The Love Parade
Penguin, London, 1998
The blurb on the back:
The party’s over and Jake’s got one hell of a hangover…
The premise is fine: what happens to an intelligent kid who gets roped into a wildly successful boy band after his chart life expires. But – and I’m prepared to accept that this is just my personal prejudice – it’s just too damn dull. It’s one of those quasi-literary novels that come out of London publishing these days that try too hard and want to be cool and detached and it just doesn’t work. The cliché for this kind of book is that it should be about a young writer; so credit to Matthew Branton for not going down that route, but blow me, if the narrator doesn’t sound exactly like a young writer posing as a pop star.
And I worry about the level of cynicism. Here’s one of the management team explaining exactly what the strategy behind the band High 5 was:
Obviously the record industry is indeed this cynical (which is why we’re all so gleeful that the whole thing is going down the pan), but the casual acceptance that it’s all going to work to plan is both depressing and inaccurate. Those of us who remember the joyous fiasco that was Naomi Campbell’s pop career are all too well aware that not even the British public can be counted on to behave like the sheep they’re assumed to be.
Anyway, I’m undoubtedly being unfair to Mr Branton with this one: I didn’t finish the book, so I shouldn’t really pass final judgement. On the other hand, I didn’t finish the book cos it wasn’t entertaining enough. Sorry.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 1/5
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