The writer and director of Bitter Lake has a new film that looks even more interesting and disturbing in equal measures:

“HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion – where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – and have no idea what to do. And, where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control – from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.”

Mr. Robot

I’m not naive enough to think that a show on a commercial TV channel can ever be truly subversive, but Mr. Robot certainly struck a chord with me. As someone who wants to throw paint at every perfect face staring out from the myriad adverts that line my daily commute, I have real sympathy for the anti-hero, Elliot. He’s a cyber-security specialist and hacker, with severe social anxiety. But his distance from most people means that he sees our commercially driven society for the sham that it truly is, and is determined to do something about it:

“Is it that, we collectively thought that, Steve Jobs was a great man? Even when we knew he made billions off the backs of children. Or maybe it’s that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit. The world itself is just one big hoax. Spamming each other with our commentary bullshit masquerading as insight. Our social media faking us into intimacy, or is that we voted for this? Not with our rigged elections, but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new, we all know why we do this. Not because Hunger games books makes us happy, but because we want to be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards. Fuck Society.”

I’m five episodes in to the series and looking forward to the rest. Not sure when this is showing in the UK – I had to use ‘alternative’ means to watch it. But then, this felt perfectly in keeping with the counter-cultural theme of the show!

Penny Delightful…

I’m really enjoying the new season of Penny Dreadful. Last night’s exchange between Vanessa and Caliban was particularly entertaining, particularly as his views on religion echo my own:

“I read the Bible when I was younger. Then I discovered Wordsworth. And the old parables and platitudes seemed anaemic, even unnecessary.”

He later goes on to quote Blake’s To See a World… Like the creature in Mary Shelley’s original masterpiece, he’s infinitely more human than the real monsters that surround him.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

By the hairy balls of Jesus!

Watching the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall last night, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed the book and one line in particular prompted a big smile of recognition. For all the novel’s historical insight and deftly woven plot lines, it was the Duke of Norfolk’s frustrated ejaculation that stayed with me:

“Oh, by the thrice-beshitten shroud of Lazarus!”

Was there ever written such a perfectly worded oath?

Elsewhere in the novel, I seem to recall someone else exclaiming:

“By the hairy balls of Jesus”

Is it sad that these are the lines that I remember best, and not those spoken at the important moments in history that the book covers?