All On The Same Page?

Christopher Fowler
Did I just miss a meeting? Did Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World' just come true while I stepped out of the room? Dismayed lately by the fact that many young urbanites now looks, sound and behave exactly the same, I spotted an odd fluff article in the press: Wright-and-Wright The headlines went on about a pair of network TV shows going out head-to-head over Christmas, both starring someone called Mark Wright. One is the tautologous 'Strictly Come Dancing', the other 'The Apprentice'. But it turns out that Mark Wright is in fact two separate people sharing the same name, appearing on TV at the same time in show finales. As far as I can see, apart from the fact that the shot on the right has been badly photoshopped, they're completely interchangeable and identical. But no -
one is a reality TV starlet, the other a digital marketing sales manager. This is creepy. There are two films out at the moment with the Kafkaesque premise of a man meeting his own double, 'Enemy' and 'The Double'. Are we now all copying each other to the extent that we are sharing a hive mind? I have been aware for some time now that London is filled with plasticky 25 year-old women sporting long blonde hair and identical bleached teeth, and have struggled to tell them apart, but has the cloning experiment now spread to males? Do they think identically too? On this point may I recommend the surprisingly acerbic 'The Lego Movie', which addresses this subject rather well... All of this rather suggests that the Bryant & May novels now feature a range of eccentrics of such bizarre opinions that nobody under 25 will believe they exist. I have gone to great lengths to point out that they're based on real people, but can the concept of 'real people' be changing faster than anyone realises? The writers of 'VIZ' were dismayed to discover that some of the very funny archetypes they created, like 'Student Grant', now no longer exist. The Grant character, with his badges and angry hair, tangling himself in circuitous arguments in order to be politically admired, has been replaced in my neighbourhood (home of London's major art colleges) by smartly dressed students in designer clothes carrying shopping bags. When we lose eccentricity we lose the ability to think, because it means that we've become afraid of expressing an original opinion - and that's exactly what the internet, with endless fear of recordings and reprisals, has taught us to do. Well, good luck to the two Mark Wrights - I hope they're outspoken opposites.


John Griffin (not verified) Sat, 20/12/2014 - 18:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Astonishly just had the same conversation over lunch with my eldest son, a 30-something forces officer with a big security experience. He complained that 20-somethings are now clones with no respect for individuality, care about others and are horribly self(ie)-obsessed. That's why he believes that the disrepect dealt to the ordinary proles by our political and financial masters is met with disinterest, and why exploitative business is accepted as a moral norm.

Roger (not verified) Sat, 20/12/2014 - 21:01

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It's the thing about fashions, intellectual, social and sartorial. Everyone wants to be unique and distinctive, but in the same way as everyone else.

Vivienne (not verified) Sat, 20/12/2014 - 22:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Have you seen the article about the chap with a round the world ticket for himself and girlfriend Elizabeth Gallagher? she left him so he advertised for a replacement EG. This Elizabeth Gallagher Mk Ii is IDENTICAL!

Christopher Fowler Sun, 21/12/2014 - 07:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

As always, Tony Hancock summed it up when meeting Nanette Newman in 'The Rebel'.

HANCOCK: Why do you look like that?

NEWMAN (Dressed as a Beatnik): To express my individuality. All my friends look like this

Mark (not verified) Mon, 22/12/2014 - 19:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Individuality and free will are relatively new concepts, so it's possible that they will cease in importance again.