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Attention! If you live outside the UK, love surreal British comedy and haven't heard of Toast of London then you've REALLY been missing out. It's literally the only television programme I have bothered to watch in years. I don't even own a TV! Netflix are now offering Toast internationally. 
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 A great new miserable documentary from Adam Curtis here. Bang up-to-date in examining Trump and Putin's strategic abandonment of reality, but it's the historical material about Assad senior and Gaddafi that I found most intriguing. The manner in which US and UK politicians continually spun an imaginary narrative of the intellectually limited narcissist Gaddafi as a global terror super-brain while evidence for the Lockerbie bombing pointed directly at Syria. If you like this then watch 'Bitter Lake' too. 

Meades

12/3/14 10:25
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Camera Roll-89

A fuzzy iPad photo of Jonathan Meades giving a talk about brutalist architecture to the Regency Society in the spectacular music room of Brighton Pavilion. For months Jon ([livejournal.com profile] jermynsavile) and I had been as excited about this as small children going to Disneyland. There was a tense moment when Jon's tickets failed to materialise but it all turned out well in the end and we sat there in our coats at the beginning grinning at each other like idiots. Like many Meades fans, his programmes are one of the few reasons I will ever tune into broadcast TV. To those of you unfamiliar with Meades, he has created a sort of Reservoir Dogs screen persona and delivers his programmes as verbal barrages which, oddly, despite the extremely visual subject matter, are more akin to radio than television. Somewhat slower and unedited in real life he was, if anything, even more bizarre. Tiny, irritable eyes embedded in that big flaccid face it soon became evident that he was going to deliver nothing less than, verbatim, the entire script of his last two TV episodes. Spontaneous and engaging are not qualities he's bothered to cultivate and I don't suppose he needs to either. After an hour and a half of this the charming chairman of the Regency Society hesitantly placed a note on Meades's lectern which, we gathered, read something along the lines of "Brighton City Council are going to turf us out of here at 9pm." Meades froze as if in terror, but more likely rage, and then, in stony silence, turned over the last five pages of his script like sheets of lead and wound up the lecture; an episode of comic drama which Jon reckons was worth the whole £10 ticket price. There was a brief Q&A session during which I asked him if there was a better name for brutalism and he shot back "chummy, matey concrete".

Meades didn't join us for wine afterwards in the fancy kitchen with its iron columns disguised as palm trees. His loss. I found that the Regency Society is made up mostly of immensely literate, witty conversational retired people and I will make an effort to meet them again I think.
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I found this in the TV guide section of a magazine at work. The juxtaposition made me laugh.....

Pay to watch a Newscorp satellite channel, or die? The choice is yours.
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I dimly recalled watching Play Aaway on our black and white television in the 1970s, and that it was exciting and upbeat and pitched over my head. So, I turned to YouTube to get a proper look at it again with adult eyes. Jeremy Irons?! Yes, it really is him. Also a strangely immutable Tony Robinson. I had no idea they were in it. It's all terribly public school and literate. No wonder I was impressed as a kid. Not sure how it would go down these days. The fabulous 'King Caratacus' song contains what could be interpreted as a 'gay joke'.

One more clip here.... )
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You'll just have to trust me that this isn't some internet joke, but actual broadcast daytime TV in1980s Britain. They made 52 episodes of Murun Buchstansangur, all of them in this same vein of utter nihilistic hopelessness. Someone left this comment on YouTube which sums it up nicely....

I thought I'd imagined the whole thing. Wow is my shrink going to be stunned when I show her this.

She's all "They can't have shown a 4-minute chunk of Kafka-esque gloom every week just before the news. I'm sure this is just your way of telling yourself you didn't get out much as a youngster", and I'm all "Did so. His name was Moron."

"Mmm-hmm. Tell me about Moron."

"Well, he was this sort of head who lives under the sink... wait... I'm having a breakthrough..." etc.

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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] velvet_granat for drawing my attention to this.