These uncertainties are reflected in Pierre's writing in an often oblique or hazy way, particularly in Lights Out In Wonderland. The idea of the "pornography of food" as a metaphor for the end times, he tells me, came to him while reading Petronius on the decline of Rome. "The writing is so modern. The climate of unease and complaint in those books feels incredibly familiar. The banquet was the perfect medium for the powerful to express their power and the sense they had of being above the law. It was a way to be grand. I feel that has certain parallels with what has been happening of late. Bankers, politicians' expenses and all that. Eating out expensively is always a big factor in there, isn't it? Money and food seem to assume an incredible importance as a culture declines. I really do think that is the case today, as it was back then. You just have to look at food writing, restaurant reviews in particular, to see that. It comes close to the pornographic at times, that kind of fetishising of food and its rituals.
DBC Pierre – the initials stand for Dirty But Clean, a nickname he earned in his spectacularly misspent youth – is known by his real name, Peter Finlay.