What was the theme, if any, of 2017. Terrorist attacks? Donald Trump tweeting? Tony Abbott being desperate? And then towards the end it clicked, welcome to the year of the Moral Panic.
2017 saw an acceptable Fall album, New Facts Emerge, – Pitchfork put it thus: “Another potential sticking point for any Fall fan, new or longtime, is the current state of Mark E Smith’s voice. Long gone is the untrained yet undeniably charming timbre that barked, squealed, and crooned through his band’s most prominent work; it’s been replaced by a bilious and phlegmy growl struck by age (he turned 60 in March) and many, many cigarettes. It’s not an easy sound to get used to, but on much of the Fall’s recent music, it’s clear that Smith is aware of how he sounds. He seems to take pleasure in drawing out the syllables in a word like “folderol” (“Fol De Rol”) because it sounds especially menacing when he does it – and on the same tune, he gives the phrase “homo sapien electric” the same chilling effect by raising the volume and letting the moisture in his throat rattle away.”
New albums from Chuck Berry, Cat Stevens and Ringo Starr – a combined age there of 236.
More good TV than is wise to watch. Late in the piece two friends came to visit – W1A and Detectorists, that ended the year quite nicely for me. A dozen or so that come to mind are:
SS-GB. From a Len Deighton novel. Nazis in charge of Blighty in the 40s.
Deutschland 83. East Germany in 1983 – some say this was the last time the afternoon tea was reasonable at Stasi HQ.
Broadchurch series 3.
Byzantium: a tale of 3 cities. With the man with the three names (Simon Sebag Montefiore). Can never have enough tongue gouging. *
The Trip to Spain. Steve and Rob.
Fortitude series 2. Not sure what was going on.
Twin Peaks. Made no sense at all. Saw the first few episodes on Netflix Brazil, where it benefited from Portuguese subtitles.
Versailles series 2. Flamboyantly long hair.
Vietnam. (Ken Burns) 10 eps, cut down version on SBS.
Doctor Foster series 2. I got to the end and thought how did they make two series out of this story?
Detectorists (** see below)
W1A. Strong, brilliant. Will Will be given a task of greater complexity than stuffing envelopes?
Back. Different characters than the Peep Show.
Hard Quiz. I like Tom.
Can we please put a stop to panel show members clapping each other’s spontaneous (ie rehearsed) witticisms? Examples include Screen Time, Gruen and just about every UK panel show.
Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler.
Right Here, Go-Betweens doco.
Victim.1961 with Dirk Bogarde, part of the British Film Festival. When homosexuals were committing a crime by just being themselves. The blackmailer’s charter.
Becoming Bond. Didn’t cover George’s post Bond career and life, eg Man from Hong Kong and his 2002 marriage to Pam Shriver (she was 23 years his junior at the time and still is).
A year in which over-egging, hyperbole and over-reach became understated. Well, more so than before.
Some say too many died, but I think not enough. Peter Eardley Sarstedt, died 8 January, may have been the first of the year. Two guys from Can died and that would seem to inhibit chances of a reunion tour. The death of John Clarke overshadowed all others, pity his last appearance was on the only spasmodically amusing The Ex-PM.
*The Byzantium empire has given us a byword for maddeningly complex bureaucracy-byzantine. I’ve had my own dealings with the Brazilian bureaucracy, the last time was astonishingly quick and pleasant. I got myself a CPF.