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A New York-based writer on cyberculture, Douglas Rushkoff gives Deirdre Molloy the lowdown on what switches him on.
lane Douglas Rushkoff. Age 35.
Previous lohs I was supposed to be doctor when I was in college, but I’d done plays since I was a kid and went into theatre at Princeton instead. I directed all over the place. even over in Edinburgh a few times. I liked doing strange themes but in somewhat realistic ways. so I did a play about Andy Warhol’s Factory and a bunch of interesting stuff.
Route to becoming a writer I was living in LA and writing a little for magazines like Esquire and Details as theatre directing doesn’t pay the bills. I was going to take ajob editing a magazine in New York and just before my ﬂight, the magazine folded. I got the plane anyway and on the way I wrote the proposal for my ﬁrst book Cyberia — that was in 1989 when raves and the whole computer-psychedelic revolution was very new to the States. Oaily routine When I'm actually writing — generally for four months of the year — I‘ll get up at 6am or 7am and write before people are awake. Most of the year I'm travelling around — just now I’m going to Rotterdam — thinking of what I'm going to write about and talking to people.
Influences Timothy Leary, television and theatre. I sort of see most of what we do as psychodrama, that we’re playing out these scenes. My main cultural agenda is populism.
Ambitions I’m interested in exploring the activities of our own adolescents. Our culture is still tremendously programmed by advertisers. politicians. and established institutions. The task at hand is to break from their spell of programming and create our own scenarios on how we want to proceed and stop depending on experts. kings and popes to dictate for us.
Fears That people are so conditioned they mightn‘t be able to believe they have the ability to take charge of the world - that people really believe that left to our own devices. we’ll rape and pillage each other. If people are that afraid, they'll never believe they’re just as smart as the powerful people. Income Well, I haven’t made enough money to live the rest of my life but if it stays the way it is. I’ll be more than happy.
Children Of Chaos by Douglas Rushkoff is published by HarperCollins at £12.99.
[MEIE- PILLS wrrltour THRILLS
I Uncertainty Michael Larsen (Sceptre £10) Apparently an ‘erotic, shocking. psychological thriller’. this Danish bestseller features a stereotypical loser joumo guy whose ﬂight attendant ﬁancee Monique — blessed with ‘lips red and fruitlike’ — has been murdered. with Mr Personality Dislocation as prime suspect.
The result: a bellyaching book of 260 pages as journo fumbles through a paranoid whisky haze of pills. grubby
thrills and La-La land's virtual porn industry in his quest for The Truth.
Mmmmm. what is Danish for ‘yawn’? Somewhere in the quagmire lurks an aspirational luddite social commentary on our bleak technological age that could be Brave New World-ish if you took as many delusional drugs as our protagonist. Hey, call me old fashioned but perhaps it’s the sweat. ‘throbbing dicks’ and ‘massaged nipples‘ quota that obscures my critical judgment of this ‘brilliant tour de force‘. but then again maybe it’s because this book is just crap. (Ann Donald)
W ON-lINE runit orr
I Safe Sex William Edgar Boggan (Fourth Estate £9.99) So sharp is boy wonder Wiley Jones - drop-out A grade student, proliﬁc ladies’ man. and aspiring writer — that he seems in constant danger of being put away in a top drawer with all the pointy cutlery. An absurd case of writer's wish fulﬁlment, Boggan’s debut is a rite of passage novel which fails the Holden Caulﬁeld/Sal Paradise bullshit detector test quite miserably. Something no
[HEEL— THE SLEAZE CAME
I Sleaze: The Corruption 0! Parliament David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy (Fourth Estate £9.99) ‘A liar and a cheat‘. ran the banner headline in The Guardian. the day after Neil Hamilton had dropped his libel action against the newspaper. Hamilton was suing The Guardian over its allegations of corruption. but when his legal team threw in the towel it seemed like a vindication.
This book. by two Guardian journalists not involved in the investigation. explains the newspaper’s
amount of action between the sheets can remedy.
And. yes. there’s plenty. Sweaty. explicit, dangerous even. But mostly the oh-you-animal Jackie Collins variety. In between trysts. Wiley strives to escape the shadow of his father, face the show down between his libido and love for HIV positive computer hacking wiz Alix. and conduct technological terrorism against his cartoon fascist bogeyman of a boss. Enough on-line jargon in fact to give any self-respecting technophobe a conniption. Not for the discerning. (Rodger Evans)
battle to reveal'the truth. Told with the characterisation and detail of a novel. it is a great read — but one with a deeply unsatisfactory ending. Documents released during the legal proceedings cannot be published. so The Guardian is unable ﬁnally to demonstrate the truth of its allegations.
Sleaze argues Hamilton deliberately chose to end legal proceedings. and be judged instead by a parliamentary committee ﬁlled with chums and sympathisers.
‘As Robert Maxwell showed. an accomplished and litigious liar can go far in British public life.’ concludes this fascinating but frustrating book. (Stephen Naysmith)
I Stormy Weather Carl Hiaasen (Pan £5.99) New York adman Max abandons his Disney World package honeymoon when the mother of hurricanes hits Florida. Entranced. he heads for the eye of the storm. to ﬁnd all hell has broken loose: a crime wave studded with wild animals. politicians and the odd cruciﬁxion. A ﬁne. funny novel injected with originality.
