Winter, winter, hail and binter…the telly is crap and the you’ve out drank the vintner.
So there I am pacing the kitchen and poking an eye in the fridge for culinary inspiration. I’ve got a kangaroo sauce on the stove nicely simmering for tomorrows lasagne but what of tonight’s repast? Ah, I see some unloved mashed potato from a previous shepherd’s pie, mmmmm. I see some tastes of the mediterranean; kalamata olives and semi sun dried tomatoes, and cheese too. Lookee here, some home made cole slaw(carrot, red cabbage, cucumber, roasted and ground caraway seeds and kewpie mayo), now what to do. In short I started thinking of potato cakes fried in olive oil and finished in the oven. So I mixed up the mash with the olives and semi sun dried tomatoes, added in grated cheese, an egg for binding and some potato starch to hold it all together.
15 minutes later I’m sitting down with a deelish plate of leftovers and Utopia(not to be confused with Pilger’s damning indictment of Australia) on the telly. Strike a light! Season two, episode one of Dennis Kelly’s Utopia goes way back before the first season and then some. I reckon it’s the most twisted, intelligent, beautiful, artsy, shocking thing on telly right now. The makers have nailed it in every way possible; old school tv aspect ratio, heightened colour saturation, grotesque characters, historical manipulation, unsettling soundtrack and cerebral excitation a plenty. I’d forgotten how much I loved the first season, how much it blew everything else out of the water and into the bin of safe mediocrity.
My plate of spud cakes and slaw, as good as it was, lay unloved as my eyes feasted on the saturated colours of 1970s England and the meatiest script I’ve heard in months. A friend of mine mentioned in passing that episode two was to be shown on the next night and he was going to watch them back to back for added continuity and indulgence. I nodded in agreement. I am now much the wiser. I was drunk on the first episode, I’m now enjoying an autopsy hangover of sorts and couldn’t handle a second bottle of overproof Utopia if I tried.
Having sifted through the forums and chat rooms late into the cold night I am delighted to know that HBO will attempt a remake. Delighted but also fearful that they will tone it down, sanitise it or just fuck it up. It’s perfect the way it is and uniquely English in it’s delivery, it’s strangeness, it’s originality. To say that it is verging on the macabre doesn’t quite do it justice as there is something unknown about it. To look at it as a damning indictment of what governments and industry do when they jump into bed together leads to nightmarish scenarios that are present in today’s world. All you gotta do is think of white men in conservative pinstriped suits shaking hands with Monsantoesque R&D departments and a nasty whiff of sinister eugenics floating in the air.
Do not adjust your television.