Three Things: September 2018

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With thanks to Paula of Book Jotter for hosting—new participants always welcome!

Reading: I’ve written about my holiday reading here (the photo above is of a sunset from the terrace of my Airbnb, in the Schaerbeeke neighbourhood of Brussels). Apart from that, mostly what I read was actually my own work: I wrote over a thousand words a day while on holiday, and when I wasn’t writing, I was going back in the text to try and smooth out earlier bits of the manuscript that don’t make sense anymore. It is an activity simultaneously deathly boring and very exciting.

Looking: For once, I caught up with the television that everyone’s talking about, and watched Bodyguard. Two things to say about that: first of all, it is a work of absolute screenwriting genius. How the script and the shots and the actors manage to maintain tension for so long is absolutely beyond me (as the Guardian noted in its review of the first episode, it’s a credit to the writers that it seemed genuinely likely [SPOILERS AHEAD] Nadia might be shot in the head even after surrendering and stepping down from the train). Secondly: I’ve talked about this a little bit on Twitter, but the show gets casual inclusivity more right than most TV thrillers. In episode one, the unit commander, train guard, and explosives officer are all women. The Home Secretary, Head of Counterterrorism, and head of the Met special protection unit are all women. In episode 3, when we meet the two internal detectives, they’re a man and a woman, both of colour. The male explosives officer called to the scene in episode 6 is of colour. David Budd’s colleague on the protection squad, who dies in episode 3, is a woman (with a non-RP accent). No plot points revolve around this casting; it just is what it is, and I think that’s the way to do it.

Thinking: There hasn’t been a lot of time to do much thinking recently. It’s been two weeks since I wasn’t out four nights of five. You know what is nice, though, and what’s been taking up space in my head more than anything? How glorious this weather is. The air is cool and crisp, there’s sunshine more days than not, and the sky is blue. It won’t last for long – London will shortly plunge itself into its customary five months of gloom – but while it does, it is the most beautiful thing. I’m going back to the States in a fortnight to visit. The blue skies and mountain foliage near my parents’ house are ultra-reliable at this time of the year, and I’m already getting excited about jumpers and hiking and maybe picking some apples.

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14 thoughts on “Three Things: September 2018

  1. I keep hearing people say about how Bodyguard isn’t quite accurate and has some silly plot holes, but I agree with you: it has all that but it doesn’t matter, because it is gripping TV and does some casual inclusivity particularly well. (I was a little bit disappointed with the Nadia final plot point though, but still).

    • I mean, seeing as I’m not a counter-terrorism professional, I’m gonna just shrug at whether it’s inaccurate or not. There was a plot hole regarding the length of time that it took the Met to figure out a particular connection, which I thought highly improbable, but the rest of it didn’t register with me at all! (I quite liked the Nadia final plot point. Genuinely chilling work from the actress in that scene, too.)

  2. You’re right about the casual diversity which is just as it should be given that it’s set in London but past performance on these issues has not been good. So much talk of a second series which I think would be a mistake. Have fun on your visit home!

    • Oh god no, a second series would be weird. Like the second series of Broadchurch, what on earth would be the point? The plot of the original series was the driving force, and now that’s been resolved. It sort of retroactively cheapens the force of the series’s events, if they’re effectively repeated over again in a second one.

      And thanks!

    • Plus the thing with the accents and the presence of actors of colour in roles other than Terrorist and Terrorist’s Wife – all miles better than usual.

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