The new BBC series, SAS Rogue Heroes, Steven Knight of Peaky Blinder’s latest ‘creation’ uses modern-ish era incidental music, heavy on distorted guitars and thumping drums, to soundtrack this cartoon depiction of the SAS’s early escapades in the desert of the second world war.
Right-o. So, like Peaky Blinders, in a tradition dating back to, perhaps, Adam Ant’s baroque videos, there are unlikely electronic musical noises as men in costume jump about and pretend to kill other men. The actual tunes of the era presumably considered too tame to have the required increased heart beat effect that AC/DC or The Fall have. There are some strange choices. A couple of Damned tracks, including the immaculate New Rose. The Stranglers. A tendency towards blokes making music for blokes to bloke about to. And The Stooges.
Each hour-long episode ends for me with a headache and another favoured song crossed from the unsullied list. I’m just waiting for Television to make themselves heard, the opening chords of Marquee Moon as jeeps and trucks head off to blow up some more utterly un-investigated extras, Germans or Italians. War is bloody and brutal, I can’t expect my musical heroes to escape unscathed from Knight’s cheap shots. Bang! There goes Jonathan Richman. Sp-ding! The Clash. Exploosh! The Cream.
And the series? You know, the script and acting? The ‘creation’? It’s macho bollocks made worse by the near deification of the sons of the ruling class’s ability to talk plain English to the common man and lead them into a hail of bullets in the name of some weird public school tradition. It’s class war against the class that always, always gets the shitty end of the swagger stick. The masses of people they kill like 1950’s cowboys by wildly, vaguely pointing a gun in their direction are no more than uniforms and cliches about dastardly Germans and cowardly Italians. The ‘locals’, the people who’s country they happen to be having so much fun in (saving them from the nazis, no doubt) are devious, stupid, unwashed or insatiably sexed.
The BBC, making a sub Jason Statham shoot ‘em up under the guise of ‘quality’ entertainment. Propaganda. That’s all. Fuck them. I’d rather watch Jason mangle his west country cockney Americanisms whilst wrapping his toes around a big bald Hollywood baddie any day. At least there would be a bit more truth to it.
Tim London is a musician, music producer and writer. Originally from a New Town in Essex he is at home amidst concrete and grand plans for the working class. Tim's latest thriller, Smith, is available now. Find out more at timothylondon.com
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]