I am twenty-seven years old. In my past, I have been a party girl, out four or five times a week. I am now middle-aged. Fair enough, my current ill-health prevents me from doing pretty much anything but even if I could, I wouldn’t be dancing on bar tops or holidaying in Majorca. I consider myself well beyond that phase in my life.
I now think of myself as cultured and an intellectual, but I still enjoy popular shows (‘Glee’ being a case in point). I don’t want you thinking I’m a snob, I’m not. But I think the following sentence demonstrates my leap from mini skirts and alco-pops to green tea and slippers quite succinctly:
While I knew BBC3 were screening ‘Radio 1’s Big Weekend’ featuring Lady Gaga as headline act, I chose to watch ITV’s ‘Vera’.
Why? I hear you cry (or not).
Although I do enjoy what I thought was Gaga’s inimitable pop music, I have recently realised that her new songs are just rip offs of her previous releases. Anyone who fails to spot the similarities between ‘Judas’ (oooh, courting controversy there Gaga, yawn) and ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Paparazzi’ just isn’t listening. ‘Born This Way’ rips off TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’.
What I liked about Gaga – her refreshing sound – has disappeared and now all she seems to want to do is provoke a reaction. When Lady Gaga first arrived on the pop scene at the end of 2008, she was slightly slutty and had a ‘normal’ figure. She was always what I thought of as “New York” – slightly eccentric but now she’s so far up her own ass, she’s lost all appeal. She’s so thin it’s painful to look at and her singing was off-key and out of time. People may criticise Britney Spears for miming but at least she can keep in time with her dancers when she does. I actually don’t really have a problem with pop artists miming some of the time if they’re putting on a good dance routine – Gaga sang and danced but did neither well.
This is where Vera differs from Gaga. She is her own woman. She doesn’t take any flak and will not stick to the rules, no matter what it may cost her. She’s a real maverick. OK, so I may have my tongue firmly in my cheek but the fact still remains that I (and Lily Allen if you believe what she posted on Twitter) still chose a woman who should have retired a long time ago over a girl who is meant to be in her prime. Although I did, admittedly, flick over when the ads were on.
‘Vera’ is based on a character by local writer Ann Cleaves who features in her books ‘Hidden Depths’, ‘Telling Tales, ‘The Crow Trap’ and ‘Silent Voices’. I’ve never read these books and the show was recommended to me by a friend who once encountered Ann in her former profession as a probation officer. Seeing as it was set up our way, myself and The Boy Wonder settled down to give it a whirl. As with almost every other film or TV show set here, I’m thinking of ‘Goal’ in particular, the geography is confused. For example, in ‘Goal’, the characters are shown heading South across the Tyne Bridge only to end up in Tynemouth Long Sands (completely the opposite direction). These sorts of errors immediately detract from my viewing. Not to mention crap accents. ‘Vera’ has featured some quite famous actors but I have to say some of the Geordie accents have been quite embarrassing. TBW gave up after the first episode but I’ve stuck with it, simply to look at scenes of Northumberland. As you will gather, no matter how confused the geography, I will look at images of Northumberland any time.
Last night’s episode got slightly better in the way of character development with Vera’s protegé Joe going through some difficulties at home although the “villain” of the piece was quite obvious to me. I hate it when that happens.
All in all, you may ask if ‘Vera’ is so disappointing why didn’t I dump her for Lady Gaga? The truth is, I am bored with both but at least with ‘Vera’ there’s something nice to look at.