Britain's first book blogger (November 2000)

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Culture Show: an appreciation

Ian Penman reviews the new format of BBC2's The Culture Show.
It is SO quiescent. It's like DONT EVER UPSET ANYONE EVER. And so the Qs that Laverne asks guests - she might as well still be on a Saturday morning The Chart Show. Faithless unplugged? WHY? For god's sake WHY? Because they are so obscure and need the coverage? Because their new record isn’t a live album greatest hits sets - it's a strange new daring departure? No - because IT WON’T OFFEND ANYONE. A little bit dance, a little bit multicultural, a little bit real musicians playing real music ... Christ, it's worse - more contained, more fearful, more limited - than The Old Grey Whistle Test ever was. It REALLY is. Just keep on filling the space, and never, never ever, ever, even think of asking the question of any subject, "but is this really worth doing?" and "if so, why?"
I wouldn't be so kind myself. He doesn't even mention the other infernal punishments of Saturday's edition: the otherwise excellent Andrew Graham-Dixon being polite about the absurdly over-wrought paintings of Peter Howson, Easter's Jack Vettriano. And then there was film-critic Mark "Scummer" Kermode's review of Flushed Away. After understandably earnest observations about the merits of claymation over CG animation, he said the film also has "lots of anti-French humour, which I'm very in favour of". The presenter didn't ask him to explain why, in his review of Borat, he takes that film to task for (and I paraphrase) "appealing to an unpleasant strain of anti-Americanism in this country". Of course, the fact that he makes a living out of a US-dominated industry has nothing to do with his disdain for France, a country that resists such cultural imperialism. Oh no.

By the way, as an exercise, try finding a Mark "Not Frank" Kermode rave review that doesn't have the word "dark" in it. But beware, you might be looking for a very long time.

1 comment:

  1. I believe Sir Alan Yentob will redress the balance tomorrow night when he asks us to Imagine how great the web is for marketing his cronies' wares, guerrilas on the fringes that they are.

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