Want to be rich and famous but you’re afraid of looking needy and greedy? Want to do that reassuring fireside chats thing, be cool and so smokiiiiin’ that your shorts burst into flame, all at the same time?
You too can be a famous Cuddly-Dissolute™ journalist/Have I Got News For You guest, go-to drugs authority/working journo me dear star. Just follow these ten golden rules and you too can get a little byline with a picture that looks as if it captures that nanosecond when you realise there was a wasp on that ice lolly you just bit into.
1) Put a dateline in. It’s like journos used to do. Older means authoritative.
2) But you don’t want to seem too old, so put the mandatory drugs reference in the first paragraph. That makes you down widda kidz innit.
3) Do be careful with drugs. You don’t want people thinking you just wanted to get off your face like some loser in a council flat so make sure that drugs reference is an acronym of some kind. MDMA = good. Draw = I’m sorry, but you can’t put that in a respectable Will Self story.
4) Irony call – get this in early too, you don’t want people to think you actually LIKE the quite nice sounding place you’ve ended up reporting from, unless you can make it look as if you’re only liking it ironically. When you write, use words that sound as if your mouth is tight and turned down and that’ll be about right.
5) Synapses. They can fire, miss, implode, spurt, scream, anything you want them to do, but it is absolutely imperative to get them in there somehow, just to make sure people don’t think (3) or that you are or were some trash junky mess-up instead of a hip gunslinger way out there on the frontier, a sort of British Hunter Thompson, if Hunter Thompson had lived in Swindon, worked on the Wiltshire Times and hired a moped.
6) Key words and phrases to include: dickhead; capitalism’s blitzkrieg; millennium, moronic, at least one other highly specific drug reference, something about the 1980s, Comrade Stalin, hip, zeitgeist, unalloyed genius and at least one ‘high-culture’ icon, like Michaelangelo for example. Dante would do at a pinch.
7) Make sure if you do write ‘high-culture’ you put it in ironic inverted commas so that people know you know it is. Otherwise, no sorry, the thought alone is too hideous.
8) Get a pretendy swearword in towards the end, e.g. Hell. It keeps them reading. And you look hip as Hell. Also you’re obviously being ironic in using the word, so doubleplusgood.
9) Use doubleplusgood and/or Nadsat droogspeak if you can, but make sure they know you’re being ironic. Again.
10) The Faux-Humble Fake Letter From America. “And in the end” is a good way of rounding it off, especially as it’s got ‘in the end’ in, making it circular and oh look, ironic.
You’ll make a fortune. Just as soon as Will Self ironically shuffles off his mortal coil, comrade.