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Matthew Beaumont on London Nightwalking

:evoking the dangerous and sensual

Life brings coincidences, or coincidences pronounce life. I came across Matthew Beaumont’s tremendous research at one of my favourite bookshops in London. Currently wrapped up in thinking about the night myself, and its possible connotations for the one-night-only festival that was about to be unveiled at the beginning of July in London, I was intrigued by the promises of a book that maps the nocturnal history of London over a thousand years, particularly concentrating on the last five centuries. Beaumont provides a genuine insight into the night and its demarcations, through prolific expertise in literature and a literary contextualization of the night, spanning from Chaucer to Shakespeare, Dickens and William Blake. It is astonishing to discover that nightwalking was an illegal activity, alongside eavesdropping and prostitution, throughout centuries. Night has been associated with expansive adjectives: seductive, uncertain, uncanny, attractive, appealing, consuming, dangerous and unsettling. It has been the subject of regulation and control throughout centuries and across cultures. The following conversation is about mapping the night, looking into its inhabitants and the historical evolution of cities where the division between the good and the bad blurs.

This interview with Matthew Beaumont is published in Extra Extra Magazine, Issue 9

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