Heathcote’s first play, The Local Stigmatic (1965), is a short, chilling drama about two drop-outs obsessed to the point of unbalance by the media’s fabrication of phoney celebrities; they recognise a minor actor in a pub, follow him out and savagely beat him up. This theme is elaborated in AC/DC (1970), a full-length play of dazzling invention and overwhelming power. Both works, considered obscure and unnecessarily violent by many people at the time, now seem to have been uncannily prophetic of the Manson murders. ‘What were the Manson murders about?’ said Heathcote in an interview. “You could say they were about somebody trying to get his songs published: a grub under the blanket of the Great Society. The explanation is that there are two tribes: those who are undernourished in terms of tribal approval, and those who are so overnourished that they become severely debilitated … The point is that Attention is a basic human need like food or sex. No child develops without it, and if you don’t get it you wrinkle up. And as the media stand now ·0001 per cent of the population is getting crème brûlée every day, and the rest are being ignored.”

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