LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
19 January 2015
I Can't Hear You

"Turn it down!" "Turn it off!" No. This may sound like a mum, but actually it's a
desperate plea from anyone with a brain to stop the bloody soundtrack on
Broadchurch. That includes your mum.

OK. To start from the beginning here. We all loved the original drama - loads.
Really loads. Really. We all waited in anticipation for the second series. We
were thrilled when Olivia Coleman appeared on our television screens. Ah.
Finally. They're back.

Next. We were willing to suffer through the mumbling of David Tennant -
although not always willingly. Next. We were willing to try - mostly unsuccessfully
- to follow the circuitous, quantum-inspired narrative (you know I mean non-
linear).

Now. Fab new characters and actresses to play them have been welcomed.
France-based Charlotte Rampling and US-based Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Twists
and turns have left us guessing (but in slow-motion as it is raaather sloooow).
And ultimately frustrating.

But. It is bloody unwatchable with that musical 'accompaniment' that is actually
louder than the dialogue. Do they want us to choose? Music and moving mouths
vs conversation, discussion, argument, rant.

Bafta award winner, Icelandic Ólafur Arnalds created the evocative 'mood
music'. Author Chris Chibnall was a long-term fan. He listened when writing the
script. Does that explain it then? Did he lose focus? It's not a music video - or is
it?

In the Radio Times, Alison Graham wrote. ‘The terrific music is important in
building Broadchurch’s chilly atmosphere and dark mood. Like the best music,
it's unobtrusive and doesn’t tell you what you should be feeling.’ Really? Are we
watching the same episodes?

The music may be lovely and appropriate, but it is a bit too Hollywood where the
audience is not too subtlety manipulated as to how to respond to what's on the
screen; feel threatened, feel anxious, feel elated, feel patriotic, feel happy. If you
haven't noticed, it's the new trend. More overwhelming orchestration to come.
Sigh. Subtitle solution then?

I've recovered from my rant knowing I'll repeat it next week...to anyone who will
listen....


Misogyny Gone Men-tal

Just when you thought the Tories couldn't surprise you with more sheer and
utter stupidity, Conservative Party consultant, Mike Buchanan, steps up.

Founded by Mike, the new on the scene Justice for Men and Boys party is
seeking justice for all suffering men. He labels women as a "privileged class"
who "provoke domestic violence." Clarifying his rage against the other gender:
"...feminists lies about rape, domestic violence and gender pay gap were non-
sense" and there are "as many battered men as women."

Clearly Mike is avoiding all the statistics. One incident of domestic violence is
reported to the police every minute. I don't reckon the families of the two women
murdered every week by their partners will be joining the party, although the
murderers might.

Mike might want to be familiar with the scary statistics in South Africa. Every 16
seconds a woman is raped, every 7 hours a woman is killed - by a suffering
man. It may not be happening in Mike's neighbourhood, but I believe the point
has been made.

Misogynist-Mike has been divorced twice and swears he'll never marry again.
Hmmm, Mike. I don't believe they are forming a queue.


Kiss, Kiss, Hug, Hug

While on the subject of political faux-pas - alright, idiocy regarding the above -
but still.... After totally blanking the big solidarity march in Paris, the US sent
diplomat John Kerry to reassure President Hollande that France remains 'the
special one'.  

Kerry managed to finally find Paris - perhaps he was perplexed and thought he
was being sent to Paris, Texas.

After being briefed as to where he was being sent: "My visit to France is
basically to share a big hug for Paris and express the affection of the American
people for France and for our friends there who have been through a terrible
time," Kerry warned on the eve of his trip.

Clearly he and presumably other Americans don't know; the French don't hug.
They kiss - twice - once on either side. C’est très simple, n'est-ce pas? No back-
patting, no rib-crushing. There is no word to describe 'hug' in French. "La bise"
or cheek-kissing is the standard greeting. Uncomfortably embarrassing.

So towering Kerry went in for 'le big hug', Hollande leaned forward to perform 'la
bise' and all witnesses winced. But no 'bro' involved. Perhaps that's only used by
Obama when he has no idea who the person is - i.e. PM CallMeDave.

Just when it couldn't get any more cringe-making, Kerry introduced James
Taylor to sing 'You've Got A Friend' to his French hosts. I know. You think I'm
making this up. Evidently Kerry was so moved, he responded by swaying for the
full three-and-a-half minutes. The event was called an "Hommage de John Kerry
a Paris." Mon Dieu!
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