Sunday, May 4, 2008

In a spirit of general biliousness and dyspepsia, Malcolm offers ...

Ten suggestions for a decade or so of dutiful neglect:

10. Sharma doing another series, with coffee-table book as optional extra.
  • Actually, this could usefully be extended to include most "popular" history, especially if it is a "co-production" with the History Channel. Just think how many electrons will be released for useful service, even for real education.
9. Lady violinists with cleavages more obvious than their musical talents.
  • This, fortunately, should also keep Classic FM magazine permanently off the shelves at W.H.Smith.
  • A similar restriction might be placed on sopranos, especially with Welsh ancestry.
8. Any permutation on Michael Palin and pointless journeys to forgettable places, with funny food and bearded bods en route.
  • Air travel is an unfortunate necessity. Railways are civilised and decent means of transport. Dhows and cargo ships, camels and donkeys are mocking the afflicted, those obliged to employ them, and anyone fool enough to watch them.
7. Anything that involves a list of "The Hundred Best ..."
  • Particularly if it originates on Channel 4.
  • Replay The Old Grey Whistle Test instead.
6. Attenborough.

5. Any television series of "classic" English movies.
  • There are only three: Brief Encounter; The Third Man and A Matter of Life and Death. We've seen then repeatedly. We know every frame.
  • They don't work on the small screen anyway.
  • For the purposes of public hygiene, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo might be similarly excised from the schedules...
  • Works involving Michael Caine may occasionally be excused, but only to prove they are far better than subsequent American re-makes.
4. Any belief that football ("soccer" to the ex-colonials) involves art, grace or subtlety.
  • References to "the beautiful game" deserve extended penal servitude.
  • The mantra is and should be: soccer is a game for gentlemen played by guttersnipes; Rugby is a game for guttersnipes played by gentlemen; Gaelic football is a game for guttersnipes played by guttersnipes.
3. The collected works of Jane Austen.
  • Under no circumstances should there be any further television or film adapatations, modernisations.
  • Speculations about the author's psychology and sexuality should be forbidden, or treated as clairvoyance, and perpetrators punished under the fraud laws.
2. Anything which involves the Mona Lisa.
  • Particularly if it also involves Templars.
1. Romeo and Juliet. It is not a particularly well-constructed play (only Macbeth -- which has been severely mucked about -- and Taming of the Shrew are as crude):
  • The only interesting male character is written out half way through.
  • The chronology goes awry with Capulet shifting the date of the wedding, as well as the Friar John thing.
  • Balthasar in the falling action and Count Paris in the final scene are weak constructs, when neither has been adequately established.
  • The Friar Lawrence wrap-up is nearly as deadly dull as the Archbishop in the second scene of Henry V.
  • Its main educational merit (apart from a quick flash by Olivia Hussey, forty years ago) is that the powers-that-be who ordained the National Curriculum didn't get the knob jokes.
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