The lie-in and the unicorn
Love And Peace With Melody Paradise by Martin Millar IMP Fiction pounds 6.99
Sunday 04 October 1998
By casting himself in the lead role as a highly sceptical, sarcastic and unwilling participant, Millar lends an illusory semblance of authenticity to what would otherwise be a very unconvincing portrait of the travelling community. The bulk of the book is given to dispelling the myth that new age travellers are enlightened, fun-loving and peaceful, while reinforcing the myth that they spend all their time hunting for unicorns, astral travelling and hugging trees. With smug detachment, Millar charts the rivalries between the Clan of the Night Time Elves, the Golden World Eternal Party Tribe, the Militant Children of Lemuria, the Universal Leyline Protectors, the Mushrooms, and various other preposterously named nomadic tribes.
Inevitably, peace and love return to the festival in the final pages, and Millar's scepticism and antagonism is worn down to the level of affectionate mockery. By this time however, his incessant whingeing has already begged the question he poses to a character even more morose than himself: "If you're so anti-everything and everyone here, what did you come to the festival for?"
Melody Paradise is frequently very funny. Millar's gift for sarcasm is given full reign to devastating effect. However, it is directed at such easy targets that it all feels a little disingenuous. Apart from the occasional reference to road protesters and the Criminal Justice Act it is also strangely apolitical, and while it argues that travellers should be free to hunt for unicorns and hug whichever trees they choose, it is unlikely to appeal to members of the communities it caricatures.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 2 Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, TV review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
Al Pacino's The Humbling and Manglehorn, film reviews
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
The Leftovers, TV preview: Prepare to be bewildered by the latest mystery from the creator of Lost
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward