Will Self. Decontaminating the Union: Post-Industrial Landscapes and the British Psyche

“If independence from the colonising wankers is to be properly achieved, it must begin with a radical reorientation of the very geography of Scotland …”

Categories: Commentary

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12 replies

  1. ‘I have to digress a bit,’ says Mr Self at 4:50 on the tape, ‘being a literary person’. This claim must be put in question when, during his ‘Self visits CERN’ programme for BBC, he contended at one point that ‘Cordelia’ (in ‘King Lear’, of course) ‘says “Nothing will come of nothing”.’ She says nothing of the sort (well, yes: she says ‘Nothing’ when asked by Lear what she has to say to express her love for him. Then Lear says the line Self thought Cordelia’s). (‘But I like him!’ as Dick Emery might have said).

  2. It’s a treat to listen to someone so literate in a world where language is being ridiculed and abused every day.

    • I agree. As I say (more sincerely this time, less tongue-in-cheek) ‘I like him’. I’d like him more if he didn’t show off his erudition and polysyllabic Greek-inspired vocabulary so often; occasionally, I get the impression, losing the thread as he mentally self-congratulates on a particularly abstruse word or phrase. But yes, rather that than monosyllabic grunts. (I’m also pleased to see him looking so healthy these days – outcome, no doubt of his quotidiurnal peregrinations (whoops! nearly lost my thread then….’daily walks’, I meant to say)

  3. Reblogged this on gordonpeterspoet and commented:
    worth listening to, even if Will can be excessively verbose

  4. A long talk that I did find heavy going but nevertheless worthwhile listen. Around 1.17.01 near the end worth listening to final question from member of audience talking about Motherwell and Will Self sums up very succinctly what he feels the independence campaign was about.

    • I think he was a bit unfair on the woman, but he probably does have a point.

      I found this hard to follow, but the questions are okay. It is not the most accessible lecture.

      • Too busy to watch/listen to it all in one go, I’m afraid, I’m still working at it. But I think it seems less of a lecture than a (basically good, but nevertheless) READING. A one-time theatre director, if I had to give him notes, I’d say ‘The sooner you can get off the book, Will, the better!’

  5. Nearly got to the end now…. I’m reminded of a short story I wrote in the early 60s when very depressed by the chemical, industrial, polluted environment I was living and working in (albeit, paradoxically, happily), I wrote how ‘Andrew’ (my surrogate), an architect with similar feelings of depression at the environment, and finding other like-minded professionals, contrives to dismantle motorways, cities, and other such post-industrial remnants (very gradually and gently: the last thing they do is to dismantle the House of Commons stone by stone: quietly, so as not to disturb the debate going on about what should be done). Finally, the nation dismantled and ‘back to nature’, he pulls out the last cables linking him to his (by now, multitudinous collaborators) and settles back into his hole in the ground. Then on the horizon, runners – more and more – all with the same message: ‘What do we do now?’ . The story was called ‘Anarchist’. I did nothing with it.

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