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Night Haunts: A Journey Through the London Night

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
London at night has always been seen as a lawless orgy of depravity and pestilence. But is it now as bland and unthreatening as any new town? Sukhdev Sandhu journeys across the city to find out whether the London night really has been rendered neutral by street lighting and CCTV cameras. His nocturnal forays see him prospecting in the London night with the people who drive ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published September 17th 2007 by Verso (first published September 1st 2007)
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Carole Tyrrell
Nov 14, 2011 Carole Tyrrell rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in London
This is a slim volume but full of unexpected delights. In a 24/7 city, what does go on while the rest of us are enjoying its pleasures or dreaming of the day ahead? ‘Those wonderful people in the dark’ or prowling through ‘the city’s ripped backsides’ Sandhu’s journeys through night time London immediately brought to mind Gloria Swanson’s famous last line in Sunset Boulevard and Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger.’ Night Haunts is composed of vignettes of the people you never usually see, or don’t want t ...more
Roz Morris
Jan 28, 2011 Roz Morris rated it did not like it
At first glance, this is exactly my kind of book - and probably is for most writers. The author picks several wonderfully unusual occupations that go on at night in London and follows them for a shift - helicopter policemen, an exorcist, an urban fox-hunter, nuns in an enclosed order. When I read about this book I could not contain my excitement - it is a terrific idea.

Unfortunately it doesn't deliver at all. The book is scant on conveying the actual experience of, say, a night with the avian p
Oct 11, 2012 Loren rated it liked it
Shelves: morbid-books
I picked this up in a travel bookstore in NYC (remember travel bookstores?) because I read the chapter in which the author follows an exorcist around Clerkenwell. It made me remember how much I loved the Mike Carey novels with much the same protagonist -- except that this story is true. It's by far the most interesting story in this book and worth the price I paid for it.

The other pieces are of varying depths and therefore of varying appeal. The text is written in London slang, some of which I g
Deborah J
Mar 31, 2016 Deborah J rated it liked it
A great premise. I've read some H V Morton, who was an inspiration for Sandhu, and Sandhu does him justice in taking further his research into what goes on once darkness falls. I think this will appeal to every true Londoner. My main gripe is that the language is too blowsy and overdoses on grandiose generalities, not to say stereotypes. Thankfully, the tendency in the opening chapters to indulge in hyphenated adjectives, often in succession, declines as the book progresses. If you can cut throu ...more
Colin N.
Jul 25, 2011 Colin N. rated it liked it
In "Night Haunts" Sandhu explores a variety of people in London who are active at night: helicopter police, suicide hotline operators, sewage workers, mini-cab drivers, fox-hunters, and insomniacs; all the nocturnal occupants of the city. The book is composed of short chapters on each group, each containing brief quotations and descriptions of these individuals, but mostly consisting of Sandhu's eloquent ruminations on these people and their lives. Each group compromises an often-ignored segment ...more
Alex Sarll
This is a slim book, and takes even less time to read than that might suggest - almost a pamphlet, it wouldn't even have sustained a day's Zone 2 commute and lunch break without support. It's also intermittently infuriating; at times Sandhu drops sniffy comments about psychogeographers in the mass, even as his own style seems very similar to a 30% less feverish Iain Sinclair. At times he makes comments regarding such well-worn topics as CCTV and the capital's takeover by Capital which are so rec ...more
Jan 04, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
I was a little uneasy on reading the introduction to this that Sandhu's rather cerebral style would marr what is the otherwise excellent idea of exploring the city of London through the residents who live life through its long dark nights, but I was soon reassured. Sandhu is a great writer, if a little too clever clever at times, and the vignettes of life after dark in the big smoke is genuinely fascinating, creepy, and at times rather moving. he is also a keen observer - and critic - of London' ...more
Aug 10, 2007 Paolo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone.
For a preview of this book, check out Sukhdev's alley at He read a portion of this work at our most recent event at Lolita Bar. He stole the show, and got everyone repeating the Brit slang 'dodgy'.
Jan 04, 2009 William rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
A very lyrical look at night-time London from the viewpoint of various professions (street cleaners, barge pilots, cab drivers, etc.). At 139 pages, the book is unfortunately too short.
Elizabeth Kidd
Sep 03, 2013 Elizabeth Kidd rated it really liked it
Gorgeous writing, with vividly painted pictures of London at night. The stories were fascinating and detailed.
Nov 22, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this set of essays (?) about the people awake at night in London. Very well written.
Dan Prichard
I loved this!

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