foreshore at Rotherhithe through Canada Water, Surrey Quays to Queens Road Peckham. At Willesden Junction he is joined by film-maker and author Chris Petit as they survey the developments around Old Oak Common.  Sinclair and Kötting walk through the night to reprise their original yomp in reverse. Dalston is surveyed with local campaigner Bill Parry-Davies logging what has been lost in the rampant redevelopment and checking in on cherished corners of the area.

What emerges from the film is a snapshot of the city in transition and also a unique insight into the most important chronicler of contemporary London. ‘The city’ Sinclair says at one point, ‘is a series of psychic mappings that reinforce our own identity’.

“The completion of the full circle of London Overground provides Iain Sinclair with a new path to walk the shifting territory of the capital. With thirty-three stations and thirty-five miles to tramp – plus inevitable and unforeseen detours and false steps – he embarks on a marathon circumnavigation at street level, tracking the necklace of garages, fish farms, bakeries, convenience cafés, cycle repair shops and Minder lock-ups which enclose inner London.” (from the book blurb).


Iain Sinclair’s books include London Orbital, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, Downriver (which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award) Ghost Milk and American Smoke. He lives in Hackney, East London.

John Rogers’ previous films include The London Perambulator and Make Your Own Damn Art: the world of Bob and Roberta Smith. He is also the author of This Other London – adventures in the overlooked city.

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