Five beautiful things…
TV: Gangs of London (Sky Atlantic)
This has undoubtedly been the most significant week of 2020 in terms of television, with the return of Ricky Gervais’ After Life, Apple TV dropping the Chris Evans vehicle Defending Jacob, and the BBC releasing it’s long awaited adaptation of Normal People. This week also marks the exit of Little Fires Everywhere, and pretty damn good it was too.
Trumping all of them however, is Gareth Evans’ Gangs of London. Starring alumni of both Peaky Blinders (Joe Cole) and Game of Thrones (Michelle Fairley), as well as Colm Meany, this ultra violent, labyrinthine crime thriller combines the jaw dropping fight sequences that director Evans trademarked in his landmark movie The Raid, with some of the more political maneuverings offered up on the aforementioned Peaky Blinders. The result is a show that is impressive in both ambition and scope whilst still being easily consumable. Forget After Life, this is the TV event of the week.
Song: Oasis – Don’t Stop…
Along with the rest of the population, my first thought when Noel Gallagher announced he was releasing a long lost Oasis song was ‘please, please let this be a song with Liam singing on it.’ That was unlikely to ever happen, and so it transpired, but Don’t Stop does at least sound like an Oasis song and that’s a start.
Recorded during a sound check in Honk Kong in 2005, Don’t Stop is a typical Noel penned ballad from middle era Oasis. And it’s good! It’s not brilliant, but it’s pretty enough to have been a strong Oasis b-side. Most of all, it’s just exciting to hear any kind of new music from the Manchester band, and it offers a tantalising glimpse into their supposedly extensive archive. Let’s have a few more before lockdown is over though, aye Noel?
Podcast: Ricky Gervais on Russell Brand’s Under the Skin podcast
I have wildly mixed feelings about Ricky Gervais. Comedic genius or unbearable troll? Deep thinker or narrow minded agitant? He seems to occupy the spaces inbetween, but there can be no denying his cultural influence. Parts of his conversation with Brand here are incredibly insightful and compelling, and yet at other moments Gervais seems out of his depth when up against a much more open minded and learned individual. This podcast did nothing to tip the scales either way in terms of my own view on Gervais, but as pure entertainment, it’s well worth a listen.
Film: Beastie Boys Story (Apple TV)
Reuniting director Spike Jonze with the Beastie Boys following all the memorable music videos they churned out together over the years was clearly a smart move. The Beastie Boys are a band that I have long admired, but know little about, arriving, as they did, a little before my time. This excellent documentary is the Beastie Boys’ story as told by the surviving band members themselves, in front of a huge theatre audience. Indeed, this is less a documentary and more a stage show, and it is all the better for it.
Funny, powerful and surprisingly moving, Beastie Boys Story covers the band’s early rise to fame, struggles with their party boy image, and the ultimate passing of founding member Adam Yauch – all delivered in a chippy back and forth between Mike D and Adam Horovitz. More than a music doc, this is a story about friendship. And surely we can all get behind that?
Obviously, you have to be wary of anything you read in The Guardian, but this explanation as to why Covid-19 comparison between countries may not be helpful is informative and well written. Also, doing this feature has made me realise that 90% of stuff that I read online is about football, so it was probably time to branch out.