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October 06, 2008


Madam Miaow

Shame you didn't have the chance to ask him what he meant by using tired old colonialist cliches, ants and robots, to describe the Chinese the other week.

The avant garde dead? Or undead? Will's walking proof.



you didn’t see homeless people on the streets back in the seventies

Can't be said enough, this.

I've never really gone for Self: I borrowed The Quantity Theory of Insanity off a friend and rather liked it for a while (when you die, you just move to another part of London, an amusing idea I believe he used again) but I'm not sure that the conceits and the language didn't overwhelm everything else. Maybe it's just like Orwell says of Dickens' tendency to elaboration, that either you like it or you don't. I didn't like it enough to read any more of his fiction, though I've generally liked his journalism when I've seen it.

But did you actually meet Self? You sure it wasn't a mix-up and you were actually talking to Ian Sinclair? You know what these professional Londoners are, they all look alike...


No, it was Will alright: more hair than Sinclair. He's not a huge fan of IS's work either - too mystical in orientation. So there are factions within psychogeography too. One imagines the two sides rambling past each other on some towpath making snide comments as they go by.

Anna: I only saw that piece after I went to see him. It is odd how people who can be quite punctilious about these things can forget that when it comes to the Chinese: it's kind of the mirror image of those racists who say "I don't mind them Chinese, they just get on with it" and such.

And I suppose grinding out a weekly wowser for the Standard had something to do with it: a lizard brain writes.

I do really like his fiction. It's tightened up a lot since the early years, though conceptually the books are still overstuffed mattresses (which I also like). I think he's like Ballard: a good, intelligent general read. he doesn't produce these mingy, scrawny little Ian McEwen volumes.


Hmm, I was a psychogeographer before I'd even read Iain Sinclair, then. When I lived in Budapest I used to pick two points on the map, go to the first one and work out how to walk to the second. Still do it in London, actually. I just thought it was a fun way to pass the afternoon, but I could probably have got a literary career out of it if I'd used longer words...

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