Watch Will Self’s recent lecture, 20 Years in Solitary Confinement, at Brunel University on March 16.
Nick Papadimitriou is an old friend and long-time imaginative-intellectual collaborator of mine, I consider his book Scarp to be one of the finest contributions to contemporary writing about place and psyche. If you’d like to get a feel for the man and his methodology, have a look at John Rogers’s film about Nick’s life, The London Perambulator. As you’ll see, Nick hasn’t exactly dropped out – but he’s never dropped in; and conventional publishing deals are consequently elusive. If you’d like to fund a major creative talent, please visit Nick’s Patreon fundraising page.
The Criminal Alphabet by Noel Smith is published by Penguin.
When the first British series of Big Brother aired in the early 2000s, the commentariat fell over each other’s Hush Puppies to condemn this storming of the cultural gatekeepers by Essex girls and Scouser boys intent on fame at any cost. As the Observer’s TV critic at the time, I was among these Cassandras, all of us reaching into our grab-bag of quotations to pull out the same, shopworn one by Warhol: “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” We decried the way Peter Bazalgette, the boss of Endemol, the production company that had developed the format, was severing notoriety from renown once and for all so that the talentless could take their place on the winners’ podium. Those of us who had wasted our youth on cultural theory went further, calling our readers’ attention to Guy Debord’s characterisation of “spectacular fame” in his collection of Marxist-Zen koans The Society of the Spectacle.
Will Self is the patron of the Architecture Foundation’s Doughnut festival at the University of Greenwich on 5 September, “A day long exploration of London’s rapidly transforming periphery” with Hanif Kureishi.
Read why at the New Statesman here.