Couple of Good Things

‘It Takes a Killer’ on CBS Reality

It’s not Mad Men or Girls, but I really can watch episode after episode of this. Each instalment chronicles a real-life murder or series of murders and the police investigation around them. The show is very fast-paced and has an assured, modern style. The video-game Metal Gear Solid springs to mind. Stuff flashes by: photos, maps, text, talking heads, stock visuals and snatches of reconstruction. On paying a little closer attention I noticed that every move is accompanied by either a ‘whoosh’ or ‘blade unsheathing’ sound effect. The guy working the sound board must surely have developed arthritis. The voice-over is as you’d expect from the title- grave, heading towards devilish- but not dorky and overdone in this case. The experts are compelling characters in their own right: Weary LAPD guy, distant 30-something English woman and slim pork-pie hat dude. It’s quality stuff- there’s a lot of background material, footage and police evidence from each case, some of it jaw-dropping, and interesting wider perspectives are presented. I think much care has been taken. Two thumbs up.

Podcasts

I first heard the term ‘podcast’ back in 2009/10. To me it sounded like something both second-rate and troublesomely technical. I was aware that Ricky Gervais was doing one and I didn’t like the sound of it either- him and his mate laughing at a buffoonish third guy. That was it for me until 2014, when the podcast ‘Serial’ appeared and had HBO-like credibility. They’ve crept up in a big way since then and I have various ones on all the time now. Life is better for them- it’s ‘take what you’re given’ no longer culturally speaking (or even more-so now anyway), plus they make dull tasks tolerable.

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Austerity

The word ‘Austerity’ crept up without me noticing and is now everywhere. It’s the government approved term for the economic strategy being followed. David Cameron used it first in a speech in 2009, with his ‘Age of Austerity’. Webster’s made it word of the year in 2010. It seems to be used uncritically by all sides now, strangely. It absolutely is a tad creepy and Orwellian, in the way it can be a bad thing when it needs to be and a good thing when it needs to be. It screws opponents of the economic strategy – the anti-austerity marchers and ‘End Austerity Now’ campaigners. What do they want instead? Indulgence? I can’t remember anything as crafty as that in politics before.

Then in the run up to the election Cameron got the name of the football team he supports wrong. He was talking about the economy or something, about how football support brings in so much revenue, and he’s saying he encourages support for all teams across the country, then adds jovially- ‘But of course I’d rather it was for West Ham’, at which point his face froze for a brief second as he remembered it was Aston Villa he’s been claiming to support for years.

I mean, that’s fucking dreadful. I wonder are people out there as thick as he and his advisers obviously imagine them to be? Whatever the case, both of the above make me think there’s something quite cold and insulting going on. The austerity thing suggests a commitment to and knack for manipulation, and the football thing speaks for itself- the idiots must be humoured.

Jeremy’s ”Fuck You Bush’ poem from Peep Show sums up my mood (awful recording but whatever):