“Enter Title Here” Yes….but what title?

I must apologize, dear readers, for not having done terribly interesting city-based things this week.  Having booked the week off work I am now faced with nothing but a pile of typed research with little clue how to process it.  And still the Dissertation deadline looms in five weeks, with monstrous awfulness, filled with all my academic promise (apparently).  I keep the deadline hidden from conscious view, and it only rears its head when I deem it suitable – which is when I have actually put the nail varnish down and done some actual work that day.  A good 2,000 word day should do it – anything less I get antsy.  But then people ask you out of the blue how it is going, and you have to face the fact you haven’t made any progress since last Thursday and a horrid chill that feels a bit like a touch of flu whacks you in the frontal lobe.   The monster is growing.  And you sort of wish you never mentioned it to anyone in the first place, in order to not have to deal with the inevitable “how’s it going?”.  Novel writers have often advised : never, never say when you are researching or working a novel.  Don’t even think of mentioning it – no, no, no.  Never mention it in its embryonic stages as nothing good can possibly come of it.  The “how’s it going?” will always be answered with a tranced shake of the head, as if the writer has descended into an abyss of staring at library walls while nursing hangovers (which he probably has by the way) and the questioner begins to question – well, whether you’ve got it in you, frankly.  Jeez.  Only when your book is written up, only when the dustjacket is folded and the the Waterstones delivery vans are waiting with baited breath should you even MENTION that you write anything.  Do yourself a favour.  Just pretend to your friends or family that you are an oncologist or something in the meantime.

But this Dissertation has given me irritable bowel syndrome, which I resent.  Everyone knows I am doing it because I blabbed it out about two years ago.  Every moment when I ought to be resting, I cannot resist the scratching of my MA itch.  I changed the colour of my pen cartridge six times.  I use a calligraphy pen; I fight the boredom by focusing on the style rather than the content.  I wonder if I should dye my hair, and did one of those fiddly colour tests when you dab a load of chemicals behind your ear to see if the hair dye is going to melt your brain.  I fiddle with the tweezers.  I open the window and scream, hurling the paperwork down into the path of the 460 bus route.  Okay, I don’t do that last one – but I never thought history would be quite this dull, dear readers.   When I was a girl I often set fire to my homework by misplacing my lit cigarettes (I had a wonderful childhood) and nearly burned down a good friend’s car by flicking my pre-breakfast Marlboro Light absently into the back seat when I thought I had hurled it out of the window.   I still fear setting fire to it now and losing the deadly crappo writing I have done.  My USB has been in and out of my laptop several times daily, and everything is emailed to me.  Twice.  So I can see how bad it is.  And still I wonder whether someone might sneak in at night and rob me of my research of London Transport in the 1890s and I will wake up screaming “GAAH!  The Central Line!!”  (Who would do this – TFL?)

In this dearth of academic activity, thank God for “Mistresses”.  This parade of utter silliness comes to a close on BBC1 tonight, following a four week lunatic melodrama.  So far there is one unplanned pregnancy, double infidelity, a terrifyingly fierce Joanna Lumley, a marriage that only started in Episode 2 under threat by the end of Episode 3 and a dead body.  Presumably the dead body is that of the commissioning editor of the series, which started out as funny and peppy , jumping along from sexual crisis to romantic shenanigans at a fast rate for the first two series, but became over-serious and a bit like “Dynasty” set somewhere near Reading in the third series.  It’s like filling your brain with marshmallows, which is precisely the antidote to days spent ruminating on discourses of historiography.  This explains why I fell oh so happily into those Designers-at-Debenhams draped Mistresses.  It isn’t clear what kind of town it is that they live in, though.  It’s simultaneously suburban, rural, filled with snazzy locations to have affairs and bizarrely has a cake factory in the middle of it.   This Mistresses Town also has extremely chic wine bars where four very busy people manage to meet several times a week to not talk about how they might be sleeping with each other’s husbands and a series of modern gastro pubs where they can get mullered after a spot of designer shopping.  Siobhan seems to live in a hellish cottage in the middle of nowhere, where she keeps crooking her neck to avoid both the sixteenth century beams and her ex-lover’s new wife, and where everything is painted a ghoulish dentist-room-green.  The funny Scottish one with the goggly eyes lives in an Edwardian townhouse with the bloke from The Office and Sarah Parish lives in a glass-fronted uber-home in what appears to be the Lake District.  Their make-up and hairstyles are high-maintenance and smack of the town; Trudi’s marriage may be disintegrating before her eyes but by God those eyes have four shades of Clarins eye make-up on them, thank you. For reasons that are not entirely apparent, Joanna Lumley is installed on Sarah Parish’s sofa struggling with an underwritten role and an unmoving lipline.  Every question is answered with a question, as if to hammer home the plot points, whilst simultaneously removing any semblance of characterization:

Joanna Lumley : Are you sleeping with Richard?

