Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


An interesting programme on Channel 4 on Sunday night – “The Last Slave”, in which Black Londoner David Monteith went to Nigeria in search of his slave roots, being one of the shockingly few Jamaican-Britons who can trace their family trees back as far as the Middle Passage. In terms of content it contained nothing which couldn’t be gleaned from watching or reading Alex Haley’s “Roots”, apart from the revelation that young people who were deemed to be troublesome, or an economic drain, were routinely sold as slaves by their families, generally to other families who were then free to sell them to British slavers – a disturbing prefiguration of the inadequate parenting which appears to be fuelling contemporary Black urban criminality. The style was irritating – it was full of those faked-up quick-zoom reaction shots beloved of the idiots who put together those “reality” shows starring Paris Hilton; as if the audience is too stupid or insensitive to realise that a man chatting with the perfectly charming descendant of the people who once owned his great-great grandfather, or being shown the instruments of torture with which errant slaves were disciplined might feel a tad disoriented. Depressing and fascinating in equal measure – an important reminder of the need to know your history whilst not being enslaved by it.

Another excellent night at the Cardiff Barfly last week. Headlining were electro-pop duo – with guitar – I Was A Cub Scout, who provided refreshingly raucous and tuneful entertainment. In support were local punk-poppers Working Class Heroes, notable for a charismatic female singer in tight trousers; and Gethin Pearson and the Scenery, who might be categorised as folk-pop, given the presence of a violinist, and steel-guitar player. Tidy.

I’ve finished and submitted the first draft of my screenplay. This is probably the best stage – feeling very happy about a piece of work, before people whose idea it wasn’t in the first place start telling me to change it (more sex, less violence, give us a better defined character arc, dumb down the dialogue, make it so we can film the whole thing in Budapest, up the ante in the second act, create a role for a young George Clooney type, less sex, more violence, make it more like the first draft) and it eventually transpires that it’s never going to be produced anyway. Still, at least, since I haven’t been paid, I don’t need to worry about being rocketed into a stratospheric tax-bracket.


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