Thursday, 3 May 2012

Seen and heard: April 2012

The Adjustment Bureau - re-watched on DVD, having enjoyed the film so much in the cinema. Now we know the reason for those odd technical failures such as a mobile phone signal failing or an email going astray: it's the men in suits making adjustments!
White Heat - BBC friends-across-the-years drama series, rapidly becoming more profound and moving than its sixties-nostalgic first episode suggested.Divine Women - Bettany Hughes recovering the ancient history of women as gods, priestesses and promoters of faith. I thought I knew this territory, but many of the women she featured were new to me.
Meet the Romans with Mary Beard - real history from below, with the slums, toilets and mass cemeteries of ancient Rome.
The 70s - no nostalgia fest this, but a proper historical survey by Domenic Sandbrook (also consultant on White Heat). It makes a lot of sense of what I didn't understand properly at the time.
British Light Music Classics - the music of a very specific era, from the growth of radio (or "wireless") ownership to the advent of rock and roll, superbly re-created by Ronald Corp and the New London Orchestra. They're all here: Paul Temple, The Archers, Desert Island Discs, Dick Barton - and many more you know but didn't know you knew.
Our Lady of Walsingham - Anglo-Catholic shrine to the Virgin Mary; worth the pilgrimage.
Norwich Cathedral - and one of the best guided tours I've had in a long time (free, with no hanging around for a tip), the continuous presence of volunteer staff being testimony to how close its ties are with the local community.
Norfolk Summer: Making The Go-Between (by Christopher Hartop, 2011) - bought at Norwich Cathedral, which features in the 1971 film. I remember seeing the film at school in, I think, 1973; being schoolkids, we laughed at the Harold Pinter dialogue, but even we could see what a great film it was (despite not including the book's memorable opening line: "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.")
Vera Series 2 - with the wonderful Brenda Blethyn completely out-classing most other TV crime dramas on the box today.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - well-crafted, well-acted British rom com, with Kirsten Scott Thomas as a female Malcom Tucker, especially hilarious when bawling out her own kids.

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