Earl plays a C on his harmonica. It starts a sympathetic resonance in the pipes that stretch under and through the regime on Terra Alpha, like the arteries in a body. What flows in these arteries is sugarly gloop, the outpourings of the Kandy Kitchen. It fills the regime with the glucose it needs to survive. And the regime uses it to kill dissidents or refuseniks or men wearing pink triangles, drowning them in sweetness. Earl’s note causes the encrusted, crystallised, fossilised sugar coating the insides of the pipes to crack and fall. Tonnes of the stuff falls on top of Fifi, Helen A’s savage attack dog and beloved pet. She sent it into the pipes to kill the Doctor and the Pipe People, the surviving aboriginals on her colony.
“Happiness will prevail,” says the artificially fruity voice on the colony tannoy system, “Factory guards are joining forces with the drones to destroy the Nevani sugar beet plant here in sector six. We will keep broadcasting.”
This is a revolution. The killjoys are marching and demonstrating, and having their own melancholy parties in subversion of the rules. The factories are falling to strikers. Even the aboriginals are getting in on the act. And, as in ‘The Sun Makers’, you know the revolution is really happening when it even gets on the news.
“It’s only one factory, Daisy K,” says Helen A, dictator of Terra Alpha and obvious Thatcher analogue, “I’ve built over a thousand.” (Not that much like Thatcher then. She didn’t build up manufacturing industry; she calculatedly decimated it.)
“What about the reports of riots?,” asks Daisy K, “And public unhappiness?”
Oh for the days when things like the Poll Tax (which, like so many things, now looks like gnat’s piss by comparison) used to cause good, healthy, necessary riots.
Helen A wants to use her best, most fanatical enforcer… but it turns out that she’s already been detained in her own Waiting Zone (they don’t have ‘prisons’ on Terra Alpha, there being no need for unhappy places in the best of all possible worlds). So instead, Helen A asks Daisy K to…
“Get me the Kandyman.”
“You’re not unhappy about something?” asks Daisy K, noticing the cracks in Helen A’s ideological purity when her own self-interest is threatened… just as Thatcher cried for herself when someone subjected her to the strictures of the marketplace of ideas.
“GET ME THE KANDYMAN!”
The Kandyman answers his telephone.
“Kandyman,” he says. (This bit makes me gurgle with pleasure every time. It’s so arch.)
He’s an evil Bertie Basset. Bassett himself is a PR image, an advert, an avatar of a company, a promotor of consumption, the friendly face of capitalism who cheerily encourages kids to shovel sugary shite into their mouths so his puppetmasters can make a profit. The Kandyman is all this and an accretion of various manifestations of authority. He’s the state torturer of a dictator, a killer brand, a manifestation of the confected malnutritious psuedo-delights of consumer capitalism reconfigured as a psychopathic sadist… and he’s a tool, a machine, a commodity fetishised into life, alienated labour (he is the product of the labour of Gilbert M) that confronts his creator as hostile and alien power. …