Sarah Parish : Who?  What series are we in?  Who’s Richard?

Joanna Lumley : The one from ‘The Office’.  Are you sleeping with the one from ‘The Office’?

Sarah Parish : Oh, do you mean you saw me on Thursday when I made that shopping trip in Episode 3 after I’d spent that hour with him in the motel room that nobody knows about?  How could you, mother!  Of course I’m not sleeping with him.  You haven’t told Siobhan have you?

Joanna Lumley : [through perfect lipline] No.   Does Trudy know?

Sarah Parish: Of course not! But she saw that furtive gaze we had during the woodland walk in Episode 2.  Shall we tell her? [lengthy pause.  The Parish eyebrows furrow].  Have you been using my Clarins eye shadow, Joanna?

All is not quite as it should be.  “Mistresses” is required at the moment.  There is a Dissertation that will be written, but not today.  Meanwhile, here’s hoping normal service will be resumed next week.

Please return to The London Bluebird if you enjoyed this.  This blog is updated every Thursday.

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Henry VII destroyed my computer

This guy really takes the  biscuit.    Right.  First of all, he’s dead.  Secondly, he has destroyed my computer with one of his 15th century Tudor viruses.  What a fucker.  I was going to present you with something well-informed for a change this week.  I thought you deserved it, dear dwindling readership, after having to read my television reviews for the past fortnight.  I was preparing an essay on what the Kings of England have done for us Londoners.  So, like the UK Curriculum, I start in 1485.  I started in 1485, because when you are an anklebiter, and they drag you from the playground kicking and screaming, to attend your first history lesson, they steer you to the bit after the Plantagenets and before the Tudors.  You start with Richard III lying dead on the field at Bosworth, and everything before it is just a black, hellish, dark age, medieval hole (a bit like Weston Super Mare).

So I rocked on up to my friend, Mr Google and I said to Mr Google “please direct me to the nearest page regarding Henry VII and the grande olde citie of Londone”.  It sent me to a page where Henry VII majestically leered out at me from behind an Anna Wintour-style bob.  One of his eyes was bigger than the other.  I have never seen a dead man look so unrelentingly wry.  And no sooner had I got to the bit where Henry bought a leopard for his menagerie at the Tower of London, than that fool of a Tudor farked up the page.  Typical.  I imagine he exclusively designed this webpage himself because it’s complex and inscrutable and, as I was finding out about his attitude to various courtly people, it froze my computer and I had to shut it down.  They didn’t have to do THAT in the fifteenth century.  You see?  It’s a conspiracy.  First of all they fark up your medieval internet, and then they introduce complex economic reforms and tax rises to make your eyes water.

Bow to me, peasant, for I am the twisted internet crasher who shall destroy your shopping page on tesco.com.  Do you like my hair?

Henry VII is personally responsible for ruining most 16-18 year olds lives in the 1980s and 1990s.  He started his career with his personal aim of getting onto the History A level syllabus, from which vantage point he could bore future generations of people to death.  He plotted to have a particularly tiresome life and tiresome fiscal plans just to sadistically sap sixth formers of their will to live.  Tudor History was a non-negotiable on the first A level paper.  At the time in your life where you should be learning how to French inhale a cigarette, talk to boys without giggling and should be working nineteen to the dozen on developing your sexual allure, they make you sit down and learn this crap.  And there is nothing that is going to make you feel less like sex than looking at a drawing of Cardinal Wolsey.  (Trust me, I’ve tried).  Basically, beyond the torpor of economic policy and fiendish grooming of his son into some sort of king / stud / badminton playing superhero, it is difficult to see what Henry VII was up to most of the time.   I mean, for pleasure.  Because they don’t teach you that at A Level.  Because they don’t teach you anything  of any genuine interest at A Level.  It’s just an outdated factory line for red-brick Universities.

