Tonight I went to see Will Self read at The Roundhouse in Camden. I was there about an hour early so went to the bar. The first thing I noticed was how the women seemed to be in groups while the men sat by themselves. There were very few exceptions. There were maybe two groups consisting of men and women. As a single guy, it was an ideal situation. As someone in London by themselves, I did not feel at all out of it.
This soon changed when the film crew turned up! They started trying to interview people and I had to make a quick dash out of the way. In someways, I am a very shy individual and I didn't feel the need to perform in front of the camera.
The reading itself was very good. It was an excellent performance and Will was very quick on the uptake. He had an exceptionally quick mind and in another life would make a great dour comic. (In fact he is, given his performances on the comedy programme 'Have I Got News For You.')
What really impressed me though was the discussion after the readings. At this point the camera crew were good enough to leave, giving the audience more freedom to talk. I wonder if someone had a word?
Will talked about the nature of writing, journalism, British politics, Celine and drug taking amongst other things. One of the most endearing things was how he told the story about his eleven year old son who also writes. He said to his dad that he finally 'got it'; all you had to do is write about your real life, only be economical with the truth!
It was also good listening to a great writer discuss how writing should be grounded with its sense of place etc. I took a lot of encouragment from this, especially from such a fantastical imaginative novelist.
I slipped out at the end without saying hello. While I did bring a copy of his book 'The Butt' with me to London, it was left in my hotel room. I did not want it signed. I only wanted to have as much of read as possible before I went to 'the gig.' Still, I should have had no concerns. Will was sensible enough to read from an early section. He even discussed how he hates going to readings were the writers read sections from the end of books, so feel obliged to explain everything first! A complete waste of time...
I would do this type of thing again. Just sit at the back, keep a low profile but get an immense amount of enjoyment out of it.