This week I have been mostly consuming:
I’ve just finished reading Armando Iannucci’s new book, The Audacity of Hype. If anyone remembers his Shows, or Time Trumpet, it’s basically like a written word version of them. He’s one of the most, if not the most, influential British writers of comedy operating right now. I particularly loved the section on ‘cultural gorging’, in which he describes his elation and relief upon handing back a box set of The Sopranos to a friend who said he “MUST WATCH IT”. He’d come to the realisation that he didn’t have to watch it just because everyone protested that it was “THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD”. If you don’t fancy it, you don’t fancy it, no matter how much you are apparently ‘Missing out on’. It gave me some awesome ammo to use against my bro, who keeps dogging me to watch Stargate Universe even though I think it looks like utter man-child tosh.
I’m currently loving the new seasons of The Thick of It and Curb your Enthusiasm. Two comedies which are still breaking new ground, but which almost nobody seems to be watching. COME ON, WATCH IT! It’s the best thing in the world. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF!
Here’s something I observed about Curb this week though. I can’t think of anything else at the moment where the show’s music is almost like a character itself, whose presence we anticipate and whose appearance makes us smile. For example, when there is a mounting pile of unrelated events which are going to collide in a cringe-worthy mess at some time down the line, which the viewer can see coming but which Larry is blissfully unaware of, then this tune normally plays. Or when Larry’s investigating something (normally something he should just let go), we anticipate this tune playing.
Now, just like Pavlov’s dog, when I hear the music I immediately smile. I’m sure any Curb fans reading this, having listened to those tunes, are now smiling away to themselves. Much like the Mario tune immediately conjures up images of the game. Just an observation!
I was ready to start mourning the loss of Biffy Clyro to popular culture. Normally, when a band gets embraced by the masses, the quality of their output goes southwards. Doesn’t seem to have affected these guys though!
I’m well and truly knee deep in Dragon Age: Origins at the moment. I’ve taken the odd break to munch on a few crunchy morsels (such as finishing the campaign mode of Modern Warfare 2 in one sitting. It’s what holidays are for!) They’ve really thought about their world, the politics and the history of their races, much of which mirrors our own. Whilst they can’t escape the odd patch of dodgy dialogue (“Don’t mess with her, or it’s frog time!”), the whole package is very interesting and, in places, uncompromisingly brutal.
– Stew (@chicknstu)