But I want to know about Henry VII the Man.  Was he a shopper or a browser?  What did he like?  Dinner parties?  Rugby?  Darts?  Bridge?  Hardcore pornography accessed secretly on his Royal I-phone?  (“Click HERE!  Plague victims show ankles.  They’re YOURS.  Fee: 1 sheep for the first minute and various livestock for every 5 minutes thereafter.  Download our new Protestant Lutheran prayer as your ringtone NOW)?  We just don’t know.  What he did spend a lot of time doing was ensuring that nothing happened in the financial or judicial system without him pocketing all the lolly (in the case of the former) and having the final say-so (in the case of the latter).  He appointed Justices of the Peace for the first time and Parliament met in Westminster Abbey.

Now he’s in my computer.  He’s tinkering with it, crashing pages, and screwing things up with his avarice and his desires for an over-fat SuperHero lunatic son.  He’s playing the lute in there or something.  He’s back.  What is this guy’s problem?   The Tudors are coming back and they are going to control our minds through the internet.  Are we quite ready to take on the Gordon Gecko of the pre-Modern age?  I doubt any modern politician would be a match for this guy.   The only person who could ruffle his feathers would be Ann Widdecombe.   She heralds a kind of fear in the populace that can easily be translated from century to century.  But note : Henry has waited until La Widdecombe is distracted by trying to get rid of those tricky, last three stone before her appearance on Strictly before trying to infiltrate us.   SEE?  I told you these Tudors were sneaky.  It’s the thin end of the wedge, my friends.  Before we know it we’ll wake up in the 1500s, find some fat bloke using the Tower of London as some kind of holding pen for the wives he wants to kill, have all our individual rights stripped away from us, and the only exciting thing on the horizon would be the prospect of a Spanish galleon invasion or two.

Apparently, he is in a tomb in Westminster Abbey, but I demand immediate verification because I have reason to believe he’s in my hard drive.  Also, can somebody PLEASE explain why the A Level syllabus insisted on dragging us all back to the late 15th century?  It was a fiendish plan, and one they have apparently abolished.  I am delighted to note that those flibbertygibberts picking up their A Level results in clammy hands this morning have not had any papers in AS or A2 History which go back further than 1830.  Thank Goodness.  Plus, I think it’s quite easy to get an “A” at History A Level now.  But in our day it was hell, dear readers.  I am too old for school now, but I despaired at History teaching in my day; they teach you all the wrong things, make it sound dull as dishwater, refuse to historically contextualise anything and then blame you if you turn up and can’t remember what kind of tights James I wore.  Erm….Hello?

This may explain the massive – and well-deserved success of Gombrich’s “A Little History of the World”.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-History-World-E-Gombrich/dp/0300108834.  This is a truly excellent book.  Although originally intended for a ten year old child (a rather advanced one who knew his Assyrians from his Babylonians, but a ten year old, nevertheless), its accessibility and engaging tone with its audience renders this book totally readable.  It’s fun and naturally enquiring.  It’s been my bus book in the morning for three days and I have learned so much more than 14 years of those textbook fundamentalist fools at school – so far we’ve done the Heidelberg jaw, the Sumerians, the ancient Egyptians, I have learnt how to write one word in Egyptian hieroglyphs, have found out where the word paper came from, how the origins of the names of the seven day week came about and found out that King Nebuchadnezzar was a pioneer of irrigation.   And I’m only on page 19.    Never mind your Tudors, these people really did know a thing or two.

Henry VII can go fish.  Taught history in schools is so uninspiring I wonder how anyone can truly get through it.  And for those of you this morning who may be smarting (or may have younger relatives smarting) at poorer than expected results this morning, do remember this : beyond jumping the hurdle into University (which you shouldn’t attend before you’re 25, by the way, by which point no one will care what you did seven years ago but what interests you have developed since) they are completely and utterly useless.  By the time you’re 27 their value as academic currency evaporates and they are no longer considered a reflection of ability.   Exams are so irrelevant that it’s not until you get to 30 that you turn around and realise the whole thing was a conspiracy designed by nutters to keep you academically disciplined during the years of your life when you should be out enjoying yourself and chasing chaps.  If you still need to be convinced, Bluebird is getting an MA in History in five weeks.  Bluebird got an “E” in History A Level.  This is because she was out until 2am the night before and was hungover (or still drunk) during the exam sitting.  But either way, none of it matters a jot now.  I’m still Bluebird MA.  Stick that in yer Tudor pipe and smoke it.

Please return to The London Bluebird if you enjoyed this.  This blog is updated every Thursday.

