....HOW LIKELY IS THAT?

'please don't put your life in the hands of a rock and roll band...'




          "...If Hendrix had lived, would he have been heading a counter cultural think tank advising the Home Secretary on the dissolution of the UK and what to do with the House Of Lords? Bono's current foray into politics makes Gwyneth Jones's Bold as Love look alarmingly prophetic..."
                                                                                                Debbie Shaw, Mute, May 2002...more                    

                 Politicians may be seduced by the rockstar concept, megastars may decide to use their high status and visibility for the political benefit of the world's poor. Grassroots aspiring rockstars frequently align themselves with radical, utopian politics, but the sources for the Bold As Love scenario are deeper in the past.

Revolution.... Pop culture icons taking government jobs:  
                                                              it happens all the time...

"Here I am, already doing a statesman's work...."
1848, Paris

  "'Does France wish to force Paris into having recourse
   to this extreme, this deplorable remedy?'...This was
   tantamount to calling the people into the streets..."
                         Andre Maurois, Leila..
A Life of George Sand

26th June 1848...'Leaving a barricade one no
longer knows what one has seen. One has been ferocious, yet one has no recollection of it. Swept up in a battle of ideas endowed with human faces, one's head has been in the light of the future. There were corpses lying down and phantoms standing up. The hours were colossal - hours of eternity. One has been living in death. Shadows have passed. What are they? Hands with blood on them. A horrific deafening din. An atrocious silence. Open mouth shouting; other mouths, also open, but soundless.... One seems to have touched the sinister perspirations of unknown depths. There is something red under one's fingernails. One remembers nothing." Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo, Graham Robb)
On the left, we have George Sand, free spirit and lifelong socialist with a tough attitude to the By Any Means Necessary concept; on the right we have Victor Hugo, ruthless opportunist in the backstabbing of the arts world, genuinely shocked at that red stuff under his fingernails... So, that's where the Deconstruction Tour came from. A little bit of 1968, a little bit of 1848, blood running in the gutters, radical rockstar icons of their times feeling it their natural duty to get in there and mix it with the People. But Ax's Manifesto of art and love has different, English sources, or analogues, in our Victorian past

Sweetness And Light...

        Social Reform, the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts Movement

   "There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot
     make a little worse and a little cheaper, and the people who
     consider price alone are that person's lawful prey..."
                                                         John Ruskin                              


In Ruskin's 1884 essay "The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century", he chronicles
the "plague wind" that disrupted weather pattens and covered England with a dismal industrial
overcast that lasted for months at a time. Although Ruskin correctly links this effect with urban
coal smog and the recentr eruption of Kratatoa, he also suggests that the storm cloud reflects
the moral decay and modern apathy of society

unpublished essay, SFF

Blanched sun, blighted grass, blinded man...

We live in a Victorian Age. John Ruskin, English dreamer, the great Victorian Art critic turned reformer, was probably addressing the mass-affluent middle classes in that first quote, and telling them to buy something more tasteful to put in the drawing room, but his words could equally stand as an accusation of modern globalization. Unfortunately, then as now, it is the poor, first and above all, who have to consider price alone, and who pay the cost of the profit motive. Only now we count them in billions...

However, that's only half the story. The expression Sweetness and Light comes from Matthew Arnold, poet and Educational Reformer,who believed, like Mr Ax Preston, that the natural environment of people is people, we are meant to look after each other, and that this doesn't just mean sharing the food, the clean water, the dry places to sleep. A shared culture means the best of everything, art and ideas included, shared by everyone. Like William Morris, another middle class male socialist artist, he wanted the people to have beauty in their lives... In Castles Made Of Sand, the Utopian culture is built on Rock Music, which would maybe have appalled these real, historical English dreamers, but each to their own. There's a tension between the private lives of the idealists, and the ideals they proclaimed (William Morris still had a twelve year old girl or two slaving in his scullery, while he was financing the socialist journal Commonweal) which is reflected in Castles too....

      "We're revolutionary idealists, cloth-ears. Art for a cause. Being naive and corrupt is a vibrant part of our cultural heritage..." Castles Made Of Sand


        How many references to the Victorian English Dreamers can you pick up, in the glory days of the Rock and Roll Reich?

        The pre-Raphaelites had a painful triangle of lovers, in William Morris, Janey Morris (the model for all those sultry redheads in the famous pictures), and Dante Gabriel Rossetti

     Rivermead's barefoot architect is called 'Topsy', and given a description to match Wm Morris,because Morris, who originally trained as an architect, was known as 'Topsy'


     But where is the real, unsinkable Promised Land? Maybe it's in a dark, derelict car park by the Regent Canal, in the pouring rain...

                                                 Go, for they call you, Shepherd, from the hill....