Entertainment I Don’t Get That Other People Seem To Love
The best piece of advice I was ever given was; ‘If 5 million people all love the same thing, you at least need to know about it and understand why’. The writer who stops caring what the mass of the public likes makes himself irrelevant.’ But these are the things I struggle with.
All books that have an amusing society in their title
Calling a book ‘The Ukranian Pie Hotel’ doesn’t make it quirky.
I love the modern stuff (try Gregory Spears’ ‘Fellow Travellers’). Quite liked ‘La Traviata’, loved ‘Hansel & Gretel’ (sort of a ‘Young Persons Guide to Opera’). So bored in ‘Aida’ I actually thought I’d died.
DC Universe movies
You know, the rubbish pretentious ones that aren’t any fun. Comics were meant to be a guilty pleasure for adolescents, and should leave you feeling a bit dirty and ashamed but glad you did it anyway. So, not Superman then. Like Bradbury, Stan Lee always understood kids tick and Marvel films have preserved their legacy with wonderful, hidden loyalty points for readers.
19th century female literature
I understand their appeal, a combination of insight, elegance and nostalgia for a bygone era, but I feel I simply left it too late to enjoy them – and perhaps not all literature is for all people.
The writer Stephen Volk and I disagree on this one; for me the series purports to be a serious study of AI sentience but can’t make me believe in the outlandish premise, which feels forced and fake – and I detest sex scenes.
Ant & Dec
I don’t know which is which and have no idea what they actually do, but it’s been salutary watching the press who’ve fed off these anodyne celebrities for years tearing them apart. Moral: television can be toxic.
99% of all Hollywood comedies
Seth somebody, Amy somebody, equally lame, equally boring. I loved US comedies up to and including ‘Porkies’. Since then the last US comedy I laughed at was ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. My bad, I know; I struggle with nuclear family set-ups because I don’t relate to them.
I was raised in a family home where the TV channel was changed every time sports of any description came on. My father watched only one; the single worst sport of all – motor racing, with its insistent whine and fumes virtually coming off the screen.
Observational comedy. Isn’t it funny when you can’t get a packet of condoms open? No, not really. But then I’m a Stewart Lee fan. There’s nowhere else to go after that. There are some brilliant quirky young writers emerging now with fresh things to say.
Star Trek (not now, not ever)
Forehead of the week. Lycra, portentous lectures, the smugness. And the pernicious spreading of Hollywood values to other planets (although it would have been just as awful if they were English values). I hear the new series is better, but old episodes set on other planets always looked like sets from bad cowboy films.
The Girl On The Train
All aboard! Destination – nowhere! Incredibly, it’s still selling a self-perpetuating hit because it has two nouns in the title. If this is what readers think of as entertaining writing, then Don DeLillo’s stuffed for a start.
In a shadowy world where no-one can be trusted, X double-crosses Y who is a triple-agent for Z; needless complications ensue. I liked the film version of ‘Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy’ but I don’t like having to keep a crib sheet when I read a book or watch a film, unless it’s ‘Game of Thrones’ because you know, dragons and axes.
Was admonished for saying ‘cowboy films’, the equivalent of calling a harmonica ‘a mouth organ’ or astrology ‘fortune telling’. I get it, I really do; Limited tropes reveal the true nature of mankind. Farms burn. Stagecoaches are robbed. Indians are noble or evil. Still never seen ‘The Searchers’. Really liked ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’. It flopped.
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