Weekly Ramble No. 17

We watched Luther Season 3 this week. I enjoyed it a lot and it was great to see Alice return to save the day in the final episode. The two part Season 4 isn’t on Netflix in the UK yet, but I read that it’s available in the US, so I hope it will land here eventually. It was nice to see Luther get a new girlfriend but the writer in me knew it was just so she could be put in danger in a later episode.

I also finished watching Last Kingdom the BBC’s adaptation of Cornwell’s Uthred saga. It really got entertaining toward the end with the Viking brothers falling out over King Alfred’s daughter. Uthred still seems to be more of a poser than I imagined him in the books and I can’t remember any of the events shown in the TV series. Maybe it’s gone through a major rewrite or maybe I just have a very poor memory – I have mostly read the books on holiday and out of sequence so anything’s possible.

This week we took our asses off to North Wales for the weekend. The weather was typically odd – bright sunshine and wind on Friday and Sunday, and overcast and cold on Saturday.

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Here’s a quick video from Pensarn beach showing the dreamy quality of the sand blowing from East to West across the beach:

We went to the arcade and put a pound of tuppences into the penny falls. We never expect to win anything but it’s fun while it lasts.

We also went to Llandudno under a horribly overcast sky and braved the pier, Punch & Judy show and the Alfred Hitchcock aggro gulls.

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We usually have chippy chips on the prom, but it was too cold for that kind of shenanigans, so we had KFC instead and some cake and tea later at a tea room called Habit which I would recommend. In the evening we went to Wong’s in Abergele for some good Chinese food.

While we were in Wales, I finished reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. It’s a beautiful book that left me thinking ‘damn, I wish I’d written that!’. I could relate a lot to the story of thirteen-year-old Jason who has a stammer, secretly writes poetry, has an older sister and dysfunctional parents. It’s set in the early 1980s which is almost spot on the right time for me to get all the cultural references that Mitchell puts into the story.

There’s an entertaining link to The Cloud Atlas and well-observed and beautifully written passages about growing up in the Eighties, the constant fight to avoid bullies at school and out of school, trying to understand your parents and learning about girls. There’s not all that much of a character arc but it really doesn’t matter – it’s a great snapshot of a point in time and if it is not somewhat autobiographical then its a very convincing character that Mitchell has created in the form of Jason.

The details about how Jason’s stammer ‘behaves’ and how he fights to control it is very interesting and although some of the content is rather painful it’s not without its humour or poetry. A thirteen-year-old’s fight to have some kind of control over his life and form a comfortable identity is very well portrayed.

Back home I was pleased to find Kasabian’s new album For Crying Out Loud had landed on Spotify. I had a good listen to that and also the Gorillaz Humanz. I find Kasabian’s new album far more accessible than the Gorillaz – very melodic and more poppy that previous stuff. It was great to catch Gorillaz on Graham Norton’s TV show – which I usually refuse to watch – and see none other than Noel Gallagher playing alongside Damon Albarn. Seems like the hatchet has been buried from the days of Blur vs Oasis nonsense.

This evening I watched The Purge: Election Year. It was pretty much the same as the last film in – people running from one situation to another trying not to get killed. In this case it was the ex-cop from the last film who is now working a security detail for a female Presidential candidate who wants to ban the Purge as it is a blatant excuse for the lower classes to be terrorised and killed. It works reasonably well as an allegory for current US politics but for me raises far too many questions for it to be considered as anything particularly clever. It’s the kind of film you can watch while eating your dinner, checking your phone and making notes about other stuff for a blog post.

For instance, why, if this is purely an event for American citizens to purge their violent nature on one no-rules night do they allow ‘murder tourists’ to come over and take part? Seems to me like they would be barred from taking part or being victims. I really shouldn’t spend too much time thinking about these things – Michael Bay is involved and that immediately triggers the nonsense alarm.

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