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The Rambler :: blog

Thursday, September 11, 2003

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Jump London (Tuesday, Channel 4), showed beautiful and extraordinary images of free runners over the roofs of London. But it was spoilt by producers and directors all too keen to write themselves into the programme. For a start, too much time was spent on a back story (and developing a lame philosophy), but then the programme makers devoted chunks of time on a documentary about getting permission to run across the Albert Hall and HMS Belfast. Who cares? They then went even further in dispelling the magic at the end by revealing that everything had been shot in multiple takes, and therefore relied heavily on editing to make the run look a seamless flow of human movement (of course it had, but you don't need to make the process the subject). The three incredible athletes were reduced, at a stroke, to session actors, playing their parts, doing the daily grind; and the off-screen director is really the magician, the one making it happen. He's the star of the piece. Not offensive, I think, because we still saw some astonishing feats, but disappointing. I could have watched them surf the South Bank all day.

Before Jump London came on I saw a fox. In the grass at the front of Alexandra Palace. This has to be my favourite part of the London: on a clear night like Tuesday the view looks like the cliché of glittering fairylights cities are supposed to be after dark. Londoners love foxes. I think it's because we identify with them, the struggling little urbanites who ought to move out one day but can't seem to shake the city off. Libertines amongst the concrete, like the free runners. Maybe this is partly why Londoners especially get so worked up over fox hunting; but then we don't have livestock to protect. If a fox came for our Marlowe I'd probably go after it with a pack of dogs as soon as the next man.

Today I saw a kid collecting stones to throw at birds.


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