Thursday, 2 April 2015

Maundy Thursday

Do they still do that? The thing with the Queen giving out money to poor people???

Came into work early - have potentially 3 meetings today - a very mixed bag of emotions wrapped up in all of them. At least it's a long weekend (of rubbish weather). In the past I remember either bright sunshine or thick snow at Easter, looking outside now - it's just grim, grey and wet.

I caught up on a program called 'Back In Time For Dinner' last night on iPlayer. The general premise, looking back over the decades to see how we ate in the past - certainly isn't new - and one of the presenters, Giles Coren, even participated in an almost identical concept a couple of years ago (to comic effect). This is slightly different, they have taken an ordinary family, and each week update the ground floor of their home to 'be' a different decade - and expect them to live as prescribed by mass observation records.

It's genius, not because of the budget, the editing, the concept or the authenticity - it's genius because they have selected a real family, actual real people who act as a family unit (not 'acting' - 'just being') and react honestly to the circumstances - but are able to reflect without agenda - just as ordinary people would. It doesn't do any harm that they are all really likeable - even the kids, not in a false 'nice' way - but just genuinely 'real' - and they seem to be embracing the opportunity to learn and experience rather than just be on the TV, whoever produced and directed this show did a great job. For me, however - the real star of the show is Rochelle, the mum. She came across first as a slightly awkward, self-conscious woman - oddly familiar and very ordinary - but has proved to be intelligent, articulate and a really good, deep, reflective thinker. All her observations about herself, the food, the times and the place of women in the home have been wonderful - she talks with more simple honesty and clarity than any of the educated talking-head pundits.

Last night I watched the '70s episode. I actually found it quite emotionally draining. I remembered almost every detail from my childhood, similar homes, identical family unit, same furniture and colour palette, Rochelle actually looks and moves like my mum (who was also slightly taller than my dad and very slim, always stooping slightly so she could wear heels). I remembered my first taste of pot noodle, the endless fried food and my terror of the chip pan bursting into flames. I remember 'Smash' and frozen peas, and boil in the bag fish in strange sauces. Smells and tastes you cannot forget. There was one point that made me tear up a bit - during a section where they emulated the 3 day week and were plunged into darkness with a useless electric cooker and a few candles, the dad spoke on camera about how much they actually enjoyed the evening, all together in the dark as a family making the best of things. That's something we didn't get quite right in my house.

All in all - best thing I've been able to motivate myself to watch in years. It's the 80's next week - not sure how I feel about that....

1 comment:

Anne Roy said...

Maundy Thursday -

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