Friday, October 17, 2003

Insane logic located over local dissent. Mischievous, engaging, quietly subversive, relished and subtley feeding the absurdity of this position in line with you and I.

After enjoying Michael Barrymore's comeback performance at Wyndham's theatre a while back, I drank peach schnapps with JG Ballard, and this is what he said to me:

The M1 was our route 66, the gateway to the British West. When it was built in 1960, it was a psychological step forward. No traffic lights, no stop signs: this was the freedom of the autobahn and the highway, and took us out of the 50s. For the British it amounted to the end of a way of life, just like supermarkets.

Once inside the M25 you step onto a stage set, or a museum, or mausoleum. I call it Heritage London: a set that is populated with TV executives and roving consultants, a series of tableaux. Real England consists of executive housing, marinas, science parks, commercial zones, aquariams, luxury flats, millions of luxury flats! They're all luxury, each one. So what's the new luxury? Luxury is the new average. I live in Shepperton, just near the M25, what I call Real England. Living in Shepperton, worrying about the zeitgeist!

Now there is only consumerism, and there is nothing else but, and nothing to replace it. It is the only thing that matters. Religion has lost its magic, politics its power, even the era of television is over...replaced by consumerism, purely. Could you construct a religion out of the shopping experience? It lacks all dimension, but it's what people want. DIY centres, hypermarkets - these are our palaces, our Versailles. England now is like a shopfront open on an empty retail park at night.

It was sheer, mere cheek, and it was bumptious! Having just written a satire to see out the year, only to be read by those he took aim at, he had no option but...to have fun! I thought this fine. "The revolution has to begin somewhere," he said, "...you work with the material given to you!" Then I got more drinks, as it was cocktail hour, and tried to explain Christina Aguilera.

posted by oc  # 8:16 AM

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