Monday, 6 February 2017

In These Times ... and Taboo

I am currently reading Jenny Uglow's IN THESE TIMES: LIVING IN BRITAIN THROUGH NAPOLEON'S WARS 1793 - 1815 (ISBN 978 0 571 26952 5). It is based on first-hand accounts written at the time, and although the majority of the sources seem to be middle and upper class, it does give a somewhat different idea of what life was like from what one might have gathered from reading Jane Austen.


I am also watching the BBC series TABOO ... or what I recently called in a Facebook comment, PRIDE AND EXTREME PREJUDICE. This is set during the War of 1812 with America, and is so dark that it makes most Nordic Noir look almost light-hearted! (It is directed by Kristoffer Nyholm and Anders Engström, who respectively directed THE KILLING and JORDSKOTT.) You can almost smell the filth ... and life is cheap. If you haven't seen it yet, try to imagine a combination of Jane Austen and Dicken's OLIVER TWIST, with a touch of RIPPER STREET. (I know that the latter is set in the late nineteenth century, but it has a similar uncompromising attitude to portraying the casual violence and social hypocrisy of the era.)

James Keziah Delaney (played by Tom Hardy).
TABOO tells the story of James Keziah Delaney, who has returned from eight years in Africa to claim his inheritance (a defunct shipping company and a treaty that gives his family ownership of Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island), and the machinations of the East India Company, the British Government, and the American Government, all of whom are trying to get their hands on it. It might not be historically accurate, but I am finding it compulsive viewing.

James Delaney and one of his confederates, Atticus (played by Stephen Graham).

8 comments:

  1. Mrs Kinch opined that perhaps the "one note" art direction was because the art directors was confined to barracks by his mother when she discovered he'd painted his bedroom black.

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    1. Conrad Kinch,

      Mrs Kinch may well be right. TABOO does seem to have been made with a dark filter on the camera lense!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. I also find "Taboo" very compulsive despite the rather unhistorical version of the War of 1812 - would n't we have been burning Washington about this time! However it will be fascinating to see how it all works out! I hope Delaney makes it to Nootka Sound - but that might be saved for a second season!

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    1. David Bradley,

      It wasn't until you mentioned it that I realised that they have already commissioned a second series!

      It may be somewhat less than historically accurate, but it is a ripping good yarn, and I can hardly wait to see how this series will end.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I find it compulsive viewing too Bob. I also got the book you mention for Christmas but have yet to start it.

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    1. Tradgardmastare,

      I think that you will enjoy the book ... and it will give you an alternative view of life in the early nineteenth century from that portrayed in TABOO.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Hello Bob
    I loved this rich fat pudding of a book so much that as soon as I finished I turned back to the front page and read it again! There's even a tiny bit of Masonic history in there about lodges and French officer prisoners of war. By sheer coincidence I blogposted about this a few days ago.

    Lots of interesting game scenarios in this with the militia and Volunteers, invasion scares, the lot. Hope you enjoy it

    Mark, Man of TIN blog
    https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/in-these-times/

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    Replies
    1. MIN ManofTin,

      I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and I am finding it very informative. I can see what you mean about scenario ideas ... and the more I read the less TABOO seems to be unrealistic!

      All the best,

      Bob

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