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Tony Grist

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Between Christmas And New Year [Dec. 28th, 2018|11:10 am]
Tony Grist
The world is ticking over again.

To my surprise the dustmen showed up- and it's not even their regular day. The postman came too; he delivered a 2019 diary and three catalogues.

I've been improving the shining hour with John Malkovich's Poirot. And, no, it's not Poirot as we've known him. And quite right too. If you want something like straight and unadulterated Christie there's David Suchet's enormous back catalogue to draw on- and if I remember rightly his ABC Murders was a stand-out episode. Suchet's Poirot is definitive. So If you're going to film the stories again there's not much point unless you're going to do it very differently. And the new team does. Suchet's Poirot moved through a never-ending- and never existing- age of elegance and art deco, Malkovich's Poirot inhabits Auden's "low dishonest decade" of financial crisis and fascism. The first war casts its shadow, the second war is coming. There is dinginess and grime and deep, deep unhappiness. There are crimes to be solved- of course there are- but issues of identity are equally important. Malkovich's Poirot is an outsider, a refugee, a foreigner in a society that is closing its ranks, a catholic in a protestant country, a man with a secret past and no papers. Everything about the character that could be played for comedy- the fussiness, the malapropisms, the silly moustache- has been shaved away. What remains is a great and fastidious dignity in the face of much provocation. Inside he rages. Who is he exactly? Who is anybody when it comes to that- aren't we all facades- and isn't this the question that Christie keeps asking- the question at the heart of all detective fiction? This is a Poirot for the age of Brexit- and why not? Art is always of its time. Christie herself was of her time. If she were alive and writing today she'd be keeping abreast of social developments- the way she always did.

Most people I know have had colds- and I've finally joined them. I'm pleased to have kept myself from going under until the party season was over and done with.

[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2018-12-28 12:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, damn cold bug got me too.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-12-28 12:54 pm (UTC)
Stupid germs!
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2018-12-28 06:03 pm (UTC)
lots of folks on this side of the Atlantic have colds, as well.

I totally loved Suchet's Poirot just like I loved Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes. I don't care for the present (at least over here) incarnation with Benedict Cumberbatch (nothing wrong with him!). I've always loved John Malkovitch. Maybe I'll dip my toe in that water sometime in the future.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-12-28 07:15 pm (UTC)
Holmes and Poirot are classic characters. I love Brett and Suchet but I've no objection to other actors having a go. I don't suppose anyone will ever repeat Suchet's achievement in filming all the original stories.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2018-12-29 08:10 am (UTC)
Hope the cold soon clears. Everyone at work has been down with it, so no doubt my turn will come soon.

I quite like the sound of that Poirot. Maybe I'll watch it on the iplayer...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-12-29 08:51 am (UTC)
Thanks. I believe I'm getting better.

I'll be watching the final episode on iplayer later today...
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2018-12-29 04:57 pm (UTC)
Sympathies regarding the cold. I'm finally recovering from mine. Why does such a supposedly mild illness make one feel so slow and stupid?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-12-29 07:12 pm (UTC)
Perhaps that's the point. Perhaps it's our tired bodies telling us we should flop around and do nothing for a while.
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