‘The City and the City’

“Nowhere else works like the cities”. This is the first line of BBC1’s new drama based on the 2009 ‘weird fiction’ novel by British author China Miéville, an exotically named man actually born in Norwich. His book has been adapted for TV by screen writer Tony Grisoni.

The cities in the title are Besźel, which looks like the Eastern Bloc of 30 plus years ago mixed with cafes and people from 1970s Istanbul and Ul Qoma which is glimpsed only briefly in the first episode. These streets look brighter, cleaner, and more advanced. The colour pallets are quite different in each city; dingy yellows for Besźel and clean blues for Ul Qoma. Like the inhabitants, the viewer always knows where they’re looking.

The two cities actually occupy much of the same geographical space, but the inhabitants wilfully ‘unsee’ the areas they’re not allowed to view. Early on Commissar Gadlem (Ron Cook) gets out his overhead projector, and lays two acetate maps on top of each other. That’s a good way to get your head around it.

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‘Newsround’ – Period Features

How do you reassure a very young child after a terrorist attack? After the horrific events in Paris last Friday I’m sure a lot of parents are wondering the same thing. Le Petit Journal’s interview with a father and young son hs gone viral. The father speaks beautiful words of reassurance to his young son. And importantly the response to the question “Do you feel better?” is  “Yes, I do feel better”. Bless.

But I was a cynical kid and I’m not sure I would have been entirely satisfied with that answer. Papa – what do you mean there are bad people everywhere?! That alone might have brought on a panic attack. Flowers and candles are pretty and it’s nice to see the world united in expressions of sympathy for Paris but how exactly is that going to keep us safe?

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