The OA: review


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Netflix has surpassed itself with the OA.  It’s a feast of creativity, originality and puzzlement.

Frankly it’s not the sort of show I’d expect to like, loaded to the hilt as it is with mysticism, other dimensions, expressive movement, spells, spiritualism and a central character (the Original Angel) that is as near to a full on hippy as we’ve seen on our screens in forty years.  It’s a fantasy show that’s grounded in reality and borrows in style from Cronenberg and Jonathon Demme.

Part mystery, part meaning of existence it centres on the story of OA who starts out life as a blind Russian girl, daughter of an oligarch who has a near death experience at the age of six when her bus full of junior oligarchs is attacked on a bridge by a terrorist group.  All but her die and for safety she is shipped to America where she is adopted by an ageing couple who, on doctors orders, heavily sedate her for the next 15 years to treat the possible impact of schizophrenia.

On her 21st birthday she goes to meet her father (one of many premonitions) at the foot of the Statue of Liberty but instead meets Hap.  The man who is to become the central feature of her life for the next seven years.

I will stop with the storyline here as the rest will just become spoilers.

What emerges is a hugely complex plot that is impressively gripping and impossible to second guess.  Ten more characters perform as a brilliant ensemble as the story plays out.

It’s odd how Netfilx works, isn’t it?

There are no ads.  Indeed for this there were not even any trailers.

And because there is no ‘schedule’ the episodes can be as long or as short as they need to be which is very refreshing and makes them essentially unairable on traditional television.  One episode is around 65 minutes long, and one only 31, with a variety in between.

The OA is spectacular viewing.  Right up there with Stranger Things as the revelation of 2016 on ‘TV’.  It’s not for everyone but I’d imagine it is for most.

The ending has divided opinion but I for one thought it was good and after a bit of post showing research it’s entirely relevant and actually closes off a huge number of loose ends.

Enjoy.  Wish I could see it again without knowing its meaning.

One last thing.  the Title.  The OA.  It probably means Original Angel but I wonder if it could also derive from Oral Administration (of drugs) or could it be an inverse of Alpha and Omega? As in Jesus Christ proclaiming, as God, that he is the Alpha and the Omega (meaning the beginning and the end of existence).  Just a thought.

Greed. And why it’s bad for you.


Did you see The Bank Job on Channel 4?

Brilliant.

For a week the winning contestants in each nightly episode collectively pooled their night’s winning money into a collective pot.

Tonight the five finalists duelled one another in a process of elimination until only two were left.  (Two greedy blokes as it turned out.)

One was a lucky and hopeless player, the other a cool cat who thought he had it in the bag.

But the producers of this magnificent Game Show had one last twist up their sleeves (it transpired they had two in the final denoument though.)

So, each finalist was given two boxes with about £230,000 in one box and Trash in the other.

The next bit was tricky.

They had to decide if they wanted the full £450,000 or were happy to split the winnings.  But they couldn’t say it outright, they had to convince the other that they would share or that they were gambling for the lot.

The deal was, they gave their opponent either the box of Trash or the box of dosh.

If only one handed over the dosh the recipient took the lot.

If both handed over the dosh they spilt it.

But if BOTH handed over the Trash they BOTH lost and the dosh was split between the other three losing finalists.

What would you do?

Me?

I’d take my chances on my felllow man and assume that he too would rather have half than nothing and hand over the dosh, after all there was a two in three chance of losing by not taking this approach.

What did the greedy chaps do?

They both handed over the Trash and both left empty handed.

Served the greedy shites right.

A triumph for Channel 4 and a lesson in humility for all involved.

Shame on them.

2011. In hindsight.


2011. That was the year that was.

2011 was rather less fraught than 2010.  I didn’t work to such ridiculous extremes, and the year end saw my portfolio change quite considerably compared to 12 months ago.  Three big new clients at year end were Maidsafe, Vets2 and Front Page Design, all autumnal starters and all brilliant to work with.  My STV contract finally came to an end after three years but its been great and I am very grateful to them for all the work.

Some old troopers still stand by me; 60 Watt, Paligap, The Usability Lab, Corporation Pop, Ampersand and LA Media, with occassional work from a small number of others.

To you all; slainte and have a great 2012.

If my golf was bad in 2010 it beggared belief in 2011.  I gave up my membership at Dundas Park and clearly that did not have a galvanising effect on my game.  I was shit awful on both trips of the year and even my winter game has been poor.

We didn’t go away as a family in 2011, for a variety of reasons but I had the holiday (maybe an exaggeration to call it that) of a lifetime in June when Ria and I went to Glastonbury.  To say it was memorable would be something of an understatement.  There is one abiding memory of it, I have to say…the bogs.

Not good. And this was on day 1

But there were other memorable sights and moments, like this…

Not good. Day 4.

And this…

All good. Day 4.

Which brings me onto my musical highlights of the year.

My best of CD which you can have if you like included these tracks…

In a good year for music my song of the year, without question, was Video Games by Lana Del Rey.

My albums of the year were;

Bad as Me by Tom Waits (overall my favourite record)

Let England Shake by PJ Harvey

You and I by The Pierces

The English Riviera by Metronomy

A creature I don’t know by Laura Marling

50 Words for Snow by Kate Bush

Hotel Shampoo by Gruff Rhyss

Build a Rocket Boys by Elbow who also performed the gig of the year at Glastonbury (closely followed by King Creosote at The Liquid Rooms)

A different Kind of Love by Bombay Bicycle Club

21 by Adele

I did a lot of cinema in 2011…

Here’s what I thought of what I saw in my IMDB profile…

Two ten out of tens and a few nines show that it was also a good year for movies.  In retrospect I plump for three as my best of the year

Senna

A Separation and

Drive.

On TV This is England 2008 moved me to tears and was by far the year’s greatest offering.  I liked Top Boy too.

I didn’t read a great deal this year but have really enjoyed

The Brothers Sisters by Patrick DeWitt.

The Childrens Hospital by Chris Adrtian.

And Filthy English, The How, Why When and What of Everyday Swearing by Pete Silverton.

But the best read of the year by far was…The Guardian which I grow deeper in love with.

This was a big year of theatre for me.  I reckon I saw at least 20 different productions but easily the stand out was Dance Marathon in which Jeana and I and Chris and Liam danced our asses off for five hours before I was told I was relentless by the Producer.  We also had amazing nights at The Kings for James Cordon in One Man, Two Guvnors and The Lyceum for both Dunsinane and Age of Arousal.

This year was sadly marked by way too much illness among our friends for me to want to dwell on but Matt, David and Jenny I am thinking of you now.

Also, we lost James King, Joyce Cambell and Fiona Pirie from FCT and Rachel Appolinari at the outrageous age of 19.  RIP all of you. xxx

All of the family have blossomed in the past year, thank God, and long may it continue.  In particular Amy has shown an almost exponential growth in confidence and skills in many different areas.

2012 is University year for Tom and Ria should they both choose to go down that path.

And so, to 2012.  It’s the year I turn 50, Amy 21, Tom and Ria 18 and I aim, with Pete the Meat, to lose at least 50 pounds each before we turn 50 in May. We are raising money to do so and you’ll soon hear of our plans.

Thanks for being my reader once again in 2011.  My year end Technorati rating was an all time high closing in on a top 1% of all the blogs in the world rating.

16,000th out of 1.2 million.