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Archive for August, 2011

The Hour; or the BBC does Mad Men

Posted by idetest on August 5, 2011

Greetings Possums.

Well, it’s a warm day outside,  my landline won’t work so I can’t ring the tax department and demand money from them (a pastime I’ve grown to love), so instead of going out and getting a life I’ll stay inside and write to my non-existent readers on the internet.

Because they won’t judge me.


Today, we shall speak of the BBC’s latest attempt at pretending it’s not a vacuous, populist shadow of its once great self and can still churn out TV shows that don’t want to make your eyes vomit blood.

This show that they’ve made is The Hour; nineteen-fifties set period drama about the backstage drama of the first ever current affairs show on the aunty. It takes place with the Suez crisis as its backdrop and also seems to have a whole Cold War/espionage/secret spy murder story going on as well.


They are very pretty though. And at least they got the smoking in.

Its first episode, I’m sad to say, was crap. It was annoying, clichéd, had terrible music and presented its two leads (Romola Garai and painfully weedy Ben Whishaw) as little more than walking vox pops for the plot devices they were shoving down our throats. Did I mention the irritating incidental music?

It goes as thus: Spunky, posh bit of a crumpet Bel wants to be hard hitting journo but is bored to death in fuddy-duddy newsreels showing debutantes, so she and man boy Freddie decide to pitch a current affairs show that’ll have middle England gasping into its cocoa.

Unfortch. Freddie is a pleb and Bel has breasts so they aren’t good enough and need the help of slimy, mediocre but oh, so posh and connected Hector. Who, despite being married to a brain-dead trophy wife, spends a good thirty seconds trying to seduce Bel; before she drops her knickers and they make sweet nylon sheeted love all over her ugly nineteen-fifties Formica table.


Coupled with this is the actual plot of the Suez Crisis which it keeps on forgetting to include properly and the murder mystery thing. Which is so bland and so generic  a spy thriller that I can’t even remember it. Oh, wait; someone got thrown down a stairwell last episode.


Anyway, some thoughts about plot and the show in general;

1) It has Anna Chancellor, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw. Three actors I love. Why is it not better? It could have been fabulous but they’ve obviously dumbed it down and focus grouped it out of any depth or originality.

2) Is Freddie supposed to be a virgin at nearly thirty? That’s the way they make him sound in the conversations.

3) Regarding the plot; was brain-dead wife’s hunky brother supposed to be the gay lover of the secretly-flaming actor/fiancé of the deceased debutante in the bathtub? Who knows?

4) That blond guy from Green Wing is ageing terribly.

5) I know it’s the BBC and so therefore has a budget of £2.70 and a bus fare but if they’re going to set something in nineteen-fifties London could we get a look at nineteen-fifties London, please?

6) Next time do better.

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August Book Club

Posted by idetest on August 4, 2011

We’re diving back  into the world of fiction


The Painted Veil, Somerset Maugham.

Predictable,  a tad trite and obviously terribly racist. Yet, still tense and wonderfully evocative of a different time.


The Gate of Angels, Penelope Fitzgerald.

Posh English Edwardians being all posh, Englishy and Edwardianesque. One’s ma mere recommended me this lady, she’s witty and wise (Ms. Fitzgerald that is; my mother is only semi-lucid, and chain smokes herself out of consciousness) and draws a rich tapestry of life and all its foibles without being depressing or annoying.


Innocence, Penelope Fitzgerald.

A twofer! This book was even nicer; set in a rapidly changing Florence in postwar Italy, the books follows the love affair and eventual marriage of a young half-English aristocrat (in the historical sense) and an embittered, chip-on-his-shoulder type doctor from the south, and like the previous it’s witty, wise and dances a highwire between depressingly maudlin and pedantic and beautiful in its languid melodrama.


Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol.

Very long, very Russian. And once again I find one of the classics overhyped. A sprawling essay on the different types of humanity one sees in the world.  Or a sanctimonious, arch piece of drivel that mocks and slanders the fine Russian name. Or something. It was long. I’m still recovering.


The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, Victor Pelevin.

A book about a humanoid 5,000 year old fox prostitute who bangs werewolves and spend 300 pages discussing the meaning of life in increasingly confusing philisophical rants. It’s Russian as well, unsurprisingly.


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I have Internet Again

Posted by idetest on August 4, 2011

After 3 weeks this is so exciting.

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