Yesterday was definitely a day for catching up, an easy mix of the occasional bit of administration here and there, and several episodes of the wonderful Detectorists, now on its third and final series (that’s ‘season’ for the yoof of today) and showing no sign of losing any of its quality. Happy, then, also to be catching up on missed episodes of the latest series of Ed Reardon’s Week, now on its twelfth series and showing no sign…well, you get my drift.
What charms me particularly about Detectorists, and has done since the start, is its easy and quizzical humour, the trivial interspersed with moments of great and genuine depth, and the way that the characters are fully fleshed and continue their thoughts long after the lines have finished. It helps that it is brilliantly acted, of course, Jones, Crook and their supporting cast being simply exquisite in their understated delivery of a script honed to perfection.
Every now and again one of the characters, usually Lance, comes up with something that genuinely stirs the thoughts, such as his musings on the genetic memory of magpies or his observations about men and their collections. My favourite moment, though, is still that conversation in a previous series between Lance and Sheila, during which it is barely hinted that her bemused detachment from reality is just possibly a means of coping with some unmentioned and unmentionable tragedy from years before.
In this blink-and-miss-it age of songs that need to grab you with a hook within the first five seconds, subtlety can often be a victim, needing time and repeat acquaintance to work its effect, and how do we who get frustrated when a web page takes five seconds to load find time for all that nonsense? Detectorists is very much slow TV – the camera shots at the start of each episode make that abundantly clear – and much of its success is down to that considered approach to its delivery.
I like to think that my music works in a similar way, and always hope that the first listening provides enough to intrigue so that people will come back for a second shot and then, hopefully, begin to appreciate the depths within. It is part of the reason that I cannot stand the Radox bath school of composition, yet love the music and challenge of such as Ian Wilson, Witold Lutoslawski and Bach, despite that heavy knowledge that I will never find out everything that is hidden therein.