Wednesday 07 August 2013

A Lady In

I had stayed in a Holiday Inn last night. This morning I was still there as I practice the art of waking up in the place where I fall asleep (Roy Cropper doesn’t).

The breakfast was a buffet affair, £17 of value right there. There was a large dining room and you were allowed to sit wherever you wanted, I did get a little teary-eyed thinking of Rosa Parks and the fights previous generations had gone through to get this kind of seating area freedom. Although I was in a Yorkshire Travel Inn so I only know white people could sit where they wanted.

One couple didn’t like the freedom (the freedom of the dining seating arrangements; their thoughts on the segregation in America last century wasn’t clear) and asked to be seated by a member of staff. I’d never seen something like that before. People unable/unwilling to exhibit free will and make a choice. I have to admit on seeing them guided to a table by the staff member I did wish I had insisted that someone choose a seat for me as well. I wasted vital energy choosing. And whatever fault there had been with wherever I would have been placed (too near a door; too far away from drinks area; too near bad small of burnt toast, etc) woudln’t be something I would have to beat myself up about.


I saw Alpha Papa tonight. I was going to wait until the weekend – travelling back from Harrogate can really take it out of someone…Alpha Papa is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I know Coogan deservedly gets a huge great swaggering thud of credit for Partridge as does Armando Ianucci – and they deserves it – but the Gibbons brothers deserve their fair share of credit. The brothers, now the writing powerhouses,  are worthy of respect for their part in Alan’s upfall.

Alpha Papa manages to put Alan at the centre of a narrative worthy of a film and remain true to the character who is firmly lodged at number one in the list of characters I love. There was the danger of numerous repeated mistakes being made when taking a character into a film. But we don’t have Alan in America, Alan being ridiculously un-Alan like or Alan on holiday being mistaken for a crime boss.

I laughed almost continuously and enjoyed every second. If you’re the kind of person who needs some negative element to a view to take it seriously then – at a push – I’d question the small role of boozer DJ Dave Clifton. The film could have survived without him. But mainly it’s a massive positive for Alan, perhaps even two positives it’s that big a positive.

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