From the mouth of the wolf…

La Bocca di Lupo (http://www.boccadilupo.com/) is in Archer Street, but don’t let that put you off.  This non-street runs directly behind Shaftesbury Avenue, housing one or two stage doors of the cramped theatres at this southern end of the avenue, as well as the occasional media offices where metrosexual chaps with hair like squirrels fur plug themselves into i-phones or i-balls or i-packs and chat to editing suites which are only around the corner in Wardour Street (it would be quicker to walk, ladies).   But La Bocca di Lupo shines on like a beacon of hope for happy Ligurian masticators.  Despite the fact it’s been open for well over a year, I hadn’t managed to visit it until this week.

Oh, we were a happy band – me, Mr Bluebird, mother of Bluebird, Stepfather of Bluebird and Auntie and Uncle of Bluebird.  The reason we were happy is three of us had downed most of a bottle of champagne in the Mother Bluebird’s flat before supper, and then walked, screeching and guffawing and burping, the ten minutes to the restaurant, whilst the Mother Bluebird told some rude stories.  It was all rather festive.    The restaurant is small (which is usual for Italian restaurants, my Italian teacher told me – well, she told me in Italian so she may have been talking about skiing, or envelopes, or John Lennon, for all I know)  and noisy.  Too smart to be a trattoria, once inside, the chattering noise levels makes it sound like a trattoria but it doesn’t look like one.  Sleek, swish and with a long, white marble-topped bar by the entrance which stretches towards the back of the restaurant; such layout seems de rigeur for Italian restaurants in London these days.   There’s something about sitting at a bar that – like writing a cheque – never fails to make you feel grown up.  At lunchtimes, the bar is practically empty and offers a special lunch menu; and I suggest you take yourself there forthwith.  In the evenings, availability is a little trickier; expect to book in advance – and expect a 7pm table if you book less than 2 weeks ahead.  But it will be thoroughly worthwhile.

Our waiters were lovely and chatty; one of them got so thrilled at doing his job he inadvertently smashed a glass at an adjoining table (mazel tov!) which made up for the smashed people around our own.  For starters I had some black figs, proscuitto and an Italian cheese which tasted like brie combined with Dairylea and something far nicer, called stracchino, which internet research has told me is 50% milk fat.  It was divine and generously apportioned, which meant the remainder could be slavered on top of focaccia bread and chomped satisfyingly.  To follow, I had the lamb (medium rare) with chilled spinach with olive oil and lemon (wonderful, much better than it sounds) and then a bit of everyone else’s side dishes.  Stepfather Bluebird, directly to my right, was having a marvellous time with the guinea fowl.   Dishes are offered at two prices, either as a starter or as an entree, so you can shape your own meal.  My lamb was brilliantly cooked, with a generous pile of rucola, but I had to pace myself.  After all I had to save myself for two puddings.

The two puddings thing is the result of di Lupo‘s brilliant marketing ploy; they fill you up with montepulciano d’abruzzo, cream-laden cheeses and then a dessert menu with Italian specialities like black cherries on ice and then steer you towards their ice-cream shop on the other side of Archer Street.  Once you arrive here you are powerless to resist; chestnut, hazlenut, pine nut, sour cherry amereno and ricotta, coffee & honey are just some of today’s choices : (go to http://gelupo.com/.)  But the joy of the ice creams is that they are not made with cream where possible, but only with sugar syrup, and the sweetness is helped with carob seed.  This goes some way to depleting your guilt; the calorific content of this ice cream is lower than any Haagen Dazs crap you can pick up in Sainsburys, and a hundred times better.  They also do free tastings, and offer ice-cream loyalty cards, in the manner that coffee shops do.   My first pudding – back in the restaurant – was milk-free espresso ice cream that knocked my socks off.  Then afterwards, I had a bit of everyone else’s ice cream in the gelateria.

The only thing left to say, regarding La Bocca di Lupo – and Gelupo – is that Frith Street’s Little Italy needs to watch it’s outdated Tuscan step.  This long-standing Italian restaurant of Frith Street extended it’s dining space about three years ago and doubled the prices on its menu so its customers could pay for it.  In doing so, the aesthetic layout of the restaurant was destroyed and it lost its charm.    In a world where La Bocca di Lupo charges between £5 and £7 for a variety of innovative Lazian and Venetian side dishes of exceptional quality, it’s hard to see how long Little Italy will get away with the nonsense of charging £13.00 for an 1990s-style antipasti of mozzarella and sun-blushed tomatoes.  Forget them and get yourself to Archer Street without delay, my friends.   Polpo and La Bocca di Lupo have been much needed breaths of fresh air in Venetian and Ligurian dining in London.  The old lady of Frith Street better take note; when it comes to Italian restaurants in Soho, the bar has been raised.

