My week in popular culture…
TV: Save Me (NOW TV)
Never one to have my finger stray too far from the pulse, I have controversially chosen a two year old show for the coveted TV slot. The reasons for this are twofold. One, the second series of Save Me has recently wrapped up over on NOW TV, and two, it’s bloody good.
Taking the well worn trope of a missing child and subverting that to create something pitch black and labyrinthine is no small feat. A cast featuring Stephen Graham, Suranne Jones and Lennie James helps, as does support from Jason Flemyng and Kerry Godliman. Save Me is bleak at times, and it’s a tough watch but it can also be funny and life affirming. It seemed to slip under my radar when it originally aired, but it’s well worth revisiting now.
Song: Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
Irish post punk band Fontaines D.C. are probably the most exciting guitar band of their generation, and new single A Hero’s Death indicates that their second album could be the one that sends them massive. Featuring a pummeling riff, jarring backing vocals and the repeated refrain ‘life’s not always empty’, A Hero’s Death lodges in your head and stays there for weeks. An astonishing return from an inspiring band.
Podcast: Jon Ronson on Grounded with Louis Theroux
Filmmaker and journalist Louis Theroux continues his trajectory to national treasure status with his Grounded podcast. Taking in life under lockdown and struggles with isolation, the podcast is a welcome distraction from the shitshow happening outside all of our front doors, and fellow writer and journalist Jon Ronson makes for a perfect opening guest. Anyone not familiar with Ronson’s work should go out and buy The Psychopath Test immediately, but this podcast acts as a solid entry point for one of the UK’s most heralded writers. Future episodes of Grounded will feature Boy George, Lenny Henry and Miriam Margolyes.
I’m going to stop apologising for recommending articles about football for this list. Look, I love it, I miss it, and I need something to fill the void. So, there we are.
Jonathan Liew has been an excellent addition to the Guardian roster, and his deep dive into the rift between England teammates John Terry and Wayne Bridge is as good a football article as you will read this week. Liew finally tells the story from the perspective of the woman involved at the centre of the rift – Vanessa Perroncel – and this acts as a soothing tonic when compared to the gleeful press reaction at the time of the incident. All joking aside, this is a human story rather than a footballing one. Something that everyone can relate to.
Clip: Is this James Brown’s strangest interview ever?
In these troubling times, now more than ever we need something to cheer us up. This week, I turned to this vintage interview with James Brown, who makes the bold decision to answer pretty serious domestic assault allegations by randomly singing snippets of his own songs and trying to pull the female reporter. Astonishingly brilliant.
As a side note, I came across this via Mike Judge’s excellent animated music series Tales from the Tour Bus. Well worth seeking out for any music fans out there. The first season is country music, the second is funk.