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December, 2018

Hello. I’m back and that. How are you? Good? Good. So, December. This month I am revisiting the big questions of 2018. Cultural, political, that sort of thing. Hopefully my answers will solve all misunderstandings between the people of the world and bring peace on earth for everybody. Or they will approach being, but not quite be, insightful. Or they will be vaguely amusing. I’ll chuck in a few swears to be on the safe side.      

…which brings us to Kanye…

It was easy when it was Morrissey being awful. I don’t like him and I’m not especially fond of his music. But Kanye? Oh, man. I love Kanye’s music. I do. So when he’s wearing a MAGA hat in the White House I am not a happy bunny, because I know how Smiths fans feel, and it isn’t a good feeling, it’s a bad feeling. I don’t mind the texting at the theatre or any of the other non-stories that get written about him. But the Trump stuff. I don’t… Read more …which brings us to Kanye…

…and what do you do when your heroes turn out to be awful?

It used to be easy. There was the work, and you liked it, and then years later there were the revelations and they tainted your memories of your childhood but not your actual childhood. Now, with the internet, we get to find out in real time how awful everyone is. Consuming culture has become more complicated than ever. Which is just a fancy way of saying, ‘What about that Morrissey, eh? Blimey! Turns out he’s a massive racist.’ Only joking. Morrissey was never one of my heroes, I just liked… Read more …and what do you do when your heroes turn out to be awful?

So, should I stop watching Arrested Development?

I had stopped watching Arrested Development. I got less than halfway through the first episode of series four before turning it off. I had forgotten all about Arrested Development until Netflix remixed series four so it more closely followed the format of the first three series. And then I watched series four. And then I watched what they have so far released of series five. It isn’t as good as it used to be, is it? The drop in quality has been overshadowed by other things though, in particular the… Read more So, should I stop watching Arrested Development?

At what point can you give up on a tv series?

I watched the entire first series of Mad Men, thirteen episodes, five hundred and ninety three minutes. I didn’t enjoy a second of it. Not one. Which isn’t to say that Mad Men is bad because it is clearly a well made and well acted tv programme, just that it wasn’t for me. I persevered with it because when I said I was struggling with the first few episodes, a lot of people told me, ‘it starts off slow, but it gets really good’ or ‘just wait until episode seven’.… Read more At what point can you give up on a tv series?

Should we be stockpiling food?

Make two lists. One of all the wild animals you would be prepared to kill and another of all the wild animals you are prepared to eat. Unless a lot of the same animals are popping up on both your lists, you might want to start thinking, tentatively, about starting a stockpile of food, you know, just in case the people that have been steering us out of the EU don’t suddenly become competent at their jobs. I mean, they might. They might discover facts at the eleventh hour. But… Read more Should we be stockpiling food?

Are we losing our ability to do describing of things good?

We are losing our grip on language. We have conceded the floor. Someone else is making the rules. While some of us worried about the death of ‘whom’ or the difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’, somebody went and made the phrase ‘migration crisis’ ubiquitous. It isn’t a crisis, is it? It is an emergency. The difference is relatively subtle but incredibly important. ‘Emergency’ implies a situation that is dire but solvable. That is why we have emergency services, emergency plumbers, and emergency dentists. At Christmas, when grandparents visit, you get… Read more Are we losing our ability to do describing of things good?

Did we need a female Doctor Who? Do we need a black Bond?

Can we start by saying Jodie Whittaker is a superb Doctor Who? We can? Great. Because she is. The main priority in casting a new Doctor Who should be, “Who will be the best person for the job?” but the fact that up until now the people asking the question had seemingly forgotten to consider women for the role meant that a female Doctor was way overdue. However, nine episodes in to her first series, anyone who wants to argue that Jodie Whittaker’s appointment was in any way an exercise… Read more Did we need a female Doctor Who? Do we need a black Bond?

Are novels too long?

Ah, the Booker prize and its minor controversies. Every year someone swaggers up to tell us that the books entered need to more readable, or more challenging, or funnier, or more serious, or that they need to feature less llamas, or more llamas, or that all novels should be written by Joe Pasquale, or whatever. This year, some of the judges claimed a lot of the novels entered were too long. That inside every fat novel they read there was a thin novel fighting to get out. As somebody who… Read more Are novels too long?