Recently I’ve spent a few frustrating days catching up with TV. I rarely watch anything, but when I found out that two of my favourite books – Good Omens and American Gods – were receiving the visual treatment, I knew that within ten years I’ll sit down and watch, and that I will have a great time!
I did not have a great time.
Watching Good Omens was the most frustrating time I’ve spent in front of the TV since I had last screamed “y u so STUPID, Jason Stackhouse?!” at the screen. When Good Omens got something right, it was better than I could have ever imagined, surpassing what I would have considered to be perfection. When it wasn’t perfect, though, it was either embarrassing or… boring.
The biggest problem was God. (This is not a sentence I ever expected myself to utter.) Frances McDormand was a great choice, it’s just that she shouldn’t have been there at all. Certain parts of the book have proven to be too difficult (or impossible) to translate into a visual medium, so the series would sort of take a break for McDormand to provide a rambling explanation of why things were happening. I was reminded of my grandma, who used to watch soap operas. We’d sit in front of TV and I would discreetly fiddle with my phone, as grandma provided running commentary: “you see, this is Bill, he is a bad guy, he is very rich because he stole the money from his ex-wife, and this bitch here is his girlfriend Tabitha, she’s cheating on him with the gardener, she is not a nice woman at all, but then Bill deserves it…” I’ve always felt that if something needs to be explained, it doesn’t belong – in a book, in a museum, on TV. This is not to say that I would have known how to do it – it just didn’t work for me.
Yours truly, a well-seasoned journalist and writer, greatly enjoyed Clayton Snyder’s River of Thieves and decided to interview the main characters, Cord and Nenn. Unfortunately some notes might have been misplaced… An awkward, unedited transcript follows.
BL: Welcome to LRSN FM! Today we have the most special guest for you: Mademoiselle Nenne du Corduroy talking about her new memoir, “Lotus on the Lake”. Uhm, mademoiselle, you can’t smoke in here. And… this… person… is, uh, your current husband, the Duke, I gather?
Cord (C): Wait. You wrote a book?
Nenn (N): I do a lot of things.
C: “Lotus on the Lake”.
N: Eh, the publisher thought it’d sell better with the Hestians.
C: Most of them are illiterate.
N: *rolls eyes*
N: Wait. Did you say husband?
C: Why? Why would someone say that?
N: I don’t really like…
C: Penises. She doesn’t like penises.
N: Well, I was going to be more tactful, but yeah. In a nutshell.
N: Sigh. Next question.
A while ago Pet Shop Boys released their latest EP, Agenda, featuring the song ‘On social media’. I recommend watching the entire video, it’s fantastic.
When you care about the issues of the day
And check your facts on Wikipedia
You can and get into an argument right away
If you’re on social media
I use Twitter a lot. It’s extremely easy to get into an argument about literally anything. If you follow me, you will notice I never post or repost anything political, with the exception of the climate catastrophe content, which is politicised, but not political. (When we’re dead it won’t matter whether we voted left, right, or down.)
I used to get into those arguments. I’d get myself so worked up I wouldn’t be able to sleep sometimes, rolling in bed at 2am, coming with the best retorts that I didn’t think about eight hours earlier. It wasn’t until my friend R. pointed out that I didn’t actually have to engage that I understood… she was right. I didn’t have to engage. I was choosing to. And, like that, I chose to stop.