The Last Chance Saloon

July 19, 2011

In many ways, it’s the best birthday present I could have asked for.

I only ever got into Eastenders for about a year, but during that time there was the most incredible episode. Steve Owen and poor hopeful Mel were going to rip off Phil Mitchell and run off to Spain, I think. It had all been brewing for about six months, and then suddenly it all kicked off in some kind of ultra-drama episode, which culminated in some kind of frenzied car chase and Steve Owen trapped in a burning car with Phil Mitchell’s baby and Mel waiting all hopeful for Steve to turn up with the (money? plane tickets?) and meanwhile Steve hands Phil his baby out of the window of the burning car and then everything blows up. I think there were various other equally tense sub-plots. It was INCREDIBLE.

My housemate Rich set up his video camera and secretly filmed us watching it and whooping and shrieking. To be honest, I don’t think it was long after that I gave up watching entirely. It didn’t seem like they were ever going to top that. Neighbours is another story. But I guess it’s the best thing about a soap opera, the fact that something can be building for six months and then culminate in a ridiculous apocalyptic conclusion that brings everything together. Like some kind of technicolour Dickens, I guess.

And that’s what’s been kicking off over the last couple of weeks. Even on quiet news days, I’m mildly hooked on 24 hour political coverage. Live feeds, tweets, the New Statesman, dubious looking blogs, the Daily Mail, EVERYTHING. And with the whole News Corp saga kicking off big-time, it really is like it’s been plotted by a soap-opera extraordinare. Bang! Dead teenagers hacked! Pop! The News of the World goes down! Oh! Coulson goes! Click! Red Ed kicks off! Crunch! Jeremy Hunt gets roughed up! Whistle! What’s Paddy Ashdown doing over there? Bang! Ed forces a debate on the bid! Swoosh! Nick comes to his aid! Clatter! Dave gets hammered at PMQs! Swirl! The whole bid is dropped! Huss! Brooks is out! Pow! Enter the FBI! Growl! The “Wolf Man” is working for the cops! Pompt! The cops all resign! Whoosh! Murdochs and Brooks summoned to select committee! Clow! Lance Wilkinson gets stung by a bee! Hey! The original whistleblower is found dead (although this may be a coincidence). Oh! Rebekah’s bag containing laptop is found in a bin! Wow!

I was going to say that I bet Rich wishes he had a camera trained on me over the last couple of weeks, but he probably doesn’t. But suffice to say, I’ve been on the edge of my seat. But who knows what could happen next? FIND OUT NEXT WEEK.

*     *     *     *     *

I was going to write about entering an entirely new decade and various adventures in the countryside and the island, but I got carried away ranting on about SERIOUS POLITICAL DRAMA. I’ll write about the other stuff soon, I promise. Unless Ed Miliband gets caught slipping envelopes full of cash to Alan Rusbridger over a skinny latte.

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