Only two days left. Watch it. Quick! (Thanks Matt)
It’s about maths. It’s on the telly. It must be on Watchification.
If there’s a better record than Ai No Corrida I don’t know what it is. And if there’s a more interesting, more varied, more tuneful and groovier musical career than that of Quincy Jones then it’s not been made into a BBC4 documentary. From jazz at the Apollo to producing the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, via Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones is responsible for a huge swathe of the culture that’s popular. This is Part One. This is Part Two.
Clever comedians. That’s who you need presenting your television programmes. That whole generation of clever alternative comedians from the 80s turn out to be the perfect people to do telly. They can talk well to camera, they can do a laugh and some pathos and they can compress a lot of meaning into the spaces between the impressive camera work. Alexei Sayle goes back to Liverpool for this series and does a really good job. He discovers things, explains things and even seems to learn things. You get all the Liverpool cliches: Beatles, dockers, footie, riots, shell-suits but he manages to turn the cliches back into interesting truths. This is top telly.
Palestrina sounds like planets. To me anyway. When I think of moving in space it’s never to 2001-type Strauss or Ligeti. Nor to the sucking, clanging sound effects of most scientifically illiterate movies. The grace, the slowness of space sounds, to me, like Palestrina. (It’s probably to do with some BBC2 astronomy programme from the 70s.) Anyway. This edition of Simon Russell Beale’s series on sacred music tells the story of Palestrina’s life, and the way his polyphony evolved in response to the architecture and attitudes of the church. It’s lovely telly. Proper ‘gather the family round BBC2′ stuff. Even if it’s on BBC4. Explaining music always seems to work well on TV, there should be more of it. (And it’s a co-production with the Open University, like Coast, there should be more of that too.)