Thursday, 19 December 2013
In the evening I did watch part of the results show for Strictly and then skipped through most of the second X factor final show except for the two performances of Sam and the other contestant where the gulf between them widened especially with the respective renditions of the chosen first single released and home for Christmas number one. The performance of the other contestant was passable while that of Sam was extraordinary with a depth of emotion and vocal of outstanding world wide ability. I am surprised that she gained more than a million votes of support and had the two female panel members in tears with Sharon Osborn speechless with emotion and Gary and Louis in awe and unqualified admiration., Later she had been the audience choice in eight of the ten weeks of live performances and with Luke, who only came third topping twice.
In the past couple of weeks I have seen two documentaries about the Britain’s got Talent older success story Susan Boyle with the second programme on ITV the more interesting. Over a year ago he decided she as ready to go on tour although her manager remainder apprehensive given her high anxiety level. The big change occurred because she had received a psychological and psychiatric(?) assessment which discovered that she had nor been brain damaged at birth as she had been led to believe but had an autistic range and this had led to a reappraisal of performance preparation, relaxation and other actions to combat panic attacks and excessive nervousness and fear of failure as well as disappointing those who had come to see her. In this she was aided by the artistic/performance coach supporter director for want of a better description, a comparatively young man who appeared to fully understand Susan.
She commenced with a performance run through before a small invited audience, before undertaken several shows in Scotland where the home audience was expected to give her unconditional support should problems arise. In the event the mini tour was a great success in two ways. She sang the score and more of numbers in 90 to 100 mins show with interval but she anyway had the audience sympathetic empathetic and willing her to succeed. There was then a big leap to test her ability to performance to an even larger audience flying to the USA and Texas in a 17000 plus sweater stadium. She had arrived and a comprehensive UK tour was then planned followed by an International one. It is one of the amazing entertainment stories of my time.
Sunday, 15 December 2013
It is Saturday 14th December 2013 and the last day of the series Borgen, I am going at lunch time to Newcastle to purchase winkles for tea and then Newcastle play Southampton from the expensive vantage point of a Platinum Club, returning for Strictly Come Dancing semi final and the X Factor final weekend, Now England are struggling to survive changed conditions in Australia who managed 380 odd runs first innings and England in reply 118 for 2 after Carberry played on and Root’s dismissal was confirmed by the third umpire where clearly the electronic evidence would not have given him out although the decision had to stand as the on field umpire had given the player out after an after thought reaction
I missed the last episode of Borgen because I had not noticed that the recording had failed and left it too late to rerecord. I was able to establish that the former Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg had been diagnosed with pre cancerous condition and required radio therapy.
The 7th episode of the third series starts with the consultant pressing Birgitte to tell her family what is happening, but she insists that she must continue alone and goes from the hospital direct home where her son has delayed going school because of a cycle puncture and her daughter has a late start on Mondays. Birgitte then goes to the office where staff are concerned at the way she appears to be neglecting her duties during the crucial stage when the new party is attempting to establish itself as a political force and in the public mind at a time of crisis because of the International economic crisis,
The governing party is attempting to establish in effect a government of national unity but on their terms and when Birgitte responds to an invitation to meet she is told terms which include abandoning all environmental measures for three quarters of the next decade. She leaves immediately and is seen approaching the notorious leader of the Freedom Party who dismisses her approach reminding that while she had only three seats he now has 45. Birgitte still hiding her condition from her family and political colleagues making excuses and the consultant continues to press her to involve others as she admits she is not sleeping much at night perhaps four or five hours and then feeling tired during the day. She says she needs medication to keep her going for 15 to 16 hours a day after she is caught asleep by her daughter on the very day that the government announces he has called a general election, something which the politicians and TV 1 news station realise he has been planning for months. Birgitte has slept through almost a day of messaging after saying she would be late in because of a dental appointment,
The public broadcasting station TV 1 is also caught out by the General Election announcement where the situation between News head Torben and news editor Pia is tense as she seeks clarification of the nature of their relationship. She has been in love with him for sometime and he responded sexually without thinking of the implications in terms of either her or his wife and family. He has demonstrated a cautious sitting on the fence streak, some would say a cowardly one, in the past, or the Quaker approach of wear thou sword until thou cans’t.
Torben’s immediate boss wants them to win the election in terms of the competition from TV2 but they get off to a bad start as the governing party had immediately arranged for a head to head with the main opposition party the Labour Party trying to turn the General Election into a presidential one sidelining the other parties although Kruse and the New Democrats have done a pre election deal with the governing party which Bent argues will harm them in election.
The consequence is instead of having their previously all party leader debate on the first evening they have to settle for one with the deputies and the main leaders debate the following evening.
We learn that relations between Birgitte’s press director Katrine and Kasper have improved with sharing their child’s care and Katrine almost insists that he has the care for the fist 24 hours after the election announcement and on the evening show it looks as if Torben has a new partner than Kasper. His hair is growing back from the time where he had to shave his head after their son had taken scissors to it when he felt asleep when playing with him. The TV1 team has the brain wave of using GPS to follow what the party leaders are doing 24 hours a day and contact Katrine before dawn to seek her cooperation which will obviously have implications for Birgitte.
The election will be about the economy and the best way to respond to the crisis so Birgitte suggests they turn for help to man they had to abandon because of his previous community party background and Russian links. He has a research programme under way but offers a couple of hours before the evening’s debate. Birgitte recognises they are under funded with less than 1 million Kr in the kitty and will need at least another million which is still insignificant given that the government part is said to have around 45 million and has already booked space in the main news papers. They only have 15 new candidates approved and need at least fifteen to twenty more in order to become a political force and hopefully become part of a governing coalition again.
Because she is tired Birgitte does not prepare as well as she should for the TV debate and this shows in performance when the opposition parties agree she should take the lead on economic questions and emphasise the need to keep the environmental “green” approach. Katrine is fed up because of the refusal to participate on the in the 24 hour coverage with a journalist always on hand 9 in order to protect her position, but after the TV debate fiasco Birgitte realises she has to change her approach, especially after her daughter complains that she had become distant again. The following morning Birgitte makes breakfast and sits the two down and explains she has not been going to gym but for radiation therapy emphasising that the position is pre cancerous but they are on top of the situation but she is feeling very tired. The episode ends as she takes the children with her for the next hospital session.
