‘Getting Real’ is the next big thing in Western living – the determined rejection of the fake, the virtual, the spun and the mass-produced, in the search for authenticity. There's a revolution going on and (however unconsciously) we're all already part of it. Welcome to the New Realism.
The charms of the global and virtual future we were all brought up to expect, where meals would be eaten in the form of pills and machines would do all our work, have worn rather thin. It's not that we don't want all the advantages of progress –we do– we just want a future that manages to be local and real too.
Tracking the struggle for reality from Japanese theme parks to mock-Tudor villas and from Byron to Big Brother, Authenticity explains where our reactions against spin and fakeness come from – and where they are going. The current revival of real food, real business, real culture flies in the face of expert opinion from politicians, economists, advertisers and big business – and they're having to run to keep up as our hype attention-span gets ever shorter.
Optimistic, witty, highly thought-provoking and packed with fascinating stories, Boyle's search yokes a series of opposites – computer games and communities, Elizabeth David and Peter Pan, organic chocolate and virtual reality, hip-hop and spin-doctors, a total eclipse of the sun and Neil Armstrong, Milli Vanilli and downsizing – and makes us see them afresh. Asking whether coolness is dead, how real reality is and whether realpolitik can ever change into real politics, he puts authenticity firmly on the map, lifting the lid on all the other symptoms of this powerful new phenomenon – revealing the unexpected force that looks set to change all our lives.