Consumed the week of 25 November, 2019

I missed an update last week, but I have a good excuse: we were in Berlin with a couple of friends of ours. We drank beer, ate bratwurst and beetroot and potatoes, went record shpping, tried out the electric scooters and generally had a great time.

This week, it was back to earth with a bit of a bump, especially as the great Clive James and the brilliant Jonathan Miller both died. I walked past Miller once years ago in Camden, and I got very excited about it. Too excited probably, but the guy was a bit of a legend to me. Just the way he used to pop up on BBC2 talking with effortless brlliance about opera or literature or film or…. anything really; his gangly limbs all wrapped up around himself. He was an incredible person and it wa a little bit of a shame his death was overshadowed by that of James (and Gary Rhodes!)…

…Having said that, Clive James was amazing too. He is the man who said “A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing,” after all. A rule to live by right there. He said and wrote a lot of incredible things, some of which are documented in this Washington Post obit.

Both Miller and James were exponents of the belief that creativity and genius could flourish in any arena, high or low. I love that idea, and it seems to me that Dipti S. Barot might too. She wrote this essay for Longreads talking about her lifelong love of the film critics Siskel and Ebert. I didn’t grow up watching these two (and their thumbs) but I did grow up with a genuine appetite for watching “intelligent people who actually respect each other disagree so passionately that it’s as if sparks are ricocheting off the screen…”. It’s why I love Clive James and Jonathan Miller, and why this is one of my favourite essays I’ve read all year.

The only other thing I want to point to this week is this incredible performance from David Byrne on Jimmy Fallon. I know someone who saw his American Utopia show on Broadway last month and they loved it. I was very very jealous. This life-affirming video will have to do for now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *