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Posting challenge 1/15: London Spy

[personal profile] lash_larue pointed out the other day that if we don't keep the home fires burning it's bound to get awfully cold 'round here, and L's comment hit home, especially because I love reading all of your posts but haven't been contributing myself much lately. So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to post once a week throughout the grey winter months, at least until my spring break in mid-March. Which makes fifteen posts in total. Enough to bore you folks, I'm sure. In a good way.

Anyone want to join me?

Okay. That was almost nonsensical, it was so bizarre. Beautifully acted, beautifully filmed, moody, thematic, but really unsatisfying as a story. And I'm the type who's normally willing to forgive a lot on the plot front for atmosphere and emotion.

On the bright side, though, some excellent performances by London buildings. I haven't looked online to identify everything, but a couple prominent landmarks made an appearance:

* Terry Farrell's postmodern landmark at 85 Vauxhall Cross, Vauxhall, Lambeth
(Gah! Postmodernism's making a comeback, I can sense it. This building almost looked good these past few episodes.)
* The incomparable Alexandra Road Estate, Camden, by Neave Brown
(I hope this estate gets filming fees; it's an incredibly cinematic space, and it shows up everywhere.)
* A postwar church, St Paul's Lorrimore Square, Southwark
(A quiet actor in this series, understated.)

Anyone recognize anything else? I'd love to know what house they used as Scottie's.

I'm curious to hear what you thought of the show! (I know I'm the only one obsessing about the architecture.)

This entry was originally posted at http://magnetic-pole.dreamwidth.org/82000.html. It has comment count unavailablecomments.


( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2015 03:57 am (UTC)
It going to sound funny, but I just heard about this show and I have been wanting to see it. However, I do wonder is it worth it?
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:15 am (UTC)
Oh, K, I don't know what to say to that. It's beautifully produced (acting, filming, locations) and genuinely thought-provoking but such a mess plot-wise. Send me a message if you want to hear more about it?

Your cat made me smile. :) M.
Dec. 8th, 2015 07:00 am (UTC)
I have no idea what show you're talking about, but I enjoyed looking at the buildings you posted - I love to find unusual architecture!
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:17 am (UTC)
Gah! I meant to link to the show: here's the show's site at the BBC, if you want to take a quick look.

It's fun, seeing familiar landmarks and getting to know new buildings though films. Hope you enjoyed the links! M.

Edited at 2015-12-09 03:18 am (UTC)
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Dec. 9th, 2015 03:24 am (UTC)
Gah! I meant to link to the show: here's its site at the BBC, if you want to take a quick look.

I've always been fascinated with this social housing project because it's so clearly wrestling with the problem of massification--how to solve the lack of privacy, the ambiguity about public and private spaces? Just the ways you've mentioned. There's a nice history of it here.

You'll appreciate this sad little story about my ignorance: for many years, I thought the architect Neave Brown was a woman. (He's not.) M.
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Dec. 12th, 2015 05:26 am (UTC)
Browne is interesting--he actually lives in some of the flats he built nearby. (Some architects do this as a stunt, but he's a long-term resident.)

Glad you enjoyed! M.
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Dec. 8th, 2015 01:05 pm (UTC)
I had not heard of this show either, but the cast looks interesting. Well, Charlotte Rampling is always interesting to me.

Pretty neat buildings, although the only thing I really know about architecture is that if want a building photographed that you would be best served by calling Lord S.

The guys are tearing off my roof as I write, so there should be posting material in it somewhere,
one way or the other.

Dec. 9th, 2015 03:29 am (UTC)
I meant to post a link to the show. Charlotte Rampling did an excellent job with what she was given, but there's only so much you can do with a script that degenerated the way this one did.

I didn't know Lord S did architectural photography! Neat.

Thanks for the nudge! I've had a too-busy fall and fallen off the radar somewhat but was just reading the flist and feeling thankful folks were still posting when I saw your challenge. M.
Dec. 8th, 2015 01:49 pm (UTC)
I agree entirely about London Spy. Beautifully shot, great music, wonder performances, but the plot was ridiculous. I thought all the bizarre and unnecessary theatrics, and the question of why they just didn't kill Danny, would be answered in the finale by some great twist. But no, it was just a lot of illogical nonsense. I still enjoyed every moment of Ben's performance, though.
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)
and the question of why they just didn't kill Danny, would be answered in the finale by some great twist. But no

So true! I'm normally unconcerned with plot and very attracted to the things this show does well, but even I was spluttering indignantly by the end.

Everyone keeps mentioned the music!

There's a quote from the writer up at the BBC site for the show: When I knew Ben Whishaw was doing it I knew we’d be OK." Uh, rather: Ben Whishaw SAVED this show from complete disaster. *sigh* M.
Dec. 8th, 2015 02:36 pm (UTC)
That estate is just down the road from me (so I consider it Kilburn, not Camden, although I suppose it would be the Borough of Camden). I love it. I must go in and have a snoop around sometime. Sometime soon actually, since I'm planning on leaving this town soon.
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:42 am (UTC)
Oh, I would love to hear what you thought of it! I'd like to visit one day myself.

