Boxing Clever

There hasn’t been much on the old box lately; I’d given up trawling unprofitably through Netflix and the i-player because anything that was any good had that little red progress bar underneath showing that we’d watched it already. And then came Britbox.

Britbox is a collaboration between the Beeb and ITV, a sort of i-player-plus with loads of classic stuff from both channels. We knew it was coming but they’ve brought it forward, presumably because of the unmentionable, and a deep joy it is too: I discovered things I hadn’t seen for ages, like Rev. (brilliant series) all of Doc Martin, The Forsyte Saga (though sadly not the original with Eric Porter and Nyree Dawn Porter) and I’m wondering if I, Claudius is on there too because I’d love to see that again. There are all the old comedies like The Good Life and Open all Hours and Yes, Minister/Prime Minister and of course endless hours of Downton Abbey which we will be laying down and avoiding (it’s not a wine for drinking, it’s a wine for laying down and avoiding.)

Ironically we discovered Britbox just as I’d begun watching Breaking Bad. To be fair OH and son have been going on at me about the latter for several years but in spite – or perhaps because – of that I’ve been laying down and avoiding it. I’ve also discovered that I have an aversion to names that don’t make sense (I don’t understand it so I’m not going to watch it) but I now know what breaking bad means, so I can proceed in peace. And no, I’m not going to tell you – you’ll just have to go through your own tormented process until you find out. If you are so foolish as to do any such thing.

So – last night we rediscovered the delights of Rev, the charm of which lies in its utter authenticity as it is written by those in the know and researched by clerics including the Rev. Richard Coles. But you don’t have to be an Anglican (or ex-Anglican) to enjoy it; Tom Hollander’s beleaguered priest is comic and touching in about equal measure and Olivia Coleman is a delight as his long-suffering wife.

So if you’ve watched everything on Netflix and i-player I advise you to box clever. Get Britbox. (I’m wasted here; I should have gone into advertising.)

Kirk out

Soap-suckers and Soup Shops

At Holly’s instigation I watched some reality TV last night.  You’ve probably seen it – it’s called ‘Famous, Rich and Hungry’; in which for Sport Relief some famous and rich people are staying with hungry families to learn something about their own lives and help the hard-pressed poor into the bargain.  There were four host families and four ‘famous’ people – only one of which I’d ever seen; a preposterous posh bloke from Chelsea whose existence in this day and age is hard to credit.  You know the one, he’s blond and – oh gosh, so nice! but he’s just a tad out of touch.  Jamie Laing, he’s called.  He stayed with a single dad who, in order to feed his two young children, skipped meals and was always hungry.  After a bit of a false start – Jamie decided to find his host a ‘soup shop’ and hit on one which was full of druggies and frankly scary – he found a place where his charge could actually volunteer as a cook and so eat for free.  Result!  (He also found out in the process that the correct term is ‘soup kitchen’, so it’s all good.)  Meanwhile Cheryl Fergison (EastEnders) meets a single woman on a very low income.  This is the person I felt most sorry for, because she does what I do; she keeps accounts every month and tracks down all her expenditure so that she can stay on top of her bills.  But then this month the date of her benefit was changed and so everything was thrown into disarray.  It can really make you desperate, and I felt so much for her as I’ve been there myself and I know what that’s like.  When you live on the edge the smallest thing can send you over.

The famous and rich did seem to help their charges a little, but they were only with them a week.  And then the media machine moves on and these people are forgotten.  One thing did stand out though and that was the levels of debt some people are living with; and the cynical and predatory way in which they are targeted by pay-day lenders.  Frankly, hanging’s too good for these people…

And so to Clarendon Park where I failed to find a soap-sucker for our toilet.  You know what I mean, the thing that looks like a flattened octopus and holds onto your soap whilst anchoring itself to your sink.

And back to the laptop-face…

Kirk out

I am the Anti-Proust: Thoughts on Memory Loss

Yes, I’ve decided that I am the anti-Proust.  Proust was known – is known – for remembering everything; I am known for forgetting everything.  Or I will be after everyone’s read this post.  I’m writing a memoir about forgetting, (if that isn’t the ultimate paradox I don’t know what is) and I’m trying to recall where and when it all began and what it is I’ve forgotten.  It’s tying my brain in knots and untying them at the same time – but! it is also closely linked to this blog.  Because it all started just a few months after I began this blog.

We kicked off here after I’d been to a writer’s workshop and met Hanif Kureishi, he of ‘Buddha of Suburbia’ fame.

After his talk I asked him what advice he would give aspiring writers, and he said ‘start a blog’.  So you can blame him.  Yes, it’s all Hanif’s fault.  Here, in case you haven’t read it, is the original post:

Anyway, thanks to the i-player there’s at least one thing I don’t need to try to remember, and that is what I’ve watched.  For a certain period at least, the blessed app will tell me what I’ve seen, how much of it I’ve seen, what other things like it I may or may not have seen, and what I might like to see but haven’t.  It’s a small relief, but a relief nonetheless.  So let us consult the blessed app and see what I’ve been watching this week.

Well, there was Room 101, in which Alistair MacGowan failed to impress and that woman off ‘Dragon’s Den’ was frankly bizarre:

I found Alistair MacGowan less than personable (he wanted to put children into Room 101) and I have never seen Dragon’s Den (that’s one thing I’m sure of) so I wasn’t quite ready for the explosion of gold lame and fake-black hair that is Hilary Devey.  Josh Groban (who he?) was perfectly pleasant but didn’t make much of an impression.  Frankly, I prefer seeing people I already know on R00m 101 but I suppose the failure is mine for not watching enough prime-time TV.

Apart from that I haven’t seen much, apart from an episode of ‘The Likely Lads’ and too much has already been said about that.


Kirk out