Found by Mike Holliday: It's from "XS", a music and style magazine published in Liverpool, issue #2 (September-October 1985).

Ballard: Laying Tracks

JG Ballard is arguably the finest British novelist of the Eighties. Short-listed for this year's [sic] Booker Prize for Empire of the Sun, he started writing in the late Fifties, influenced by American Science Fiction, although his current work is far removed from the accepted genre.

He concentrates on what's happening to present day urban cultures, with a particular emphasis on the omnipotence of the media. In 1964 [sic] he predicted that Ronald Reagan would one day be President, and once said he'd fancy Margaret Thatcher as a mistress.

John Earwaker asked him:

[JE] Do you find life in Britain boring?

[JGB] In many ways the Seventies and Eighties have been much more interesting than people give them credit for. As in the Fifties, the rails are now being laid along which we will trundle forward into the next twenty years. I think that today's young, far from being a lost generation cut off forever from a glorious epoch (the Sixties) which they never knew at first hand, are in fact the innovators of the way people will live for decades ahead. The tracks are being laid bolted down for some very heavy freight. A Streetcar named Boredom? Maybe.

[JE] Do you think this country is puritanical?

[JGB] Yes, the bourgeoisie is now in total control of everything, and is likely to remain so for a very long time, infinitely more philistine and mercenary than the Victorians ever were - in short, a situation that gives maximum opportunity to the surrealists among us - so many over-inflated elephants, and so many sharp pins to hand...

[JE] Does Margaret Thatcher still appeal to you as a mistress?

[JGB] Mistress? That sounds rather domestic. I think she belongs in the realms of the White Goddess, the nightmare life-in-death who froze the blood of the Ancient Mariner - a potent and enthralling figure.

[JE] How do you view the gender-bending phenomenon?

[JGB] I admire women so much that I can't imagine that anyone would want to transfer [sic] them into men.

[JE] What do you think of the current media and their success factor?

[JGB] Late Twentieth Century media success is a mysterious phenomenon, a collective dream that expresses our deepest hopes and anxieties - the sleeper needs to be wide awake.

[JE] Do you think it affects our morality?

[JGB] Morality? We are moving into a lunar epoch of pure sensation. I think there should be more and more television. Our problem is that we don't have enough. Four channels - there should be four hundred. Sooner or later everything will turn into television...

[JE] You predicted that Ronald Reagan, an actor, would become the most powerful man on earth, twenty years ago; can you see a pop or media personality becoming Prime Minister?

[JGB] We are rapidly reaching the point where it will be impossible to predict what will happen even five minutes into the future. This lets in a great deal of freedom into the system,

[JE] Are you interested in becoming involved in video?

[JGB] I'd quite like to write the script of a pop video for David Bowie.

[JE] What do you think of Kathy Acker?

[JGB] I met her and was most impressed with her beauty, modesty and good humour - she is absolutely of the Eighties, and demonstrates that one does not have to be a freak to produce work of surrealist derangement. The cooler you are, the more dangerous, like a psychotic criminal.

[JE] Are we going to become more psychotic?

[JGB] I'm more worried about people becoming totally sane - sanity in the wrong hands is a dangerous weapon.

[JE] Would you have liked the Booker Prize?

[JGB] Never having had more than two pennies to rub together, I found the notion of being given £15,000 had considerable charm - but I didn't take the possibility too seriously.