Colin MacInnes

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Two young black dancers, brightly dressed and outrageously queer, sashay down a dull London street. All tight crotch and flamboyant gesture, they are peacocks in a warren of plucked pigeons. For sheer perverse effect on the desexed locals, one dancer halts the sidewalk flow to bend and inspect his shoe—“so that the recalcitrant bowler-hatted or tweed-skirted natives found themselves curiously obstructed by an exotic, questioning behind.”

A boy and girl reunite in a London dance club. They are young and in love; misery and violence are elsewhere. The music plays just for them. And then: “The side window crashed, and a petrol bomb came in and rolled among the dancers and exploded, and the electrics all cut out, and there were shouts and screaming.”

Thus, a worldview: irrestistible arses, and bombs on the dance floor.

Colin MacInnes, the novelist, essayist, critic, experimentalist, and inveterate fringe-dweller whose three essential works—City of Spades (1957), Absolute Beginners (1959), and Mr Love and Justice (1960)—form “the London trilogy,” is not exactly unknown, but neither is he quite known.

more from The Believer here.

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