Jesse Thorn, who hosts the public radio show the Sound of Young America out of Los Angeles, interviewed me yesterday about “Surveillance Society,” my New Yorker article on Mass-Observation, and he’s running the interview in his latest show. He’s an enthusiastic and knowledgeable interviewer, even of a somewhat tongue-tied interviewee. If your local radio station doesn’t happen to carry his program, you can download it as an MP3 here.
The anecdote from the Mass-Observation book May the Twelfth that I attempt, without complete success, to recall from memory for Jesse during the interview reads in fact as follows: “7.20 a.m. Get up. Feel rather liverish, with a headache. Put on dressing gown and bedroom slippers—go down to kitchen—put small copper kettle (find myself thinking ‘Fancy this still going’—it has leaked slightly for years) on methylated spirit lamp. . . . I go into the kitchen and note some dead black beetles (? or cockroaches—not sure) on the floor—on their backs, my mother having used ‘Flit’ the night before. I feel slightly revolted…” I don’t know why I recalled this detail from May the Twelfth, instead of the dream a young man had of murdering Franco with a garden rake and then being dragged underwater by an octopus, but somehow the dead beetles were within easier reach of my short-term memory than the octopus was.