Monday, 16 April 2018


It’s going to be summer soon

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together
Brighter than a lucky penny
When you're near the rain just disappears, dear
And I feel so fine
Just to know that you are mine

I can’t imagine why this Lesley Gore song of 1965 sprung into my mind. Now like an ear worm it’s stuck there. Irredeemably happy in a slightly irritating way. And it occurred to me that happy clappiness in this slightly angry world is very much in vogue.

After a somewhat uncertain start the “Durrell’s” (rather grandly posing as based on the Gerald Durrell ‘trilogy’. His brother Lawrence wrote trilogies, Gerald just wrote some jolly books) has hit its stride. Not much to do with the original. Just a bunch of fun characters having a ball in Corfu with the delightful Keeley Hawes. Successive episodes have the party atmosphere developing until I swear they are almost -  nudge, nudge - winking at the camera. This must be the happiest shoot ever.

But better still is “Death in Paradise” set in Guadeloupe with a cast that’s grown progressively loopier. First we had the misanthropic Ben Miller, then the erratic buffoon Kris Marshall and now the pantomimic  Ardal O’Hanlon who does a silent  boom-boom after  virtually every line. Against the backcloth of the Caribbean nearly 8 ½ million watch it now making it one of the top TV shows in the UK.

Both shows – the Durrell ’s and Death in Paradise -  are in the realms of fast-food entertainment. The stars are the scenery and the heat. In the dreich days of winter they provide comforting if-only moments for the vitamin D deprived.

And we need them because we live in times as angry as the Enlightenment  was. We are experiencing great discoveries and insights on a constant basis. But we are also encountering the conflict between brute ignorance and reason. Trump versus Obama if you like.

I was watching James Ancaster on ‘Mock the Week’ describing the In-Out Brexit story as an example of classic enlightenment.

He describes how he was offered a cup of tea and asked if he wanted the bag in or out. Not an easy choice. Leave it in and the tea gets stronger but the tea bag itself does not get weaker. Take it out and the tea is weak and the teabag itself gets thrown in the bin.

There. An analogy like Lesley Gore’s lyric “brighter than a lucky penny”.

We need to keep balance between the embrocation and panna cotta of the Durrell’s and Paradise and some hard, angry thinking. Today we seem to be a bit light on the latter. Final point is a question about “Question Time”. Why was the most famous person on the panel  on Thursday night David Dimbleby?  His guests were Jo Johnson, Barry Gardiner, Nicola Horlick, Jonathan Freedland and Kate Andrews. Enough said.

“Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together.


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