Please return to The London Bluebird if you enjoyed this.  This blog is updated every Thursday.

Detection

Some people have been getting hoity-toity about this one.  The updated Sherlock with a Blackberry instead of a deerstalker?!  How, COULD the BBC, darlings?  And he’s turned into an Emo, gone all teenager-ish and pouty.  Aside from suggesting the same type of urbane sophistication as Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett did with seamless ease, doesn’t Benedict Cumberbund look a little, well, young to be the great detective?  And he seems to know something about pink nail varnish and shoes too (see Episode One).  What the silver blazes is going on?

It’s a much-needed update, of course.  Sherlock Holmes translates well, because he was emblematic of the modern late Victorian city to start with.  All of Conan-Doyle’s stories could be played out in the modern world with success, in fact this series owes its strength to the fact it has done so.  If the original Sherlock had been a character from 1730 it would have created problems (presumably Sherlock’s deduction skills would have been put to use by examining yeomans’ excrement, hiding in rural haystacks, and despairing that his only cases would have been concerned with farm husbandry and suspicious yokel singing) but the transition from 1890 to 2010 is a surprisingly small one, as Holmes was always symptomatic of the highly-cultivated, post-industrial urban space.  He’s sociopathic, exhibits toxic bachelor-type behaviour, plays the violin instead of talking to girls and likes to inject heroin and cocaine of an evening.  How many more modern malaises do you want for God’s sake?  The only huge difference – and what a massive fan of this difference our modern day Sherlock is – is the advent of communications technology evident in the texting and sat nav systems used in the first episode, all of which are innovations that have only emerged in the last 15 years.  It’s shocking to think that as recently as the early-1990s we had to organise our social lives from standing in urine-infested BT phone booths with a sweaty handful of 20p pieces.

Still, enough about my sex life, back to the television review.  We at Bluebird Towers thought it was magnificent.  We particularly loved Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.   Sherlock (“Surnames are SO 20th century,” thought the BBC) has such a superior intellect that in the first episode he mentioned that he thought the insides of other people’s “little brains” were funny.  Steady on, Sherlock, no one likes a show-off, dear.  But then, we forgive Sherlock Holmes his disdain to those less intelligent than him because we always do.  His sense of deduction is so brilliant but yet – as it always must be – accessible clearly and smoothly by the application of logic which all of us can utilise, if we are prepared to do so.  However, we still gasp in awe at Benedict “Benny” Cumbersnatch’s unblinking eyes as he tells people what kind of radiator is in their living room by looking at their earlobes.

We needed a magnificent television thriller to look at, having realised that “Identity”, that promising police  series which brightened up Monday evenings for a couple of weeks, had an identity crisis after the first two episodes and deteriorated rapidly.  As far as I can see, it’s just a vehicle for Aiden Gillen to prance about in leather jackets from Top Shop, waving around cappucinos at Keeley Hawes whilst furtively flirting with the camera.  Not to mention the wardrobe mistress on “Identity” who clearly has it in for Keeley Hawes and wants to destroy her allure by shoving her in pasty, knee-length skirts and covering her up with a green belted raincoat whenever she might start to look attractive.  In fact, wardrobe seem to have given the sexy-lady jackets to Gillen, who struts about in them as if the theme tune to “Staying Alive” was playing inside his funny, over-coiffed head.  Keeley, meanwhile, tries clamping her lips together and trying to look plain, but just ends up looking like a lesbian geography teacher in a minor public school.

No chance of Sherlock looking like a lesbian geography teacher.  He’s too busy solving crimes, thank you very much, and getting Una Stubbs to make cups of tea for him.  Martin Freeman did a truly excellent job as Watson, a role usually underwritten but in this instance fleshed out to accommodate a character with his own difficulties and traumas.  I really hope that Freeman’s great performance will mean he finally slips off the guise of  Tim “Everyman” from The Office.  The  updating of this series was dramatic, but nodded to previous Sherlocks: “The game’s on!” replacing Holmes’s original “The game’s afoot!”, which is itself a direct quote from Shakespeare’s Henry V.  In Guy Ritchie’s splendid Sherlock Holmes film which features a topless Robert Downey in every other scene (thumbs up from Bluebird Towers) Ritchie can’t resist going the whole hog and putting the entire quote in : “The game’s afoot.  Follow your spirit and upon this charge / Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!”   Presumably, “The game’s afoot!” might have been appropriate for Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes, which was updated to the 1940s, but today it would seem anachronistic.    The trouble is, Sherlock is one of this country’s best-loved eccentrics.  It suits him to speak with archiac words in a rakish manner.  Also, if people no longer say “The game’s afoot!”  they are hardly more likely to say “The game’s on!” are they?  Our friends at BBC America might like it, but in this country all it means is you’re going to watch football on the telly.  “Mrs Hudson!  Bring me my heroin on a tray!  The game’s on. I’ll solve the multiple murders at extra time.”