I hepossessing Ernestine Marsha Hunt (Flamingo £6.99) In the l920s. Ernestine Hunt. a bright. happy. young mother was senselesst committed to a mental institution. a system in which she existed for over 50 years before granddaughter Marsha almost accidentally discovered both her and the family‘s secrets. A stunning. three-tissue emotional cauldron told with an empathic and candid sincerity.
I Blind Bitter Happiness Adam Mars- Jones (Chatto and Windus £8.99) An eclectic academic. critic and novelist. Mars-Jones writes with an air of impatience clearly evident in this pithy collection of bite-size essays and reviews. Gay issues and celebrities dominate. from literature to Marc Almond. the remaining piece is a diverse selection. enveloping the portrayal of disability in ﬁlm and a study of his mother.
I The law of Enchantment Dale Peck (Vintage £5.99) From the young author of I'm-king Marlin. this is a dark. often depressing. multi-layered study of relationships. The ﬁctional Henry and Beatrice meet and marry. their conventional path maturing into a bitter. apathetic old age rejuvenated by renewed passion. Sandwiched in their story is the author‘s parental memories and recollection of his mother's death.
I The Devil’s Carousel Jeff Torrington (Minerva £6.99) Drawing much material from Torrington's former employment at the Chrysler Talbot car plant. this tells the story of working-class assembly-line men at the crumbling Centaur Car company. Through anecdote. proﬁle and yarn. a composite picture emerges of entrapment. resignation and tragedy. redundancy and take-over. Fatalistic humour and nuance prevail in a worthwhile read. (Susan Mackenzie)
EVENTS ' T”
I Val Mcuermirl and Manda Scott Sat 8 Feb. noon. Women only. Glasgow Women's Library. 4th Floor, 109 Trongate. 552 8345. Author of prize- winning The Mermaids Singing will be talking about her ﬁfth Lindsay Gordon mystery Books For Murder (Women’s Press £15.99) and Manda Scott will be discussing her ﬁrst novel Hen Is Teeth (Women‘s Press £6.99). I Professor Archie E. Boy Thurs 13 Feb. 6pm. Glasgow University Bookshop. University Avenue. 221 7472. The author reads and signs copies of his new book The Archives Of The Mind (SNU £12.95). I Alan Spence and Chris uolan Fri 14 Feb, 7.15pm. Waterstones, 45-50 Princes Square. 221 9650. An evening’s discussion on the art of short story writing, with 1996 McVities award winner Alan Spence. and Chris Dolan. winner of The Macallan/Scotland On Sunday competition in 1995. Whisky will be provided by Macallan. I Carl Macuougall Tue 18 Feb. 1-2pm. Collins Gallery. University of Strathcylde. Richmond Street. Contact Ken Simpson on 552 4400 ext 3518. The author reads from his new novel The Casanova Papers (Seeker £10). I Rick Stein Thurs 20 Feb. 12.30—1.30pm. John Smith’s. Level 2. 57 St Vincent Street, 221 7472. The
celebrated chef talks about and signs copies of his new book Fruits Oleie Sea (BBC £17.99).
I A.|.. Kennedy Thurs 20 Feb. 7pm. CCA. 346-354 Sauchiehall Street. 332 7521. Scottish novelist and short story writer reads from her new book Original Bliss (Jonathan Cape £14.99).
I Bobby Christie and Jim Ferguson Thurs 20 Feb. 7pm. Street Level Gallery. 26 King Street. 552 2151. Readings by the authors of a new booklet of poetry Acts 0} Fiction (Neruda Press £3). with a special guest appearance from Karen Thomson.
McVities award-winner Alan Spence read: at Waterstones, Princes Square, Glasgow. on Fri 14
I Performance Poetry Fri 7 Feb. 7.30pm. £1.50 (£1). The West End Hotel. 35 Palmerston Place. Contact John McCaughie on 337 8277 for further information. Performance poetry with local writers and special guest. Nancy Somerville.
I Blake Morrison Mon 10 Feb. 7pm. Waterstones. 83 George Street. 225 3436. Blake Mon'ison reads from his new book As If(Granta £15.99) which looks at the state of the nation and the British family. I Ian Rankin Tue 11 Feb. 6.30-8.30pm. Central Library. George [V Bridge. 225 5584. Tickets (free) available from library. Scottish crime writer runs an adult workshop for new writers on writing crime ﬁction.
I Nigel Williams Tue 1 1 Feb. 7pm. _Waterstones. 13-14 Princes Street. 556 3034. The author of the Wimbledon novels reads and signs copies of his new book Stalking Fiona (Granta £ l 5.99).
I Kathleen Jamie and Elite MacDonald Wed 12 Feb. 7.45pm. £3 (£2). Netherbow Arts Centre. 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Poetry readings from award-winning Jamie and Dundonian MacDonald.
I A.|.. Kennedy Thurs 13 Feb. 7.30pm. Waterstones. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. Scottish novelist and short story writer reads from her new book Original Bliss (Jonathan Cape £14.99).
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35 The List 7-20 Feb I997