M How would you sum up The Antipope in a couple of sentences?
R Jesus, this is going to be difficult.
M Christopher Priest managed it.
R Somebody I know had told me this word, ‘Antipope’, and I’d never heard of it before. He told me that at one time there were three Popes at the same time. And I thought ‘That’s a good name for a book, isn’t it, The Antipope?’ All I wanted to do was write a book about Brentford, because that was all I knew about. Enough people I knew were in it. So I thought ‘Well, I’ll chance my arm, and who’s the worst Pope in the world?’ And I looked him up and it was good old Rodrigo Borgia, a prize bastard. And I thought ‘Well, that’s it. Let’s write a book about the reincarnation of the prize bastard Pope.’ So that was it basically. You’ll have to twist that around a bit, won’t you?
M The Brentford Triangle?
R I had a dream, that thing about the pyramids weighting down the world. I was lying in bed one night and I had this dream that I’d seen these blokes try to dismantle the pyramids, and as they did the world went Whoosh! I was saying ‘Put them back! Put them back! It’s keeping it on trim!’ I woke up thinking ‘What the fuck was that?’, and so that book was based around not only the bits that were cut out of The Antipope, but this one theory: could the Great Pyramid of Giza be keeping the Earth on trim? I’m not going to be able to do these in one sentence.
M East Of Ealing?
R Hatred of computers. Pure and simple: hatred of computers. They were really coming into their own then. Hang on, which one’s got the, um...?
M I don’t know, you wrote them.
R East Of Ealing is about Latinos(?) and Gromos(?) the computers.
M That’s the one with the barcode on.
R That’s right. Barcodes were coming out, and my mum the fundamentalist Christian was saying ‘It’s the mark of the Beast! It’s the mark of the Beast!’ and I said ‘No, no, no.’ Then recently somebody showed me this thing, that those two long straight narrow lines of which there are three on every bar code, do mean six! The fucking thing is 666! I thought ‘Damn me!’ So that’s entirely down to my personal luddite attitude to technology.
M The Sprouts Of Wrath?
R What’s that one about’?
M It says...
R Oh, that’s the one about the Olympics! Isn’t it? If you were going to set the Olympics anywhere in England, it would have to Brentford, wouldn’t it? If you were going to set it in Brentford, you would have to build the bastard up in the sky, because there’s nowhere else to put it. So it was a natural progression. This was going to be the last one. They had to have something spectacular to do, and I couldn’t think of anything more spectacular than hosting the Olympics. That was an obvious final goodbye to Brentford, wasn’t it, really?
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