Thursday, 11 June 2009

TS TV

Many of you in the UK will have already watched the Arena programme about TS Eliot that was on TV recently. I haven't got time right now to write about it but I just wanted to mention (for anyone who hasn't seen it) that you can watch it here for the next three days. It is 90 minutes... but it is certainly not an uninteresting 90 minutes. And that's all I'll say on it for now!
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34 comments:

swiss said...

i watched it this morning while i was doing the ironing. a fine bit of tv. he emerged with a lot more humanity than i'd previously seen and they tackled the thorny subjects of vivien and anti-semitism well.

i thought the vivien issue in particular was interesting but just because she looked such a poor soul in the progression of photographs but also because she was so obviously coinicident with the production of his major work.

now if only they could do a similar programme on ezra pound....

swiss said...

oh yes, and the boy sheers latest effort was on louis macneice who i think i may have to go on about some more.

maybe not the best doco but the macneice word play is, at the very least, dazzling

Rachel Fox said...

Yes - the TSE programme had a lot in it that I had not heard or seen previously. It does seem 'The Wasteland' was more a collaborative project than a solo effort for a start...Maybe you all knew that but for me there's editing and then there's well...half writing the damn thing. So you're right - it did make me want to hear more about Pound (crazy uncle in the attic).

I read a lot of Eliot worship these days...he seems to have become quite god-like for some (the writer/critic/respected figure/expert they would love to be partly, I imagine). I've never felt that way about him (I'm fairly neutral on this one)...but I did enjoy a lot of the programme particularly the Seamus Heaney sections. I may be coming back to something Jeanette Winterson about TSE said in another post too.

As for Sheers-about-Britain...was it made by the team that did 'Coast'? It has a real 'Coast-does-lit' air I think. Anyway I have yet to watch the last one in the series (but I will...I've started so I'll finish). Some of the other programmes in the poetry season have been so good/well-scripted/less rushed...and none of that has helped 'A poet's guide' (for me). There's been a lot of stilted interview, a lot of 'what the..?' throwaway comments, a lot of 'and here's Owen looking thoughtful in another fleece'... BUT a lot of good stuff too and I have learned new things from it (about Lynette Roberts for a start). That always makes something worthwhile.

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Rachel Fox said...

I went a bit Yoda in the middle there. Apologies. I was edited by E Pound.
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John Baker said...

Lovely. Thanks for this. I would have missed it if you hadn't pointed it out.
Rather meditative, I thought, the whole piece, so I watched it with a kind of rapt silence around me.
Quite the highlight of today, I'm sure of that., and it's still only 3pm.
Long period of anti-climax until bedtime.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, John. It's nice to know all this passing about of information business is working and worthwhile! I hope your new book promotion is going well. I noticed an article in the paper recently about the current popularity of the tango in the UK and wondered if this might help your sales!

And meditative...yes, you're right...it was a gentle and thoughtful piece, the Arena programme. All those shots of Valerie's dreamy face...I think that had something to do with it. I kept thinking what it must be like to have your life pretty much devoted to the memory of a man you were married to for 8 years. It's a different kind of life, that's for sure.
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swiss said...

wow that ezra - he was mad as a bag of cats!

Rachel Fox said...

Unlike Vivien (who was referred to as a 'bag of ferrets around poor Tom's neck' by V Woolf, a quote mentioned in the programme...).

As for cats...despite the fact that my Mum is quite a Lloyd Webber fan I have never seen or heard the 'Cats' musical (also mentioned in the programme of course). It does make me laugh to think of all those fine Faber poets funded by Lloyd Webber and Elaine Page and people dressed as cats though. Is 'Memory' a Cats song? That is one painful meow.

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The Weaver of Grass said...

I was once in Poet's Corner, standing by his "stone" when his widow came and laid a bunch of violets on it. Very touching moment.

BarbaraS said...

Taped it, watched it - wow!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, Barbara...I think it was so good because it wasn't squeezed into a 30 or 60 minute slot. The longer programme allowed you to think as it was moving along - you didn't feel rushed as can so often happen with TV. And I thought all the interviews and stories were interesting and varied. As for that scrapbook he kept in later life...I'm a bit one for diaries about diaries about diaries (and worrying about whether I should spend my time in different ways)...but after seeing that I don't feel so bad! Every detail of their lives together...it was like children playing at married life (and I mean that in a friendly way).

Lovely grave story too, Weaver. I don't have any good literary stories like that!

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Sorlil said...

thanks for this, I'm a big Eliot fan and really wouldn't want to miss it! the wee boy had a big nap earlier so I won't get a chance to watch it till late tonight and that's after I finish watching tom cruise in The Valkyrie!