The eighth episode could have been the last given the momentous events that take place in the course of the hour, or at least the last episode of a season. Birgitte decides that in addition to telling her children she must also advise the party leadership and Katrine arranged for a lead reporter from TV 2 network to interview Birgitte in the office, explain what has happened but that she does no wish to make her illness the issue. There is a great response with lots of flowers at her home including from her ex husband but she says she wants to keep Jeremy at a distance not being able to cope with what is likely to be his reactions. However she finds him at her home one evening saying he is in love with her and has arranged to be there during the days ahead to help.
Despite knowing the predicament she has been in The Moderate party, her old party led by Kruse has been doing a deal with the Labour Party and the Greens, of a new Opposition Manifesto Our Demark which does not mention them because they have not signed up and which does not include issue with which the New Democrats have a different viewpoint with the Moderates. However Birgitte decides that they have to go along with the situation or face becoming spent force before the election takes place and thy concentrate on defining policies which separate them. However during a debate between Birgitte and Kruse about the differences between the two parties Kruse appears to have prior knowledge of the decision to promote wind farms something he has always voted against but now says his party supports their expansion. This indicates that one of three people, ruling out Katrine and Bent have done a deal with Kruse in return for providing information on all their meetings, their tactics and policy programme developments. The approach is to provide of three possible traitors with a false addition and the policy selected by Kruse will reveal the traitor and to everyone’s surprise and disappointment in turns out to be Nete who had regard Birgitte as her heroine and hd been shock by the failure in the fist leaders debate when Birgitte gets the figures hopeless wrong unsure if the police figures are in millions or billions. She has returned to the Moderates from which she originally defected. With Birgitte positive abut her physical health, with the public aware as well as her family and party about why she had been underperforming the position was a positive one.
The last two programmes last night living up to my anticipation and contained some good twists.
At a personal level Torben‘s wife, works out he has been involved with more than a one night stand which he tries to pretend happened when he arrives home in the very early hours and she reveals that when he had been away on a training/conference she had tries o contact him and the office knew nothing of such an event. He is forced to admit that he has had an affairs and that it was with Pia his news editor. That it is with someone with someone with he is working all and every day makes the situation even more unbearable and she insists he must sack the woman or not return home.
He tells Pia he is moving her to documentaries because they are in need of someone with her experience. However with the team horrified this is happening just before the election he realises this is unfair and changes his mind. When his wife finds out she insists he hands over the keys and sleeps at the office. There is a sense later when his wife bring the bys who are missing him of a couple of hours and they go for a walk along the river bank for a meal the boys want a meal comment about the river bus on which has never been and which runs past his office. Hanne comforts Pia about the relationship when she confesses the extent of her affection.
However Torben has what in some respects is a greater challenge to deal with as the creative management boss has decided that they must compete with TV2 in turning the election coverage into a game show dividing the parties into blue and red,, left and right changing the way the debates are presented and planning an outrageous series of changes for the General Election day results programme. Torben rebels before the final debate and is summarily dismissed and leaves the building, goes n the ferry and then arranges to meet his wife for a meal and begs he to take him back and for to return home with her.
In the meantime Pia and his number to have rebelled that the non journalist boss is going to have a hand in the election night coverage and is calling the shots about the way the programme is going to be conducted. Torben is reinstated at leads for Election night and although he insists on going home with his wife she agrees that he should do the programme first. She is their to greet him with the programme ends and Pia is seen being led away by Hanne one of casualties of the series with Torben admitting he had been wrong to respond. The boss tell Torben it was great fun as he departs the building and Torben’s riposte is to suggest that the time he wants fun he should go the to the funfare.
The economist former candidate who is brought back to assist Birgitte by Latrine commences an affair which they both enjoy as Kasper continues to play his part in caring from their son and Katrine also attempts to come to terms with the fact that her new lover is not only twenty years her senior but a late teens son and daughter. They appear cool about their father’s relationship although curious. Katrine finds this situation uncomfortable and at one point make her escape which the father is cooking her breakfast prior to meeting with the rest of the family. At the end of the programme Katrine changes her mind and calls at the man’s home and later is seen enjoying breakfast with the family.
Birgitte’s occasional lover Jeremy also learns of her illness via the media lath given that does not speak Danish is interesting. I also earn that he was never a CEO but an International architect who designed the building in Asia where the international company where she was a board member had built. which their relationship feel even more contrived and designed to bring in even more English speak audience. Her has very little to do in the third season but appear normal, grown up and coping with her mother’s lifestyle remarkably well. Son Magnus get a better part as he becomes anxious about the health of his mother fearing the worst even though she assures she had been given all clear and will go back to see the doc in nine months time. Then when she feels a new lump understandable panic especially as there is delay before she can see the consultant who explains it not more the acculturation of fluid relate to her treatment an which he releases with a syringe and whalah everything is hunky dory again. And hat of the future of her Jeremy who declares his love and has rearranged his globe trotting schedule to be with her. He remains unconvincing throughout.
The main political issue in the ninth episode of the town is how to differentiate themselves from the Moderate party especially after the damage cause by the Nete betrayal which enabled Kruse to switch policies to attack his political craft always just ahead to take their wind.
Birgitte decided to adopt a high risk strategy according to Bent and some of her closest colleagues when choosing to break from the centre left coalition against the ruling party and to attack Kruse know his ability to lose his tamper which he holds together in their first confrontation as she tears up the manifesto.
Being Kruse he launches an aggressive smear campaign using every previous allegation against her. It is Kasper, where I am not clear how is now earning a living missing that 6th episode, who offers to provide he ammunition discovering that he has covered up a drink driving incident in which he lied ( sounds familiar!) but Birgitte refuses to sink to his level and wants to concentrate on policy differences. However she changes her mind after a journalist door stops her daughter who is understandably upset and she gives the green light Katrine. However at the last moment Katrine also has an attack of conscience after Bent and also the Economics Guru raise their eyebrows. Birgitte is grateful for the second thoughts.
