1. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Decline & Fall

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by Wreybies, Apr 8, 2017.

    I must admit that prior to viewing the first couple of episodes of this miniseries I was only familiar with Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. The two stories couldn't be more different in tone and take. Where Brideshead is filled with a wistful saudade for a lost gilded era, Decline & Fall paints the very era Brideshead pines for in garish colors of a vaguely lewd palette.

    Anyone else enjoying?

    Decline_And_Fall_starring_Jack_Whitehall_and_Eva_Longoria_gets_BBC1_air_date.jpg
     
  2. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    I dislike Jack Whitehall. His limited acting abilities are under a spotlight. I could not get into it. Sorry.
     
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Fair enough. He's not a known commodity 'round these parts, so this is my first run-in with him. I buy him well enough as the fish-out-of-water Pennyfeather. Charles Ryder from Brideshead was also very much a fish-out-of-water character, but a rather different fish in very different waters.
     
  4. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    In the UK he is primarily known as a stand-up. He did a chat show, where his father fed off his fame like a suckling calf... it was cringe worthy. I may be (am) predisposed against him, but his OTT facial expressions bothered me... Subtlety Jack, subtlety.

    EDIT: it also reminded me of Alan Bennett, unpleasantly, where his slightly disturbing fantasies are played out in his scripts.
     
  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I just Youtubed a couple clips of his standup, one of which was at the Apollo. I can see what you mean about him being OTT. He's a bit manic without the man-boy charm that Russell Howard brings.

    Regardless, I'm finding the story a fascinating contrast to work Waugh's other work.
     
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  6. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    You sure you don't just find him pretty? Even the magnificent Stephen Fry has fallen under his spell.
     
  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    He's not a bad-looking chap, but so tall and thin. Not really my style. :whistle: :bigwink:
     
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  8. truthbeckons

    truthbeckons Active Member

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    Aw, I liked the kind of reverential nostalgia in Brideshead Revisited. You could long for that vision of the old world even as you saw it coming apart at the seams.

    Are the damn faces being pulled by the guy on the right and second from the left really representative of the tone, or is it a bit more subtle than that?
     
  9. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have to wonder if the order of publication of the two works is indicative of same. I've always loved Brideshead Revisited. The longing is painful at times, but it certainly paints the era in a very soft focus, romanticized way. It was published in 1945, so the period being written about was quite in the past at that point for Waugh. Decline & Fall was published in 1928, making its setting almost present time at the time of the writing. Do we ever remember the past the way we experience the present?

    At times it's pretty much on the nose. If you choose to watch, don't expect the airs and graces of either production of Brideshead. It's rather irreverent.
     
  10. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Do you ever wonder how you would find happiness in those times? Does it ever ... well, my first question sums it up.
     
  11. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Me personally? If I am to relate this in literary terms, I would have to proffer E.M. Forster's Maurice. Originally written in 1913-1914. It gives a glimpse of the fact that though it would have been alien, and as difficult as trying to survive on another planet, it would not have been completely impossible. But, as a late 20th - early 21st century fellah, is it really possible for me to engage the idea of living in that time without some distortion of the anachronistic lens? Probably not. But the fact that Maurice comes to us now, in the present, directly from that era, it gives a glimmer of hope that I could have cobbled together a life.
     
  12. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    I guess here is my question, sorry if it is crude. Could you be married to a woman and have kids, and find happiness in that?
     
  13. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My 2017 answer is no, I could not. But my 2017 self has lived a life made of a different series of expectations than a 1917 version of myself would have. That's what I mean about the distorted lens of anachronism. How can I really know given that my life, and the life around me, would have been so very different? Maybe? I don't know. Being gay doesn't make me blind to the beauty in woman, and some forum members know of my obsession with Hannah John-Kamen. :whistle: So... Could I have made it work in a technical sense, on the surface, as regards appearances? Sure. Would I have been truly happy? I'm guessing it would be a lesser version of happiness than what I have now with my hubby.
     
  14. truthbeckons

    truthbeckons Active Member

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    I guess this is kind of personal, so feel free to not answer, but could you imagine yourself growing up crippled by Catholic guilt the way Sebastian was and self-destructing in a similar way? Or do you think his fate says more about Sebastian's personality being particularly ill-suited to the society and family he was born into?
     
  15. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It would be equally difficult for me to answer this, but only because my view of the world, I think, would have been much more that of Charles. I grew up in a completely secular family. Religious guilt is foreign to me, and the level of guilt that eventually crushed the life out of poor Sebastian feels disturbingly extreme to me. I personally read Sebastian as a fragile creature, ever on the verge of breaking, so unlike his sister, so at least as regards the story, I feel his situation was uniquely singular to him. Charles, the atheist, on the other hand, was able to waltz through his little bromance with Sebastian relatively unscathed.
     
  16. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Sorry for the endless questions and thanks for passing on your obsession. She is fit as fuck. Stephen Fry (a personal hero of mine) describes how 10% of him is straight, he had a particular woman (unnamed) that he would have married in a heart beat. I consider myself 95% straight, the other 5% is kinda open to a bit of fun. So my question is this, would you entertain the 5%? Only joking. Are you 100% or is there a grey area?
     
  17. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a 5+ on the Kinsey Scale. There has been fun in the past with women, so I cannot say 6.
     
  18. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    deleted, me being a twat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  19. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Last episode rounded out the story nicely and concreted the idea that in many ways this story and Brideshead are parallels of an alternate mind. Many of the props and themes are present in both. The decline of the nobility, the rise of the working class, the strange muddle to be found at the crossroads of these two currents, and most poignantly, as a Yank, the dangerously foreign yet bitterly necessary American interloper, like a pill that won't go down.

    One little tea party and you're the black sheep for ever and always.

    Also, the last message in the story that is one that I have held to for a long time and come to from other avenues: Pennyfeather's return to Oxford mirrors Ryder's return to Brideshead in that we never really leave school days behind, do we. Adulthood is, in large part artifice, and in many ways we're all just children walking around in ever less-forgiving bodies.

    I enjoyed it muchly. :)
     

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