Thursday, September 02, 2010

Baltimore

Funny how you can know nothing of a place and then it crops up twice in quick succession. I have been a late entrant to The Wire fan club but am now two episodes off the end of the fourth and final series. If you like character-driven drama and can cope with bad language, sex and violence then this is for you. Gritty is an over-used adjective for street-cop stories but I'll allow it in this case. It's set in a corrupt, drug-fuelled Baltimore.

I've also been reading the biography of H.L.Mencken, the great American journalist, by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers. He was a wonderful mapper of the change of language use, a great satirist and a poker-of-fun at all fundamentalist Christianity - he also, for some reason, had it in for osteopaths. He worked for the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Herald newspapers. There's the link. One city, two stories. One true, one fiction. 100 years separate the two. Fascinating.

6 comments:

Mr Gnome said...

Mencken was a hero and role model to Alastair Cooke.

Andrew said...

You've either got a whole other series to go which you don't know about, or you're watching the fifth and final series. :-)

Here's a third way to think of the place which i was listening to just this morning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yih6DJnJOZs

St said...

My heart raced. My excitement peaked. all deflated by the time I'd walked from the study to the lounge and discovered I was watching Series 5 not Series 4. Lost count in all the wonder of it all.

St said...

Listened to the link Andrew. Here's me thinking pomp-rock was dead. Good three minute song in there somewhere. Thanks though.

Andrew said...

No problems (pomp rock never went away)!

I can empathise with the sense of loss that comes with the end of Series 5. The only other series which comes close imho (and surpasses it at times) is Deadwood - a gloriously profane and fascinating look at the way community/civilisation emerges from chaos, all masquerading as a show about cowboys. In that sense I suppose it's more uplifting/optimistic than the "institutional change is impossible" theme of The Wire, and the way that language is used is amazing. But I recognise it's an acquired taste (some people just don't wanna hear Lovejoy swearing. An awful lot). And one that never got a proper ending.

But yeah, the Wire. Damn it was good.

Jo Lockyer said...

I thought you'd been watching Hairspray for a moment there. Cue: "Good morning BAAAAAAAAAAAltimore . . . . " Ah, gotta love it!