Wednesday, 5 February 2020

'Albion's Secret History' to be published by Zer0 Books

I'm honoured to have just signed a contract with Zer0 Books- home to brilliant authors such as Mark Fisher and Laurie Penny- for my first non-fiction collection, 'Albion's Secret History- Snapshots of England’s Rebels and Outsiders'.

This volume compiles snapshots of English pop culture’s rebels and outsiders- from Evelyn Waugh to PJ Harvey via The Long Blondes and The Libertines. By focusing on cultural figures who served to define England, this book looks at those who have really shaped Albion’s secret history- not just its oft-quoted official cultural history. By departing from the narrative that dutifully follows the Beatles, The Sex Pistols and Oasis and by instead penetrating the surface of England’s pop history (including the venues it was shaped in) this piece throws new light on ideas of Englishness. As well as music it draws from art, film, architecture and politics, showing the moments at which artists like Tricky and Goldfrapp altered our sense of a sometimes green but sometimes unpleasant land.

The astute will notice that my surname isn’t English. I’ve always had a complex relationship with the idea of Englishness and during the writing this book I turned a corner in terms of how I saw the place. For years almost all my attention was drawn to the historical mistakes of the country and our institutions and I didn’t realise how much I privately celebrated so many facets of our culture (although what does ‘our’ even mean?) I think it matters what you think of your surroundings, because they reflect who you are. So although this collection is a love letter to the country there is poison in it too. So I suppose it’s a poison pet love letter to England...

(Cover photo credit- Lizzie Jackson. With thanks to Kate Jackson)