These two boxes contain what were for me very formative hours of my youth. They probably surround half of the way I learned to think about non-fiction writing. Possibly even half the way I learned to think.
A particular kind of television that doesn’t really exist any more, except perhaps in very dilute forms. (I also have THE ASCENT OF MAN in the house somewhere, but I didn’t see it as a kid.) Or mutations like the Adam Curtis style.
There’s a thing that’s sometimes called “rhetorical television”: where someone walks around on screen, basically, and tells you what they think on a given topic. Here’s how I perceive the world, they say, and here’s the history and the evidence to back it up. It’s what we in Britain call Reithian, after Lord Reith of the BBC; the idea that tv can be both compelling and educational.
Obviously, I cannot help having grown up in the 1970s: as in the examples above, this form has, as a matter of era and biases, most often been a white guy of a certain age walking around on the screen.
Though this train of thought has suddenly reminded me of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s incredible history of ska music documentary he did for BBC Radio 1, and now I need a copy of that too…
Anyway. Yes. All cultural queries and problems understood and accepted, but I loved these things nonetheless, and am glad to have copies of them.
And, if you’ve not heard me talk about CONNECTIONS before, can I take just one minute and eleven seconds of your time?