My blog here remains themeless, which makes me feel as though I am drifting, so I will continue with Working-For-Will as my working theme. This week I am not working for Will as he is away. I find myself with some extra time and keep ending up on the Circle Line, which is always where I end up when I’m going somewhere in London but I don’t quite know where it is. Most places that aren’t in Hackney are on the tube, and most place on the tube are gettable-at via Baker Street, Liverpool Street or King’s Cross, all of which are on the big yellow loop in the middle of the London Underground map. I know a man who believes the Circle Line drivers are stuck on its revolving trains, with no final destination at which they can look forward to alighting, going home for the day or indeed retiring. This is nonsense of course; Circle line trains frequently turn into Hammersmith and City Line or District Line trains, and do so quite at random with only a muffled tannoy announcement from the driver as notification. If you are travelling anti-clockwise, and listening to an ipod, you always risk ending up in Ealing.
Two jobs can have the same name but be very different things. Examples crop up for me on a Thursday, when I work two jobs as a personal assistant, in two very different worlds. In the morning I work for Will, in his office whose walls are held together with tiny post-it notes, attending to things like filing. His filing system is not very mad, it’s pretty organised for years’ and years’ worth of stuff. I have an unsorted pile of must-keep papers from the last eight months. Will suggests I take note of the labels on his box files so that I can group things accordingly; this is fine for ‘From Bank’ and even ‘Parental Correspondence’, but there are things I’ll have to check with him. Where, for example, do I place a photocopied A4 doodle, completely unlabelled, of various hallucinatory monsters in some kind of maze?
Here at www.will-self.com, we’re running a Q&A with Will to coincide with the publication of The Butt, which we’ll publish on the site and at Bloomsbury’s too. Simply email your questions to email@example.com and we’ll put the best of them to him. The deadline for sending in your questions is April 14.
Yes, it’s competition time again, to celebrate the publication of Will’s new novel, The Butt.
Will has kindly offered one of his very own copies of his first ever published work, a collection of cartoons he did for the New Statesman, Slump, as first prize (the winner will receive a copy of The Butt too). There were very limited numbers of the paperback book published by Virgin in 1985, and it remains one of the most collectable of Will’s books. Bloomsbury has also kindly offered nine more copies of The Butt as runners-up prizes.
Sophie is trying to house train Minnie, a tiny terrier puppy with glossy black fur. So far as I can discern, Sophie is a perfect trainer: gentle, yet firm. When Minnie voids one of her mousy little turds on the stone flags of the kitchen, or pees on the settee, Sophie scoops her up, taps her on the nose and says: “Oooh! You bad girl! How could you? How could you?” They say a dog returns to its own shit (do they? Who are they, and why do they say such things?), but in this case it’s me who feels a compulsion to return to writing on the subject: a doleful, incontinent scribe, I am, describing the world with a thick stroke, extruded from my dogged pen.
A few words on this video clip. It was filmed — as should be obvious — in the back of a London cab, beginning as it crossed Vauxhall Bridge, continuing as it headed up through Victoria, and then continuing, as its route and the route taken by Dave Rudman, in the opening sequence of The Book of Dave, intersect. Finally, it comes to an end on the Edgware Road, where Dave’s fare is staring bemusedly at the promenading Arabs.
Will is due to attend the Flip literary festival in Brazil in July and will also be at the Edinburgh Festival, which runs from August 10 to September 2.
Will is going to be talking to Philip Hensher on Tuesday February 27 at the Parker Moot Room, Amory Building, University of Exeter from 7pm to 8.30pm, £8/£4 concessions, 01392 667080.
Will is going to be discussing his relationship with London with the writer Iain Sinclair and others at the Tate Britain Auditorium in London this Friday, November 3. The event is free. For more details, visit www.tate.org.uk/britain/eventseducation/talks/6275.htm