Not another radio drama about soldiers. Our 21st Century militarised culture seems to be shaping up with the help of an increasing number of army plays on BBC Radio 4 to go with the tedious humanisation of business drummed into us in programmes such as The Apprentice, Dragons Den, anything with Evan Davies, Secret Millionaire (boo-hoo!), and anything with Mary Portas.
Not to mention the bloody awful swathe of Confucian wet-dreams telling us where we are in the pecking order with a ready-made stratum of management big-heads enjoying putting the scum in their place. Very offending examples include: X-Factor, Pop Idol, Britain’s Got Talent and anything involving Gordon Ramsey. Across the pond, there’s a plethora of instances but let’s go with America’s Top Model where an imperious Tyra Banks and her thousand-yard stare regularly mash up young beauty, and Kate Perry’s ghastly Part of Me video where she gets over a breakup by shearing off her lovely locks, donning khaki and learning how to shoot foreigners in their own lands.
Today we had Behind Enemy Lines in Radio 4’s Red and Blue series, a tale about British Special Forces and war games. Last week it was Hearts and Minds. Even the National Theatre has got in on the act with its militarised Hamlet, although you’ll have to take my word for it as all pix of the heavily tooled-up soldiery behind Fortinbras and manning Elsinore have disappeared off the net despite this being a crucial element of the production’s mise en scene. Elsewhere we have images from Wootton Bassett stoking emotion so we daren’t ask the important questions about why these young people were sent to fight, for what purpose and in whose interest.
Soldiers and commerce are stewing up a treat in a mercenary agenda where the state backs the interests of money, not unlike the East India Company of old. Even Islington Green isn’t immune from that military magic now that the powers-that-be are changing its name to Islington Memorial Green.
Former residents of the one-time People’s Republic of Islington are especially resentful of this. Shapely Charles Shaar Murray (42, 42, 42, 12.5) said: “I am especially resentful of this.” He then flounced off, muttering, “I am a free man, not a cylinder.”
UPDATE: Watching Britain’s Got Talent, I realise that this breaks the mould in that it’s not a freak show set up to entertain the mob. There’s some awesome talent in there and the judges genuinely seem to care and want to develop the newcomers. So apologies to everyone at BGT — you’re doing a great job.
Anna’s food blog here: