8 thoughts on “Me talking about Alan Watts and the Last Summer of the Water Strider on Start the Week

  1. Excellent. I’ll buy the book.

    Like most things around Alan Watts is stumbled across this interview purely by accident which always seems appropriate.

    I have lots of Alan watts’ talks on his iPhone app and listen to them regularly. A very profound, funny and – the word was surely invented for him – a real zen guy.

    Sounds excellent. I read your hurricane book many years ago and loved it. This one sounds really good too.


  2. I enjoyed this discussion immensely (also your interview in the INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY). Until I met Jarvis Cocker a year or so ago, I thought I was the only person in Britain who knew about Alan Watts! I can’t wait to read THE LAST SUMMER OF THE WATER STRIDER.

    You’re right that Watts faced the tragic side of existence, while still managing to be what he called a ‘spiritual entertainer’. There are, of course, many facets to his genius. In one of my own books, BEAT SOUND, BEAT VISION, I present Watts as someone who opened the doors of perception not only for the Beat writers of the 50s but also for the songwriters of the 60s.

    Laurence Coupe


  3. Watts was a drug taker, alcoholic, and cheated on his loved ones. Such a flawed guy cannot be held up, seriously, as someone worth following. He did write fluently about Buddhism, and related topics. But there are others who write more fluently, with greater knowledge, who live lives that do not damage themselves or others.


    • Watts was a flawed guy. That’s why I like him. I distrust people who claim some kind of spiritual perfection. Watts was human, and suffered and that’s what we all must do. Anyway, once you start judging thinkers and artists on their personal characters you start to lose an awful lot of the great minds of history.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I first came across Alan Watts in the late 80s, when a bookseller at Swiss Cottage market said I must read him. I agree – in a way – with Mal: he was flawed. But all these years later I’m not looking for someone to follow; I think I can spare a bit of compassion for someone who strove, even if in the end he failed. I’m glad Tim Lott’s written this novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Further to my earlier comment on the radio discussion, I just wanted to let you know that, as a regular reviewer for the TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION magazine, I’ve recommended THE LAST SUMMER OF THE WATER STRIDER in the ‘What are you reading?’ column of the current issue (out today).

    “Set in the early 1970s, the story concerns a 17-year old, significantly called Adam, who is forced to enter the world of experience when he witnesses his mother’s death. He is then sent to stay with his uncle Henry Templeton – a character whom Lott bases on the self-proclaimed ‘spiritual entertainer’ of the hippie era, Alan Watts. Despite being deeply flawed, Henry helps Adam awaken to a whole new way of seeing the world.”

    In the original submission, I ended with this sentence: “An absorbing and atmospheric read.” Unfortunately it was edited out due to lack of space!


  6. It was a pleasure, Tim. I really enjoyed reading the novel. A fascinating study in both adolescence and charisma.

    I was annoyed about the missing sentence, so I’ve restored it in the version which I’ve just posted on my own website!



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