The Protagonist is a suave, charismatic young man and his girl, ending up being persecuted by a rigid dystopian future state. Some details I remember:

  • Featuring a possibly sympathetic military officer (who is an old family friend/acquaintance) driving a jaguar.

  • which gets hijacked on a highway by hooligans. Being military, it's got an emergency button calling in a gurkha special force unit in helicopters. The hooligans are heading straight for organ transplant vats.

  • There is a tea ceremony metaphor, illustrating the pathological state of today's job market - if you can cook tea perfectly in front of an auditorium of white-coats you get the coveted job of assistant to some secret guy.

  • on a motorbike, the young man and his girl head out of London north into the countryside, where life is still worth living and people are friendly.

  • on the way, they have to hide in some cave and sedate themselves to avoid detection by police and their brainwave scanners.

  • They also do some rite-of-passage by jumping through a ring of fire.

marked as duplicate by Otis, Valorum story-identification Mar 31 '18 at 0:52

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  • Welcome to the site! Great start. Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and see if you can remember anything else. The more you are able to share, the more likely we can help. – amflare Aug 11 '17 at 14:07
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    The young man and his girl head out of London north into the countryside, where life is still worth living and people are friendly. This does not sound like sci-fi :) – Jeremy French Aug 11 '17 at 14:33
  • @JeremyFrench Of course not. All Sci-Fi stories have worlds where life is not worth living and people are mindless automatons under control of the state police. That trip includes the need to elude brainwave scanners which I suppose is also not Sci-Fi? – Gypsy Spellweaver Aug 11 '17 at 15:25
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    @Gypsy Spellweaver was an attempt at humour, about whether fleeing London to the north where life is worth living was any different to reality. – Jeremy French Aug 11 '17 at 16:53
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    @JeremyFrench Of course it is, in the story the brainwave scanners could be fooled by drugs. – Gypsy Spellweaver Aug 11 '17 at 21:54

This sounds very like Futuretrack 5 by Robert Westall. While I haven't read it in over 30 years, the themes sound right. They had psycho-copters and psycho-scanners, a motorbike escape into the countryside with a girlfriend.

Bookrags overview and Google books link which lets you read a few pages in. There doesn't seem to be a digital copy available sadly but it's still fairly widely available (online) as a used paper based item.

  • Fantastic man, franki. That's the one, thanks. As you said, probably 30 years, but this book kept popping up in my mind, especially the tea scene. (op) – LogicBreaker Aug 18 '17 at 19:26
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    Mod note: The above comment from the user claiming to be the OP (user ID 88690) does seem to be from the OP (user ID 88348). – Null Aug 18 '17 at 19:48

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