Douglas Coupland: The novelist on being morally reprehensible, dying for Lucy Liu and hating an ocean view

 

My home life is completely unrestricted I don't wear a watch, I have no schedule, and I make it my policy not to wake up for anyone. It's great to be able to do that – if you can get away with it.

I was smart at school Straight A's all along, my speciality being organic chemistry. I was always the youngest person in class, skinny, scrawny, no good at sports. I asserted myself by being smart. But then I got to college and started to get C's and D's. That was fantastic. I no longer had to be the smartest person in the room. It was liberating, like a drug.

I graduated with the world's most useless degree In sculpture. I was making a go of it, but then it morphed into writing. At 29, I published Generation X, which, let's face it, needed a good edit, but it sent me on my way.

Whatever happened to books? Suddenly everybody's talking about these 100-hour movies called Breaking Bad. People are talking about TV the same way they used to talk about novels back in the 1980s. I like to think I hang out with some pretty smart people, but all they talk about is Breaking Bad.

My new book is 'morally reprehensibly', apparently So say the sourpuss critics, anyway. But Worst. Person. Ever. is a satire, and Raymond Gunt [the anti-hero] is my Borat. Every book published since the financial crisis has been worthy, heavy and depressing. I wanted to write a social commentary that could also be fun.

The brain has changed Look at your brain in 1993 and look at it now. The reason is the internet. Who knew that knowing the answer to everything would turn out to be slightly boring?

My parents still don't understand that nobody talks on the phone any more Who wants to talk on the phone? If you want to talk to me, text me. Or if we must, let's meet in person.

9/11 will probably be the last under-documented mega event That's because smartphones, with cameras, didn't come out until 2002. Imagine 9/11 happening now. There would be four billion movies to knit together. A certain tristesse comes with that, I think.

I love celebrity encounters The best was in a hotel in London. I was in the lobby and saw Lucy Liu. She's, like, this tall. She looked up at me and saw a tag sticking out the back of my sweater. She reached up, tucked it in, and said, "Now you're perfect." I would die on a battlefield for Lucy Liu.

Smoking is nature's way of killing popular people I quit 25 years ago, but I still have slip dreams twice a month. The craving never goes away. Even talking about it now makes me want to run out and buy a packet.

I don't like views They remind me of infinity and death. Who wants to look out at the ocean? Urgh.

I love reality TV There have been 27 seasons of [US series] Survivor, and I've watched every episode. True, there are better things to do in life, but low culture can be fun, and it teaches you a lot about human politics – how one small decision can prompt a catastrophic fall-out.

I don't know how anyone gets anything done in cities How can you live somewhere like London or New York, when there are 81 things to do every night? Awful. Give me solitude and space any time.

Douglas Coupland, 51, is one of the leading novelists of his generation and a widely exhibiting visual artist. His latest novel, 'Worst. Person. Ever.', is published by William Heinemann, priced £16.99

Comments