Will Self’s “Journey”

Gray Lady sideshows don’t get any more navel-gazing than this Will Self trip to New York. Witness a “writer’s journey” as Self adjusts his technological device, adjusts his technological device while trying to cadge a flame (Self has now obtained a beverage!), is asked to pose in front of a Xmas display, still can’t find anyone to light his cigarette (cruel New Yorkers!) while ensuring that his books aren’t being sold for under a dollar (the technological device has returned and must be fiddled with some more! does it contain his Post-Its?), realizes that his bottled water is unsatisfactory (but is hep hep HEP thanks to Jay), is hassled by the photographer as he attempts to eat his lunch, examines a man jumping to his death from the Brooklyn Bridge in broad daylight, and has a near heart attack when he learns how expensive cigarettes are in New York.

Discuss with Class:

1. What is Mr. Self’s journey?
2. Why is there not a single computer or typewriter or pen in any of these photographs?
3. Did Mr. Self enjoy his meal and his bottle of water? And why should this matter?
4. Should the photographer be fired?
5. Was this silly photo session a quid pro quo for a Book of Dave review?


  1. The Times often gets lost when it ventures out of its backyard. The mapped trip from the hotel to 1 Centre St is less than 15 miles. Self’s 26-mile walk from home to Heathrow may also have been estimated by the Times. Examination of a London map suggests it could be done in about 17 miles.

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