'Fire sermons and authentic retrievals for a battleground on the edge of the liminal, delivered with spirit and spite and sting. True witness.'
– Iain Sinclair
'One summer in 1990 all these young people began living in the empty houses, squatting – well, they did that everywhere in London after the war, they had to live somewhere and it's the same today . . . '
PLACE WASTE DISSENT is a book that takes the aesthetics of poetry as seriously as the occupation and protests that inspired its writing.
Having spent three years in the early 1990s occupying properties and protesting in Claremont Road, east London, poet Paul Hawkins maps the run-off, rackets and resistance along the route of the proposed M11 Link Road.
Using the voices of Dolly Watson, Old Mick and many others in avant-garde experimental text and lo-fi collage, he explores place, waste and dissent; the stake the Thatcher/Major Tory government was driving into the heart of the UK.
From Claremont Road to Cameron via surveillance culture and Occupy: transient-beta memory traces re-surfacing along the A12. This collection is an important reflection on a historic site of resistance, offering us illumination, ideas and inspiration for the future.
Foreword by Alice Nutter
Praise for Place Waste Dissent
'This is not so much a book as an archive, a dataset or a dossier of evidence. At times reminiscent of Tom Phillips' A Humument with its jump cut juxtapositions, liminal layers and luminous word wiring, Place Waste Dissent is nonetheless an utterly distinctive poetic document, weaving text and image to create a wakeful dream state of white noise, static and flux. Place Waste Dissent functions as a map of submerged structures, underlaid by an oblique but insistent narrative of displacement and loss, all the more potent for awaiting rather than demanding discovery. If you want to know what this book is like, try staying up for 48 hours straight then taking a dawn ride in an unlicensed minicab with a can of Red Bull and The Faust Tapes on repeat. Better still, just read it.'
'The lost world of London squatting and radical struggles is conjured up through experiments with words and storybook political consciousness. Paul Hawkins illuminates the past he experienced and allows us to smell touch and love the cultures in collision which he participated in as a foot soldier banging on a revolutionary drum. Now he is a Homer immortalising his war.'
'Paul Hawkins occupies the page in this archive of voices of resistance, cut and pasted together with a homemade scrapbook aesthetic.'
'The collage format of text and imagery works perfectly in conveying the complex dynamic of community struggle, external politics and inner personal insecurity. Its sense of "being in the thick of it", of being adrift and yet trying to get a handle on things, of being players in a drama that was both orchestrated and out of control is exactly what it felt like. Parts of Place Waste Dissent brought me close to tears.'
'Picture Sesame Street as reimagined by Guy Debord and the set designers for Apocalypse Now.'
'This book is a timely reminder that it only takes a few determined individuals to tear down the facade of order. Injustice breeds discontent. This powerful work documents how damaging that can be for all.'
'These human stories are a reminder that what was at stake was not just the erasure of some lines in the A-Z of London but an assault upon a living community.'
'Place Waste Dissent is a valuable, experimental, unique contribution to contemporary British poetry. It serves to illustrate that every life and experience is valuable, and to impel us to resist anything that encroaches.'
'I loved Hawkins’ book. The lo-fi, analogue, cut and paste of word and image is richly redolent of that early ’90s squat and crusty culture.'
– Tony White, Piece of Paper Press
' . . . the mix of poetry, photographs and a multitude of voices is impressive, moving and assertive, proving that creativity and aesthetics can live alongside political protest without appearing twee or being completely redundant.'
' . . . this book, more than any I have read in a long time, is a collection. It truly works as a whole: poems bleed into one another, characters disappear and reappear later in the collection, images reflect and haunt other images. This book recreates and re-presents the culture and time which it is reflecting upon, and it is an ‘archive’ that delightfully overwhelms with sound and image. This book is important.'
'. . . provided me with passion, inspiration, information, an appreciation of community and the gentle reminder that life is a balance of good and bad. It is a truly beautiful book.'
'The photos alone would be fascinating – but it is the personal stories, told unvarnished, that give a real feel for the time.'
– Red Pepper
'Pretty Messy, Fairly Trashed' – Paul Hawkins Interviewed by Tony White
About the author:
Paul Hawkins is a Bristol based poet who has been a musician, squatter, tour manager, freelance journalist, gardener, improviser, collaborator and manager of an Elvis Presley impersonator. He studied the art of sleeping standing up and drinking lying down with nearly disastrous consequences; last count he’s moved on average every eleven months but only ever owned one tent.
He co-runs Hesterglock Press and has had two books published, Claremont Road & Contumacy (Erbacce) and you’ll find his work in Maintenant, Quincunx, The Morning Star, M58, Rising, Stride, The CUT UP! Anthology as well as other magazines, sites, walls and ‘zines. He currently collaborates with Portuguese text artist Bruno Neiva under the guise of Servant Drone.
Publication date: 12 November 2015