The transcripts for Radio 4, 23 July 2013.
Interview with: Alistair Rey
Radio 4: You have been active in a variety of political campaigns as of late. Your stance has claimed to be in favor of European integration, but does this accurately describe your platform?
AR: Yes and no. I support European integration in the abstract, but I am not technically involved in politics. I write political articles (call it propaganda if you want). I think of myself as a hired gun. It’s mercenary politics, if anything.
Radio 4: On that subject, were you definitely hired by the government of Romania to generate political propaganda?
AR: Yes, definitively.
Radio 4: They deny this.
AR: Of course. That’s the flip side of being a hired gun. When they no longer have a use for you, you are on the outside.
Radio 4: In your articles on the campaign to elect Richard Pryor, you seemed to be engaging in political satire. Did you see it this way?
AR: Not necessarily. For me, politics is satire, pure and simple. You have politicians—some of whom depend on votes and some of whom depend upon entrenched client networks—that are always parroting what they believe people want to hear. It becomes a parody by its very nature. There is no way around that, really. For my part, I just try and take a back seat and go along for the ride. You always end up somewhere.
Radio 4: Does this mean you will be staying out of direct political criticism?
AR: I was never a political critic, so yes. Fiction and making things up seems a more rewarding enterprise as of late.
Radio 4: Fiction? Anything in particular?
AR: Oddly, I am working on a semi-political novel at the moment, but for the most part short stories in the style of some writers I enjoy— Robert Aickamn, Franz Kafka, Thomas Pynchon, William Faulkner, Huysmans, those types . . . .
Radio 4: Those are some big name. Any present day writers you enjoy reading?
AR: Sure, lots, but I am an old–fashioned type at heart. I could have listed people like Roberto Bolano or Mark Danielewski but that would make me seem too contemporary, too with it. I’d ruin the eccentric capital I have built up over the years.
Radio 4: Perhaps so. That seems like a good note to close on. Thanks for joining us today.
AR: My pleasure.