Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
Revolution In The Head was the product of a lengthy period spent living away from London, and its success encouraged him to write for a new generation of music magazines. His exacting, trenchant and sometimes very funny essays appeared first in Mojo and then in Uncut; a collection of them was published earlier this year under the title The People's Music.
The climax of the anthology is a lengthy meditation on the life and work of Nick Drake, the precociously gifted singer-songwriter whom MacDonald had encountered at Cambridge and who committed suicide in 1974, when still in his mid-twenties. Written with an intensity that at times overwhelms its ostensible subject, it can now be seen to have provided clues to MacDonald's own lengthy struggle with profound depression. "Can it be," he asks, apropos of Drake's preoccupation with spiritual transcendence, "that the materialist worldview, in which there is no intrinsic meaning, is slowly murdering our souls?" The decision to commit suicide, at his home in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, indicates that he had drawn his own conclusion. [ entire obituary ]