There was a short feature on Will Self’s friend and colleague the “deep topographer” Nick Papadimitriou, who most recently helped with the research on Self’s The Book of Dave, that included contributions from Self, Iain Sinclair and Russell Brand on Newsnight last night. You can watch it again here – it starts around the 36-minute mark. Papadimitriou’s book Scarp is due to be published next year by Sceptre. His podcasts on Resonance FM can be downloaded here, and there’s a short clip from The London Perambulator here.
Watch Will Self talking about Jonathan Swift (and Martin Amis on Henry Fielding) in BBC4’s Birth of the British Novel here. Self’s contribution appears at about the 16-minute mark.
Watch Laurie Taylor interviewing Will Self on the Sky Arts series In Confidence, posted on You Tube in various parts beginning here.
Watch Will Self taking part in The Secret Life of the National Grid on BBC4, a new three-part series “charting the development of Britain’s national electricity grid and how it sparked modern Britain into being – transforming our landscape, our politics and our lives”. It starts on Tuesday at 9pm.
Watch some clips from the fascinating 30-minute Australian film Obsessed with Walking by Rosie Jones, which follows Will Self around Los Angeles “doing field research” for his book Walking to Hollywood and interviews him at home in London too.
To listen to the director talking about why and how she made the film, go here. For more information about the film, visit the Flaming Star Films website. To buy a copy of Obsessed with Walking go here.
Watch Will Self on Newsnight talking about Motorway Man and how he used to be one.
Will Self is going to be on This Week on BBC1 tomorrow night at 11.35pm.
Watch Will Self on the Sky Arts Book Show talking about his short story collection Liver among other things here.
At the Conway Hall (conwayhall.org.uk) in central London, on March 25, Will Self was in conversation with David Eagleman, the neuroscientist and author of Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives. It was a case of an eager Eagleman versus a stoical Self.
Sum’s 40 mutually exclusive stories are, said Eagleman, a critique of certainty, a “meta-message” shining a flashlight around the “possibility space”. Self gently ribbed Eagleman on his neologism of “possibilianism”, which he said didn’t exactly trip off the tongue and that, besides, it reminded him of the word bilious. He told him he preferred his own coinage – “radical agnosticism”.
Self admitted at the beginning of the talk that “It’s a drag that we’re more or less in agreement” in terms of a debate, and clearly Self was more interested in any epiphany that Eagleman might have had, or any emotional backstory to the book. In that regard, Sum turns out to have more of an intellectual inspiration.
Self talked about the shock of nursing his dying mother when he was still in his 20s and of her death, and that it was this epiphany, along with the birth of his first child, that propelled his writing, starting with the short story The North London Book of the Dead from The Quantity Theory of Insanity: “I saw myself becoming a neutered bachelor, who would be wearing a cardigan and still living at home at the age of forty, but it wasn’t to be.”
Self said he saw Sum as a book very much about this life rather than the afterlife. Intriguingly, Self also suggested that the Dignitas-inspired story Leberknödel, from Liver, could be viewed as an afterlife story too.
To watch the whole talk, visit the Intelligence Squared website here.
There is also a review on the New Scientist website here.