Thursday, 29 November 2012

Words: nom! / The Hour, episodes two and three

Mmm, tasty words, I am eating them.

My post on why I hate upcycling got waaaaay more of a response than I’d ever anticipated, and I loved reading all the comments. In fact, a few of them have make me rethink my attitude towards one aspect of upcycling, namely painted furniture. I still don’t like it myself, but will accept that if it’s keeping stuff out of a skip, it is better for people to paint it – after all, the paint can be stripped off later. I will continue to detest destructive upcycling; people who cut up books and deliberately smash china deserve to spend eternity in Kirstwee’s Vintage Hell, where demons in floral aprons cut off people’s fingers to make novelty cake toppers and turn their intestines into glistening pink bunting.

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD
Emancipated Marnie seems to wear fewer pastels.

I'm going to discuss a major plot revelation from episode 3, so if you don't want to find out what it is, PLEASE stop reading.

 I am continuing to enjoy The Hour, although it's so hyper-stylised I can't really take it as a historical drama. I really enjoy the way it's lit, with strong cyan lighting giving a chilly cross-processed look to many of the more significant scenes. (It does seem to be the case that when the lights are blue, important things happen.

Hurray for Marnie! I really hoped she'd get strong, and had feared she'd just crumble from the way Hector treated her, but no! She has a career and growing fame of her own, and you get the feeling that Hector has realised rather too late what a fantastic wife he had (although he'd still probably have chased other women; that's Hector). It doesn't strike me as historically realistic, but then so little of this series is realistic that I'm watching it more as an alternate reality where everyone was so much more glamorous and realistic than was actually the case in post-war Britain.

C'mon Hector, get it together! He may be an arse, but the man's got charisma and, of our three core characters – Bel, Freddie and Hector – the most complicated life. Realising his wife's moved on and his best friend has let him down has got to be Hector's low point. He needs to team up with Bel and Freddie and start some serious newsgathering and crimebusting.

This is how you know Freddie's wife is French. No 'bottoms'.
Freddie's wife is French. This, so far, seems to be the only thing one needs to know about her. You can tell she's French because she speaks with a French accent, throws things at Freddie when she's angry, and walks around their cold-looking ramshackle flat in a jumper with nothing on her bottom when any sensible British character would have tweed, a girdle and granny knickers between herself and the open air. (Who says you couldn't buy contraceptives over the counter in 1950s Britain? That lot probably did the trick...) You can't blame her for being annoyed with Freddie, however, as he seems to be pursuing so many news stories – racism, organised crime, police corruption – that he doesn't really pay the poor woman much attention. He needs to learn from Hector where neglecting your wife will lead...

Freddie's wife being French and having nothing to do makes me suspect she might have something to do with Lix and Randall's secret love child; said child could now be anywhere from around 17 to 20. The other possible candidate is the Spanish showgirl from El Paradis. This is, for me, the least appealing plot thread in the current series, but then I've never been a fan of 'MY BAAAAABY!' plots, and I fear it's somehow going to be shoehorned into the vice plotline. I really liked Lix in the first series, she had a sensible, grounded quality mixed with sarcasm. I hope the screenwriters don't undermine that.

Anyway, despite the silliness of many elements I'm still really enjoying this programme, to the point where I was sad enough to buy myself a green shift dress ('Vivienne' by Fever) to wear with my 60s brooch. I hope they make a third series when this is done.

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