Meanwhile the guru has been using his best students to go through economic programme of tax cuts and expenditure propose by the Moderates under Kruse to find the evidence and does so in time for the last leaders debate and where to avoid what happens before he takes Birgitte through the figures.
The outcome is that the party gains 13 seats in the middle to become key player in the attempts to gain the kind of stable coalition required to see the country through the economic crisis. This is crammed into the first 24 hours although is usually the case negotiates can sometimes continue for weeks until the a last agreement can be established, In this instance the variation are difficult to follow with at one point the left prepared to do a deal with the extreme right The freedom party where the deputy, the woman who seduced number two to Torben to so he will nit be hard on her when they interview has toppled their leader who was against participation in government. He wanted heir party to give expression to view of the common man, the educated, those alienated by the multilateral changes to Danish Society brought about by the widened EEC. An outrageous character their remained something likeable about him despite his outrageous explosions of views and he is seen leaving the parliament building toppled. The deal offered to Birgitte for the leader of the Moderates who is also under fire from his number two and the news later to the right is that Birgitte should become the prime Minister again.
It is something she seriously considers but the final twist she offers the premiership to the existing man on condition he agrees to various concession and her taking the post of Foreign Secretary thus avoiding the inevitable conflict domestic policy. Whether this is a positive or negative development in relation to her lover travelling lover must remain speculation as wall as the impact on children.
Friday, 13 December 2013
I am going to try and be ruthless with myself and have drawn up a plan for my time between now and end of the first week in January given that I shall be away for twelve days over Christmas and New Year in two trips one involving the car and the other the train. In addition I have also two outings to football, one possibly two to the cinema could be three if I also go to see Falstaff from the Met and one day in search of a suit although I might wait until the sales.
I will finish writing about Borgen and Montalbano in depth and make a brief lists of those matters I would have written about and may still do later if I am not required to become in matters from by former life. Of the remaining days before Christmas there are Christmas cards and letters and preparations for travel. Not time to consult the Don’t panic manual again, but today I have not played a computer game. I went off and had a very good exercise session for 45 mins achieving higher ratings as a professional tennis player beating a team rated higher, improving the bowling and golf and wining by 12.6 in two rounds of baseball before the mercy rule was applied and then having an excellent power bowling session scoring 512 and gaining a silver medal. However I got my age sports age only down to 36.
Programmes which I appreciated recently include one on Doris Lessing and adult content of music tapes, two programmes on the life and work of Susan Boyle. The series the Tunnel which comes an end next week, the latest episodes of Boardwalk Empire and Master of Sex, also Blue Bloods with the Blacklist concluded for its first season. I watched part of the Royal command performance skipping some acts. These to be added to the relays and other films outstanding, some from a year ago and as are some TV series.
First four more episodes of Borgen in which I understand are its final season and which lived up to my expectation as the new political Party in Denmark experiences all the problems of an instant mass movement created from all those who feel outside the existing political party framework wanting to join in. The guardian TV critic regards it as a flaw that former Prime Minister Bergitte Nyborg embarks on the enterprise in such an amateurish way forgetting that although Party leaders she was comparatively inexperienced to take on the role in the first instance and was unable to keep her marriage going and to avoid major problems with her children, especially the daughter. In part as with marriage and parenting there is no tried and tested formula about creating a new political party. I do however agree that given the importance of the bacon and pork industry to Demark it was surprising that the former Prime Minister had to educated about the reality of what went on. The third series has in fact become a vehicle to discuss topics of controversy and importance to Danish society and here in the UK we need to view the programme from the Danish perspective although the inclusion of an English speaking, Scottish lover could be viewed as attempting to respond to the great reception the programme has received in the UK and other English speaking countries.
In the third episode of the new season 13000 people have rushed to support the new party and dozens crowd into the office wanting to make a contribution and this is regarded great to its leader, the former prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg her media adviser, the former public broadcasting TV 1 station news front woman and journalist Katrine and her three Members in Parliament two from her former party The Moderates Jon and Nete together with one from the New Right whose name I have not remembered.
The situation reminded of the first Committee 100 meeting I attended with Michael Randle previously of the Direct Action Committee in the chair, Ralph Scheonman who was Bertrand Russell’s. Commissar and a mixture of anarchists, communists, labourites and liberals, traditional pacifists, new age practitioners of Satyagrapha(non violent resistance) and where I was one, libertarians and collectivists with the attraction of commune just coming back in fashion, Catholics and Anglo Catholics, Jews and the C of E, Non conformists and atheists,, heterosexuals, lesbians, homosexuals and bisexuals, as well as I assumed those reporting to the security services if not members of the security forces, in London the USA and Moscow. The idea that we would reach agreement on anything was ludicrous but that we eventually did in terms of the form of demonstration was remarkable, although even we slimmed down the planning group to around 30 we were bitterly divided between those who wanted revolution or saw the activities of committee as potentially leading to revolution
(I must get Wikipedia to include my name and adjust their article on the Committee 100 which has several inaccuracies as well as write up more about the reality of my experience of the Direct Action Committee.)
In the instance of Borgen there is a Christian who wants the new Party to support limitations on abolition with Birgitte having to say that her party would never adopt a position where a woman did not have control of her body in this respect and where another new activist wanted her to read a 450 page theoretical economic work which when she got down to it had state control nationalization of almost everything as its conclusion.
Jon a sitting member in the parliament was concerned about the lack of finances and arranged for her meet a Banker who wanted to give one million Krone and after an alcoholic lunch where he has chosen the menu he increases the donation to 1.5 million claiming that he is supporting and does not want anything. Birgitte accepts starts to spend on their HQ and offers free coffee to the activists. Jon then arrange for her to meet some with agricultural interests but at this point she realises there is no such thing as a free lunch after finding that the view of the banker are being incorporated into aspects of the draft financial policy statement.
