Print Reviews

The Peacock Manifesto

By Stuart David



Peacock Johnson is often misunderstood. It’s not that his intentions – to make a dance mix of Glenn Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy – are that difficult to comprehend. It’s that his Glaswegian accent appears to be indistinguishable from Bantu to the typical American ear.

Fortunately, The Peacock Manifesto is written in easy-to-grasp English, unlike Trainspotting’s transcribed Scottish garble. In fact, the book seems to zip by in a highway blur, as Peacock flies to Chicago, drives to Portland, LA, then DC in his quest to make the song. Along the way, he is met by fellow traveler Bob (aka “the wee man”) and is joined in LA by wife Bev, who likes a drinky and loves the glamour of Hollywood.

In the end, the book is a comedy of errors, and though Peacock, Bob and Bev end up none the richer for their efforts, they certainly come out somewhat wiser. Stuart David (who also participates in electro-pop outfit Looper) has an engaging, clear writing style. Peacock’s love-hate relationship with his wife is true-to-life, and though I’m not sure a hepped-up “Rhinestone Cowboy” would be quite the smash hit Peacock thinks it would be, it’s perhaps this small delusion that adds the final touch of realism to this romp. With its wide-eyed foreigner’s view of America – it’s easy to take things like the size of the place for granted – and its situationist bent, The Peacock Manifesto is the kind of story you hope will be made into a film someday.

I.M.P. Fiction:

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