All five episodes of Will Self’s 600 mile trip on the trail of physicist James Clerk Maxwell are now available to listen to on the Radio 4 website here.
To the Cereal Killer Café on Brick Lane in Shoreditch – at the very epicentre of London’s hipsterville. Yes, yes, I know, I probably should have hied me hither a few weeks ago, immediately after the establishment had been subjected to an all-out attack by two hundred anarchist rioters wearing pig masks and carrying flaming brands, who threw paint and, err . . . cereal at the whacky eatery. I hung fire because I suspected the cereal riot might be the beginning of a widespread revolt against foodie absurdity, and why waste ink and pixels on such a sideshow when Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay would soon be flambéed at the stake in Trafalgar Square?
Here’s how Louis-Ferdinand Céline characterises travel in his trippy 1932 novel, Journey to the End of the Night: “An infinity opens up just for you – a laughable little infinity; and you fall into it.” Maybe so, yet sometimes – just sometimes – the falling into that laughable infinity is enough to justify all the very grindingly finite journeys we take in our lives; for if one thing seems beyond dispute, it is that no sooner has the circumnavigation of the kitchen table been completed than the man-haul to the kettle begins.
Listen to Will Self’s recent evening of short stories at the Royal Academy here.
You can find Will Self’s latest New Statesman column here.
Whither the macaroon? I concede that, for those of you condemned to the provinces, this may not seem a pressing concern – unlike being forced to accept elected mayors with spurious powers so that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can burnish his credentials as a devolutionist. However, in this metropolis and many other cities besides, the worst has already happened in terms of local governance, while the bourgeoisie are ascending in a giddy, spiralling fugue-state of hyperglycaemia caused by overindulgence in small, almond-flavoured sweetmeats.
Will Self has written a Diary piece for this week’s London Review of Books, which can be found here (you can subscribe or register for free to read the whole article).
one a fair amount of solo performing throughout my career – in fact, I started out as a stand-up comedian, and from time to time I revisit that sort of shtick, doing little gigs in the upstairs rooms of pubs. But mostly I do “shows” of one sort or another to support the publication of my books. Time was when these public readings were convened in the big chain bookstores: Waterstones, Blackwell’s and – before its demise – Borders. Audiences might be relatively small, but they had usually chipped up because they were interested in the writing; the live act was just an add-on.