Birgitte blows the whistle on her self and after getting a 100000 Kr loan from her husband and using her own resources she pays back the quarter of million already spent and concentrates on setting membership rate of 300 Kr some say too much others too little so she settled as this sounds the best compromises and then invites everyone to leave except the founder members declaring that one they have agreed their platform on the various issues then it is for the supporters to decide if it is a party for them to join or not. The issue of what they stand for and political expediency to get stabilised and recognised is the subject of the next two programmes and I going to jump form the fourth to fifth programme for this purposes.
The leader of one of the opposition parties approaches her to support a proposed new piece of legislation which will make all forms of prostitution illegal in Denmark after the plight of slave trafficked women comes to national media attention. If she agrees the combined vote with force the Act on the Government who are opposed to blanket change in a situation where it is not a crime to sell sex and those in brothels who pay taxes are in a grey area with their receptionists and accountants can be liable to prosecution unless they can show an income separate from the sex trade
At first Birgitte is enthusiastic in signing as way of gaining public and political acceptance but the new right former member wants her to be cautious and establish the facts, and then Katrine who is favour of the order gradually come round after meeting a sex worker union leader representing a couple of thousand out of the thousands estimated to be involved in the sex trade. Birgitte refusal to sign the draft legislation is criticised by the other Parties involved and her nemesis’s the former Labour Party leader through his newspaper and other media interests and they begin to lose members. The Sex Worker leader agrees to attend a public hearing where is the lone voice explaining that there are those who enjoy the work, are not forced into it through poverty, partner pressure etc and feels humiliated and raped by the viscous and cruel assertions made against her and use of false statistical information.
Birgitte with Katrine help is able to provide that one of the charity help agencies has grossly exaggerated figures in order to gain a 40% increase in government financial aid and slowly the position changes and the Government agrees to introduced legislation which will improve the present situation without introducing a blanket ban.
There is a meeting between the new line up of parties where the ruling party is represented by the Minister of Justice, Birgitte makes attempts to negotiate conditions for supporting the government approach which includes a special anti trafficking task force to deal with the issue which has attracted media attention and public support, but after presenting an excellent case for legalising brothels of brothels with sex worker represented listened to towards the end of meeting the meeting the government decides that the change would be politically acceptable but some progress had been made
In the fourth episode Jeremy, the English speaking CEO at the International company where Birgitte was on the Board. is poisoned when eating pork at a fashionable restaurant with him throwing up over Birgitte going viral on You Tube and leading to yet another vitriolic attack from the former Labour leader. He is in fact allergic to the antibiotics given to the pig which has clearly been slaughtered and used without sufficient time for the medication to have cleared the system. With the help of the brother of Katrine who pig farms Birgitte learns the nature of the industry in Demark when the quantity of Danish bacon produced has become more important than quality with the commercial animals factory farmed and hundreds of thousands of piglets slaughtered because they do not measure up to commercial requirements. (I have eaten suckling pig twice during a visit to the capital of Majorca.)
The brother does not eat this produce himself because of concerns and instead uses animals which he rears in the open at the back. Katrine promises not to reveal the source of the info being used but he becomes understandable and angry when Birgitte mentions his involvement in a TV interview albeit in way which does not directly identify except to his neighbouring pig farmers and where he says he does not want to speak to his sister again. Because the leader of the extreme party, the Freedom party also pig farms and is incensed by the sentimentality that he shows how they clip the tail of the little piglets soon after birth which causes uproar and eventually they are able to use his emotional intervention when they learn that he has been warned about his methods. The intervention in this issues gets them recognised as a new party,
I failed to record the sixth programme which centres on a new recruit as prospective member who a communist and had visits to the Russian embassy where 80% used to be KGB. The other part of the story concerns the visit Birgitte makes to the hospital are having problems one hand and Jeremy noticing that she has not been eating and as been losing weight. In the previous episode he finally gets to meet her children in the process of making them a bread and butter pudding B BTOH TAKE TO HIM ALTHOUGH SON Magnus had previously expressed anxiety given his close relationship with his father, Philip former husband has help out by taking the children when he arrives for a short stay between visits on his continuous world wide taking position. Interesting when asked he admits to paying for sex on a couple of occasions on his travels which shocks Birgitte when first revealed. However she reveals to Katrine that one female European Minister confided she rented young men on her travels as she had no time for an ongoing relationship. Philip on the other hand says he has never done. This seems to influence Birgitte towards him.
Although Katrine no longer works for the TV station the father of her child, Kasper does although his role at the station is lifted the ongoing issue is the role of the news station head Torben who has to contend with a new boss representing the interest of the Board, a young man with contemporary about management and creativity. He uses a room with odd shaped chairs and chalk boards and encourages Torben to think outside the box. He makes demands and threatens and at first Torben gives in. He fires an economist because her realistic message does not fit in the positive message which the managers wants to carte. He describes the woman as a Pakistani prophet of doom. He is told he must present the sacking to the team has his idea and he repeats the description to the horror of the team. He then has to face a complaint from staff about his language which only add to the criticism of his boss.
Later he stands his ground in front of his colleagues earning their respect but getting in effect a final warning and later still the manager appears to climb down over a belief that the midday news should be cut. He had already agreed that the evening news should have content aims just at women and the later news at men. There had been indications that the news Editor Pia was attracted to him and his stand had changed attraction into reveal her interest which at fist he considers and then holds back, married with family. Later he responds and haring a noise they assume it was a cleaner but his manager reveals that he has been a witnessed and begins to use to this get his way. Torben‘s wife has visited the station to express concern that he has been spending so much time at the station he has been missing out the attending the school activities of his children
The main emotional story of these episodes concerns Katrine who finds her feelings for Kasper have grown stronger when she sees him asleep with their child, However when visiting his flat to bring medication she had previously forgotten she finds a bra by the bed and realising that Kasper has a girl friend although later he admits he has been seeing a number of women. She reacts by reducing the agreed contact he has with his son. He threatens to go back to court.
