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ISBN 978-0-9561073-7-4
Original edition published 2007
New edition, January 2011; 116 pp
110 b/w photographs
paperback; 210 x 135 mm
£7.99
click here to read a pdf excerpt.
Jack Robinson is a freelance writer and editor living in West London. Also by Jack Robinson: Recessional, published in 2009 (and now out of print): a collage of text and photographs, fact and fantasy, rant and reflection, capturing the mood – angry, confused, resilient – of the UK in the early months of recession. Click here for a pdf of the complete text (with photos) of Recessional.



 
 
Jack Robinson  Days and Nights in W12
 

‘Jack Robinson is a street photographer in words, and Days and Nights in W12 is a delight: ingeniously observed, clever, elliptical and funny. It’s like the best moments  from a novel – minus the padding.’
    – Geoff Dyer

Days and Nights
is a discursive ramble through the streets of London W12 featuring unlikely stories, true history and idle speculation. In this new edition, more than double the length of the original (published in 2007), the original cast is joined by pirates, buskers, Dickens, a gorilla, a clairvoyant, carrots, Arthur Machen, Walt Disney, a duke of Redonda, Ford Madox Ford, pigeons, a sex worker, the old woman who swallowed a fly and others.

‘Much cooler and funnier than Sebald’s baroque and melancholy meditations on place, Days and Nights in W12 lies somewhere between Walter Benjamin’s musings on Paris and Berlin and the wonderfully crazy mini-monologues that make up Thomas Bernhard’s The Voice Imitator. There is nothing else like it in English.’
    – Gabriel Josipovici

‘This book, which in its 100-odd pages covers more moods and raises more hairs on the back of the neck than many a more conventional work (each small block of prose comes beneath a black-and-white photograph, taken by the author), is a significantly expanded version of the work that came out under the same name in 2007. I wasn’t sure then if it was much more than whimsy; having read it properly, and answered to its strange rhythms, I am now. And this isn’t just about W12 – it’s about every urban space, including the one in your head.’
    – Nicholas Lezard, Guardian (full review here)

‘What Robinson does is create a kind of twilight zone of west London, doing for Shepherd’s Bush what J.G. Ballard did for Shepperton . . . As well as recurring themes, stories and people cross-refer throughout the book, though Robinson’s voice is what really gives the book unity. His sense of absurdity mixed with social awareness is habit-forming. What better epigraph for a book with the potential for immense popularity, but destined to be overlooked and under-read, than the conclusion of his piece on the BBC Building at White City (“Office Building”), site of the stadium for the 1908 Olympics? “Even those contemptuous of competition and celebrity must be drawn in by the mixed emotions of those who come second, who so very nearly get (but don’t) what they desire and feel they deserve.”’
    – John Self, Asylum

‘Reading it is like some wonderful grown-up game of playgound tag . . . This book belongs to anyone who has ever lived in a ramshackle, gritty, beautiful city. Someone who knows how grateful we are to seize momnents of reflection in the midst of urban discomfort. Most of all, it’s a book, when you pay it full attention, which will teach you to notice your surroundings – wherever you live – with a carefulness and interest you never quite realised that you were capable of.’
    – Mike Loveday, Eyewear (full review here)

‘Days and Nights in W12 swings pretty much effortlessly between the commonplace and the lesser-known telling fact; quietly offering its stories from the lives of others alongside imaginative, more idle speculations. I’d call it a collection of prose-poems but that’d be truly lazy: sure they're precise and atmospheric pieces, even lightly musical at times, but they have a disarming casualness, shifting tone, and beautiful throwaway quality that I reckon any kind of poem, prose or otherwise, would find quite difficult to match. It’s a book that you can easily devour (as I did) in one sitting - but one you can come back to too, I’d wager.’
     – Ben Wilkinson, Deconstructive Wasteland (full review here)