So say goodbye, it’s independence day. It’s independence day all down the line
So sings country and western wunderkind Bruce Springsteen in that song in which he craftily broadens the meaning of America’s 4th July celebrations to encompass a story in which the subject leaves their father and their hometown.
What we don’t hear about – and I think this is why many people become frustrated with the self-styled ‘Boss Hogg’ and feel he could put a bit more effort in generally – is what happened next. We know the hero or heroine of the tale has sloughed off the past but do they really become independent in the new life they make for themselves in the thrusting go-ahead town of Moosebreath, Ohio or wherever it is they end up, or do they merely succumb to new forms of dependency in order to pay the rent?
On 3rd September, our four apparently self-determining performers – novelists James Meek, Jonathan Gibbs, Tiffany Murray and comedian and author Gareth Rubin – will be poking about where Bruce dared not go as they tackle the vexed world of Independence.
With just another few weeks before Scots decide whether or not they wish to continue being colonised by the nation that gave the world the teasmade, shrapnel and Jeremy Hunt, we ask the question, ‘Can we really be free?’ Or is it like troubled Japanese death metal star Janis Joplin once trilled: ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose’?
Do come along – what exactly do you have to lose?*
*Except your chains, of course. And six quid.
James Meek is a novelist (The People’s Act of Love, We Are Now Beginning the Descent, The Heart Broke In – all published by Canongate) and contributing editor to The London Review of Books.
Tiffany Murray grew up in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire and her novels Diamond Star Halo, Happy Accidents and Sugar Hall are set on those borders. She has twice been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and the London Book Award, and the Guardian named her ‘the glam rock Dodie Smith.’
Jonathan Gibbs writes on books for The Independent and elsewhere. His novel Randall is published by Galley Beggar Press. His short fiction has appeared in Gorse, Lighthouse and on The White Review website.
Gareth Rubin writes for a number of national newspapers. His first book was a guide to Britain’s worst tourist attractions entitled Crap Days Out. His second, The Great Cat Massacre, A History of Britain in 100 Mistakes, described how the course of Britain’s history has been been changed by trivial errors.
The George, 213 The Strand, Temple, London WC2R 1AP
Wednesday 3rd September | Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start | Tickets £6 on the door