Katrine presses for an explanation about why walked out on their living together and he explains that he could not cope wither her role as a mother and as wife. He adds however that their son is the most important thing in his life and he could not think of anyone else he would have wanted to be the boy’s mother which makes her feel good about herself once again.
The episode on prostitution and the talk with sex worker leader has helped her to work through her own feeling about love and sex and she invites in from the station Torben’s boss who had refused on their date. He has called round with the lame excuse of being in the area. The scene closes when it is evident they are gang to have sex. The new balance in her life leads to reconciliation with her mother who reveals to eh daughter something she has never talk anyone before, that when her first born son with under a year of age she had an affair with a neighbour, something she had not told her husband and reveals this because she understands some of the issues which mothers can experience when they begin to cope with the realities the different roles they are expected to maintain.
There is one area where I did find myself sharing some of the criticism the Guardian TV journalist and this is the relationship with Jeremy although in instance it was the fact that Birgitte had accept the roles on major companies. I would have expected her to have been offered and taken a different kind of role, especially after her success as the negotiator of peace between the two sides in the African state. A role within Europe , or the United Nations, some aid organisation would have also seemed more likely for the character that had developed, or the extent to which she appeared to have walked away from political matters and her previous own political/ having said this one feature of smaller parties is the tendency for them to split as one personality with their visions finds difficult to be subordinate with another of a different vision although the public the difference may not appear significant. Such difference exist within parties where factions an division can be just as strong but can usually be contained, although doing so in the contemporary world of 24 hours TV is even more difficult than previously.
I have been able find out that the main story of the episode which did not record and I failed to realise this when I could have recorded again. It is evident that Birgitte did visit her CP and this led to hospital and the diagnosis. She has not disclosed to her ex husband or children and was viewed isolated and alone in hospital learning to face the news.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
On Metro stations and platforms Hebburn is described a as place on earth and not to do with heaven I have very mixed feelings about this series now its second season and featuring the community in South Tyneside closest to Gateshead. The main industries of shipbuilding and Switch get manufacturer Reyrolle have gone with the largely Irish and Catholic origin a strong and dominating one with the equally strongly Labour party dominating with its posh club compared to the seedy Unionist club long the main room. The town largely made up of uniform council housing with gardens replacing the former terrace back to back streets, While the town had a modern civic centre which includes a modern swimming pool with facilities for all the family there was a lack of shopping facilities with families wanting to make major purchases of furniture, clothing and other goods having to go to Newcastle or South Shields within the centre of neighbouring Jarrow there was significant better. It only over the past two decades that there has been the growth of Supermarkets with three major and several smaller units in South Shields, one major an substantial in Jarrow, a huge superstore in Bolden but none until last few years in Hebburn where life revolved the working man’s club and entertainment pub.
Despite the involvement of the local established and highly regarded actress Gina Mckee I did not know what to make of he series or how townsfolk would react to the portrayal of its people especially its lasses as moron and sex crazed where social activities comprised shopping when the cash was available for cloths and make up and hairdressing into Newcastle for a club and otherwise the local social club pub. Having exploited the East End of London, Liverpool, Yorkshire and more recently Glasgow for situational comedies about the working, or non working underclass, it was probably to bring out all the clichés and stereotypes about somewhere in the North East It would be OK if it as funny especially as there was no audience with many scenes shot to show the ton as it is. It was amusing because of my knowledge often area and essential viewing because of this but in terms previous series in the same vein I was disappointed, disappointed that is until the second series which became funnier in kind way and culminating in a moving an authentic episode this week which I believe has talent the series onto a different level.
Gina Mckee plays the proud mum who wont let anyone use her best room unless the occasion demands who this season has tried her hand at selling housing although the establishment colleagues ensure that had was allocated only the worst properties to get rid off,, and where she has now branched out in making cup cakes He typical North husband with an enthusiasms for football, beer , fish and chips and pies has had a stroke and is in rebellion at the added control with his wife and mother now have over him. There at home daughter tried hard to ape Geordie Shore and the Essex girls with her friend who is significantly more of a slapper and her club singer whose school son by a previous relationship has become a skilled thief. The mother in law has organised her fellow residents of a home for the elderly but has returned home complete with stair lift after being left a house which she sold for coppers to the son and daughter in law to ensure she continues to get her full wacky of the social, especially as the main bread winner is now on the permanent disabled sick.
The series has revolved around the arrival back home of h on ho unknown to his family has married a girl from lower middle class home in a drunken moment in Las Vegas. who mother has pretensions and a retiring hen pecked husband. The young man has been working as a journalist, giving up his job to become a writer only for this to fall through. His wife had been a bright student and finds her temporary stay become permanent as her husband takes a low paid post as editor of the local free newspaper. Their predicament in a wafer thin wall bedroom, when his wife is the butt for his sister and her best mate who the son once dated becomes even greater when she becomes pregnant as does the girl friend of the club singer, but her relationship becomes challenged with the arrival of a former male friend while the sister takes a course at the former Hebburn Tec.
The day to day week by week storylines came to a head last night when the daughter in law gives birth several weeks prematurely coinciding with the publication in the magazine of a national newspaper of the diary her husband has kept and which the paper has edited out all the complimentary leading the picture a high emotional and unliveable wife in pregnancy. There are two episodes to go as the residents of six flats at renovated Westmorland Court were evacuated following a fire at one, the second incident at the Court within three months according to the local authority area Newspaper the Shields Gazette.
As I passed Newcastle Station yesterday on my way home I wondered on the progressed made to the outside and what I assume is to be the new ticket office and customer service centre, something was not mentioned to date in the excellent Sky Channel One series All Aboard East Coast Train and which later in the day featured Derby Day between Newcastle and visitors Sunderland and where the home side lost 3.0 always an event likely to cause trouble. Had the side lost then supporters would have been inclined to leave early and get away as quickly as possible while the Newcastle crowd remained in the ground celebrating to into town to do likewise. However with a lost there was an element, some of who would not have been in ground but in surrounding pubs and bars showing the game or would have waited for the news just to take the opportunity to have a punch up with the visiting supporters. Several staff cars were badly damaged as the scum attempted to get to the visiting supports by using the cars to get onto a roof giving access to thee station. The visiting fans were penned in a narrow yard ending the arrival of three special trains travelling from Sunderland to the station. Others would have come on the Metro route travelling incognito among the home supporters, by bus and by car.
