Bloomsbury filmed Will Self in a teaser for Walking to Hollywood – a mixture of fact, fancy, memoir and invention – which was published on September 6 2010.
“Walking to Hollywood is an extraordinary triptych in which Will Self burrows down through the intersections of time, place and psyche to explore some of our deepest fears and anxieties with his characteristic fearlessness and edgy humour.
“In the autumn of 2007, Self became ill with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The first part of the book is ostensibly the account of a curative journey to Canada and the USA, but in fact the record of a nematode’s progress, as the worm of obsession – with scale and packing and the ‘stuff’ of our lives – bores through a mind in extremesis. It is a journey that leads to three suicide attempts.
“On his return to England, Self put himself in the care of Dr Zack Busner, one of the originators of The Quantity Theory of Insanity. As the symptoms of OCD diminish, the obsession with his own inability to suspend disbelief in narrative art forms takes over. Self convinces himself that film itself is dead and becomes determined to find the murderer of the medium he once loved. ‘Walking to Hollywood’ is the story of his week-long 120-mile circumambulation of Los Angeles which led to his abduction by members of the Church of Scientology, a passionate affair with Bret Easton Ellis, and mortal combat with the reanimated corpse of Walt Disney.
“Back in London, the writer recovers from his flamboyant psychosis of the summer, only to become aware of a new malaise. Prey for some years to ordinary amnesia, Self now realises he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. However, remembering that Holderness in East Yorkshire has the fastest-eroding coastline in Europe, the writer decides to take a 40-mile walk over a weekend in late July, a walk akin to a magical rite and one that no one would ever be able to replicate.”