Feature Entry: A fantasy interview with Will Self based on an online conversation between Geoff Nicholson and Mr. Self. Both authors have written books about walking and are avid walkers. Source of the imaginary interview can be found at http://www.believermag.com/issues/200906/?read=correspondence_self_nicholson.
MoneyWalker: Do you consider yourself a good walker?
Will Self: That is not the way I would describe my walking. As a psychogeographer I have written books about urban hikes around London some of distances up to 100 miles. So, if a good walker means that I have the stamina to walk long distances while maintaining awareness, one may suppose that I am a good walker.
MoneyWalker: In other interviews, you describe yourself as a modern flâneur. What does it mean to be a flâneur?<
Will Self: The term flâneur comes from the French masculine noun flâneur—which has the basic meanings of "stroller", "lounger", "saunterer", "loafer"—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means "to stroll". Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of flâneur—that of "a person who walks the city in order to experience it".
MoneyWalker: As a psychogeographer as well as writer is it fair to stay that you walk in order to experience the cultural, literary and historical aspects of London and other major urban conclaves.
Will Self: Yes you may say that, but rural areas as well. Because of the term's usage and theorization by Baudelaire and numerous other thinkers in the fields you identified as well as economic, cultural, and historical fields, the idea of the flâneur has accumulated significant meaning as a referent for understanding urban phenomena and modernity.
MoneyWalker: In French Canada flâner is rarely used to describe strolling or other high minded objectives and often has a negative connotation as the term's most common usage refers to loitering.
Will Self: Well in my younger days I did quite a bit of walking while loitering, usually stoned or trying to find a source for that purpose. I can’t recommend that today for safety as well as legal exigencies.
MoneyWalker: You have said elsewhere that there are similarities between walking and sex. Can you elaborate?
Will Self: Yes, both are basic, simple, and repetitive capable of great sophistication and elaboration. Both provide sources of pleasure that can feel like hard work.
Note: The photo is the actual office of Author Will Self.