The edition feature the female station manager and the organisation of the departure of several thousands students from Durham University as they made their way home with trains at half hourly intervals. Extra staff were n hand to put luggage at speed in the special luggage van so as to avoid the train being leaving the station in over the 90 second turn around time, after which the East Coast Train paid a penalty to rail track.
Previous editions have featured the team in the restaurant car travelling early and providing breakfasts especially to he first class passengers who now have a meal at their table provided as part of their ticket. Another episode feature the work of Trolley ladies and counter which has a target of making a certain amount each journey to balance the books. Newcastle has been a regular featured station which included those who see the trains depart and the weekend stag and her do’s both arriving in Newcastle or visiting the cities. Football was also the subject of trains arriving and departing from Kings Cross one Saturday and the insistence of no alcohol trains which result in any alcohol being confiscated and those who attempt to smuggle and drink when onboard at risk of prosecution. This applies to anyone travelling although alcohol packed away in luggage is not checked.
The training is centred at York where the HQ for the line with its 19 stations and 155 trains a day is located and a driver and the supervision as well as the retirement of someone leaving after a lifetime of service at York. The series mirrors a similar one covering the West Coast line from Euston to Liverpool and Glasgow on a different channel.
Monday, 9 December 2013
For the greater part of Sunday 9th December I reflected and then made notes on my experience of child care and protection during the years 1962 to 1971 some for publication and others over which I am still debating the merit of circulated in private or to become part of the 101 project and sealed for 100 years or more. With going to see an Imax film at the Metro centre tomorrow as well as investigating the purchase of a new suit I have decided to leave decisions until later in the week and concentrating on bringing up to date my writing and viewing experience of Borgen, the brilliant Danish series on coalition government and politics together with the impact of the political public life on relationships with partners and children.
Because of the unintended break between writing about the first and seconds seasons up to episode 18 of 20, it is appropriate to recap on the main characters and storyline.
Denmark has its first woman prime Minister leading a significantly minority party but which had gained seats dramatically at the General Election and forged a coalition with the Labour Party and progressive parties on the left, and which led to the replacement of the Labour Leader who concentrate on his media involvements using his tabloid newspaper in a crusade against the Prime Minister, Birgitte Nyborg who he sees as destroying his political career, although in fact it was of his own making after being fed damaging personal information by the media director of the Prime Minister, which he had discovered when rescuing a former partner, a Public Service Broadcasting TV station news front women from a situation where she woken to find her lover, a married man with children and also gofer for the former Prime Minister dead from a heart condition. Birgitte had refused to use the discovered information found when Kasper had stayed in the flat after Katrine had left to removed all traces of her presence before alerting the authorities.
The series is as much about the roles and relationships of the media Director, Kasper, and TV journalist and front woman. Katrine. She appears to come from a comfortable middle class home with good relationships with her family. Her previous relationship with Kasper broke up because there was a significant part of his inner self he was unable and to some extent unwilling to share.
The death of her lover who had announced his intention to divorce his wife and live with her was very difficult to bear but eventually as the series progressed she commenced a physical relationship with a fitness coach. Kasper is jealous but also recognises there is a gulf in intellectual and political and social interest between the two which he draws attention and ultimately leads to man involve walking out of the relationship appreciating that apart from the sexual attraction there as nothing binding the two together.
Kasper in the other had is haunted by what happened to him as a twelve year boy and pretends to his current girl friend as he has to Katrine that his mother died when he was a boy and father lives in the South of France too busy and with a very different life for them to get together. It is only midway during the second season that we learn the facts which are hinted at then slowly unravelled, that his father and three drinking and card playing male friends had sexually abused the boy until he had taken a hunting knife and severely wounded the father, but who had survived and with the friends had been convicted and imprisoned. Kasper refused further contact and with his mother who had conveniently been away when the criminal assaults took place and who provided a home for her husband on his release from prison
The past comes crashing back when his mother calls to announce the death of her husband and he cannot cope with the burial on her own. He takes over provides the minimum and attends the cremation on his own but joined by Katrine who he eventually tells what happened, after his mother is admitted into care with dementia and on selling up the family home, the agent gives Kasper a box with a scrap book and video tapes of the trial and publicity. They are both on their own but commence to live together after he gives the box to Katrine and understands.
The professional lives of the two also as its ups and downs. Birgitte sacks Kasper for taking the discovered information to another political leader, but re-engages when his replacement, an academic, starts to put his own spin on issues. Kasper also has a time when he believes she will sack him after he becomes aggressively angry with a right wing leader over his attempted to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 14, an issue, the raising of the age with which I with others was involved and believed we had succeeded when the Children’s and young persons Act was passed in 1969, only for this section not to be implemented by the Conservative government of 1970.
Katrine also storms out of her TV station job takes a job with her predecessor working for the newspaper run by the former Labour Leader. When they discover a plot to oust the successor party leader, they again revel and her former boss finds herself unemployable, having a drinking problem as well as her ethical standards while Katrine takes work where she can in hosting a daytime TV show. Eventually she is taken back in a temporary basis while her replacement is on pregnancy leave and she insists on her former boss also returning as a part time assistant. By the end of the second season they have achieved such good work that they are offered permanent positions although the head of the news division makes the point that she should put having children on hold given the problems the station has recently encountered. This she says is unlikely, after during the two remaining episodes of the series when they are embarking on taking n expensive new apartment Kasper makes it plain without discussion that they are not having children and they are at the point of breaking up again. He goes to see his mother and changes from the years of resentment and smouldering anger to empathy and forgiveness on seeing the state in which she is now in. At the point her boss is offering the appointment on conditions, Kasper is changing his mind, brings flowers to the officer and tells her she need not take the contraception pill. This is point when both could be said to have reach the best of times in their relationship and working experience.
