Grandson and Grandfather

Was Life Easier for Previous Generations?

Tuned Out, the latest novel from best-selling indie author Keith A. Pearson, transports an unhappy millennial to 1969 to discover what life was really like for his parents.

A common perception amongst the millennial generation is that life is much more challenging than it used to be ‘back in the day’. With rising house prices, higher costs of living and apparent lower levels of happiness, did those ‘Generation Xers’ really have it better than the millennials of today?

The latest novel from bestselling author Keith A. Pearson, Tuned Out, tackles this very issue through the eyes of protagonist Toby Grant, who works for a digital marketing agency by day but by night, stresses about how unfair life is for his generation.

Tuned Out follows Toby’s journey through a series of unfortunate events that lead him to being offered the opportunity to travel back in time to 1969. It is here that he can truly discover what life was like for his parent’s generation. Toby finds out that life in 60s Britain is not exactly what he pictured – and actually, neither is time travel!

Keith guides the reader through a well-researched and detailed depiction of 1960s Britain, that ignites nostalgia in readers who may have lived through the decade, but equally transports any readers born after this time back to the period.

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Written in Keith’s witty, warming and at times hilarious style, Tuned Out is a perfect read, seamlessly combining science fiction with romance, emotion and humour. Tuned Out is the 7th book for indie author Keith, who has sold over 100,000 copies of his books and now works full-time as an author. Having already reached the No.1 spot on Amazon for Time Travel Science Fiction, Tuned Out is set to be this summer’s most sizzling time travel adventure!

Reflecting on his motivations for Tuned Out, in an interview with Calibre magazine earlier this year, Keith explained, ‘The discussion around Millennials shows little sign of abating and every day I see a new video or meme about the generational conflict. There have always been generational divides but they’re typically limited to cultural differences such as music and fashion. I don’t understand my son’s obsession with the rap artist Skepta any more than my parents understood my obsession with New Order.

“There is one significant difference between my generation and that of my son’s – and we created it. We gave our children the Internet, a tool of unimaginable influence.”

There’s also the usual political differences but the idealistic youth will always kick back against the establishment irrespective of the era. Socialism, for example, seems like a great idea when you’re young and broke but after thirty years of hard work you’re perhaps less keen to redistribute whatever wealth you’ve accumulated.

However, there is one significant difference between my generation and that of my son’s – and we created it. We gave our children the Internet, a tool of unimaginable influence. And we gave it to them before we’d even written the instruction manual.

There are many theories about how we got here but there’s no denying it’s an engaging subject and one which prompted me to write a time-travel novel based on a simple premise: how would a Millennial navigate the era in which his parents lived?”

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Keith’s journey into writing and publishing was not a typical one. When out for Christmas drinks in December 2015, the conversation turned to New Year’s resolutions and he found himself declaring he was going to write a book within the following year. After being reminded in March 2016 of his commitment, he began writing his first book, without any previous writing experience.

In just six months he had written enough for his first novel but found himself unanswered when he sent copies of the manuscript to a dozen literary agents. Undeterred, he decided to publish the book himself and in October 2016 The ‘86 Fix went live on Amazon. Surprisingly to Keith, he found that this novel came to be a bestseller with many satisfied readers leaving positive Amazon reviews recommending the book.

Since then, Keith has gone on to have two further bestsellers and has just published his seventh novel, Tuned Out, which has ranked highly in the Time Travel and British and Irish Humour and Satire Literature categories since publication. 

His career has since blossomed with an ever-growing base of dedicated fans who appreciate his mix of humour, intrigue, and general weirdness. Keith is also the creator of the popular, politically-incorrect character, Clement – a double-denim wearing gangland fixer who claims he died in 1975, and now spends his days seeking redemption whilst struggling to cope with twenty-first century life.

Keith is proud to have sold more than 100,000 books and without the positive reviews of his readers, Keith would never have been able to become a full time author. Keith is passionate about supporting fellow indie authors and empowering other aspiring writers to take the leap into self-publishing.

