Albion Island Vortex revived – Iain Sinclair’s Histories and Hauntings

Legendary London writer Iain Sinclair takes us on a tour of his exhibition, Histories and Hauntings, at Swedenborg House in Central London. Histories and Hauntings was partly a re-staging of an exhibition that Iain Sinclair organised at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1974 with Brian Catling, Renchi Bicknell, Sam Torrance and others, Albion Island Vortex, but with the addition of subsequent works that continue the themes of that highly influential show.

Iain Sinclair - Albion Island Vortex
Stephen McNeilly and Iain Sinclair at Swedenborg House - December 2023
Stephen McNeilly and Iain Sinclair at Swedenborg House
Iain Sinclair, Histories and Hauntings - Swedenborg House
Iain Sinclair, Histories and Hauntings - Swedenborg House
Iain Sinclair, Histories and Hauntings - Swedenborg House


Filmed by John Rogers December 2023.

Thanks to Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly, and Victor Rees

Video: In conversation with Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly

Here’s the full unedited video of my wonderful conversation with Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly on 25th January. The event was to discuss my new book, Welcome to New London – journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city but we wandered as we’re wont to do and even had a chat about Iain’s latest book Pariah Genius.

Buy Welcome to New London: journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city from Hatchards here

Iain Sinclair’s new book Pariah Genius is published on 25th April 2024

Hatchards Piccadilly with Iain Sinclair

John Rogers and Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly
photo by Johanne Adams https://www.instagram.com/johanneadams/

What an amazing night at Hatchards Bookshop on Piccadilly with the great Iain Sinclair talking about my book, Welcome to New London and getting a preview of Iain’s forthcoming publication, Pariah Genius.

John Rogers and Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly
John Rogers and Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly
John Rogers and Iain Sinclair at Hatchards Piccadilly
John Rogers at Hatchards Piccadilly
Welcome to New London and This Other London at Hathcards Piccadilly

After the talk and book signing, I wandered with a friend up to the Old Coffee House in Soho to remind myself of the glory of Brodie’s Beer (brewed in Leyton), sinking a couple of pints of Piccadilly Pale. It seemed the most appropriate place to delve into Iain’s ‘fictionalised biography of the afterlife of the photographer John Deakin‘.
The Buxton reference in the Truman’s mirror nicely echoed the discussion with Iain over the influence of the Buxton family in East London and their mention in Welcome to New London. Iain also recalled his time working at Truman’s with the sculptor and author Brian Catling in the 1970s.

The Old Coffee House Soho
Pariah Genius by Iain Sinclair on the bar of a Soho pub

Walking Swedenborg’s London screening

Screening of John Rogers film Walking Swedenborg's London at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury 7th September 2023

Back on 7th September saw a wonderful event at Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury with a screening + Q&A of my film, Walking the visionary London of Emanuel Swedenborg. Back on a freezing January morning, with Iain Sinclair and Stephen McNeilly we retraced the footsteps of the hugely influential 18th Century scientist, philosopher, mystic and theologian. London played a huge role in the Swedenborg story, with Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury continuing his legacy.

Our walk started in Warner Street, Clerkenwell where Swedenborg had his most famous vision in a Chop House. We then walked on along the course of the River Fleet to Bakers Yard / Cold Bath Square where Swedenborg died in 1772. From here we continued along Saffron Hill and Hatton Garden to Fetter Lane, the site of the Moravian Chapel that Swedenborg attended. Our Swedenborg walk took us along Fleet Street and up Ludgate Hill to Paternoster Square linking together a series of locations associated with Swedenborg’s publishing and writing career.
We then headed out to East London, passing along Leman Street, Cable Street, past Wilton’s Music Hall to Swedenborg Gardens where Swedenborg was buried in the Swedish Church, and the whole story of Swedenborg’s head, which deserves a book in its own right.

Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly and John Rogers at Swedenborg Hall 7th September 2023

Watching the icy clouds of breath in the film offered some faint relief from the sweltering temperatures in the hall. The discussion was illuminating as ever with Iain Sinclair and Stephen McNeilly. The bust of Swedenborg ever present looming over our shoulders, and I was tickled to discover that it was modelled on the wrong mummified head.

Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly and John Rogers at Swedenborg Hall 7th September 2023