Not that Sherlock is the football sort, of course.  I can’t even picture him doing rugby, either.  Or even rounders; possibly ping-pong.  Wherever he schooled he probably spent his life on the sick-bench dreaming up algebraic formulas which he would use to take over the world and mucking about with the school’s bunsen burners in the lab.  It was a relief to see that this modern-day Sherlock had good grammar when texting though; there was none of this “Gr8. cu at skool. LOL watson, ele’mntry” business that goes on nowadays amongst the youngsters.  He texts obsessively, but concisely, in full words – sometimes to murderers from their dead victims – cor!   Although it wasn’t clear why his Baker Street apartment looked like 1974.  Perhaps they’d borrowed the set from “Life on Mars”.  Phil Davis gave a chilling performance as a sinister taxi driver, in a cardigan so awful and unrelentingly taupe that Keeley Hawes will probably have it on next week.  Our modern day Holmes slapped on the nicotine patches instead of using a bag of shag (stop sniggering in the back.  That’s late Victorian tobacco) to try to solve the dastardly case of murders Rupert Graves’s Lestrade had given him.  I fail to see why Sherlock can’t be a smoker.  I know that smokers have become the modern pariahs, but it really wasn’t necessary to slap a load of Nicorette patches on Mr Cumberbund.  I can only hope they weren’t real, otherwise Mr Cumberbund may suddenly find himself craving 60 B&H a day as he was wearing three of them, because his character had just given up.  It wasn’t clear why though, as when his in-house doc said it would mean his breathing was now improved, Sherlock responded with a teenagery curl of the lip that “Breathing is boring”.  Unfortunately, this script allowed Sherlock to dip in and out of gauche undergrad ennui when he wasn’t whipping corpses in a morgue.

The great thing about this Sherlock though – and my original inspiration for including it in this week’s blog – was that London looked bloody marvellous.  One reviewer – was it AA Gill spluttering from the back of the classroom?  – commented that the Baker Street used in this series was a terrible choice of location as it looked like Wandsworth.  But right there the reviewer revealed his topographical ignorance of the city.  If you looked down the street as Sherlock and Watson hailed their first cab together, and peered over the top of Una Stubb’s bouffant , you would have seen the giant monolith of University College Hospital staring back at you.  In Euston.  Nor far from….er… Baker Street.  (I cannot check if this was The Times review, of course, because the utter fools at The Times consider their journalism so valuable that they charge us for viewing it.  Chavs.)

The gothic city of Holmes and Watson reveals itself to be with us still; the Chinatown of the second episode, the race through the black back-streets of Soho in the first, the chasing of taxis where before they were hansom cabs, the comprehension and execution of street logic that leads the city dweller in this century and the last, the creepy college building where the taxi driver and his suicide pills takes his victims – all this spelt out the multi-facets of the city and the blatant Londonism of the whole thing was a joy for the Bluebird, of course.   It was a delight to see location filming in a city where the logistics of location filming are not easy.  Outside the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square there was certainly a man in the background whose mouth was agog and whose expression said “Isn’t that Tim from the Office? And why is that man wearing Keeley Hawes’s cardy?”

Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have delivered an absolute blinder.  This series bounds along with enthusiastic pace and a great score.  I do hope the BBC commission this for a fuller series, and hope that the 7 million viewers from the first episode may drag the BBC to the right choice.  In a world where “Mistresses” has been given a third series, surely they’ll recommission anything?   Avoid “Identity” and watch the last Sherlock this Sunday if you can. While you are about it you can do a lot worse than shuffle over to mysterynet for one of Conan-Doyle’s finest: http://www.mysterynet.com/holmes/02redheadedleague/.

Sherlock:  he may solve crimes, but he still can’t remember his door-key.

Please return to The London Bluebird if you enjoyed this.  This blog is updated every Thursday.