First Weekend Without TV

And it was rather idyllic, with Sunday especially enjoyable, though that may not have had so much to do with the absence of TV as the fact that I didn’t turn the computer on (I love my computer and couldn’t do without it, but all the same there are moments, and many of them, when it makes me want to break things).

Friday night I watched Midsomer Murders, which my lovely sister had taped for me. I wouldn’t normally have bothered, but as this was the last episode starring John Nettles as DI Tom Barnaby and I’ve watched all the others I thought I should make the effort for the sake of completeness.

Midsomer is the very epitome of that quaintly English sub-genre, the cosy crime caper, with the template being set by Agatha Christie (I love Poirot, but can’t be doing with Miss Marple – go figure). It’s also a form that’s heavily reliant on a peculiarly ineffective method of policing, with an ever escalating body count. If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s that if they have one murder to solve at the start of the programme, by the end two or three more people will be dead. I’d run for the hills if I saw Barnaby and sidekick Jones turn up in my little village to investigate a crime, on the grounds that it’s better to be safe than collateral damage. And yet for all the silliness, in fact possibly because of all the silliness, I find these programmes compulsively watchable. Where else can you catch lines like, ‘The vicar of Badger’s Drift has just been found hanging from his bell rope’? Certainly not on CSI or Silent Witness.

Over the course of the weekend I watched and listened to a selection of concerts by Dutch maestro Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, mainly because Ms P will be wanting back the CD s and DVDs she lent me, and one doesn’t keep a lady waiting. Great stuff, a superb combination of musical skill and showmanship. The happy (and sometimes crying) faces of the people in the audience said it all. Classical music as pure spectacle.

And, sticking with the classic theme, I finished off my weekend late last night by watching an episode of classic 60s TV series The Avengers. Nobody should be surprised that out of all the possible episodes, the one I bought on video cassette a few years back was this one:-

The expression on Steed’s face when Emma uncloaks says it all, as in one fell swoop  the programme makers diverted the sexuality of several generations of British males into stranger channels than most of us knew existed back then, paving the way for public school boys to take command of the ship of state (in my mind, if nowhere else, that sentence makes sense).

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