Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book vs. Telly - London's Lawless

That I am an Anglophile should come as no surprise to anyone who's read this blog. Similarly, if my love of sitcoms, history, and hot gay writers has yet to become a matter of the public record then it let it be so noted now.

It's only inevitable, then, that in the course of compiling the library here at the Pop Culture Institute motifs should occur, and henceforth, whenever they do, they will be ripe for blogging.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I wasn't too many pages into "The Long Firm" by Jake Arnott when it occurred to me that reading this book would involve rewatching "Thick as Thieves", which I'd bought earlier.

Both tell the story of the Smoke's criminal classes in the same era - the 1960s and early 70s. Both do an admirable job of sympathising the criminal while not condoning their acts, a kind of tightrope act becoming more commonplace.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting As accomplished as Mr. Arnott's prose is, though, it's a little dry; as usual, the modern fear of adjectives gets in the way of what could have been a really juicy story. "Thick as Thieves" writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, on the other hand, really capture the argot of Fulham's criminal milieu. Bob Hoskins is memorable as George Dobbs, John Thaw's Stan Hardwick is at once a counterpoint to and a bookend for his more famous Inspector Morse, and even when Pat Ashton's accent slips you can hardly fault her. The first time I watched it I think their combined accents sprained my eardrums.

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