Alex S (barrysarll) wrote,
Alex S

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Wow, the weather's been the same for an hour!

The ever-wonderful BBC4 is currently running a series called In Their Own Words, which is essentially footage and tape of authors talking from 1919 to the present day. Some of them are people one can barely conceive of as existing in a recordable era - so we get GK Chesterton (sadly being a bit racist), HG Wells (sadly being a bit of a useful idiot about Russia), and a snippet of Virginia Woolf (paired with the original Alasatian Cousin joke, and this is a programme the young Morrissey would have loved). Admittedly, in many cases people were only filmed past their prime - hence a puffy-faced old Evelyn Waugh eyeing up his interviewer, calling Woolf and Joyce "gibberish" with a hard G, and Christopher Isherwood who may in his youth have been fit to be played by Michael York and Matt Smith, but in later life comes across more like a sketch comedy character. But still, there's Iris Murdoch intense and strangely charming like one of her own characters*, and Anthony Burgess' improbable hair, and I know I've never read it but how come I never realised that The Lord of the Flies is science fiction? The highlight, in spite of stiff competition from Graham Greene refusing to have his face filmed (he's just a smoking hand on a train through the European night - perfectly Greene) is TH White, even if the voiceover does get the number of sequels to The Sword in the Stone wrong. Sat in a sumptuous room in his Channel Island home, White is complaining about how hard up he is after tall his earnings go to the "farewell state". Replies the interviewer - "But you have a swimming pool. And a Temple of Hadrian."

Magicians stars Mitchell & Webb, and is scripted by Bain & Armstrong. As well as some of the rest of the Peep Show cast, it also features half The Thick of It (notably Peter Capaldi as the prestidigitation world's Simon Cowell), Andrea Riseborough, Jessica Stevenson and even Marek Klang getting to do more than be sexually harassed (which is not something one can say for BBC3's new-look Klang Show). And yet, it's really not very good. How do British TV comedy talents so often manage this when they hit the big screen? And, because I increasingly realise there are no two films between which I wouldn't see a connection if I watched them close together, another 2007 film which turns on fake spiritualist activities - There Will Be Blood. As so often with epic American films, it would have been even better if it hadn't been so self-consciously an epic American film - it's trying that little bit too hard to be Citizen Kane or maybe even the mythical director's cut of The Magnificent Ambersons. But, while it could have stood to lose a half hour or so, Daniel Day-Lewis was every bit as good as I'd been given to understand, and I was pleasantly surprised by the happy ending.

An amusingly convoluted tale from the world of Warhol collecting, where the decisions of a shadowy and unaccountable organisation can transform a work's worth overnight from hundreds of thousands to pretty much zero. But since anybody interested in the 'authenticity' of a Warhol work is a moron and/or only in art collecting for the money, their suffering is funny.

*I just finished The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, which reminded me quite how underappreciated she is as a writer of genuine horror - most every book of hers hasone scene which leaves you shuddering for days.
Tags: art, comedy, film, gk chesterton, graham greene, iris murdoch, peep show, the thick of it
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