Jean Michel Jarre looks to Arthur C Clarke for 2010 tour

French musician seeks to reintroduce vision and passion to the future

Jean Michel Jarre looks to Arthur C Clarke for 2010 tour

Arthur C Clarke’s landmark sci-fi novel 2001 and 2010, are now titled after years in the past. Inspiration and friend to the author Jean Michel Jarre is on a world tour exploring the issues this raises.

The problem with setting books and films in a not-too-distant future, is that it inevitably arrives. Whether it’s the dystopian nightmares of Escape from New York (set in 1997), A Clockwork Orange (1995) or Orwell’s 1984, the pitfalls awaiting any futurist are plentiful. It’s no wonder many just set the action in the past and be done with it.

It’s something science fiction author Arthur C Clarke saw happen many times before his death in 2008. His landmark works 2001 and 2010 are titled after years which are now history. It’s an idea that French musician Jean Michel Jarre is exploring on his 150-date world tour. Famed for using the latest tools in stagecraft and music, it’s no surprise to discover the two men were friends, although their friendship came about under unusual circumstances, as he explains.

‘Being a big fan of 2001, when 2010 was released [in 1982] I rushed to a bookstore and was amazed to see my name in the acknowledgements – he was listening to my music as he was writing the book – so I wrote him a letter and we became quite good friends.’

With the musician taking inspiration from the author, there’s a pleasing circularity in this influence now being two-way again in a whole new sense with Jarre exploring the upbeat futurism of Clarke’s work.

‘In a way, we have lost our vision and passion in our expectations for the future. We have a much darker and narrower view of tomorrow. Our view of the future is limited to ‘are we going to correctly categorise our rubbish for recycling’ – so I think it’s time to restore a dynamic, more subversive and surrealistic vision of the future.’

Last time Jarre played in Scotland, at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, it was as part of the 30th anniversary Oxygene tour in 2008, a stripped back show in a small venue (playing a venue with a roof is rare for Jarre) with no computers and over 40 temperamental vintage synthesizers. It’s an approach he’s taken something from, and the new show promises to combine analog with digital.

‘It’s quite dynamic onstage, complete with the mistakes that comes with that. The sound and the scenography are non-linear, so it’s live to the lighting director every night. It’s very rock and roll.’

So an approach which looks both to the future and to the past? ‘Yes, and also, it’s a very good trick to keep the crew focussed’ he laughs.

Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Sun 3 Oct.


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