Will Self – Dorian
It is 1981 and the “Royal Broodmare”, as Henry Wotton calls her, is about to be married. Wotton, a homosexual, and his friend Baz have found a remarkable young man Dorian Gray, the epitome of male beauty. Sixteen years later, how does Dorian remain so youthful?
Will Self reads a life of Pablo Escobar, the most notorious dope dealer of modern times, and recalls his own adventures in the land of addiction
“I’ve got cocaine running around my brain!” So chanted Dillinger, the reggae toaster, in a mid-1970s paean to the white stuff that was an instant hit with those of us adolescent delinquents intent on an instant hit. Dillinger wasn’t the first or the last reggae star to take his moniker from a famous outlaw, but his cheerful little ditty was a curtain-raiser on a quarter-century during which the only criminal act in the global village worth talking about has been the production, export and sale of drugs.
[This short story was first published in Dr Mukti And Other Tales Of Woe]
Then he was back, suddenly and savagely. Not that he knew he was back, he simply found himself in a room full of monsters, lanky, pasty giants clad in disgusting nether garments, who, rather than beat him compassionately into stability, kept their distance and moaned. Their vocalisations were so low and febrile, so ghostly. They made no signs that he could comprehend and when he could bear it no longer he attacked.
A new novella and four new short stories from Will Self (his first since 1999’s Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys), which see him return to the disturbing and ruckled terrain of his bestselling first collection. Dr Mukti and Other Tales of Woe is another warped window on the wibbly-wobbly world of fear and fun that Self – like some malevolent deity – has fashioned over the years.
Other short stories collections:
Tough Tough Toys For Tough Tough Boys
The Quantum Theory Of Insanity
Penguin 2002 edition
Introduction by Will Self
‘Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.’ In this complete and unexpurgated edtion of Burroughs’ famous book, he depicts the addict’s life: his hallucinations, his ghostly noctural wanderings, his strange sexuality and his hunger for the needle. Junky remains one of the most accurate and mesmerising account of addiction ever written.
[This essay appears in the British Library edition of Essays on Alasdair Gray, edited by Phil Moores. Reproduced by kind permission of the British Library. © The British Library 2002]
A letter arrives from Phil Moores whose address is listed as follows: British Library, Customer Services, Document Supply Centre, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire. He encloses a selection of essays about the work of the Scottish novelist, artist, poet and politico-philosophic eminence grise, Alasdair Gray. You are holding this book in your hand so you know what those essays are, but picture to yourself (and let it be a Gray illustration, all firm, flowing pen-and-ink lines, precise adumbration, colour – if at all – in smooth, monochrome blocks), my own investigation of these enclosures.
Edited by Phil Moores
Introduction by Will Self
Then to the Wolseley for an after-show supper. This was my first trip to this happening eatery – and how pleasingly daft it is. The decor looks as if the old car showroom has been remodelled as a cross between the Batcave and a fin-de-siecle Viennese coffee house. However, instead of caped crusaders the banquettes were stacked with the usual Footballers’ wives and nouveau riche provincials.
Congratulations to Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell who’s had the guts to admit that the Government are considering ‘social engineering’ policies to ensure that more state school pupils enter university. A predictable tirade of abuse has followed from educationalists in the so-called ‘independent’ sector. These people aren’t independent from anything – they represent nothing more or less than long-entrenched privilege: the privilege of money, the privilege of class and nepotism. Up until twenty years ago great swathes of places at Oxbridge were ‘tied scholarships’ open only to public school students, and in my day it was commonplace to see these chinless thickos toppling over outside their colleges because they were unable to tie their own shoelaces.
The Island of Doctor Moreau
There can be few more revolting sights than the trestle table plastered with lurid photographs of vivisected animals which invariably gets put up in street markets all over London on a Saturday morning. I can’t understand why more people aren’t outraged by the “animal activists” and their emotive pornography of interspecies violence – I often stop and give them a row – but mostly they’re unmolested. There is something peculiarly nutty about attacking humans in orders to save animals – as the Animal Liberation Front have this week: a fire bomb at the home of the corporate controller of GlaxoSmithKline; another device at an Oxford University sports pavilion; and a third at the home of a broker who had merely invested in one of the contractors building the new University primate research laboratory.