With Christmas approaching, it seems fitting to take the opportunity to share some insights about Lydia's night of clubbing at Christmas. As it involves numbers, I'll use it as an excuse to share all the other insights about numbers and dates in I Am Not Gog.
On the seventh day after meeting her, Joshua texts Lydia that he loves her. Seven weeks after meeting him, Lydia finally yields to his love at the nightclub. Seven months after meeting him, Joshua suffers that which would motivate her to take possession of her own liberty. This is an example of an underlying use of numbers to support the allegory, in this case centred around an incident in the nightclub.
The club, where Joshua finally wins the trust and affections of Lydia, is called Joe Rich. It is an anagram – a fairly easy one compared to others in the novel. If you scroll past the empty space at the end of this blog, you will find the solution to the anagram. In the nightclub, Joshua toots his little paper party-horn while circling the aggressive group of young women seven times.
I never expected anyone to pick up on the unspoken sevens chronology above, but it’s there for resonance, rhythm, richness (and a bit of fun for me). Numbers are, however, used more explicitly as indicators of allegory throughout the novel. I’m going to have to skirt around a couple of subjects now, so as not to spoil things by giving too much away.
Usually, wherever a date is given in I Am Not Gog, it has significance. One important date, that of the 'day of doing’, is only significant in that it is made to point to another date with the phrase ‘three months ago’. The events on both dates refer to one real-life set of events that took place on the earlier date. The reason for this is to soften the blow, as it were, by making it less obvious, less in your face, so it doesn't drag readers out of the story and into the world of current events. To Lydia, though, the events on both dates are all part and parcel of a whole ‘thing’, so this is all conceptually allowed. Honest.
Another key date, when the structure of a building is affected as part of a fraud, is given a bit more cryptically, in separate parts, with the precise day component of it given not as a date, but as a different kind of numeral, a numeral that can be touched (in another chapter). This was done for the same reason as mentioned above.
The unnamed modern-day international phenomenon (UMDIP) that is the target of the novel’s allegorical scheme is represented by Lydia broadly in terms of type and occasion. So, it can most accurately be viewed as an era, an era that was augured by the angina attack of Lydia’s father and begun properly on the day of his death, when the mantle was passed on to her. The dates of these two events are given directly and indirectly, respectively.
As far as I can remember, times of day have no significance, although, I was structurally satisfied that two importantly parenthetical moments on the beach both happened to coincide with midnight.
Lydia and Joshua led me to Bonfire Night, not the other way round. They just so happened to be on their first date on the 5th of November. It was a surprise to me, and perfectly resonant with the novel’s themes, that that day in 2005 happened to be the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. That fact couldn’t be ignored once discovered.
1973 was an eventful year in history, but I don’t think those events can now coherently be associated with Philip’s moving to Hinckley from Lincolnshire or Lydia's trauma. I had associated one or more of them in the very early stages before the whole concept flipped upside down, but now, it’s just when stuff happened. I suppose Lydia's trauma can still be coherently associated with events in 1973 if the reader is as yet unable to let go of an accidental view of history. In this way, it might reflect how the masses continue to teeter on the edge of grasping the nature and methodology of their rulers.
References to Christmas are also of no significance. The dates of events in the last four chapters have no significance beyond occurring seven months after Lydia met Joshua. There, I think that’s all the numbers covered that need to be. No more math now, I promise. Have a merry, math-free, and battle-free Christmas and a happy New Year. (Don’t forget the anagram below.)
The name Joe Rich is an anagram of ‘Jericho’, with just one letter moved and the word split.