My bath mat's campaign for the presidency
I revealed the intimacy of my relationship with Dr Moo, a half-man, half-cow chimera created followi
To the sickest-looking building in London, Portcullis House, to be interviewed by Ed Vaizey (Con, Wantage), for the House magazine. I point out to Ed how strange it is one can't visit one's legislators by bicycle: I had to ask the machine gun-toting police to keep an eye on mine, for fear that their colleagues would remove it as a terrorist threat. He concurs, and observes - with some self-satisfaction - that he cycles in every day from west London, although in his constituency he has to drive. But whose fault is that then? I wonder.
The interview goes well - he's an amiable fellow. I had hoped to chat about my new novel, but Ed is more taken by my political punditry for the London Evening Standard. He comes out with that old canard about the media having more power than politicians, but I slap him down, saying MPs are like English footballers in the 1970s - happy to play a purely defensive policy game, given they know they're elected by minorities. We live in a dictatorship - secured by an apathetic plebiscite.
Ed thinks we're doppelgängers, both having Jewish-American mothers and academic fathers. However, when I say that even if I tried to vote Tory, my hand would transmogrify into goo as it moved to tick the box, the fraternal light in his eyes is switched off.
At the Sun and Doves on Coldharbour Lane, my friend Mark MacGowan, the performance artist, has been organising a month of happenings. Low-key stuff compared with his own stunts, which have included pushing a monkey nut from Camberwell to 10 Downing Street using only his nose. One performer stripped naked and began setting fire to his own flatus, while a pole dancer over-stimulated a member of the audience. For my turn I engaged in a long, rambling conversation about my bath mat standing for the Democratic presidential nomination. They say there's a free press in the States, but there's been a complete blackout on the mat, which has won most of the primaries and looks like securing a majority of super-delegates as well.
Nick the neotenous
To the Drill Hall, central London, to record Clive Anderson's Chat Room. I've never heard of it, being insufficiently young and funky to listen to Radio 2, but I'm only moderately surprised to find it's presented by Clive Anderson. He'll probably introduce Judgement Day with a dry, self-deprecating remark. It's a current affairs panel show with the "voice of Carphone Warehouse", Ed Byrne, the Iranian-born stand-up Shappi Khorsandi, and Nick Clegg. Cutting edge.
I've read that politicians should have neotenous faces if they want to be elected, as the public loves a baby. Certainly David Cameron and bouncing Boris Johnson conform to this pink and chubby pattern, and now we have baby-face Clegg as well. He seemed nice enough. But when he started bleating about "the international community" solving the crisis in Zimbabwe, then, with a Freudian slip, revealed that he thought this "community" to be synonymous with the State Department, I lost patience. We've had five years and hundreds of thousands of deaths result from the fatuity of British politicians thinking they're in the US cabinet - when will it all end?
Luckily, the Chat Room was followed by the Express Excess cabaret night at the Enterprise pub on Haverstock Hill. The writer Matthew De Abaitua and I tried the schtick that he was a young journalist interviewing me for London Free, the freest newspaper in London (because you get two copies). We discussed whether Pete Doherty should be breastfed, and I revealed the intimacy of my relationship with Dr Moo, a half-man, half-cow chimera created following the new embryology bill. Meanwhile, I diced a raw potato into a toy cash register.
Sunday, in the London streets, unseasonable snow is being burnt away by the heat of civil unrest, as protesters try to wrest the Olympic torch from Steve Redgrave and Konnie Huq. I would go out and witness this, but frankly: what's the point? I recall J G Ballard's words in his recent memoir, Miracles of Life: "The 1960s were a fascinating decade that I mostly watched on television." I've even dispensed with the TV.
Will Self's "The Butt" is published by Bloomsbury (£14.99)