Fiona Ness: 'Let us never again speak of Love Island'
Fifty years ago this summer we had Woodstock. This summer? We had 'Love Island'.
Woodstock was the culmination of the 1967 'Summer of Love' mass youth movement that saw all the beautiful people, from Hyde Park to Haight-Ashbury, turning on, tuning in and dropping out.
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Hasn't the Summer of Love Island seemed spookily similar? From Doonbeg to Donnycarney, we dropped out and tuned in because we were (whisper it) turned on by the machinations of the nubile young folk. Then we hoovered up the many pseudo-intellectual, silly-season column inches justifying the hit reality TV show's relevance to middle Ireland, convincing ourselves that we are more than just watchers of vacuous TV, that 'Love Island' is actually a metaphor for … well, something.
Stuff and nonsense. Fifty years hence we will not be gazing back at 'the Summer of Love Island' as a time of profound social change. No. As Brexit hurled us off a precipice, temperatures soared and the West threatened war with Iran, I suspect the great life lesson of 'Love Island' will be that, when we drop out and turn on reality TV, we get the reality we deserve.
Google campers save the planet with hot air
Just when it seemed safe to return to critical thought, along came Google Camp - a meeting of minds in a billionaire playground in Sicily. Here, internet giant Google brings powerful business leaders, tech titans and a handful of brilliant minds together with superstar celebrities to solve the world's most burning problems at what is billed the most top-secret gathering in the world. How do we know they're serious? There's no social media allowed.
This year's Google Campers are tasked with solving climate change - and who can doubt they won't triumph where lesser mortals have failed? After all, celebs such as Leonardo Di Caprio, Katy Perry, Harry Styles and the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, have been spotted at the luxury Verdura resort.
When it comes to being a self-appointed saviour of society, the Duke's got previous. He's already been busy promoting social engineering as a fix for climate change. His 'change-making, trailblazing' wife Meghan Markle is promoting random celebs as a force for change in her takeover of September 'Vogue', and giving a leg up to unemployed women with her workwear line for M&S, John Lewis and Jigsaw. (Does she know that even working women struggle to shop in Jigsaw?)
Back at Google Camp, the c'lebs are watching Coldplay concerts while dining in the shadow of ancient temples. The event is said to have cost Google $20m (€18m) - putting our own quibbles at the cost of a weekend in Center Parcs in perspective. An estimated 784,000kg of C02 has been generated by the private jets heading to the island, just as teen activist Greta Thunberg is slumming it across the Atlantic on a billionaire yacht to talk about climate change at the UN. While it's easy to mock the woke glitterati in their echo chamber of privilege for presuming celebrity is some sort of divine, world-changing power, surely there are some blushes amongst the Google campers, who must know they are the window dressing. Cutting-edge scientists alone won't cut it in a world more excised by the hijinks of nubile young folk than melting ice sheets in July.
Scotland is a case in point. The WWF last month reported that it generated enough wind energy to power two Scotlands in the first six months of the year. No rock concerts. No Prince Harry, barefoot, on the beach. Just a nice wee country with plenty of wind, but no hot air.