The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Amazon Prime, directed by Wayne Yip, J.D. Boyana and Charlotte Brandstrome, produced by J.D.Payne, Patrick McKay, Lindsay Weber et al.,

I watched the first episode, but that didn’t stop it running onward to the next episode. I’ve nothing against elves or orcs or even Sauron. When I was ten or eleven J.R.R.Tolkien made me so much part of the couch my mum put an ashtray on my head. Movement was eyes only. Harfoots are wee hobbits. Some are black. Some white. No Asians.  Cute wee creatures that blend into the landscape and speak with an Irish accent. Lenny Hendry pops up as a harfooter that reads the runes and predicts doom. It’s like that Wet, Wet, Wet meme that was number 1 for eternity, I feel it in my fingers and in my toes. Doom is all around me, and so it grows.

First up, the beautiful people. Galadriel (Morfydd Clark). When she was a wee bit elfish, she made a paper boat. It sprouted sails and sailed along the silver stream. Her companions threw rocks and sunk it. She got her own back by becoming Commander of the Northern Armies. Her (adult) companions follow her to the ends of the earth. Then they take a left and climb up a cliff face. Sauron has been smited. She faces insurrection from the motely elves that sank her paper ship. But she finds evidence of his evil presence in the cave which he once inhabited. The evil wizard is no longer on stage.  

Cue snow troll, which is like Snow Patrol, but with an equally limited range. Snow Troll picks up a little elf and bashes him about. Does a lot of grrrrrrrrrrwling. It’s too big and cumbersome to take on. Galadriel cuts it down to size with her trusty sword. Then trepans it.

1—0 Galadriel.

Lord of the Rings was amazing for those massed armies and flying creatures. Orcs were like Indians in a Western, every sword stroke brought one down dead. Every arrow reached its goal. Tens of thousands of orcs died for every main character.

But in terms of muscle mass, orcs are muscle bound. They wield much the same weapons as the good guys but with serrated and dull edges. Galadriel is the size of a matchstick. In a fair fight she’d get beaten to death by a toothpick but with a shoddy hairnet (and yes, I am jealous, being baldy, I’d be cast as an orc or one of those middle-earth humans that are ready to switch allegiance to the Lord of Doom because he’s offering a two-for-one deal).  

Galadriel hadn’t got to fight orcs and Sauron, she’s got to fight against party insiders who promised low-cost heating and tax cuts. But she’s made a pledge of allegiance to the Trumpian High King Gil-Gilad. No Brexit. I won’t spoil it, but she does jump ship (as expected).

Each Middle Earth episode costs around $120 million, ($465 to $715 million) or the price of a decent Premier League defender. I’m not sure if that’s pounds of dollars, but sterling is around 1.16, soon it will be parity. Soon to be below parity. A downward slide based on lie after lie after lie about bigging ourselves up and taking control. False narratives. Or just downright lies.  

I’ve not watched Game of Thrones or its prequel. Nor have I read the books. I’ll stick with Tolkien’s classics. One ring to rule them all. You know how it goes. The heating is off.  I feel it in my fingers and I feel it in my toes. One ring to bind them.  

Rip it Up, BBC 2 9pm, BBC iPlayer, produced and directed by Pete Stanton.

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Rip it Up and Start Again. Rip it Up and Start Again. That’s the lyrics to an Orange Juice song.  I don’t know my contraltos from my tomatoes. Doesn’t matter.  I loved Rip it Up, three hours of nostalgia and the good old days that never existed. My favourites were KLF, the millionaires who burnt a million quid (alledgedly). I forgot how bonkers and how good they were. Watching clips of them made me laugh. I did quite well, in the quiz accompanying the series, which is equally bonkers, out of the five billion vinyl sales of records I bought three albums. Saturday Night Fever, Bat out of Hell and something else, but not with Pan Pipe music. Fuck off Pan Pipes and Fuck off with The Birdy Song.

The last episode ‘Success and Excess,’ was a bit out of my league, it was all about indy music and independent record labels, as a person that doesn’t listen to music and hardly listened to music when I was younger, I’d never heard of them. What it reminded me of was that old trope that anyone can write a book and get it published. There was that self-congratulatory feel from the falling faces of established stars. Guys and girls in their bedroom are going to make music and make it in the music industry.

That’s called the exception to the rule, rule. More commonly known as bullshit.

The first episode ‘Blazing a Trail’ had a more honest narrative appeal. In other words, I liked it. Lulu and Donovan. Nazareth, are a bit like The Jesus and Mary Chain to me, never heard their music but the names have that familiar ring. I’m more a Middle of the Road kinda guy. Here we find they were a precursor to Abba (I liked the blonde one).  And when you listen, it’s all there, under all that hair. Loved it. From the Skiffle of Lonnie Donniegan to the Bay City Rollers.

Now we’re hitting my childhood. My sister fancies Alan because he looked quite quiet. I can see her point. John von Neumann, I think it was who helped to develop Game Theory and had other side-lines in Dangerous Minds, suggested when you were trying to get aff with somebody don’t go for the A* lister, which in my time was Pauline Moriarity, go for the cast off, ugly duckling. Then you’ve got a chance. So logically, my sister fancied Alan because she’d no chance with Les. In the same way I didn’t fancy Farah Fawcett, but the ugly Charlie’s Angel because if we ever met, that was it. The Bay City Rollers sold over 100 million vinyl records. I bought zero. They ended up skint, but that wasn’t my fault. I didn’t get pocket money and if I did I bought a packet of caramels, which lasted longer.  So much for the big music industry.

‘Success and Excess’, the second programme featured that well know band from my neck of the woods, Wet, Wet, Wet. The Clydebank Group hit a virtuous circle, a number 1 hit tied in with the soundtrack of a successful film. That’s international success, and breaks the American market, right away. See Glaswegian  Jim Kerr, Simple Minds and that coming-of-age movie The Breakfast Club. For any band this is called the licence to print money club.

I was talking to my brother about this. Marty Pellow’s brother was called Kojak. That wasn’t his real name. We got into a fight when I was younger and he tried to steal my carry-oot. Nobody puts Baby in the Corner. Really? Yeh, I stole that line from Dirty Dancing, which was the complete opposite of what most of us were doing. Real disco dancing was a bit of awakward-larity elbow movement, looking at your feet and appearing as if you’d just shuffled out of a dark wardrobe and was hoping for a girl to give you directions, preferably a pretty girl. And nobody steals my carry-oot, even Marty Pellow’s brother. Right enough that’s not his real name either. He’s dead now. (RIP) The summer of 1976 was the hottest summer until now and well, when it’s pissing down these programmes take you right back to your childhood. Terrific TV.