Sunday, February 04, 2007

Will Self's Junk Mail

I've been reading a collection of essays and articles by the British writer Will Self (b. 1961). He's a novelist who, after publishing his first book in 1991 (Cock and Bull), started writing for news and magazines. The anthology, called Junk Mail, is a combination of two earlier U.K. anthologies.

If Self's fellow Briton Martin Amis (an interview with whom is included in this book) is most famous for spending $20,000 on his teeth, Self is most famous for an incident in 1997 when, while covering the upcoming elections aboard Prime Minister John Major's jet, Self was caught snorting heroin in the airplane restroom.

"That was seven years ago and I really am pretty tired about being asked about it. It's annoying," Self told an audience at a book reading in 2004. Self has cleaned up, but the drugs still nag him -- in the form of queries from other writers and reporters. His response to such queries is quite funny. From the introduction to Junk Mail:
I still get asked to comment and write on drugs a great deal, and this is understandable. Mostly I decline, explaining being relieved of the obsession to drink and use drugs by this analogy: 'Imagine that for twenty-odd years of your life you could only think about chives. You woke up every morning with chives on your mind, and all day you sought out chives wherever you could find them. You read books on chives, you saw movies on chives, you listened to chive music and chived about the house playing air-onion. If you finally managed to rid yourself of this vegetative hysteria, surely the last thing you'd want to do is ever contemplate the damn things again?' After this they usually leave me alone.

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