The book of the blog (2)

I woke up to a very nice surprise, which was an unexpected, long and thoughtful review of the book in Standpoint, a magazine which I did not necessarily expect to review it (http://standpointmag.co.uk/books-may-2017-east-london-charles-saumarez-smith-marc-jordan).   The review is by Marc Jordan, who, as he reveals, lives in one of the finer terraces in Hackney and who I once met, long ago, outside our house in Limehouse doing just what I like doing – snooping about.   He makes the entirely legitimate point that my book is more about the new East End, rather than the old.   There are two reasons for this, both of which he recognises:  the first is that every east end bookshop is groaning with books of memories about the old east end (I hadn’t realised that Marc’s father was a Whitechapel boy);  the second is that most of the books about the east end are hostile to gentrification, whereas I am, as is obvious and as is he, a part of it.   Anyway, the book could not have a nicer send-off on its publication day.

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5 thoughts on “The book of the blog (2)

  1. Toshio Kusamitsu says:

    It was good to see the name of Marc Jordan. He has been a good friend of mine, although we haven’t met for some time. The flat I lived in Highgate, as I wrote before, was in fact his father’s property. Marc must have visited me when I had lived with Raphael Samuel, and he must have got an idea of moving into Spitalfields. His father was a very nice man living, as Marc describes, in a modern house in Stanhope Road near Highgate Wood. He even possessed a classic Roles Royce. When I left Highgate to Cambridge, Marc was very kind to shift all my belongings to Cambridge, and he moved in my flat which was beautifully renovated. Then he moved to a much grander Hackney house. When I was a graduate student he was also attached to Courtauld Institute, and I met James Stourton and Gervase Rosser at his party. So naturally I am extremely grateful to him. About his review of your book, I think he is quite honest about the current phase of gentrification of the East End and he is also sympathetic about its tradition. We are living in the world, after all, of an ambivalent and complicated social milieu.

    • Dear Toshio, I never knew you knew Marc, who will be pleased to hear from you, albeit vicariously, and I never knew about his father who sounds a fascinating figure as an ex-east ender turned Hampstead modernist. Charles

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