Movie Clapper

Tarantino Rewrites History in “Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood”

Popular culture has seemingly always been obsessed with murderers and serial killers. This holds true even today, as documentaries explore the minds of killers and shows like “Mindhunter” present a fictionalized glimpse into the psychology of murder. And while Quentin Tarantino’s most recent film, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, doesn’t directly deal with the subject of serial killers, the Charles Manson killings of 1969 provide a context that reveals the film’s fairy-tale ending to be nothing more than a distraction from the frightening truth of real-world events. Spoilers for the film follow.

The film’s title takes inspiration not only from the stereotypical introduction of popular fairy tales, but from Western films directed by Sergio Leone, an inspiration of Tarantino’s. In this film, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, a once-famous struggling actor living in Hollywood who contemplates moving to Italy to star in Westerns. Rick bemoans this possibility as he views it as a failure of his career as an actor, ironically complaining that “nobody likes Spaghetti Westerns.” Brad Pitt plays Rick’s stunt double, Cliff Booth, who despite also being out of work and failing as a mainstream actor, has a calm, worry-free demeanor. Despite tensions between the characters relating to Rick’s concern for his future as an actor, the two maintain a strong friendship, owing in large part to Cliff’s emotional stability and support of Rick’s dwindling career.

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As the film progresses, Cliff emerges as the film’s hero, inverting the expectations of both the film’s audience and of the traditional Hollywood dynamic between leading actor and stunt double. Alluding to this inversion, the film’s opening credits are mismatched, with Brad Pitt’s name appearing underneath Leonardo DiCaprio’s character and vice versa. By placing Cliff Booth at the forefront of the narrative, Tarantino pays homage to the stunt doubles of film history, who were responsible for putting themselves in harm’s way in order to skillfully perform the most visually striking scenes, while receiving none of the credit.

This theme of inverting expectations applies to other aspects of the film as well. For instance, Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, a Hollywood actress most well-known for having been killed by members of Charles Manson’s cult. As such, when we see Sharon Tate on-screen, we associate her character with the morbidity and doom associated with the public image of her created as a result of her murder. However, the film’s scenes featuring Tate are some of its most charming and lighthearted, as the audience is treated to lengthy depictions of the young actress’ idyllic Hollywood lifestyle, as she attends parties and enjoys going to a movie theater and watching a film in which she starred. As we watch Tate watch herself on-screen, it’s almost as though we are enjoying the movie-going experience alongside her, allowing us to feel a sort of connection with a movie star whose fame, in reality, was robbed from her by a murderous cult. In this way, Tarantino also pays tribute to Sharon Tate, depicting her as she really was during her life rather than as the victim she became known as.

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The film’s theme of inverting expectations culminates in its ending sequence, in which three members of the Manson “family” head to Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, intent on killing Hollywood stars. Whereas in real life the murderers head to Sharon Tate’s residence, in the film they go to the house next door, where the fictional Rick Dalton happens to live and is being visited by Cliff Booth, who is taking care of the house. In the movie, Cliff Booth successfully thwarts the murder attempt by killing the would-be murderers in self-defense, despite hallucinating on LSD, and Rick Dalton defends himself with a flamethrower, resulting in a humorously over-the-top action sequence. In the aftermath, Rick Dalton is hailed as a hero by his neighbors Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate, as the couple invite Rick into their house and get to know each other.

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood presents an ironic, upside-down, funhouse mirror image of real life history. Whereas the night of August 9th, 1969 in Hollywood represents one of the country’s darkest moments, as the idealism and glamour of the 1960s was shattered, the film presents an alternate reality where these murders never took place for the audience to enjoy. In doing so, the film acts as a commentary on the film industry in general, highlighting how audiences use the movie-going experience as a form of escapism, allowing them to forget about their real-life worries for a short period of time. Though Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood has an ostensibly happy ending, where Sharon Tate is spared, Rick Dalton’s career seems to be revived, and Cliff Booth gets to be an action hero, the audience is left feeling somewhat melancholic, as they remember that the reality of the story around which the film is centered is much darker, and that the happy ending they were treated to is really just the product of a fairy tale.