My interview with Iain Sinclair (as trailered below) went up last week on Ballardian.com. It's had a pretty positive response from readers and the wider blogpond - Ballardian site editor Simon Sellars reckons it's the site's most popular post in its 18 months of publishing.
It's been an interesting experience for me for two reasons. First, this kind of literary interview is a world away from my usual work, the bread-and-butter writing on business, tech and corporate finance issues. Which isn't to say that there isn't as much enjoyment or stimulation to (occasionally) be had from those areas - or even to say that they're entirely unrelated, particularly with regards to the urban regeneration/redevelopment beat and some of Sinclair's concerns - but it's good to know I can still hack a different furrow. I like having a range of subjects, and this just might potentially lead to other things in the same arena. At least, that's my justification for doing this job gratis, other than getting the chance to sit and talk for an hour with one of my favourite writers, about another of my favourite writers.
Second, this is the first major piece I've written for first publication on the web since blogs became an integral feature of the net - such things were not around back when I was knocking out features for Venturedome.com. It's great to see something being published almost as soon as it's written (well, within a week or so anyway, given that I had to get the photos developed and Simon had to find time to lay it all out) rather than the month or more of most magazine schedules, and to get immediate feedback from readers. I'm particularly proud of the chap who said he'd spent his entire morning reading the interview and checking out the links rather than working. And it's been interesting to see the piece being picked up by other blogs - some of my favourite reads, like BLDGBLOG, Strange Attractor and Mountain7, as well as a few I'm not familiar with but found via Technorati or Google. It's good to see different people zeroing in on different aspects of the interview - whether Ballard was ever SF, the end of psychogeography, or Sinclair's proposed 'Beijing Orbital' project - and very good to see people vowing to read either more Ballard or more Sinclair.
So am I now a convert to the claims that blogs, or the net in its wider forms, can and should wipe out traditional print journalism? No - at least, not until such media can be as easily accessed, stored, and read on the train or in the bath. And I might be conservative in this regard, but as the writer, seeing your words on screen just isn't the same as seeing them on paper.
To wrap up, it seems a shame to waste this unused shot from the Barbican -