During the first season we have witnessed the growth if Birgitte in to someone amazed at finding herself the Prime Minister, struggling to cope with challenges of lading a coalition and most of all with the impact on her husband and two children. It not just that she is required to be on duty 24/7 but her position impacts on the ambitions and interests of her husband who begins the series as a university lecturer. First he is required to sell off shares in a firm specialising in wind turbines and then to resign soon after accepting the appointment of a CEO with an International firm because in the first the government is about to conclude a contract worth millions supplying Turbines to another government, but who starts to try and get out the deal when Birgitte refuses to hand over a dissident. Then it is discovered the firm is involved in a small part of a big contract involving new fighter planes where the Minister and Military are found to have accepted very expensive hospitality and in one instance a very expensive gift.
However his main difficulty is accepting her more confident and assertive role as her confidence and assertiveness develops in her political role and which is show by her power dressing and manner and this demonstrated by her decision to suggest she will make herself available for se twice a week, something where events sometimes intrude and where she offers for him to have discreet sexual relationships if that is the way for them to remain husband and wife something she wants. They separate and eventually divorces something she resists although for the sake if her two children she accepts his new partner a paediatrician his two children immediately take to, especially the youngest boy.
What both parents fail to appreciate is the impact of the divorce and the absences of Birgitte is having on the daughter as she moves into adolescence. The girl starts to have severe anxiety attacks, withdrawal and depression which comes to a head when after commencing treatment with medication she starts stops take taking the anti depressants, the happy pills. The second and more serious breakdown occurs just as the Prime Minister is gaining her greatest political and media success brokering a peace between warring sides in an African state where the Christian side is supported by the USA and the Muslim by China and where the revenue from oil is a major factor with a leading Danish industrialist having significant interests.
The daughter is rushed to hospital where the consultant explains that she has become very ill, although girls not taking the medication is common as a way of demonstrating that they still have some control over themselves. He recommends a significant change the parents care of their daughter and her placement in a special private unit because of the 50 week waiting list for national health service psychiatric treatment. This poses a major problem for the Prime Minister as her health reforms involve scaling back on the tax subsidy to private health care. The cost of eh treatment without health insurance is a major issue and the decision is taken not to use her former husband’s health insurance because of the political fall out.
Birgitte asks Kasper to help with limiting media interest but the story quickly breaks as the son tells friends at school, one of who parents sells the story to the paper of the former Labour Leader. Worse is to follow when a photographer enters the grounds and takes pictures just when the girl begins to settle and participate in the treatment regime,
At first the daughter panics at the idea of going to establishment and then is very cautious until the unit head convinces that she understands how the girl feels based on the experiences of the others who have abd are being treated. Th daughter then resists going to group therapy but she also begins to attend and to participate In addition to basic structure and approach makes friends with another girl suggesting a very close relationship as the season ends,. She is also able to communicate with Kasper who went through a similar experience as a child,
The presence of media quickly disrupts the treatment programme for everyone and faced with having to remove their daughter Birgitte takes the unprecedented action of taking leave and asking the leader of the Labour Party to take over in her absence. The daughter make great progresses over a period of weeks to an extent that she is ready to begin the process of returning home, first by only attending during the day time. Such is her progress that at one point she gives thanks to Kasper for his understanding with a peck on the cheek as she goes off with her best friend.
Birgitte who has never been happy with the behaviour of her husband accuses him of abandoning her too quickly and not making the effort to stay. He ends the relationship with his new partner but this does not lead to the two getting together but enables him to devote the time required to sharing the care of the their children. Birgitte has had a one night stand with a chauffer who is replaced. She is full of guilt about what has happened to her daughter, especially when the girl reveals she had talked about her feelings of letting her mother down. The unit reminds that the roles of mother and work place greater demands and the reality as workaholics is that sometimes he work just does not take precedence but it is a necessary escape from the demands and realities of parenthood. She claims that Birgitte is not responsible for what has happened to the girl, about the only point in the entire series with which I have conflict. It true that much of the behaviour and physical life of children is the product of their physical and mental structure but this is inherited from parents an while direct carers, teachers and other will have their impact it is the parental relationships, or substitute parental relationships or the lack of them that has a major bearing on how the child develops and over their subsequent lives.
As the daughter heals she needs the attention of her mother less and this is the opportunity for Birgitte to return to political life as speculation about the future amounts and the opposition begin to steal the political initiative. From the outset Birgitte has relied on an older political friend from within her Party who becomes her Minister of Finance, but she is forced to stand him down under pressure from Coalition members as they demand concession for keeping the coalition going. He also reacts when she attempts to make him a commissioner in the EEC an when he agrees he immediate has another attack on his health something which he had kept previously secret from her and his colleagues.
As the second season ends they are back as friends and party political colleagues and he is impressed when she seizes the initiative after her major reform bill is passed by a narrow majority 82 to 80. She goes to see the queen and now she is calling a general election, not to decide if a woman should be Prime Minister but if the policies of her party and coalition have majority support. During the leave period the opposition and others had made much of difficulties of being a politician, wife and parent. The seasons therefore ends optimistically and we the viewers make the assumption that he will be returned and indeed I had assumed that the series had end at this point until learning of a third series.
The first two episodes of the third and final season of the Danish political Drama Borgen commenced on BBC Channel Four Saturday evening 13th November 2013
The Prime Minister’s daughter and son appeared much and son appear that much older suggesting there was a gap in production between seasons two and three and this is confirmed with a gap of two years since the General Election. The next revelation is that not only did the coalition lose the election but her own party was smashed to below the number of seat from the election before their rise to power and office.
The head of her Party. the Moderates is Kruse th man she insisted become the European Commissioner after his double dealing nearly finished of her close friend Bent he had disappeared from the series in episode 4 of the second season.
