Nathan and I have been watching a show called Episodes on Netflix, which follows a pair of British writers as they attempt to break Hollywood. Again, I'm aware that we're incredibly late to this particular party, but the premise of the show is that the two writers have written a successful English TV show which a major TV station in the States wants to develop and reshoot for a US audience. At first they're told the scripts will remain the same, and then, piece by piece, committee by committee, the show becomes something entirely different.
It's deeply painful viewing which will resonate with any writer, particularly those who work in the fickle world of telly. The over-arching theme which permeates the series revolves around integrity. Do you resolutely stay true to your own vision and risk obscurity or being accused of being impossible to work with? Or do you sell out to appease studio bosses and their quest for ratings? Who can you trust? Who's telling the truth? Who defends you behind your back? Who will stab you in the back when the shit hits the fan? How many people will insist on having their opinion heard even if it's really clear they know nothing about the project you've written?!
Something which I'm finding deeply irritating at the moment is the sheer number of covers of famous songs which are currently being used on adverts featuring a female vocalist, singing in a weak, slightly out of tune, whispery voice, often with a strong London accent and a speech impediment whilst a piano in the background plays something wispy. Nathan calls them "limp covers." They usually advertise supermarkets or companies trying to portray themselves as caring. I can hear the ad execs right now siting around a table saying, "we want the music to sound like Lily Allen doing Somewhere Only We Know." "Let's have a brainstorm." "What about Shine by Take That? That's got the right sort of message. We want our customers to know they shine." "Ooh... Shine bright like a diamond." "What's that one off of Les Mis? I Dreamed a Dream?" "love it!" "I thought that song was meant to be sad?""Let's change the lyrics then to make them happy... And remember we want one of those fragile London voices. Musical theatre performers doing musical theatre is so 80s."
I didn't much like waking up this morning. I had the strangest sensation that I was waking up for no reason. I hauled myself out of bed, went up to the village, and did a morning of work. The afternoon was spent back at home doing admin.
I went running as well. Spring is definitely here. The trees in Highgate Woods have started sprouting lime green leaves, there's a definite smell of pollen in the air, and many of the tees are now covered in blossom with bees flying happily from petal to petal, or, more specifically, I guess, stamen to stamen.