Friday, June 10, 2005

Believe in a thing called love

'A hippie is a Countercultural with political rationale. A crusty is an aggressively or else helplessly unhygienic ditto: with extra righteousness or extra nuisance value, depending on your point of view.'

Gwyneth Jones, Bold As Love, p. 372.

Reading this at the moment, based on it having won the Arthur C Clarke Award (always a good recommendation). It's an odd but engaging read: a near-future England where rock-and-roll is getting into bed with the government. Not so unlikely, considering Live8, I guess. Wonder what my old tutor, George McKay, makes of all this... Is it sleeping with the enemy, or a reasonable demand for the impossible?

Bold as Love by Gwyneth JonesAnyway, the book. Ax Preston is the dictator-elect, and also guitarist with 'The Few'. His mate Stephen/Sage/Aoxomoxoa spends his whole time hidden behind a 3D mask that makes him look like the living dead. And both are in love with Fiorinda - a teenage girl with a *really* messed up past, who might just be a witch. There's a war with the islamic community, there's the festival site in Reading getting washed away in a storm, there's a girl being kidnapped by ne'er-do-well immigrants, there's all sorts of fights and drugs and explosions... All good, exciting stuff, with good characters and surprises and that sort of thing.

But there's very little in the way of the mechanics of politics. We never really get to see how decisions are made, or how grievances sorted. It all kind of ambles along under Ax's forever vague catchphrases:
'Be good to each other, It's the ecology, stupid. Positive interference, start from where we are, the natural environment of people is people, if we can just get through this part...'

Ibid, p. 387.

The rock stars - as in their music, so in their politics - try to do their own thing, and just kinda hope people'll follow them. Which, for the most part (i.e. bar some explosions), handily they do...

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