Rachel Fox said...

TS Eliot or Tom Cruise...? Depends on the occasion I suppose...
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Colin Will said...

An excellent programme, I thought. The Waste Land isn't my favourite TSE poem, but there were quotes from many of the others. The Four Quartets quotes were very moving. Missed the MacNeice.

Rachel Fox said...

Probably the Eliot Arena, the Poetry Please documentary and, surprisingly for me, the Beowulf programmes are the ones I've got most from in this season, I think. I did enjoy the Iannucci and Milton programme, just about managed the Schama and Donne, picked my way through the Poet's Guide...and still have the 'By Heart' to watch. The 'Newsnight Review' was good because it showed something of the range of the poetry of now. Have I missed anything?
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swiss said...

the beowulf thing just annoyed me with its many and varied assumptions, complicated by the fact we'd been lots about old welsh and that's not just a plug for colin's gododdin pamphlet that's coming out (tho as i want it, it may well be!)

my faves were similar tho. poetry please, eliot and ianucci's milton

Rachel Fox said...

Yes I did have you in mind when I listened to the Beowulf (and like you with Eliot I was ironing so I was more listening than watching Michael Wood and friends..perhaps a good thing). I didn't expect a lot from it (it's really not my subject matter...so far...) but I was surprised. Wood was so excited and I did catch some of that enthusiasm I will admit. I liked all the bits about stories changing over time (to suit whatever belief systems are popular). I take a big overview when it comes to belief.
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Colin Will said...

I missed the Beowulf, but I've heard Julian Glover read it on radio in that mixture of English and Anglo-Saxon. A good way to get the measure of the sound of the poetry, which I found fascinating. Just finished reading Heaney's translation of Henryson. It doesn't have the majesty of the original: he's turned it into a 'rattling good read' as some old buffers used to say.

Dave King said...

Thanks for that Rachel. I did miss it as it happens, so will try ti catch it tomorrow.

Rachel Fox said...

Well, don't leave it too late, Dave. It goes off tomorrow (sat). I think you'll love it, I really do.
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Rachel Fox said...

And yes, Colin, poetry on radio...it's odd really...it's so obviously the right medium for poetry and yet there's very little on there really. Maybe it's time for Poetry FM...

Or is that just the Educating Rita in me...'do it on the radio' (but she was talking about Ibsen).
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McGuire said...

I can't watch any of those links, they only wors in the U.K. and I'm in Italy.

Boo.

Rachel Fox said...

I'm sure BBC4 will be repeating them for years to come, McGuire. You'll get them eventually.
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Jim Murdoch said...

I agree that 90 minutes was a good length for the show. I knew very little about him outside his poetry. This week it's a programme on Manet which will interest many (I'll watch any art show that comes on) and again it's 90 minutes. Let's hope the series of shows continues like this for a while.

Mary-Laure said...

I wish I were in England! I really like TS Eliot, especially The Waste Land.

Rachel Fox said...

Hey Jim...yes programmes like that provide a public service too...they keep poets quiet and off the streets (at least for 90 minutes...).

And Mary-Laure - hello and welcome. Sorry to tempt you with TV shows you can't watch...maybe it'll get put on youtube in a format you can see or something. I don't know who these people are who spend hours putting TV programmes on youtube. Very handy sometimes though.

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Dick said...

Oh dear, I watched about ten minutes of the Eliot and then fell suddenly and deeply asleep for the next 70 minutes. No reflection on what looked like - and clearly was - a fine profile: Maisie woke up noisily at 3.10 the night before and then dropped off again immediately and I didn't.

Did anyone watch the Cerys Matthews Celtic-connections-in-poetry programme last night? I did and - distracting frock changes notwithstanding - enjoyed it.

Rachel Fox said...

I've taped Cerys to watch another time.

I imagined you doing the frock changes for a minute there, Dick. I've had a cough all week and haven't been sleeping properly either...
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deemikay said...

Quel surprise... I missed it. Too busy returning from Inversnaid!

Rachel Fox said...

Still a few hours left on the player I think. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
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Titus said...

I thought it was excellent, and shows just how good arts programming can be. When you don't have a presenter.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes. Certainly it allowed Eliot (and his work and life) to be really at the centre of the piece.
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Roxana said...

thank you so much, Rachel, you know that i can't stop quoting him from time to time on my blog :-)
i was very busy so i didn't make it during the three days, but after some laborious searches i have found another source to get it, i am looking forward to it!!!

Rachel Fox said...

Glad to be of help, Roxana. Happy viewing...well, maybe not happy...but you know what I mean...
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