Our TV Viewing has become something of a cultural wasteland. Life in a post Mad Men, Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and The Wire backdrop feels barren and unfulfilling. We are officially struggling.
We have no Spiral, the wonderful Borgen, The Bridge (Danish leather trouser psychocop version, please) and The Legacy. Under that tier you have the next level of watchable TV in Homeland, Newsroom and True Detective.
I’m too old for Entourage and have too much taste for Silicon Valley. I tried to watch Romanzo Criminale (Ashes to Ashes/ Life on Mars meets a rise and fall Mafia Cliché Show) set in Rome.
I found myself watching a DVD from my pal, normally a good cultural judge but woefully off the mark with a dire movie called The Counselor . My only thought on The Counselor was it should be used in film school to show kids how easy it is to screw up a movie no matter how glittering the cast, the writer and director.
If I were to say to you can have Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt. The script will be written by Cormac McCarthy and the director Ridley Scott you’d say where could it go wrong?’ Well, let’s just say story is everything and the story was shit. Brad Pitt does his best to intervene and at least makes an attempt to shine on screen, but even he can’t save the day.
Next in the cultural hinterland we turn to Netflix’s cash cow House of Cards. I’ve always struggled with the most irritating character since Talia Shire’s Connie Corleone, Claire Underwood ungenerously and unsuccessfully trying to steal every scene she’s in. Acting’s reacting. Share don’t steal. Over the last few weeks we have struggled with this season of House of Cards. Last week, by episode 3 if it didn’t officially jump the shark, then it committed suicide, jumping off the surfboard and told Jaws to help himself. At one point we were watching the Russian President, the walking cliche, Viktor Petrov being insulted by Pussy Riot then we close with a performance by them. I don’t want Glee. I want sophisticated, well scripted drama.
By episode 4 I thought OK, one last chance for some TV redemption. We’re struggling show wise and need something. The President asked to meet the bishop late at night in a chapel. The bishop, just to prove he was a butch bishop, wore a biker’s jacket and showed up like a retired fund manager stinking of hot, greasy turbo charged biker testosterone, like most bishops would do. While he showed Jesus who was boss by spitting on him (wonder if he would be a big shot and spit on any other more controversial world religious leaders?) but no, he would be too scared. The statue of Jesus fell down and almost killed Frank Underwood who, thinking he was hilarious picked up the broken statue’s ear and claimed ‘to have his ear’. What a load of shite. It’s over.
In general I would never be a fan of Game of Thrones. My default position on anyone into Dungeons and Dragons, anything with Dragons, apart from Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon and perhaps George and the Dragon would be to turn a hose on them. So I was shocked at myself for slowly appreciating the decent characterisation and the nature of the story of GOT. However this season has been poor. It’s been really slow, ponderous, moves at a snail’s pace and when it got lost story wise reverts to rape or mad sadistic snow men zombies, called the White Walkers. Oh I don’t like zombie stuff either or mad violence and this was just an orgy of zombie violence. There was a slight cultural crossover when Birgitte Hjort Sørensen who plays Katrine in Borgen showed up in GOT.
It’s one and only saving grace this week was the point when the two most original characters, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen met. That’s the Imp and the Dragon Lady (no not Deborah Meaden) all I could think was spin-off. George and Mildred meets The Odd Couple.
Maybe HBO could get have an emergency meeting and come up with something exciting, a well filmed tremendous script. Bribery, corruption and lies at the very heart of society. A global mafia type show from Brazil to Boston to Berlin- call it the MaFifa.
Many things annoy me about modern life. Dafties who always bang on about ‘those bankers, that’s our money (RBS etc). we own them. That’s our money.’ You never hear the same people offer to pay money back when they are fined. OK, if it’s your bank why not contribute to the RBS fine of £430 million by the US authorities in the Forex scandal? No? Just a bugbear I’m afraid…The media are playing games with you. It may even have been Robert Peston who started telling everyone we own RBS, because monies we pay in taxes go into the treasury and they baled the bank out with our cash. The treasury own RBS, at least 80% of it. Don’t include me in your idiocy. No, actually, do include me. The next time you’re in get me a couple of grand from ‘my bank’ that I ‘own’. Life as a freelance isn’t easy.
I was desperately saddened over the sudden death of Charles Kennedy. Far more than I should’ve been. I didn’t know him but always liked him. In any form of political discourse over the qualities required to be a leader, I always say that any good leader requires humility. Charles Kennedy had it in abundance.
The tributes in The Commons showed how much he was loved but his death also showed how brutal and unforgiving politics can be. Along with their hollow tributes maybe some of his colleagues who abandoned him should take a long hard look at themselves for hanging him out to dry and turning their back on him when he needed help most. He was the best the Lib Dems ever had and quite frankly they didn’t deserve him.