Archive November 2010

Regents Park, sunset
Quite topical this week.  Ian McMillan kicked it off on Desert Island Discs with John Cage’s 4’33” of silence which naturally was not an ideal radio choice, but it was mindful. I like the thought that we could all stop and listen to the fact that we and our surroundings were the music.  Radio 4, emboldened by this idea, put on some silent programming on Monday (surely not a soft test for cheap programming in view of budget cuts?) provoking a number of responses, mostly lyrical and some which appear to have been take down by the moderator.   Simple pleasures, domestic moments, moments of contemplation were surprisingly touching  as listeners described their quiet delight.
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Sunday night TV vacuum looms. Another year to wait for the return of Downton Abbey to know the fate of Lady Mary and Matthew and what will keep them apart (I’m guessing trenches). Another year before we can enjoy the waspy Maggie Smith, hiss at the downstairs villains, revel in the costumes or brood a little over Hugh Bonneville.

Why has this series, which is hardly a new concept in either TV or literature, kept 11 million of us glued to the sofa? (Obviously not the same sofa.) Of course Sunday night is made for costume

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drama and brilliant story-telling. We want to care about the characters, get wrapped up in their world and know what happens next. Not unlike a good novel. How lovely that ITV can be encouraged that this kind of programming works. That said, next week they’re filling the slot with I’m (not) a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. This me is already out of there.

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