Detectorists: A Quintessentially English Comedy

“Anything?”
“Fuck all.”

The opening dialogue ofย Detectorists is an expression of matter of fact disdain, which belies the deep passion Andy (Mackenzie Crook*) and Lance (Toby Jones) have for their hobby; in this case, metal detecting. Every philatelist, train spotter, bird watcher, pigeon fancier, weekend woodworker and, well, insert your hobby here ….. knows how it feels. You can’t explain it. You try, but the blank expressions prove you’re not getting through. You love what you do, and that’s all there is to it. Rewards? Very rare, but intensely satisfying; a penny black, a GW Moghul, a Green Winged Teal or that perfectly tight hand-cut dovetail will mean nothing to those around you but, inside, you’ll be doing the dance.…   [continue reading]

A Change is Gonna Come

In 1978, Neil Peart (lyricist and percussionist out of pompous Canadian stadium rockers, Rush) wrote โ€œPlลฏs cร  chฤƒngรซ, plรผs cรฉ lรค mฤ›mฤ™ chรตsฤ“โ€ (thatโ€™s foreign writing that is, and I donโ€™t expect you to understand it, but it means โ€“ โ€œthe more that things change, the more they stay the sameโ€), for the song Circumstances on the band’s Hemispheres album. Having said that, in the context of the article I am about to write, that quote is a load of bollocks but, I have seen how many online โ€œjournalistsโ€ like to put a couple of cultural references in their articles, to make themselves look clever.…   [continue reading]

I’m Not Saying Ben Brandall Should Kill Himself

Errare humanum est; it is true we all make mistakes and, from time to time, such mistakes can lead to disastrous events. I am reminded of the architect, John Weeks, who built Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, in the 1960โ€™s. Upon completion, the building was considered so ugly by everyone, including the Queen, that John, wracked with guilt and shame, threw himself from the roof of the six floor maternity unit to his demise.

The above story is not true. It is, in fact, urban myth. John Weeks did, indeed, build the hospital and everyone did think it was ugly, but John did not carry out the legendary, almost poetically, suggested justice upon himself.…   [continue reading]