THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY
IT’S A SIGN of either our times or my own isolation within them that everyone in the world, including the (London & Manchester) Guardian TV critic, thought last Sunday’s episode (#three) of Game of Thrones was terrific – and I thought it was unmitigated tata.
In 88 minutes overflowing with action, exactly one firetrucking thing happened – the Night King was killed – and even that wasn’t remotely climactic; it was like forked lightning lit up the blackest night stunningly bright, like high noon, and you held your breath and waited for an eardrum-shattering thunder-crack…and then someone passed wind.
This is the Facebook effect: nothing can be dull anymore, especially something we need to be exciting, like our own lives or a television show that has thrilled us for 72 episodes; well, not quite 72; the rot set in in episodes one and two of this season, with the mystifying transformation of belligerent personal relationships into beatific pacific ones, and vice versa – Daenerys and Sansa sharing an Oprah moment, Cersei dumping her brother/child-father – and an inexplicable general manifestation, in hitherto bloodthirsty, power-hungry characters, of kindness and tolerance; it’s like the whole cast dropped E.
But, in the same way we look at our “friends” online pictures of themselves with wrinkles smoothed out, gray hair made coal black and rolls of belly-flab erased, we looked at 88 minutes of battle and declared it epic.
Except it wasn’t.
And even the sensational battle scenes went on too long, repeated the formula too often and made no point whatever; the storyline would have been unaffected if the whole sequence of cadavers crawling out of tombs was simply cut. Game of Thrones mined The Walking Dead for special effects and tossed zombies into an episode that was already full of nothing, so a little more couldn’t conceivably hurt.
But this is what the world is like now: a sycophantic American attorney-general misrepresents a 450-page report in four pages, for the purpose of putting lipstick on the most revolting pig ever to snuffle for truffles in the Oval Office – and a Republican party supposedly filled with God-fearing Christians praises and defends them both!
At home, our own AG is arrested “in connection with payment of legal fees while he was attorney-general” – probably the most credible sentence ever written in our newspapers, with one media house reporting those payments to exceed $1b – and the “debate” and the usual clown suspects come piling out of the red or yellow Volkswagens.
Or a sitting Police Commissioner attacks the media that helped him land his job – and the position of exemplar he now confounds – and the usual hacks begin their hatchet job on the whole process.
What a great episode of GoT/A-G/CoP!
Pass the potato crisps/corn curls/Johnny Blue.
In this, our own ridiculous context – both our time and our tiny physical space, which we do our best to persuade ourselves is a “country” worth celebrating and defending – there is one oasis of quality that almost makes it worthwhile: the National Gas Company Bocas Literary Festival, currently underway at the Old Fire Station and Nalis.
Marina Salandy-Brown and her team have, once more, put together a sparkling celebration of the world of letters that you can almost eat like food, and lick it up, too.
And you won’t have to photo-shop Claire Adam, Marlon James, Earl Lovelace, Bridget Brereton, Caryl Phillips, James Aboud, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Ingrid Persaud and a host of other formidable writers to make them better; Bocas has even booked two of our greatest lyrical poets in rock ‘n’ roller Gary Hector, frontman of the Trinidadian band, jointpop, and the calypsonian Black Sage, the extemporiser’s extempore man.
If I could, I’d be there with them.
They’ll not disappoint.
Unlike the couple of AGs, one TT, one USA, the one CoP and the two political circuses that take turns burning down the big tent.
Give yourself a break from the game of firetrucking drones and sink your teeth into Breanne McIvor, Celeste Mohammed, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Diana McCaulay, Funso Aiyejina, Colin Robinson, Kevin Jared Hosein (or the far less shabby Gabby), Gordon Rohlehr or Jane Bryce, as is your wont; and you won’t regret it; at least, not if you didn’t think that, last Sunday night, 88 minutes of the biggest budget in the entertainment world warranted more than one stab in the belly.
BC Pires is a Dark Star Golden Child reading Lagahoo Poems Near Open Water and thinking Is Just a Firetrucking Movie, in truth