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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Porn - old and new



I don't watch much new telly these days but I except Wolf Hall, the BBC's plausible six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel's meaty novels about Tudor schemer/fixer Thomas Cromwell  - not to be confused with Oliver of that ilk who later urged England to take stumbling steps towards parliamentary democracy, a process still woefully incomplete.

I worry that these reconstructions feed a taste for legitimised S-M porn with their detailed scenes of public executions, especially of women. No spoiler alert necessary for WH's final episode yesterday, given that it concerned Anne Boleyn's fall from grace, and for which something new in the beheading line was contrived.

Don't be put off by this but be warned: WH is a serious account of politics and the drama lies in networks of relationships which demand attention and a good memory. Meanwhile marvel at Mark Rylance's minimalist Cromwell (above), and the huge implications contingent upon the tightening of his lips. A role for which telly was invented.


A MORE modern form of porn lies in the never-ending trawl of kit to sustain enthusiasts in their leisure pursuits. Blonde Two and Sir Hugh, both extreme walkers, have a taste for this. (Too cruel, too condensed; see: Where-er you ski)

I used to walk (the synonym, hike, causes me to throw up) and my first and only rucksack was bought as ex-WW2 stock, said to be used by Army toughies called Commandos. Painful to the hips, very character-forming.

To get to "walking" places I rode a motor bike and needed gloves. The first pair, quickly discarded, were also ex-WW2 and made of crackly slick canvas for troops under gas attack. No porn in either of these items, I fear.

4 comments:

Blonde Two said...

Did you read the Wolf Hall books first? I did and found them a pleasant exercise in memory skills. A read that required my focus. What a brave lady to choose a plot where almost everybody was called "Thomas".

I have to confess to enjoying a good beheading scene. Morbid fascination I think and the WH was an excellent representation of the novel (if you can call it that).

Roderick Robinson said...

Blonde Two: I read WH and Bring Up The Bodies first but I have a bad record with complex plots in books. I tend simply to accept the new twists and new details without trying to work out whether they add up and/or make sense. Especially in whodunnits which devote pages to breaking down alibis and train time arrivals. Thus I depend more on the vividness of the way things are told than anything else. From time to time, watching the episodes, I asked VR short sharp questions: Is that Anne Boleyn's father? No it's her uncle. VR always knew.

Because TV distilled the books it was easier to follow the politics but not exactly primary school Nevertheless it was nice to be treated as an adult and to relish the letters to the Radio Times (inescapable views of UK middle-classism) complaining about the lack of action. Were they not able to see into TC's head - it was a veritable battlefield.

Avus said...

WH was an excellent dramatization of a couple of excellent novels which one would not have thought could be so converted without losing their essential
"retroflective" ambience - they were.

I have gained a wonderful oath therefrom: "the thrice beshitten shroud of Lazarus"

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Critics frequently say certain novels cannot be adapted for the screen. Recently we saw a movie based on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Faulkner must be as "unconvertible" as any writer and yet when I Googled I found there've been about ten attempts. One Spanish director had a fair old shot (well, I approved) at doing Swann's Way from Proust's Remembrance Of Things Past. The key is whether the script-writer genuinely loves the original work and/or author.