We’ve been watching both series of Life On Mars recently. It was such a great show. Of course I am a sucker for that whole time-travel shtick, and there is something strangely appealing about the third world scenery of Britain in the early 1970s. Or at least in its recreation. Didn’t I once say something similar about the appeal of the early seasons of Kojak? Well it’s all there. The appeal of the point when the failure of Modernism began to creep in. The fallout from the ‘60s.
Speaking of 1973, and the fallout from the ‘60s, I finally watched Almost Famous. I had been put off for so long, though I am not sure why. Wasn’t it pitched as some kind of ‘groupie’ movie? I didn’t think it was anything of the sort. It reminded me of how much I love(d) Lester Bangs and the idea of being uncool and difficult. It made me want to write again.
Also set in 1973 is Cop Killer, the penultimate book in the Martin Beck series. It was in my pile of holiday reading books, and perhaps predictably was one of my favourites (alongside Barney Hoskyns’ Hotel California). It revisits the events of the opening novel in the series, which is quite a neat post-modern trick of course. And like Life On Mars it throws up questions about ‘progress’ and about the illusions of liberalism and ‘correctness’. It reminds me too of how the ‘crime genre’ can be such a great vehicle for exploring a multitude of themes. I have a mind to go back and explore those wonderful Ross Macdonald and Raymond Chandler novels again, and of course there is so much of that whole California / LA history in those books too.