Can't Get The Generation That Bought More Shoes Out Of My Head

In the South of Britain, A Man Made A Website

Well, then. I’ll admit that when the music kicked in at the end of Part Four, my late-night reaction was “wait, is that the firework? OMG IT IS!”. And then, the next day, I found out that the BBC actually vetoed him calling the series You Are The Generation That bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve (apparently for being too long). I feel like my old, old website has finally been vindicated.

As for the series itself? As usual with Curtis, about 50% bobbins, 50% interesting. But probably his best since The Mayfair Set, I’d say. And so much of it! Even longer than the total runtime of Pandora’s Box (by about two extra hours (!)). I also like how so much time has passed that even his old interviews have now been turned into archive footage for Curtis to recycle1.

I have to applaud the use of Gell-Mann in the final episode; I can’t help but think that’s a slight nod to the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, which was in full flight in the second half of Part Six when Curtis got the post-2008 and post-2016 timelines wrong and a rather misleading segment on DeepDream.

Still, if you fancy a fun and frustrating eight hours on a tour of the world from the 19th century up to the present day encompassing George Boole and Tupac Shakur, you can’t go too wrong with Can’t Get You Out Of My Head2. Given the focus on China, I was sad that it didn’t also dig in a little on Thiel and Nick Land. Chuck in a bit of Burial on there as a cheeky wink to Mark Fisher, and you’d be golden3.

One thing I would like to see one day (could somebody chuck some money to Robin Carmody to get this done, maybe?) is a proper look at how odd Britain was in the late 60s and the 70s? I’m talking about things like Lord Lucan, just-what-those-tanks-were-doing-on-the-Heathrow-runway, The Owl Service, the final days of Harold Wilson, GB75, Dennis Potter, Lieutenant Pigeon, the Yorkshire Ripper, the formation of the IEA, the summer of 1976, Jimmy Savile, Nigel Kneale, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Derek Jarman, Jeremy Thorpe, Play For Today, Play Away, internment, decimalisation, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, the Three Day Week, wife-swapping, and Arthur Scargill. More bits like the Whicker documentary in Part One!

  1. Lots of The Living Dead for a start. I was mildly annoyed that he didn’t return to RAF founder Horst Mahler, given the his turn to Holocaust denial since that interview [return]
  2. Two leaders conspicuous by their almost total absence from the narrative? Reagan & Thatcher. The lack of the latter (aside from a small archive clip) was especially glaring, given that Curtis made the ‘telling stories is powerful’ pitch in The Attic 25 years ago. But it would have also contradicted his pitch here somewhat… [return]
  3. Also, the lack of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine during the multiple mentions of Rachman was a crime. A crime! [return]