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the Complete Review
the complete review - essay

Sorry Meniscus

Iain Sinclair

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Title: Sorry Meniscus
Author: Iain Sinclair
Genre: Essay
Written: 1999
Length: 90 pages
Availability: Sorry Meniscus is out of print
  • Excursions to the Millennium Dome
  • Part of Sorry Meniscus first published in the London Review of Books, 13 May, 1999
  • Photographs by Marc Atkins

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Our Assessment:

A : marvelous brief look at the Millennium Dome

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Independent B- 6/11/1999 John Morrish
The Spectator A 1/1/2000 Bevis Hillier
Time Out B 17/11/1999 John O'Connell

  Review Consensus:

  Sharp and fun, but Sinclair lays it on a bit thick.

  From the Reviews:
  • "Mainly, though, he piles up outlandish adjectives, stinging epithets and extravagant metaphors, and fires them across the water at his target: the Dome and everything it represents. The passages in which he explores the repellent trades that once thrived on the site Bugsby's Marsh are particularly ripe. He even manages to make a stroll along the river path and a chat with a Dome security guard sound like a forced march into the reactor at Chernobyl. It's not, quite; but you get his drift." - John Morrish, The Independent

  • "The diatribe -- every line a poisoned arrow -- is a literary form that has fallen into disuse. In Sorry Meniscus, Sinclair most exhilaratingly revives it. In a literary Olympics he would get a gold medal for invective-hurling (make that "throwing the Meniscus"). (...) By the end of the booklet you almost begin to feel sympathy for his victims." - Bevis Hillier, The Spectator

  • "Sorry Meniscus is still vintage Sinclair in spite of its sundry excesses. But it does leave you craving an equally impassioned, equally splenetic pro-Dome rant for the good old-fashioned sake of redressing the balance. And that can't be a good thing." - John O'Connell, Time Out

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Iain Sinclair is famous for his London-peregrinations, revealing the hidden recesses of the great city he stumbles across (and those he seeks out) in his fiction and essays. The Millennium Dome proves an ideal destination for Sinclair, and this short book -- the result of two excursions to the site, first written for the London Review of Books -- is a devastating, gleeful look at that misbegotten "Teflon Hedgehog".
       Sinclair knows his London well, and much of the initial pleasure of the book is simply in following Sinclair's efforts at getting to the site. Few have as good a feel for London's peripheral neighborhoods, and Sinclair's evocation of the Millennium Dome's environs is a horrible marvel. It is, indeed, a hopeless journey, but getting there is most assuredly still most of the fun.
       Sinclair carefully examines what place the Millennium Dome has in modern London, considering the bizarre motives behind it, and the inevitable failures that constantly dog the dog of a project. Favourite targets (the moribund Tory party that initiated the project) are cleanly skewered, and there is a grudging (and astounded) admiration for the power of the project itself in winning over its detractors. Robert McCrum, writing for The Observer, "delivers the classic revisionist apologia," a hilarious latter-day conversion.
       Briskly written, Sinclair is in top form in Sorry Meniscus, shredding both concept and grim reality on page after page: "This was the idea that was no idea," he convincingly explains.
       Sinclair lays out the history and progress of the Dome, and the awful reality. The unwritten postscript -- the actual New Year's opening fiasco -- was a given. Each of Sinclair's sharp, clipped, and to the point sentences foresee the inevitable.
       The whole horrible story of the Millennium Dome and surrounding projects (the Jubilee line extension, for example), will no doubt one day be written up in a heavy tome, but nothing more than this slim, small volume is needed.
       In handy pocket size -- fitting even in a shirt pocket ! -- and with a few photographs by Marc Atkins conveying the whole horror, this is a very attractive little book. It is also compelling, and the writing is so crisp that it is a pleasure even for those who are unfamiliar with Millennium Dome lore. A must for anyone with any interest in contemporary London and England. Highly recommended.

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Sorry Meniscus: Reviews: The Millennium Dome: Iain Sinclair: Other books by Iain Sinclair under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       London author Iain Sinclair has written several collections of poetry, as well as a number of novels and documentary works.

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© 2000-2010 the complete review

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