Quick preamble because it’s a red letter day: Monmouth Coffee has finally reached Brighton, albeit in a small way. Coffee@33, so fresh on Trafalgar Street they don’t have a business card or website yet, is using Monmouth’s espresso blend and – joy of joys – they reckon they can sell me a kilo of any Monmouth single estate beans/grind without a mark-up, if I give them a week’s notice. Trafalgar Street is notoriously tough to crack, so if you’re a Brighton coffee ponce and want to taste something to compete with Red Roaster (well, better than really, though in not such nice surroundings), check it out and, once you’ve seen the light, encourage them to train down the whole range.
I know I’ve got on the Culture Show‘s arse before in The Morning Star about their overall turdiness but this week takes the fucking biscuit. I was so excited about the David Simon interview. The Wire sits alongside The West Wing as my favourite TV ever and those in the know will agree, Simon is not only one of the finest television writers but has revitalised the whole art. Well…
“…he now stands accused of breaking the laws of writing for TV. David Simon has been detained by The Culture Show for questioning.”
Yes, Lauren Laverne does the eight-minute interview (with heavy clips, so less than two minutes of actual insight from the subject) in a mock-up Police interview room, using a cassette of ‘controversial’ statements and challenging him on ‘breaking TV writing laws’. For fuckedy-fuckedy-fuck’s sakes!
Laverne: “We’ve intercepted a few of your communications… That is your voice on that tape… Can you explain yourself?”
Cripes chief, can someone put the programme-makers out of my misery?
Simon patiently plays along (“This may be something you’ll have to lock me up for…”) but, Christ, I wish he’d pulled rank and told them to fuck right off. The man had fascinating, probably important themes to develop, if they’d only let him.
“Wherever an institution has been given free sway, it has devoured individuals.”
Yesterday I watched the first episode of Generation Kill, new HBO mini-series based on the book by Rolling Stone journo Evan Wright, who was ’embedded’ with US marines during the invasion of Iraq. Adapted by Ed Burns and David Simon, it is vivid, downbeat, realistic, without over-embellishment and, so far, bloody brilliant. They are reaching toward truth – and can TV drama do any more than that?
Surprise, no mention of this series in the interview. And since the only actual Wire plug was Season 5 starting on the FX Channel, it makes me wonder if the BBC has bought the rights to show the whole of The Wire from Season 1 in the near future and was getting some early familiarisation in, without telling us. At least that would be cash well spent.
The thing is, like Mark Kermode, who is one of the best critics on telly, Lauren Laverne’s no gimp, she can run a show and pull off a heavyweight interview when needs be. The Chris Addison chat in the same show is absolutely fine. Now she has to face whichever monkeys are throwing out shit idea after shit idea and stand them down. It’s time to climb off the gimmicks. This was the first time I’ve seen David Simon on British TV, though admittedly I haven’t gone looking. Now wouldn’t it have been fantastic if it was a straightforward lengthy and detailed interview. I’m tired of your weak shit!