January 15th, 2013


Father Brown

Chesterton's Father Brown stories are bizarre, bejewelled and Borgesian (actually it's the other way round; Borges is Chestertonian) and though they've been filmed a few times now they've yet to fall into the hands of the kind of bad-boy visual stylist who would do them proud. This latest BBC series is going out in a slot between the lunchtime soaps and the tea-time quiz shows and- surprise, surprise- Ken Russell it ain't.  Chesterton's original Hammer of God features the tallest most vertiginous church tower in literature but- never mind- this boxy little item will do. His boudoir-crawling victim wears an enamelled Japanese helmet that makes him look- from above- like a squashable bug; well, sorry, but that's just mad. people don't behave like that (Only they do! They do!)   Father Brown has been Marpleized- transported to the 50s (apparently- according to an interview with the producer- because people prefer their costume dramas set within living memory), bedded down in a pretty Cotswold village and equipped with a couple of non-canonical female side-kicks- one for comedy, one for glamour- and a slow-on-the-uptake Chief inspector to bedevil and annoy. The result is perfectly watchable focus group TV- with an endearing central performance from Mark Williams- but it's not particularly interesting.

The Death Of The High Street

I was a little taken aback to learn that HMV was going into administration. Many a happy hour I've spent...etc...etc...but not recently. In fact it must be many months since I did any shopping on any High Street. I'll admit it. I'm part of the problem.

It's all very well bewailing the death of the High Street, but the way we buy things is changing- and asking people to go back- and abandon the speed and convenience of the internet and the supermarket- is a bit like asking them to ditch their cars in favour of pony-traps.