God bless Jonathan Meades. First time I saw him I was a bit alienated. Another man in a suit, I thought, talking to camera. But no, he’s anything but. His programmes are an amazing combination of high-brow and low-brow – lots of big words and high-falutin’ ideas that end in spectacular revelations about the commonplace. For this three part series he’s ruminating on the concept of “northerness” and part one starts with a trip to northern Europe. Considering it’s so close it’s quite exotic (because we’re in denial about our northerness he says) but through descriptions of the buildings, artists, food stuffs and other cultural bits and pieces found there he uncovers things that link us to our northern neighbours.
You need to have your wits about you to follow it (and keep one hand on the dictionary) but it’s a fascinating trip, and very funny in parts. Parts 2 and 3 to follow.