At the beginning of the month the wonderful Luther returned to our TV screens for what has been billed as the final series and it did not disappoint. In terms of the psychological effect the four episodes of the series had it would run something like this:
Episode One made every single person watching check under their bed, then the attic, then under the bed again before going to sleep.
Two made us all realise something characters on TV rarely do. When you hear an unearthly banging sound emanating from upstairs, don’t just assume it’s ‘the house settling’ because it ain’t, it’s a nutter who wants to tie you up.
Three made us all howl in disbelief at the sheer cruelty of the Luther universe as the show’s only true ‘good guy’, Justin, was gunned down by a shotgun-toting vigilante. A moment made all the more poignant by Luther’s early introduction of Justin to his new girlfriend: ‘He’s my mate and I love him.’ Ohhhhh it’s all so bloody unfair.
Finally Episode Four had every man (and I suspect many women) across the country genuinely contemplating how great it would be to date a red-headed multiple murdering sociopath: ‘Some little girls grew up wanting ponies, I grew up wanting to be a widow.’ Phwooooaarr!
Luther is brilliant on so many levels, the writing, the casting, the aesthetic but what’s most brilliant is the characters. Idris Elba’s title character was a hulking force of inner torment and it’s testament to his ability as an actor that even avid fans of The Wire didn’t recognise the iconic Stringer Bell within 30 seconds of Elba in Luther series one. There are fantastic, subtle performances across the board however, the fact that who we came to love the most was Alice (the above red-headed sociopath), a character we met after she’d just murdered both her parents and hidden the gun in the butchered family dog, is testament to how great and how different this show was.
I for one mourn the passing of a seminal piece of British drama and from the talk coming from Elba himself, who incidentally cited this series as one that even had a psychologically damaging effect on him, and the show’s creator Neil Cross it seems to suggest this will be the last series. The symbolic gesture of Luther discarding his ‘lucky’ coat into the Thames and then walking off into the sunset, except of course there was no actual sunset as in Luther everything is drawn from a dingy and hopeless palette, with Alice seems to call an end to it. However, rumours abound of a big screen version of the show, something I’m unsure how they’d achieve but would flaming well go and see or alternatively a spin-off about Alice. Ruth Wilson, who plays the murderous genius, has said that creator Neil Cross is interested and rumours awhile back suggested the BBC might be keen so who knows.
Whatever’s next for John Luther, the most destructive, flawed and downright unlucky hero of all time, the fourteen episodes of Luther we have remain one of the most iconic, engaging, tragic and terrifying pieces of television ever made and in the traditional words that ended every series – ‘So now what?’
For those of us who didn’t make it down to Glastonbury (‘Woooo GLASTO! Can’t wait!!!’ put a sock in it) festival season really hit home in July as Wireless touched down at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London’s East End. This festival wasn’t just a treat for the capital though, I was lucky enough to be there doing backstage coverage and met people from all over the UK and indeed further afield, including a rather enthusiastic group of Swedes who, having watched me deliver my intro of Rita Ora’s set to camera from a lovely plateau overlooking the festival, asked me if I’d be interested in covering a classic car show they’re organising and could I get any media outlets interested? I told them my producer would surely be in touch for such a prestigious event and promptly hotfooted it back towards the crowds, leaving the cameraman to lie his arse off.
The line-up was excellent: Nas, Rita Ora, Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean, Miguel, Earth, Wind and Fire!!! However, there was one act in particular who everybody wanted to see and it’s hard to describe the reverence that surrounds the idea of his very presence in the same square couple of miles of you. No not Fuse ODG (although I personally was very excited about this, I’m somewhat of a dancehall king) but Jay-Z. I’m not his biggest fan, something that normally inspires a drawing back of the hand as if I’m about to be slapped and challenged to a duel, but I do prefer many other rappers. However he has transcended hip hop and even music itself. He’s the emblem of what’s possible if you set your mind to it, how to take over the business you set out to work in.
As many of you reading this I’m sure are, imagine you’re trying to break into the world of fashion, then you do so but not satisfied you go ‘Bollocks to this.’ And systematically take over a significant portion of the global industry and then release your own series of music albums, commemorative ashtrays, moon bases! Basically he’s an impressive guy. In the press area, where most of the artists were milling about at one point or another, posing for pics and doing interviews, including Tinie Tempah who appeared as a not-so-secret special guest on the Saturday, given that he’d been romping about the site in a purple vest wearing his trademark glasses accompanied by about ten burly blokes. Lewis Hamilton was also there, wearing a diamond-encrusted (or platinum or summink… I’m not sure) chain the type of which is normally reserved for rappers and other people who look suitably hard or cool enough to pull it off. It’s hard to overstate how silly this looked on a nerdy F1 driver.
We shouldn’t judge people for their clothes but that accompanied by the snap-back down low and the big shades, Lewis is trying to say something about himself and I ain’t having it. Anyway as various celebs, Miguel, Kendrick, David Haye (!) sauntered through, there was always the expectant glance towards the door at the slightest sound as we all hoped beyond hope that the Jigga Man himself might appear but he didn’t… not until show time and what a show time it was. People talk about ‘electricity’ at concerts but this was it on a monumental scale, three nights running, with all the other artists gathered to watch. ’99 Problems’, ‘Big Pimpin’, ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’, every night tens of thousands from all different walks of life rapped, sang, mumbled every line, such is the unifying power of music. I was extraordinarily lucky to be there and I’m sure many of you were too and my advice is to get to a festival this summer, no matter how small because live music and singing along like a tit is what it’s all about and if Wireless can get that line up this year, imagine 2014!
The final big event of the month was a couple of posh folk having a lovely little nipper. I have no problem with Wills and Kate having a baby, it’s lovely when any couple brings a new life into the world, however the sheer level of media and public fascination is completely alien to me. There’s a well-publicised stat doing the rounds that when Diana and Charles left the hospital the proud parents of a young Prince William there were only two TV crews, whereas 31 years later that very same baby and his missus were greeted 70, if you add to that the other assorted media outlets present then the number of baying journos that wanted a glimpse of young George is absurd.
Kay Burley’s manic stint on a 30 hour shift for Sky News outside the hospital has been well-publicised, the poor thing was apparently kept alive by a producer shovelling Coca Cola and Go Ahead Bars down her throat and highlights included interviewing a non-comprehending and seemingly disinterested Spanish tourist, a deaf onlooker who signed her thoughts to the camera as a bewildered Kay looked on and one bloke who quipped that the baby was a ‘black boy’. What a jester.
Poor old Kay was a victim of the relentless rolling news coverage of what is, let’s face it, a fairly mundane event. I was on holiday at the time the frenzy reached its crescendo and still found it inescapable, with rolling news in every bar and muppets in the street asking me for intricate details of what was going on in the maternity ward when they found out what I do for a living. There were sweepstakes on TV, radio, print and online outlets across the world, A – Zs giving useless facts about the royal family and babies in general and raucous debates breaking out everywhere. This is madness! I can’t be the only one who didn’t really care, can I? This isn’t the next Prime Minister who’s been born, it’s the future head of a spectacular and historical but essentially redundant institution. As I said, it’s lovely when anyone has a little baby but if I don’t know ‘em, I can do without Kay Burley gurning and someone trying to take a quid of me to guess to whether it’ll be called Keith or Sharon.