Tag Archives: screencaps

Don’t Let It Fade Away

The cast of BBC3's new drama The Fades

There is so much to say about DIGITAL CHANNEL OF THE YEAR BBC3’s new supernatural yoof drama The Fades and its pocultural significance. There’s no time right now because I am out of town sans laptop and am soon going out to see Sweet Sweet Lies do their epic thing and witness Dot Cotton hosting Rock n Roll bingo. For real. I love Brighton, like you have no idea.

But when I get back, we’ll be talking about this!

Happy weekend all.


Edit [28/09/22]

After the dominance of the vampire/werewolf canon, the other paragons of the paranormal are having their day in the sun. So to speak. New supernatural yoof drama The Fades started last week, going out on BBC3/BBC HD Wednesdays at 21:00 (repeated all through the week.) Fairly modish cast the DIGITAL CHANNEL OF THE YEAR put together here. Notables include thinking telly aficionado’s fox Natalie Dormer who properly sexed up S2 of ludicrous historical melodrama The Tudors as foxy, devious Anne Boleyn and most recently went blonde for blockbusting flop Captain America. She seems to be the estranged wife of Tom Ellis off Miranda.

Poor old Lily Loveless seems to have been cast simply so that the producers can say she’s in it, bringing that vital Skins capital with her, because she has around three minutes screen time, which she spends being a brat. Hopefully she’ll have more to do in weeks to come. She plays twin sister to protagonist Paul and the siblings seem to be following in that obnoxious American tradition of vile, disrespectful teenagers who cannot obey instruction or speak civilly to their parents. Are so many kids really like that? It feels like lazy shorthand from the writers.

This ep’s got a pretty cool aesthetic, which is vital for the style-savvy demongraphic. [That was a typo, but then I really liked it, so now it’s a word. So there. Sx] The title sequence looks like a mash up between Misfits and True Blood; doubtless intentional- laying out all their goods in the shop window.


I really appreciated the saturated, sodium palette and shiny, grimy urban dystopia of the opening sequence. The DOP and crew have taken notes from the sparse look that works so well for Misfits and looks sharp on a budget.

Beautifully framed long shots abound with squares and bars of light. Silhouettes flitting about bleachy estate-scapes speak of an urban visual language familiar from the independent British cinema of the last ten years.

The linear grey of the psychiatry session in a bare, intimidating room, is redolent of A. Some limbo or hinterland scene, quite possibly set in a character’s subconscious or B. The Skins hyper-reality of unreliable or absent adults. Throughout, the cameras are close and intimate with the actors, but on first watching, the first fifteen minutes is all action, no character. A rewatch made me revise that opinion however. Continue reading

GRAFFITI WARS: Because refusing to grow up will teach ‘authority’ some kind of ill-defined lesson

A polished up copy of King Robbo's famous tag

C4’S Street Summer has thrown out some fairly engaging content, if only in tried and tested formats, which provide a nice counterpart to the backwards looking programming favoured by Auntie and the Other Channel of late. One programme that particularly caught my attention was Sunday’s Graffiti Wars– an hour long interview-doc about tagger King Robbo and his childish feud with the fabled Banksy. [In the absence of doing any actual research, I’m going to assume that all the information contained therein is factually accurate and impartial. Or pretend that I am assuming as much. I’m also not going to bother roasting Banksy- it’s been done over and again.]

Both men take great pains to conceal their identities- in order to avoid prosecution for their profligate and ostentatious criminality and to perpetuate the myth of some kind of urban heroism. Like Batman or something. But with spray cans instead of an unassuagable desire for justice. Robo- who must be well into his forties- spends(t) most of his time working out how to plaster his trademark in hard to reach places. Legendary in the underground- figuratively and literally- for plastering his squiggle all over Tube trains throughout the eighties, he resents Banksy’s cult→mainstream appeal and mushrooming commercial success. He feels that stencilled pictures are artistically and politically inferior to the timeless art of writing your name on things- the accepted gold standard way of fucking the system and raging against the machine.

A “seminal piece” of his, wittily placed on a canal underpass beneath the London Transport Police HQ, which had been left untouched by city clean-up crews since 1985, was half obliterated by Banksy and incorporated into a new work by the Bristol spritzer.

Banky's piece incorporating King Robbo's old tag

This followed the low key rumbling of a newspaper flame war between the two and resulted in full-scale street conflagration. KR had ‘retired’ from his life as an eloquent and demonstrative political activist on account of his children needing a father. A grown man who runs around with his hood up and a scarf over his face, slapping people who haven’t heard of him, being the kind of role model children are desperately in need of, judging by recent events. Banksy’s aesthetic affront (tantamount to child murder apparently) was enough to bring our Bob out of retirement and back onto our streets with Teams Robbo and Banksy taking every opportunity to sting each other and escalate a tit-for-tat campaign of defacing each other’s work.

What with his being neither famous, nor apparently gainfully employed, our Bob had plenty of time to stew over the dispute, taking any chance he could engineer to snipe at his more successful rival and ‘modify’ Banksy’s works. Because at forty-five your priority in life should be getting revenge on some bloke who painted a picture over the name that you painted on a public wall twenty five years ago. Suggestion: Try using the expression ‘street cred’, unheard by relevant ears since 1991, to point out to your opponent how much cooler you are than him. Failing that, you could get your mum to tell his mum that he hasn’t being playing fair and it’s your turn.

Incidentally the GraffitiArtists™ (men who tag and write their names on things- as opposed to StreetArtists®: self-dubbed artists who paint on streets and buildings) so outraged by Banksy’s imposition in assimilating KR’s famous tag, are the ones who so besmirched this ‘priceless’ work of British urban art that it was barely recognisable by the time Banksy did his thing. But that’s okay, cos they’re graffitos.

King Robbo's famous tag under layers of graffiti

Heaven forfend graffiti should be overlaid with art. It’s worth noting that the film opens with Robbo himself painting out someone else’s tag.

Banksy had it down with this quote:

“If you want things to last you shouldn’t paint them under a bridge on the canal.”


According to the programme, shortly after his first exhibition as a legitimate if highly derivative artist, King Robbo was set upon in the street and left in a coma. It’s considered poor form to kick a man when he’s down, but I considered the programme itself worthy of response. If he comes round, hopefully he’ll reassess his priorities and stop griping over such a minor act. Maybe. You’ve got to hope it was random street violence and not one of Banksy’s sycophants fans who did this, because as far as Robbo took it- that is well beyond a joke or even childishness.

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