writing

the aptly named Paint House

Here’s some prose you need: this is some good, good prose. It doesn’t really matter what it’s about: it is about the writer’s ability to write good prose. But read this:

On a sodden Saturday afternoon in January, the three-mile trip from the South London suburb of Stockwell to Clapham Junction is a dispiriting proposition. I had to go and get some paint from the aptly named Paint House on Northcote Road, and decided to take the tube to Clapham Common then walk across it, thereby exercising both myself and the dog, a two-year-old Jack Russell called Maglorian, whose puppyish manner complements his diminutive stature. When he actually was a puppy he was so winsome that small crowds used to gather round him in the street; nowadays, thankfully, it is only the occasional passerby who screws up his or her face and starts going ‘Oooh’ as he trots towards them.

Prose! (Don’t call me Prose.) It’s actually Will Self (can that really be his name? Yes!) in the LRB-to-which-you-should-probably-subscribe. It is taken from an essay about a British radio program to which you probably don’t listen, which will make you maddeningly jealous of the British, Radio 4, the BBC, arts funding, and literary culture in England. So why should you read the essay? You should read the essay, the whole thing, right now (what are you doing? Writing? C’mon.) because, if you do, there will be something so funny at the end that it will make you either forget about what it is you need to forget or else be reconciled to its unforgettability.

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