There is something about the medium of the blog that encourages us to rant. Perhaps it is the recognition of the means by which we can tell the world what we really think, and to make them/it realise that they should have listened to us before. I do try to resist this form of expression, so as a means of trying to balance the outpourings of the last couple of days, and to reassure you that I am the one person of my generation who is not a grumpy old git, I thought I would tell you about some of the things that I have seen on the electric television that have warmed my heart of late.
There was a splendid documentary about John Mortimer. Sadly it coincided with his death, so I will not be inviting Melvyn Bragg to my home to discuss my life and works in the near future, lest there be a connection.
I have enjoyed the serial about John Adams. It filled in gaps in my knowledge about that period in history, and I read about it as well in order to see how whether there was any bias in the production. An excellent production, despite the appearance of Tom Wilkinson (I know he is a good actor, but he is in bloody everything) and David Morse as Washington (I thought someone was going to extreme lengths to avoid idolising Washington by this bit of casting – a bit like having Dale Winton as Nelson, or Vinnie Jones as Wordsworth).
I have just watched, for the second time, the concluding episode of “Folk America”, which dealt with the folk revival of the early 60s and its legacy. It was wonderfully entertaining, mildly informative and coherent. What usually happens with documentaries about that period is that they get taken over by the rock stars of the period who try to tell you that they took part in the most amazing things ever to happen on the planet in a disjointed, incoherent and up-themselves way. (I mean the telling, not the taking part, Dave). This time the musicians were pretty much restricted to talking about music, apart from the more lucid ones, like Joan Baez who was able to talk about the times in a way that wasn’t centred on her ego. Even John Sebastian made sense, which was a first in my experience. The music seemed well chosen and representative and the narrative flowed. One of the most poignant sections, naturally, was Dylan and Baez performing at the march on Washington, but the small section that I found most moving was the film of Mississippi John Hurt at Newport. I defy you to listen to his music and, once you have finished appreciating the brilliance of his guitar playing, not be touched by the warmth, humility and humanity of this man.