This Animal Is Mischievous
Panther, London, 1966
for my sainted aunt Sarita Ricardo
dedication: for my sainted aunt Sarita Ricardo
The blurb on the back:
Starting with an encounter with a naked Negro armed with blowpipe and poisoned darts in the Lake District, This Animal Is Mischievous moves at break-neck speed via race-riots in Lyme Regis, bomb outrages in the Charing X Road, and subterranean parties in Hampstead - dark throbbing music, marijuana, and sinuous sex - to its tremendous climax on Mount Parnassus, a jamboree in which 3000 Fascists are burned to death.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to check out that cover, read those sleeve notes, and then answer two questions: (a) what? (b) why?
And I'm afraid I can't really help you much. I read the thing, but it left me none the wiser. I think it's supposed to be some kind of satire on something or other, with a wild sense of crazy humour. Imagine, if you will, an early Martin Amis book without the self-discipline. Possibly its underlying theme is racial tension: the white fear of militant black politics in Britain (that'll be Michael X then), and the potential for a resurgence of fascism. On the other hand... I don't know.
Drugs presumably were ingested at some point, but even so it's a mess. And, to be ruthlessly honest, it'd a waste of your time if you read it. Looks fantastic, but unless I'm even more wrong than normal, not worth the effort it'll take you to fight through it.
The reviewers of the time were equally confused:
But the fact that so many serious publications actually noticed it at all is quite impressive.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 4/5
Poppy Mandragora and the New Sex