Will Self is an author and journalist. His books include Umbrella, Shark, The Book of Dave and The Butt. He writes the Madness of Crowds and Real Meals columns for the New Statesman.
At Sonic, the shtick is meant to be that the food arrives “at the speed of sound”; and the novelty in the late 1950s was that punters ordered their burgers and via speakers they could drive right up to.
Usually my mother didn’t mind me filling my metaphorical trouser bottoms with earthy words, but in Florence she’d seen vermilion and struck out, ensuring that for me, for ever, the city would be associated with violence.
The Madness of Crowds column.
The more you consider the crumb, the more you sense the world about you crumbling – while we ourselves are but crumbs scattered on the face of the earth.
I had gone to Dublin with the express intention of understanding a city that to me has always seemed incoherent – and even a little minatory.
Gay or straight, fat or thin, smooth or hairy, old or young: it seems entirely arbitrary as to whether a given man struts brazenly across the tiles, or cowers in the corners.
The very alliterative character of pulled pork suggested to me something bogus and contrived; after all, what do you do when you’re sold a pig in a poke if not disgustedly pull the cat meat out?
Public relations flacks should understand this much: any old Prince Harry can take a well-organised trip into the wilderness, but the true contemporary adventurer strikes out for the known.
The idea we might be the repositories of buried traumatic memories is integral to psychoanalysis – so the SRA panic had a ready-made audience in people primed to accept notions of repression.
Disraeli ate at Simpson’s; Gladstone, too; and George Bernard Shaw was a regular habitué until his greasy beard wavered too close to the spirit lamp on the carving trolley.
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