December 6th, 2020

Three Unconnected Paragraphs

The pump on the shower makes a sound like a frog- or like the conventional rendering of the sound frogs make- "Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit". Or perhaps it's going "innit, innit, innit" as if insisting on its opinion.

I enjoyed Bridge of Spies, but Tom Hanks's Norman Rockwellish persona is as unlikely- going on impossible- as that of any golden age movie star- and the film has been wrapped around it. This would matter less if we weren't being told a story "inspired by real events". Supermen are fine in fantasy, but here it would be nice to know what actually happened- in particular to have more light thrown on the extraordinary Rudolph Abel (not his real name)- the Russian spy and not-at-all-bad painter who was born- of all places- in Geordieland. Mark Rylance got the Oscar for playing him- and quite right too. "Aren't you worried?" asks Hanks. "Would that help?" replies Rylance. Was the real Abel really that detached from his own reality?- And if he was, how very, very interesting...

Media made earlier this year is beginning to filter through to our screens. Last night, for example, Alice Roberts was exploring the industrial history of Glasgow while social-distancing like a good'un. In places this was disguised by over the shoulder camera angles, in others you could see how she was unnaturally and laboriously maintaining a position three yards away from her interviewees. Will we laugh when these shows are repeated in saner times? I very much hope so.