Sunday, 5 May 2013
Just a tip of the hat to what has been an mostly excellent first full run of the Inspector Morse prequel series, 'Endeavour'.
What seemed an idea too far (a misguided attempt to cash in on what ITV no doubt considers a franchise, as the sequel series 'Lewis' seems likely to have reached its end) has evolved over the recent four stories into something strangely fresh and atmospheric and oddly modern – beginning with its bold, one-word episode titles – despite its setting in the early days of the character's police career in mid-1960s Oxford. It has stylish direction, memorable characters – both presenting young versions of a select band of the established ones from the later series and splendid new additions like Morse's pipe-smoking mentor Inspector Fred Thursday, played with relish by Roger Allam. Creator Russell Lewis – no relation, shurely? – has crafted a strong format with wit and weight in the writing.
And the most crucial element of all: what lead actor Shaun Evans does is very interesting – it's not an impression of John Thaw in any way – a curiously effective suggestion of what a person could be like if you strip away the years. It could all have fallen at the first hurdle without him, and luckily he's damn good.
Here's a raised glass of a suitably dark, cask-drawn ale to more.
Monday, 29 April 2013
Highbury Corner to Camden – passing something called CSM on the way along a canal towpath (we were fortunate to attend St. Martins School of Art in our youths) – following the long, straight road out of the braying Italian teenager hell-pit that is the Market up Haverstock Hill and stopping in Hampstead for a cup of tea (and to spot a passing Spice Girl – Sporty, if you must know), then on through trees and improbably-named children and dogs and joggers to the fine view you see here in the first photo (courtesy AA) - London from Parliament Hill.
A favourite spot and one from which you not only get to see the shifting skyline of the adopted town but also consider your place in it.
Later, descending through Tufnell Park to meet other pals - dear Vick and Charlie - we end up dropping by a street party near Holloway Prison (see 2nd photo, courtesy Vick), before returning to London, N1.
Friendship of rare vintage.
What a pair of lucky old codgers.
A marvellous piece produced by my old friend David Ellis – founding partner of the influential
Why Not Associates – while at the Royal College of Art, circa 1987.
Lovely man, grisly decade.
Even the mighty return to the dust beneath our feet in the end.
Saturday, 27 April 2013
I have long admired the work of the Swedish actor Krister Henrikksen.
For me his is the definitive Kurt Wallander – in the Scandinavian dramas televised from author Henning Mankell's detective novels.
His inscrutable, wearied face suggested a world of unspoken emotion within a man amidst the darkest of events, and he has been rightly praised for this marvellous performance.
As well as the exciting prospect of his recently-filmed new episodes to come, I was intrigued to read of his West End debut and duly booked tickets for a performance last Monday at the Wyndham's Theatre.
In due course my own Scandinavian thriller and I headed into town on a busy, tourist-thronged Monday evening and were not disappointed.
As 'Doktor Glas' – the tortured, obsessive focus of Hjalmar Soderberg's original 1905 novel and now this powerful solo adaptation – Henrikksen proved captivating, unsettling company.
The curiousity of English 'surtitles' (translating the expressive mystery of the spoken Swedish) projected above the action was soon forgotten and the enjoyment of what was rather a tour de force remained, for the intense 90-minute duration.
It is a strange, bleakly funny, occasionally nightmarish, piece - laced with creeping loneliness and a growing murderous intent on the part of the good – or not so good – Doktor.
As well as the pleasures and subtleties of the actor's craft that so captivated the audience there was also a quietly brilliant set design by director Peder Bjurman, lit to extraordinary, beautiful effect by Linus Fellbom.
A marvellous evening, a rare journey into theatre (and a lovely building it is, too) for us, and – particularly – memorable work from Henrikksen that lingers in the imagination.
At the close the actor received a standing ovation and cast the blood red roses – a key part of the story – into the audience.
Photo © 2013 Mette Ambeck
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Mette Ambeck and I will be exhibiting once again at the Arnolfini in Bristol, as part of their third bi-annual Bristol Artist's Book Event - Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st April.
This is always a fun event, part-organized by our old friends at the University of West England's Centre for Fine Print Research - see their exhaustive site dedicated to book arts at: http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/
and see the Arnolfini's coverage of the upcoming weekend here:
Do drop by if there's a chance you're in the vicinity.
Sunday, 24 March 2013
Do take a look at some new material I've added in the right hand column under the heading
'BBC my BBC' – gathering some scraps, thoughts and reminiscences covering my own appreciation and experiences of that venerable institution, the British Broadcasting Corporation since student days.
All spurred by the regrettable closure of the West London 'TV Centre' - marked last wet and blustery Friday night by a ragbag of programming, including a performance by another national institution, the band Madness.