Boomtown 2017 – Behind the Mask

This show is surely one of the most magnificent and beautifully crafted pieces of anarchic art in the world. Legions of volunteers sweat for weeks to build a psychedelic parody of a city on the wooded hills of Winchester, England. The place pulsates with music, light and laughter for a few long nights before being put back in it’s box and taken home until the next chapter’s been written.

The back story is a commentary on the complex dystopia we’ve built for our kids to live in; an ephemeral world that’s hard to understand, near impossible to own any of, where every attempt to make it better just makes it more tangled and the best way to deal with it is to keep smiling and dance. It was with some trepidation I took to a the stage on the relative peace of Whistlers Green to perform a meā culpā piece on behalf of my own generation of digital pioneers who started the process of making the world so frighteningly complex nobody knows who’s responsible for it anymore. I half expected scowls or millennial shrugs from glittery shoulders but got nothing of the sort.

I described an evolving world where corporations are the real superpowers who sell access rights for their information hordes to increasingly disconnected “democratic” regimes that are so scared of the very freedoms that are their raison d’être they keep trying to take them away. As I went on, more and more shiny faces came into the little tent at speakers corner and when I was done the Q&A had to be stopped for lack of time.

So much for millennial apathy.

My predecessors on the stage, the good people of Momentum (an activist group at the socialist end of the UK’s Labour Party) declined to stay and answer my questions about the lack of opposition in the UK’s parliament to increasingly draconian surveillance laws that seek to put the masses under the microscope of the rich and powerful few. No surprises there really, just those shrugs our leaders have come to mistake for apathy.

So, as promised, we will continue our work to draw attention to the erosion of our right to privacy. In private our culture foments dissent and to rails against the injustices of power and information hoarding. In private, we disagree with the view of the world presented to us by political orthodoxy and the BBC.

Our beautiful kids clearly intend to do something about it and I for one will help them. If you want to take legal, direct peaceful action to preserve our liberty this is what you can do

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