Thursday, 12 March 2015

Unsuitable Authors beginning with E; Ben Elton - 'High Society'

Ben Elton does write well, although his novels can seem similar to his stand up performances in that he is an excellent ranter in both contexts. And my spellchecker doesn't like the word 'ranter' - good! Spellcheckers need to be dully conventional, staid even. Novelists mustn't be staid and that's certainly not a term applicable to Ben Elton.

High Society was published in 2002
This is Ben Elton's novel about the illegal drugs trade and how to defeat it. The story is hardly staid, it has some graphic detail, some very graphic language and some excellent rants, once you get used to the idea that this is how the book is written.

High Society charts the course of a backbench MP who wants to take on and destroy the illegal drugs traders by making all drugs legal. It illustrates the problems created by drugs with the stories of two addicts, contrasting the lives of a successful pop star and a young runaway. Needless to say, nearly everything which can go wrong for every single character does go wrong and the author's central stand of the novel, the drugs bill, fails disastrously, but there is an almost happy ending, for a couple of people.

Ben Elton has been sneered at lately, as a former alternative comedian who has sold out, but High Society shows that, in 2002 at least, his ideas were as radical as ever.

In case you're wondering why he is 'Unsuitable,' my benchmark is what my grandmother would have considered unsuitable. It's not my judgement.

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