Monthly Archives: April 2014

Enders: Dial M for Implausible Murder

`Enders has a killer storyline and it wants to trumpet about it. Shame that the advert with all the suspects in Lucy Beale’s murder was a lot more compelling than the actual soap. I caught it yesterday with Lucy at the tail end of a wild downward spiral that sees her meet a grisly demise in a forest. She’s not in her bed. She’s in the restaurant with soldier boy, where they have cheesecake for breakfast. (Cheesecake? For breakfast? Before the watershed?! That’s it she’s gotta go, I’ve never heard of such deviancy.) Ian’s found a baggie of coke, ‘Enders shorthand for completely off the rails. Ian’s said some improbably damning things to Lucy about twin Peter, while he lurks behind a door only to emerge shooting wounded looks to the guilty parties (Suspect #1). Max is angry about Lucy sleeping with someone else and she wants to end their passionate (er) and dangerous (erm…they’re both single adults. Luaren might be quite upset) affair and says some mean things (Suspect #2). Poor Whitney has bounced into The Vic in her glad rags only to find she’s been usurped by Lucy in soldier boy’s affections (suspect #3?). The whole episode was so full of glaring and clanging exposition that a klaxon might as well have gone off each time the scriptwriters marked out a possible suspect.

It all felt a bit lacklustre frankly. I think it’s partly to do with Hetti Bywater, who played Lucy, who is just too skinny to be believable as a temptress. I personally don’t think actresses that skinny should be hired, she’s clearly got a problem. She’s also too stage school, hockey sticks-y to put in a believable unravelling. Saying “I’m a mess” over and over again while flouncing about with a prefect chignon does not make you a mess. Undoubtedly, ‘Endrs will do what it always does when it does a murder storyline – get more exited about by it than any of the viewers and drag it out far beyond what its flimsy premise can handle.

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New Music This Week

First to Paolo Nutini’s new album Caustic Love  which I think is excellent. I’ve always been a fan of him and his raspy, lilting Scottish soul voice, and it’s gratifying to hear how his songwriting has progressed. It’s heartfelt modern Motown-style that delivers on the requisite soul. I strongly recommend checking the whole album out, but if you want a flavour of it listen to Iron Sky – with its uplifting message and soaring chorus. I’m a bit obsessed with how he sings religion on it. It’s heading toward silly but lands in endearing.

Diana is shimmering, irresistible slowed-down punk, Better Man has sweetly humble lyrics that are a refreshing change (“That girl/ Makes me wanna be a better man/ Should she see fit/ Gonna treat her like a real man can”) and Cherry Blossom meanders towards the psychedelic. The only skipper is Looking for Something, not bad going. A huge musical leap and a crush reignited.

 

I was excited when I heard that Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys had produced Lana Del Ray’s new single, West Coast. They’re both artists I like and respect so I was expecting big things and ended up a little disappointed. It has her trademark hypnotic vibe and puts me in mind of a 21st century Wicked Game, but it’s not mind blowing. Maybe it needs a few more listens. Having said that it’s miles better than most of the usual pop fare and will be a hit regardless – the video was posted on Monday and has nearly four and a half million YouTube views already.

 

Lucius – Turn it Around

Lucius are a five piece band hailing from Brooklyn, New York, with two lead singers in Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. This tune is catchy and cheerful summery shoo wop.

 

Tirzah – No Romance

This song is from the London based singer’s debut EP, produced by Mica Levi. It’s simple but has a certain compelling charm.

TV Review: The Crimson Field; Rev.

First to First World War drama The Crimson Field shown on BBC One last night (9pm). I stumbled across it after being roused from a snooze in front of the Antiques Roadshow, (yes I’m that rock and roll) to the sight of Oona Chaplin throwing a ring into the sea on the trip over to volunteer as a nurse on the frontline in France, 1915. I found myself unexpectedly engrossed throughout. I think Chaplin, playing spiky Kitty, is a mesmerising screen presence, perhaps no surprise given her pedigree. She smoked (!!) and was cool to the other two volunteers frightfully unworldly ways, even taking a dying soldier’s swansong of holding as pair of scissors to her neck in her stride. Then there was Suranne Jones roaring up with her motorbike and jaunty hair and being frightfully modern Sister Joan, much to the chagrin of overlooked Sister Quayle, who turned out to be a baddie. She let poor Corporal Prentiss, suffering from what we would now term Post Traumatic Stress but they then termed Shell Shock and understood little of, return to the Front Line, against her superior’s compassionate orders. Just as bad, she stole the cake one of the young recruits brought and kept it for herself! It was a little disorientating, in that it had a cosy, Sunday night TV feel akin to Call the Midwife but was also set against one of the most bloody and arguably pointless conflicts in history. That fact gave it a poignancy that elevated it from the usual fare and made it quite moving.

To tonight’s Rev. (BBC Two, 10pm) which I love, I think it’s the best comedy on TV at the moment. It gives the feel of gentle comedy but actually has rather more bite than you might expect, a little like the Crimson Field. Tom Hollander is great as the eponymous Rev, trying to please everyone but mostly pleasing no one, battling against the encroaching obsolescence of his role in the inner city. As is Olivia Colman as his wife, who does a very convincing drunk voice. Special mention must go to Jimmy Akingbola as perpetually scrounging crackhead Mick or – as he was known tonight – “Sonata”. He is at once frightful, convincing and completely hilarious and always provides the biggest laughs of the show. Tonight’s episode featured a cameo from Dexter Fletcher, pleasingly husky voiced, as a Turner prize winning artist who offers St Saviour’s a lifeline by choosing it as the venue to unveil his new work. The episode reached an excruciating climax due to the Rev’s guilty conscience and the unfortunate facial similarity between Hollander and Fletcher. Unbearable but brilliant.

If

I am a big fan of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, about all it is to be a man. I’ve had an inkling of a thought for a while about doing a tribute to it from a woman’s point of view. I thought someone might have done it before but I only found one example on t’internet that wasn’t very good: it didn’t follow the metre or structure of the original poem which I thought rendered it less powerful. I want to emphasise that this is in no way a riposte to the original – it is a respectful tribute…

 

If

If you can keep your mind when some about you,

Would tell you it’s worthless to them and you,

In its difference and step beyond doubting you,

But make allowances for their shortcomings too;

If you can charm and not be tired by charming,

Or be belittled but not resort to bitterness,

Or being harmed, not give way to harming,

And yet don’t look too good or let down your sex:

 

If you can hope with the best of your wisdom,

If you can grow but not show it’s your aim,

Lest you stir the ire of fools and their sons,

Who would infect your heart with guilt and shame;

If you can live in a world that is not your own,

That was built neither by nor for you,

Yet bear with grace the age-old bemoans,

That you don’t thrive as it’s thought you should do:

 

If you can bestow those around you with love and care,

Never seem selfish and treat each challenge,

With gratitude and strength, not despair,

Greet with stoicism each new rite of passage,

If you can encourage your flesh and blood,

To reach for the stars long after you are gone,

And be their shelter against any flood,

Love them more than yourself and never feel put upon:

 

For you know that your role is an honour,

If you can accept that some may despise you,

And may see only whore or Madonna,

Purely for what you have from Nature’s Truth,

If you can understand that some will see a Body and not the Soul within it,

And still keep in your heart that this is, now also, your world,

Yours is the Future and everything in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a woman, my girl.