Last night, after a long weekend baking and digging, we splashed out to go and watch Chlldren of Men at the cinema. Leaving aside the unbelievable price of the popcorn and drink (inexplicably the 'couple's combo' is 1.50 even more than the regular combo, which seems a bit unfair, so we pretended not to be a couple when the time came to pay), the lack of legroom and the teenagers who had paid a small fortune to come and chat out of the rain - it was a very good film.
It visualises the world that the Daily Mail thinks it is gently preparing us for, where all women are infertile and immigrants are being caged and sent to Bexhill for familiar-loooking hoodings and kickings. Set 25 years in the future, what gives the film an edge is its familiarity and realism, where fear has beaten hope and we all live in cages, waiting for the end to come. British film-makers are getting good at this sort of thing, moving from slightly depressing gritty tales to spectacularly violent and still gritty portraits of societies in the throes of destruction. In this sense, Children of Men had many echoes from 28 Days, a great British zombie movie. There's rarely much hope in them, one or two characters might make it to a happy place on the other side, but the rest of the population are dead and you don't really miss them. They'll still have a good dose of British black humour but it is a bit more invigorating than ballet dancers and kestrils.
The other recurring theme in current British drama, of course, is the sinister, controlling government and the complex, mysterious terror threat, in which the government may *well* be complicit. It mkes you wonder if Tony Blair ever ventures into the cinema anymore, what with all these loaded messages being thrown at him like popcorn. Spooks in another good example, it's the best British drama to be made in years and it bashes away at the government to the extent that you think maybe they're not as evil as all that, for surely they would have had Spooks shut down by now.
Meanwhile the editors of the Mail and Express, who don't have much to do with popular culture these days, are doing their best to bring the world of fear into existence. There's a new wave of immigrants being waved through by the EU machine, coming to serve us coffee and clean our offices, the grasping bastards. The front page of the Express last week sometime was all about the dangers to be found in fruit and veg. I haven't bought any since. And our hapless political parties are buying into it, with their strange swings between playing to The Guardian 'hug-a-hoodie' audience and the Mail's 'hang 'em and burn their thieving bodies' (oh or the slightly unbelievable subheading to the story - n the Lite I think but only got a glimpse - about a fare dodger being throttled in the station: 'next time buy a ticket!!').
Some Tories, in their latest round of infighting, have accused their idiot leader David Cameron of pushing voters into the welcoming arms of the BNP by failing to address people's concerns about immigration and crime. The only logical way out of this is to put through the BNP's policies for them, clearly. There's a perception, in the still largely white and middle class world of politics, that people have just come to this on their own. That so many of the Polish bastards serving their teas have pushed them over the edge into rampant racism. Do they truly not, even for a second, think that their constant pandering to the right-wing press actually has a reinforcing effect and that more people are likely to believe the ravings of ten cash-hungry journalists in a leader conference if the government sagely nod at the Express headlines and say 'yes, something should be done' while sending 500 civil servants further along the merry-go-round of plug-filling before water leaks in the next gap. If they simply held up five copies of the Express up side-by-side, one with the fruitloop fruit story and a few of the latest Diana conspiracy theories, then the immigration stories would soon gain some perspective. And possibly we can breathe easier for a while.