When the season opens she has become a Board member if not the chairman of an International company and is visiting developments in Asia. She is also in a relationship at a distance with the company CEO. She and the children are renting a very expensive upmarket apartment and the husband comments that his son bedroom has th space of the previous kitchen and living area.
Returning th Denmark she see Kruse announce on Katrine’s TV news show that he is prepared to talk to the Government about Draconian immigration and repatriation laws and this she makes up her mind to return to politics and Ministerial level if possible, although she appreciate that many will oppose especially Kruse and his supporters.
Katrine has become a single parent mother although its father Kasper is playing a major in the boys upbringing and care As they are both working hard the boy is in the care of her mother who appears to have become a permanent fixture although she has her husband and home. Kasper has moved back into the media and co hosts th news programme with her boss,
Birgitte arranged to meet Kruse hoping he will provide a safe seat and a return to ministerial duties albeit in the Shadow cabinet. It is pay back time and he rejects her offer and after talking things over with Bent she decide to contest the leadership of the party as any member to do.
She approaches Katrine to be her media director who is finding working full time and being a mum challenging, using her mother as and when necessary as well as Kasper playing an important role so the child’s first words are grandma and daddy but not mummy. Her predecessor, Hanne who also works again at the TV station presses Katrine to spend time with the child given her experience where she lost contact with her daughter because of being a foreign correspondence as a young mother .
When Katrine meets with Birgitte and Bent to discuss the campaign we learn that the Party now has only ten thousand members in 92 organised districts each with a local leader who has the vote in the leadership campaign together with the Members of Parliament where there are now only 18, When Birgitte goes to meet one f the leading members Jon, with views close to her own and also an opponent of Kruse she finds first she cannot enter the Parliament Building, despite having been the Prime Minister, without possession of the appropriate pass is let in as guest when another member, a female Member recognises her, and Jon who just gets the message is thrilled about her return but says he cannot openly support because of the power Kruse now yields threatening and intimidating people, especially many district leaders into in critical support..
They decide to go on the offensive and she participate in a TV interview which has the desire effect of immediately brings some influential party member to her side. However Kruse does not give up his position without a vigorous contest and she fails to get the 56 seats required to win the leadership by five..
n the final scene we see her inspecting a dilapidated building which she takes on lease and when asked what she wants is for she says a new political Party. In the second episode she approaches Katrine to become the Communications Director and they approach a female member of the Moderate party who as a Member of Parliament enthusiastically support Birgitte and now finds herself cut off. She also approaches Jon although his support for her leadership was cautioned by Bent because he thought the man was after the Party Leadership and was using Birgitte for this purpose.
On a visit to the Parliament building Katrina meet Bent and assume he knows about the latest development but although Birgitte knows that he will come round in the end having been a member and supporter for 40 years she knows that his first reaction would be hostile and had hoped to advise him what she was doing once they had progressed and were in a position to go public.
A meeting takes place between Birgitte, Bent and Kruse in which the leader offers her a seat in Parliament and deputy leader of the party but she refuses because he is unwilling to make any concession on the issue of the new repatriation legislation. He warms that she is now an opponent and he will fight her all the way. She says he will have her resignation within an hour and Bent comments that she is no longer his friend.
A very different response eventually come from a senior member of the New Right party who has married a black refugee to the country and where later he makes the point that the very legislation he helped to pass means that their son cannot wear a hooded top because of the risk of being picked for a misdemeanour and then being open to repatriation. It is a very big step for him to make, and even after he arrives at the first policy making and launch meeting of those involved he hesitates and momentarily withdraws unable to because he cannot send the letter resigning from his party and become and an Independent.
Katrine has explained the development to her mother who remains hostile because of the insecurity financially and the impact on her role as a single parent. Although sworn to tell no one she tells Kasper and he pretends that it will be on the news that evening. He is joking and in fact on the Kasper Torben show he says he believes that Birgitte has quit politics after the failure of her attempt to become leader of the Moderates.
Through a misunderstanding, I think Katrine believes Kasper is staying for a meal first before taking their child to his home although it is not clear if he living on his own or with someone after the couple split up yet again. He only stays for part of a glass of wine. However Katrine does have a one night fling with the new Director of News Division having previously approached about returning to the TV station after failure of Birgitte to gain the leadership of the Moderates.
The News Director has a held meeting with Torben raising with him the unit cost of his division which is increasing as production cost rise but viewership falls. He had made it plain that without improvement Torben’s job is on the line. When Katrine fails to rejoin the station and then arranges for a rival TV station to have the first interview with Birgitte after the new Party announcement is made then his future becomes the issue and he expresses his anger to Katrine at what he regards as a betrayal.
Katrine also expresses anger towards her mother who is constantly commenting on the lack of time her daughter is devoting to her son, her financial insecurity and the state in which she keeps her apartment. When mother accuses her daughter of still being a child inside, Katrine flips and sends her mother packing saying she will manage her son on her own but then is forced to take the child to press conference launch of the new Party at the Parliament Building.
In order to finance the new party Birgitte considers giving up their leased apartment and moving to something smaller and less expensive which the daughter takes in her stride but which anger her son who says he does not want to move. While the relationship status of her ex husband is not clear relations between the two appear comfortable and relaxed and her helps out Birgitte with some surplus furniture from his business enterprise involvement.
The lover from Hong arrives on his way from a meeting in Germany to Norway which confused about his role and that of Birgitte in Hong Kong but this was settled in the introduction given to her for the TV appearance when it was stated that since her defeat as Prime Minister, and where I presume she was one of the party members losing her seat she had worked as a lecturers and on the board of a number of companies
With the failure of the approach from the leader of her now previous party she had no alternative but to go public and the press conference is arrange in which she makes a passionate and well argued case why the party is needed as the Moderates have effectively moved into an alliance with the governing coalition over the immigration and deportation issue. The show stopper is the appearance of the former member of New Right party with his young wife to explain why he has joined. However the magic moment is the appearance of Bent who also arrives and asks if he can join, shortly after she learns that already there have been 10000 likes on a social net work site.