Hm... you know more about London geography than I do--perhaps that's a better way of locating it? But the Borough of Camden is key here because it had a very active, progressive social housing program in the 1960s and 1970s--you can read more about it here if you're interested. M.
Dec. 9th, 2015 10:21 am (UTC)
I am. And I have noticed some particularly nice council developments around the Camden area. If only I could get one! I might consider staying in this town a but longer.
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
Are you being priced out of the central city? I can't believe what's happened to London in the last twenty years or so. It'll all be investment property within a generation.

Hope you enjoy the city while you're there! M.
Dec. 8th, 2015 03:25 pm (UTC)
I haven't watched the last episode yet, but I'm looking forward to it! And now I'm not hoping everything's going to make sense. :)

I'm not the world's biggest fan of modern/postmodern architecture [I can appreciate it, but it's not my favorite], but the Alexandra Road estate is really, really cool. I've never seen it before!
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:44 am (UTC)
but the Alexandra Road estate is really, really cool

Isn't it an interesting space? And you can see why filming crews love it. There's a great write-up on it here if you're interested. (No obligation to read! I just love this site and always recommend it.)

So curious to hear what you thought of the last episode! Your comment about not expecting loose end to be tied up helped. M.
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
That is fascinating! Well-meaning, it seems, and an intriguing design, but they don't appear to be holding up brilliantly, which is too bad. I wouldn't mind seeing some floor plans/photos of the interiors.

Oh god, the last ep was really irritating. I'll write about it later. -_-
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:19 am (UTC)
A lot of buildings from that period look bad right now, since they're in desperate need of serious maintenance at their forty-year mark, and "modern" materials like concrete often required much more upkeep than anyone dreamed. But forty or fifty years ago folks were making much the same kinds of arguments about brick row houses and brownstones--obsolete, too expensive to keep up, looking their age, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if a generation on concrete buildings that survive--as Alexandra Road will--look very different to us.

There are some floor plans here and some interior photos here if you scroll down. (Bookmarking for myself, too!) M.
Dec. 13th, 2015 01:03 am (UTC)
I hope they can find a means of preserving them. It seems awful to just knock something down if it can be saved.

Wow, the interiors are pretty cool and some of them are pretty big. I wouldn't spit at living in them. :) Thank you for the links!
Dec. 8th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
No TV. But I look forward to your posts! ;)
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:48 am (UTC)
No tv here, either--and I suspect the way I was watching via computer was somewhat dubious. But you enjoyed five hours of your life that I spent on a fascinating but truly unsatisfying show.

And thanks for the positive reinforcement on the posts! I need to pull my own weight around here, since I've been enjoying all your posts but not doing much myself. I think I just need to get back in the habit.

Want to join me? M.
Dec. 8th, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you won't bore us! :)
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:48 am (UTC)
I *aspire* to boring you with all the posts I want to make! :) But thank you. M.
Dec. 9th, 2015 12:10 am (UTC)
I haven't started London Spy yet, but when I do, I know not to go in with too many high expectations regarding the actual plot. It does look like a gorgeous show though, so I do want to watch it for those reasons.

I'm looking forward to your posts very much!
Dec. 9th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
I'll be curious to hear what you think of it. It's a real mix of brilliance and complete nonsense. But lots of London, as you can see from the links!

Thanks for cheering me on re: posts! I've been enjoying yours ("yours" collectively, but "yours" individually, as well) and feel disappointed when the flist slow down. It's time for me to get back in the habit. M.
Dec. 9th, 2015 04:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting buildings, very. I love the church, and I think they did make an effort in creating a housing estate that has at least a bit of green. But I'm still glad I don't have to live in the concrete mass.

I'll take up the challenge, too, and I'll try to post every week. It's good to hear from everyone again, I'm so glad Lash took this initiative.
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:08 am (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear from folks again, too. I know the end of the year is quiet while folks write and then read the year-end gift fics, but I hate to see the flist so silent. I'm looking forward to your posts!

Isn't that church fascinating? I love seeing interesting spaces uses in films and tv. M.
Dec. 11th, 2015 02:51 pm (UTC)
Plot? There was a plot? I haven't got past ep 1's sex scene (okay, I did watch the entire thing and I think us fanfic writers could do a better job plot wise, but it was worth it just to watch that sex scene).

Something I've noticed about buildings and movies - if I've actually been there and have seen them in person, like the MI6 building, they seem to have so much more character to them.
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:05 am (UTC)
Honestly, the more I think about the plot, the more convinced I am that there really was no plot worth talking about, and the whole show was an elaborate game of Exquisite Corpse that somehow made it onto broadcast television. *sigh*

Ah, have you seen the MI6 building? I've been in that part of London but don't remember it at all. (Which is weird, given how assertive it is!) I don't think I'll miss it next time I'm in town! M.
Dec. 13th, 2015 09:17 am (UTC)
I agree about the plot! I also found it made uncomfortable viewing at times because the situation was so hopeless (I struggle emotionally with the concept of all powerful people controlling you no matter what you do).

But visually: wow. Also the subdued soundtrack, and bleak silences, and Ben Whishaw's amazingly expressive face.
Dec. 18th, 2015 12:37 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid that London Spy was one of those things that passed me by (hectic term, illness . . .) but those buildings are fascinating. And yes, I always intend to spend more time on here, and never do. Don't know about once a week, but I'll challenge myself to post on something once a fortnight - starting in the new year, of course.

Edited at 2015-12-18 12:38 pm (UTC)
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )