Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Second Helping of Broadchurch

bc1Got to be honest and say that I totally missed the first season of ITV’s seaside detective drama, Broadchurch, when it first aired. Instead it took a seven hour flight back from a holiday in Dubai for me to finally catch up. Unfortunately, as our plane was only 15 minutes from touching down in Glasgow, I didn’t have time to watch the 8th and last episode of that first season. It wasn’t until several months later, with Season Two set to start, that I eventually got round to witnessing the season finale of the previous season – and a great episode it was. As I type, I have just watched the season finale of the second season, and I have to say I enjoyed the second batch of eight episodes just as much as the first.

However, it appears if some TV critics are to be believed Season Two was a disappointing flop, as viewing figures dropped. Not sure why this was the case. All the key elements remained: David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy, Olivia Colman as his sidekick Ellie Miller, the haunting music of Olafur Arnalds and the stunning blue skies and green seas of the mythical Broadchurch. The bugbear of the critics I read was that the season heavily featured a case mentioned, although never in great detail, in the first season – the Sandbrook killings. This was the case whose unsatisfactory conclusion tortured Alec Hardy to the marrow. It was the very reason he ended up in Broadchurch. One particular critic has been especially apoplectic in her insistence that “nobody” (i.e. her) is interested in the Sandbrook case because it was only an obsession of Hardy’s. Well, surely something which is an obsession of a main character should be of interest to people who watch the programme? Hardy’s “obsession” related to an unsolved case in which two young girls were abducted, assumed murdered. Struggling to understand why focusing on an unsolved crime should be seen as anything other than worthwhile.

In general terms I thought Season Two went where it should have gone i.e. trial of Joe Miller and closure on Sandbrook. To have another murder in this small, quiet seaside town would have been wrong. The whole point was that this sort of thing didn’t happen in that sort of place. No. I think they should leave it as is, with one murder which forever haunts the town.

Before it was announced there would be a Season Three, I perhaps thought that it might have been the end for Broadchurch. Just felt that the very name itself limited the future scope of the programme. Maybe an immediate spin-off based around the exploits of Alec  Hardy and Ellie Miller would ensue. They could both still live in Broadchurch but the cases they investigate are spread over a much larger area. However, I’m happy that it is returning – the central two characters created deserve to continue, only hope their not stifled by over familiar surroundings.

Thanks for reading.

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Friday Fictioneers – Uprising

ff250214Hillfield was an innocent, forgotten place before the hailstorm – before the barking began.

It was Manny Harding’s snarling collies who cornered me in the park. Emptiness, where once docile brown eyes looked out lovingly upon anyone who stopped to stroke their black and white fur.

Miss Mulberry’s Pekinese , a spiteful, feted beast who’d spent most of his days in the oversized handbag of his owner, now worked with two Newfoundlands and a pack of Golden Retrievers to corral the stragglers.

They drove us to the edge of town; their frenzied howls made it clear we weren’t welcome back.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge

The Passing of Time Changes Nothing

hviii1A couple of nights ago I read a passage within the pages of Margaret George’s superb ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ which stopped me in my tracks. Not long after the death of Catherine Howard, a conversation is taking place between an aging Henry and an ambassador sent forth from the Court of King James V of Scotland.  Within it was a brief exchange which I quote verbatim:

[Henry] ‘let us state it plain. Here is what I wish: that Scotland and England unite, preferably through marriage. That we cease these hostilities, which are nonsensical, if you consult a map; for we are one country. All else flows from that.’

[Scottish Ambassador] ‘Now you understand me,’ he said, and his voice was burred and edgy. ‘I care not what your maps say, or what your logic tells you. We Scots are a different people, entirely different from you. That you understand us not is of no concern to us. We are people of our land, and our land is as different from yours as is Spain’.

Now, I have no knowledge of whether such a conversation took place, or whether it was simply Margaret George using her artistic licence. However, if she did make it up she’s comprehensively nailed the reason why us Scots should have had no qualms or fears about voting YES in the 2014 referendum. It encapsulates entirely why those who seek to bind us are doing so despite the deep rooted cultural differences which will always exist.

You may accuse me of going all ‘Braveheart’, but I’d respectfully disagree. Scotland has been an independent country for most of it’s history. Only when a greedy few sold us out for English coin did we join with England. The above conversation, even if fabricated, is undoubtedly what was felt in Tudor times. For many nothing has changed.

As Scots we should never forget our history – it made us who we are. I remain convinced that one day we will be an independent country again. I just hope I live to see it, even if only for my final breaths.

(A more detailed review of Margaret George’s book will be posted soon – I’ve nearly finished it!)

Thanks for reading.

Floyd By the Clyde

apf1Hey, guess what? Instead of our usual Saturday evenings watching telly or farting around on the computer, we actually went out. Where did we go I hear you ask? Well, as the title of this blog piece, and the accompanying picture, heavily hint, we went to see The Australian Pink Floyd Show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, by the banks of the Clyde.

To be honest I’ve never spent much time listening to tribute bands, especially when the real thing still exists. However, you can’t have the real thing any more with Pink Floyd. Barring the occasional Dave Gilmour tour, Aussie Floyd are it. However, they are a damned good “it“. Almost note perfect. Shut your eyes and it could be Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright on stage. Can’t really pay them any bigger compliment than that.

Must have been around 6,000 in the venue – one I hadn’t been to before, and was quite impressed. To hear the audience belting out ‘Comfortably Numb’ really did send shivers down the spine. The video shots of the original Floyd, especially Richard Wright during ‘Wish You Were Here’ were equally emotional. In summary, Pink Floyd are a great band with an armoury of classic songs which continue to bring new fans to the cause. Aussie Floyd do nothing but credit to the Pink Floyd legacy, and for that they must be commended.

If you get a chance to see them, then do so. If however, they’re not coming to a town near you then sit down, relax, dim the lights and watch the video below.

Thanks for reading.

Friday Fictioneers – Mere Mortality

ff180215Polished cars adorned  the sloping driveways – from the outside it seemed like a good neighbourhood.

Our first call of the day, was to the last house in the street.

His lips were blue; his torn jeans soiled. A cloudy, blood-filled syringe still dangled from an arm riddled with the signatures of self-harm.

As we bagged and lifted the body I noticed the poster above his bed – Clark Kent and Lois Lane standing amidst the Ice Palace’s crisscrossing, frozen columns.  Yet even then, in that tragic moment, I knew this had been no superman, just a boy whose desperate  cries for help had gone unheard.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge

Friday Fictioneers – A Simple Life

ff110215Mrs Sherwood joined the travelling handyman, and his young dog, out on the back porch, tear stains still fresh on her cheek.

‘You look sad, Mrs,’ said Bob, taking a short swig of his whisky before offering the bottle to Mrs Sherwood.

‘Don’t you ever get sad, Bob?’ said Mrs Sherwood, politely refusing his offer.

‘I do, Mrs, but Mugwump here keeps me right, and I aint got time to mope,  what with you and all me other customers up here.’

‘You’re a lucky man, Bob, do you know that?’ said Mrs Sherwood.

From the front of the house a car screeched angrily away, splintering the stale, suburban silence.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Heir Apparent

ff040215Lady Katherine Bryan sat by the fireside, preparing yet another of her abhorrent, steaming brews.

‘Back to your bed, young master,’ she ordered.

For a stubborn moment I lingered by the window, defying her chastening stare. From the snow-covered gardens below the shouts and laughter of my younger siblings pulled at my heart. It was an achingly beautiful winter’s day; I craved to break free from my prison and be part of it.

Yet, father says I am too precious to him, and our people – I must get better. Only once the sickness is finally remedied will the King ever consent to me leaving this room.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.