Yes, we made it! Only Hogmanay left to get through now!
Best present this year has been immersion in post-apocalypse. Friend brought up the first BBC series of 'Survivors' on PC, and I'm up to episode 11 of the 13-parter. The opening sequence (a backstory of the accidental unleashing of plague) and the theme music of this series is wonderful. It's a rather rose-tinted, altruistic possible world; an unconsciously anarcho-syndicalist commune coalesces with the aim to re-learn self-sufficiency from the land, gathering the cognitively, psychologically and physically disabled under a benevolent leadership. There's dire scripting for the male lead (made to be a lame James Bond), but a quite radical characterisation (for its time) and portrayal of the female lead, Abby Grant, by the actor Caroline Seymour.
The first episodes are notable for showing social structures or moral values rejected by the main characters- exploitative opportunism, self-appointed vanguardist dictatorship (instituted by an ex-union organiser), paramilitary enforcement of assumed power, a polygamous harem, feudal aristocracy, commoditisation of sexual favours, racketeering. Our autonomous band instead attempt a neo-agrarian model of food production and an organic non-authoritarian social structure, which has to address means to allow collective decision-making and the enforcement of internal justice.
In between, I've been reading Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' (2006) on the Big Wan's recommendation. BG achieved his wish to be bounced from English Higher, yet shows discernment and fortitude with this selection. It's a gruelling read- man and his son scavenging a perilous existence in nuclear winter, food sources limited to dwindling antebellum supplies or human meat. There are big questions raised about God and purpose, told in stunningly simple, pitiless and haunting language. I can't get this book out of my head.
I'm in the mood for total immersion in post-apocalypse, and a re-reading of 'Riddley Walker'. I must've read this beauty 4 or 5 times now, but it continues to deliver more with every reading. It is not approachable, being written in a transformed English, so it's best to start by reading it out loud to get the gist. Hard work, but so worth it. The vocabulary is rich with double meanings and references, with the ghost of half-remembered technological expertise and religion embedded in the language and within the myths and folk tales which enrich the text.
'Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same. There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take noatis of every thing. Every time will have its happenings out and every place the same. Thats why I finely come to writing all this down. Thinking on what the idear of us myt be. Thinking on that thing whats in us lorn and loan and oansome.’