30 Coins: Take The Money & Run With It



The third lockdown is by far the worst. No sun, nowhere to go, no novelty in being home this time. I don’t know about you but there are only so many hours I can work or do chores or walk around the immediate neighbourhood without wanting to machine gun somebody.

Usually King’s Cross is entertaining even when it’s raining and there’s nothing much happening (the guy who bellows about JAY-zus, the woman who cries whenever someone passes and then immediately goes back to chatting on her phone) but now everyone has gone and everything is shut. Except the Turkish kebab shop, obviously, which, like the Windmill in Soho, never closed.

As a stranger to real-time TV I tried dipping in and found it not to my tastes, so it was back to digging out world cinema from obscure streaming sites. And lo and behold, here was the holy grail. My favourite Spanish director, Alex de la Iglesias, has made the jump (I hope not permanently) to TV with ’30 Monedas’, eight 55 minute episodes of utter jaw-dropping madness.

The premise; the old chestnut about Christ’s arrangement with Judas, a betrayal planned in order to found a religion. This has resulted in a schism creating clerics and anti-clerics, the church and its counter-shadow locked in a war for dominance. The McGuffin is a single coin – the last piece of Judas’s silver. The other 29 are in possession of the anti-clerics while the 30th has ended up in a small Spanish town, where it’s being passed between a boxing priest, a vet and an abattoir owner married to the mayor.

Random sequences – a cow giving birth to a child, a shootout in a Swiss bank, an escape in Syria, a room that only exists in a mirror – start to dovetail as the world congregation of anti-clerics prepares to meet in the town, which is now walled off by invisible forces. There’s a strong theosophical bent to all this, with wise men guided by a holy fool toward an apocalypse that’s both practical and logical.

There’s also a fabulously cheesy B-movie sensibility to the characters even as they defy convention; the mayor is an epic himbo, strapping and useless. His stunning vet girlfriend is kit-off and kick-ass. The boxing priest gets an episode to himself, de-aged to thirty years earlier. The abattoir owning wife has terrifying eyes and will, you sense, evolve into some kind of antichrist.

The climactic satanic congregation-cum-cocktail party is truly grotesque (sheep-heads and flies feature heavily) and bodes well for a second season, hopefully with the same director, because ’30 Coins’ plays out like a long movie, epic in visual energy and scope. And it’s great to have a wimp-hero who stops the action periodically to fuss about the way he orders his café con leche!

13 comments on “30 Coins: Take The Money & Run With It”

  1. Roger says:

    “And it’s great to have a wimp-hero who stops the action periodically to fuss about the way he orders his café con leche!”

    Someone who’s got their priorities right.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Chris, I was listening to a report yesterday about scientists researching the tendency of late stage cancer cells to go into “hibernation” when the environment is negative to their welfare. This results in a lack of power for the cancer inhibitors. They are now finding ways to stop the hibernation and get the cells to take up the cancer drugs which then kill the cancer. I know this doesn’t help you right now, but it is possible that they’re close and you might benefit. I didn’t know whether to say anything but I figure every bit of hope is a good thing. (It’s either that or invest in a machine gun.)

  3. Ed DesCamp says:

    How about hope AND a machine gun? I’m certain Chris has a few likely targets in mind…

  4. admin says:

    My machine gun is primed. My immune system isn’t rising to the occasion so I’m jump-starting it with syringes this week. The fun never stops.

  5. Liz Thompson says:

    All the best Chris, syringes or whatever.

  6. Barbara Boucke says:

    Ditto what Liz said. KBG.

  7. Peter T says:

    I’ve never bought a syringe in the UK or USA. In Italy, there’s no problem buying them as much more medicine is injected rather than taken orally. In fact, many Italians don’t have much confidence in any medication that’s not injected.

    When we lived in The Netherlands, I wanted one to inject some oil through a rubber seal – a simple and harmless problem of lubrication. I say to the pharmacist, “I’d like a syringe, please.” Reply: “What do you want it for?” I answered, honestly. This was probably a mistake, but … Response: “They are not for anything like that.” Me, “Look, sell me one or a box, whatever, I don’t mind.” “We provide them only for use with pharmaceuticals, good day.” And there it ended. Perhaps, I should have asked to buy a Kalashnikov?

    May your syringes go better.

    KBO or KBG or both.

  8. Roger says:

    It’s odd how medicine is administered by nations, Peter T. At one time – perhaps still – in France medicine was mainly administered by enema. I’d guess that – as with injections in Italy, you say – it boosts patients’ belief in the treatment.
    At least you’re missing out on that, Control.

  9. Liz Thompson says:

    I had an experience in the Canary Islands with medicine administered by enema. I got a fishbone stuck in my throat. The hospital in Lanzarote didn’t have a doctor who spoke English. My Spanish was scarcely adequate for medical treatment situations. They had a doctor who spoke French, I can speak French. Both of us were reasonably fluent. Stress on reasonably. The treatment room was large, open plan, and full of patients being bandaged, dosed, or otherwise assisted. The doctor tells me the bone is no longer stuck in my throat, and he is going to prescribe an anti-biotic. So far, we are communicating well. He then tells me how the capsules are to be administered. I pause. It is clearly important that I should understand what he is telling me. We gaze at each other. I consider the 30 or so medics and patients in the room. I decide that embarrassment is the lesser evil. I mime the appropriate insertion of the capsule. The doctor nods enthusiastically. The rest of the room gazes at me. I felt I ought to make a theatrical bow. Stifled laughter, a number of grins. I took the prescription.
    Next door, the pharmacist explains, in English, that he has run out of such capsules, but has the oral version. I pay, and depart with an interesting anecdote to relate to my friends. And the anti-biotics.

  10. brooke says:

    Dear Sir, do be careful with the primed machine gun, as these weapons have a powerful reverse ejaculation known as recoil. Consult Peter T for details. However, given your self-described lack of coordination, leave off the weaponry; take an umbrella..

  11. Barbara Boucke says:

    Such as an umbrella equipped with a poison dart or needle at the tip???

  12. Peter T says:

    Ah Brooke, not quite the case or perhaps this is what you meant by reverse ..?

    The later Kalashinkovs, that is the Alexandrov-Kalashnikov rifles not only coupled the resonance of the system to its operation, but they also have a so-called balanced recoil system that absorbs the recoil internally. They give no kick-back or muzzle rise. Everything just gets worse and worse for granite man.

    And I didn’t know any this before as my knowledge of firearms is close to zero. All courtesy of Wikipedia.

  13. brooke says:

    Thanks, Peter. Let’s hope Mr. Fowler has a balanced system in his weapons of choice. I suspect he has some aspects of Arthur and perhaps Colin in his make-up.
    I almost feel sorry for granite man…almost.

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