Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review of Laid

I do not normally review television. In fact I have never reviewed television. I stick to my meandering about books for awritergoesonajourney and occasionally elsewhere. However on this occasion I have decided to review the latest new offering from ABC Television, Laid.

This program was the brainchild of co-creator, writer and co-producer, Marieke Hardy. Marieke has an enviable television and entertainment pedigree. Her parents were television writers and producers. Her grandfather was Frank Hardy, noted Australian writer and radical (the polite family euphemism for becoming a communist) and grand-niece of the very funny and always unpredictable comedian, Mary Hardy. Any Victorian from my generation and back would remember Mary Hardy and her caustic, riotous wit on The Penthouse Club. The fact that Marieke became an actress and then writer is therefore not surprising although she has emerged to become a writer and personality in her own right. Her love and opinions of literature come through loud and strong with her appearances on ABC Television’s First Tuesday Book Club. Quirky, funny, intelligent and a vegan (which has nothing whatsoever to do with things but it’s a useless fact I know from following Marieke on Twitter) I was really interested to see what her new work was like.

Unfortunately I missed the debut of the program on Wednesday, February 9th. I was otherwise engaged on matters of earth-shattering importance. Oh OK. I was too busy scratching my fat, hairy ass and forgot. Happy now? Anyway I was able to legitimately download a copy from the ABC’s website today and watched it earlier this evening (after fighting with the DVD burner to get a disc burned that actually worked in the television’s DVD player rather than trying to watch it on the small laptop monitor).

Roo McVie is a market researcher. An old boyfriend that she privately refers to as ‘that dickhead’ has just died and Roo attends the funeral. She finds herself attending the wake with the family afterward and things go downhill from there.

Laid is a somewhat dark, adult comedy. It is not slapstick or farce. There is no laugh track, synthetic or otherwise. I hesitate to say that it is a clever piece. It was Chris Rock who said “If only smart people like your shit, it ain’t that smart.” But I thought this was a cleverly done and thoroughly enjoyable although to get the most out of it, you need to be listening carefully to the dialogue. The closing left things on a note that just compels coming back next week. I have already noted the diary.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

10 "Rules of Life" from Tolstoy

From, these are supposedly Tolstoy's 10 Rules of Life, written when he was 18. Let's see how I stack up against them.

Get up early (five o’clock)
There's a five o'clock in the morning now?

Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock)
And miss out on all the thrills of the late-night 'infomercials'?

Eat little and avoid sweets
Oh strewth - this man was a masochist!

Try to do everything by yourself
Nobody else going to do it for me, so that means I have to do it for myself. But surely it is a good thing to utilise the resources of others when relevant?

Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for every minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
This I agree with. I do not always do it as often or as well as I could or should, but I think he's right on the money.

Keep away from women
Definitely not an issue for me except that it's the women staying away from me! I think that my deodorant must emit the wrong sort of pheromones.

Kill desire by work
Man, this fella had the constitution of a Benedictine monk!

Be good, but try to let no one know it
I hide my goodness by being a bastard - and I'm good at it!

Always live less expensively than you might
Aren't we writers all supposed to be starving in French garrets anyway?

Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer
Oh please - continue starving in a garret even after you start getting the seven-figure advances?

So how do I rack up against Tolstoy? Not terribly well. With those rules, he must have lived the life of a particularly unhappy monk. Or were these the sacrifices he was prepared to make for his calling? The question then becomes just how much am I prepared to sacrifice for my chosen vocation?