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In the Name of the Father is based on the story of Gerry Conlon, but uses artistic licence to heighten the dramatic impact. Is thatjustiﬁed in a film which has the manipulation of evidence as its central theme? Suede and M People — the best of Britsh pop in one issue, but will we still want to read about them in a year? Robert de Niro has lost his place as the most compelling screen actor. Will his directorial debut restore that reputation? Get it off your chest and into a letter — you could win a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila.
After reading your recent preview of Walk on the Wild Side. Channel 4’s ‘hard-hitting’ documentary about youth crime. I tuned in with interest. Anything which tries to ﬁnd out what young people think — as opposed to what criminal psychologists think they think — is welcome. and certainly better than The Word/Def]! strand of programming which assumes youth is barely capable of thought.
. Now halfway through the series. I
would give the programme a qualiﬁed thumbs up. The programme about knife culture’s villains and victims (often they turn out to be one and the same person) was very powerful. The interviewees talking straight to the camera about their experience was a far more effective way of demonstrating the shocking impact of a knife attack than any of Nick Ross’ ‘true crime‘ reconstructions could achieve.
But my beef is with the way the programme makers over-egged the pudding. with a series of ﬂickering images of an actor splashing about in blood. (I assume it was meant to be blood. but on a black and white telly it could just as easily have been chocolate sauce.) Was a young man describing how he nearly had an ear sliced off really not dramatic enough? The fast- cut. pop promo style of editing unnecessarily undermined the serious and commendable intentions of the programme.
This approach was perhaps more appropriate to the hackers programme. but the style came dangerously near to overshadowing the content. If these stylistic ties are the Only way to sell ideas to Channel 4 commissioning editors. then fair enough — he who pays the piper etc. But now that Stuart
' Cosgrove. the series‘ producer. is to become a commissioning editor ; himself. perhaps that's about to change.
Can we look forward to youth culture
being tackled in a serious. gimmick-
free way on Channel 4? Over to you Stuart. Paul Robson
: Kier Street
ios:"“‘ i BUERO -_
Thanks for your letter. Paul. The
tequila awaits in our Glasgow ofﬁce.
As an avid reader of your magazine. l would dearly like to know which group of people you are aiming your guide at — is it for all age groups and all walks of life? Or is it for the vast amount of
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students that inhabit the Dear Green Place? I fear it is the latter. The reason for this is: why. oh why do you give away a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila for your best letter, as l have noticed in bars and clubs over this city. the only people who drink this vile Mexican brew are the poor. under-priviliged students who somehow manage to get roaring drunk on tequila slammers. Come on. as an entertainments guide to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and not Mexico City. let's have a bottle of Scotland’s ﬁnest, and ditch the alcohol sodden worm at the bottom of the bottle please. And cater for a wider audience. Charles Mclaughlin Kingsbtidge Drive Glasgow It's an interesting thesis, Charles. that tequila drinking equals students — a variation of the trafﬁc cone on the head. presumably. But sadly. you don't fully explain the corollary — the deﬁnition of a whisky drinker (or is Irn Bra ‘Scotland 's ﬁnest'?). You didn't want the tequila. we presume. and we're not going to give it to you.
Middlemarch or middle brow
The last Channel Hopping column (The List 2 l9) demonstrated the strength and weakness ofthe fashion for television reviewing as entertainment rather than serious criticism. There is a reasonably sound justiﬁcation for writing a humorous. self-contained piece of prose. which only obliquely refers to the programme itself. If you‘ve missed the progamme. there’s not tnuch point simply being told if it was good or bad. the main rationale for ﬁlm and theatre reviews. So in Channel Hopping, The Day Today is the perfect springboard for gags and put-downs. and let’s face it Steve Coogan et al are fair game. It just takes the joke a stage further.
But move onto Middlemareh. the second target ofChannel Hopping‘s cynical eye. and the technique falters. lt’s vaguely amusing to suggest only three people have read the book — it‘s that deﬁnition ofa ‘classic‘ being something everybody wants to have read but can‘t be bothered actually wading through. But it’s hardly
NEXT ISSUE OUT THURSDAY 24 FEBRUARY
accurate. Knocking the resulting ‘period‘ adaptation is easy to do. but hardly challenging. In contrast with the recent Scarlet and Black. Middlemarch should be given credit as one of the ﬁner literary adaptations to grace our
screens in years. Not ﬂawless maybe. but surely it deserves a more serious
appraisal than implying it would be improved by the addition of a sex scene or two.
It's obviously just me, because I haven’t managed to ﬁnd any critic with a bad word to say about her. but A.L. Kennedy. at least on the evidence of Looking for the Possible Dance. is not a special writer. l'd very much like to enjoy her books; the UK-wide success of a Scottish writer. particularly a woman wn'ter. can only help those with talent who have not yet found a publisher. l’ll give the new short story collection a fair crack but for me. the ﬁrst novel read like the kind of tortured self-indulgence you can ﬁnd in the problem pages of any teenage girls’ magazine. She doesn‘t come across quite as adolescent in interviews, but it's hardly surprising that is what journalists expect her to be like. It shouldn’t matter. but the publicity photos don‘t help much either.
Address your letters to The list letters at:
14 High Street
Edinburgh EH1 ITE
Old Athenaeum Theatre
I79 Buchanan Street
Glasgow Gl 2J2
Fax them to: 031 557 8500
We will not print your full address or phone number but you ntust include them. Deadline is the Friday before publication. Keep them pithy. as over/on g letters may be cut. The best letter next issue will win a bottle of Jose C ueri'o tequila and a nutty baseball cap.
The l’rtnxiaimcrs: The return of the eight-eyed groove machine with a new album Hit The Highway and a tour of Scotland‘s more obscure nooks and crannies.
Tom Hanks (left): ()scar favourite for his part in Philadelphia. Jonathan Denime’s grotnid-lu'caking AIDS drama.
Around The World In 80 Ways: Pack that rucksack and trek around the planet with our guide to globe—trotting on a budget.
PLUS: .S'i'hind/er's List. Dawn lircnch. the frankly strange Tori Amos and (‘ommunicado and Rain Dog put the oldest profession on the stage.
BO The List 1 1—24 February 1994
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