Post Trauma oblivion
Despite several opportunities for catastrophic failure, everything went SWIMMINGLY yesterday. Hurrah!!!
One of the many things I had to do was be the gender balance on a job interview panel. (Wouldn't you just love to do a job interview at 5:00pm on the second last working day before Christmas?) I found myself trying to calm the interviewees with my reassuring smile. For THREE HOURS. I wandered home with aching cheeks, wanting nothing more than to sit on the couch and watch telly. Is this why I never entered beauty pageants? Maybe there are exercises I can do to strengthen my facial muscles... Seriously, this HURT.
Sadly, telly didn't make me happy for long last night. I ended up watching The Midsomer Murders and once again wondering WHY OH WHY do they MAKE THIS SHOW?? It just makes no sense in this day and age. They could use the millions of pounds in so very many better ways.
For those of you who haven't seen it, The Midsomer Murders could have been written by Agatha Christie in 1925 except they were made for several years from 1997 onwards. There's an incredibly grating disjunction between the traditional form of the village detective mystery and the early 21st Century. People have mobile phones and new model cars (even if all the women wear floral frocks and cardigans) as they enact the archaic rituals of an idealised English country life. There's much cricket played, many rustic pubs and a new local festival each week. The crimes are always terribly complicated murders for motives of inheriting mansions or protecting secret societies or winning choir competitions. No mundanities like drugs or domestic violence! And strangely, not a single black or Asian person is in these villages with disturbingly high murder rates. Maybe changing the racial mix would lower the crime rate? Even the police are affected by this nostalgia for traditional English murder mysteries. Despite using the latest in high tech forensic techniques, there isn't a single WPC in the Midsomer constabulary.
I mean, I understand the attraction of detective dramas as a way of working out a slightly gruesome puzzle but without the nasty blood or other signs of real world crimes (like Cluedo - the butler did it in the drawing room with the poker). Over the years I've watched Inspector Morse, Taggart and Jack Frost with varying levels of enjoyment. I also understand nostalgia for a quieter, gentler time - I mean Heartbeat was quite fun in a cheesy way - but when you combine the two without acknowledging that the world is a very different place to bucolic Miss Marple wonderland, it just doesn't work.
Also, I would love to talk about Beachmasters but it was so masterly, there's nothing I can add. Where a lesser writer would have included a map and a glossary, Thea Astley describes the many places on this island well enough for you to know where you are and uses Pidgin English that makes me think I could get by on a Pacific island. She's especially good on the many ways Europeans end up in such places. If only I'd had the good fortune to be in her Australian Lit classes instead of suffering through the third rate lecturers who made it quite clear teaching first years was beneath their dignity.