5 Ways to Survive a Trexit Winter

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It’s been a tough old year. As we face up to the double jeopardy of Trump and Brexit (Can we be punished twice for the same crime?) it’s hard to know how to comfort each other, to step up and do what’s right when we feel demoralised and silenced. How can we use the winter months to recover?

  1. Zone out the Noise.  Reading my social media feeds, I feel like a horse grazing in a field of rubble, stubbing my nose on shards of opinion, starved of real information or cheer. While it’s important to question untruths, we use a lot of energy consuming and reposting the same news or venting our (understandable) anger. Yes we have to grieve but then we have to get on – with the work. Take time out to recover, take stock, reflect. So we can hear our own voices again.
  2. Trust yourself.  After Brexit I felt I had got something very wrong, safe in my online bubble, sharing my values with my friends, unaware or dismissive that others felt differently. After the result I felt my voice didn’t matter, had no effect. Now I know it does but that I need to do more.
  3. Get Active. Donate, Promote, Engage. It’s relatively easy to sign an online petition, but more rewarding to volunteer time or support. Help Refugees are looking for help right now. We’re all busy but doing something yourself breaks the cycle of helplessness. Positive action is worth a thousand words.  And yet –

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  4. Keep writing. We need voices to articulate what is happening. To challenge the bluster of the far right. To expose simplistic arguments and reach people with stories that move and engage them. To give us comfort and hope, to reaffirm our true values.
  5. Support each other. Organise. Vote. Plan for a future without Trump, connected to Europe and the wider world, where prosperity for all, not fear, is what drives us. Set up an action group  like House of Cards writer @BeauWillimon if you don’t like what’s on offer. Protest in all ways, and don’t forget your greatest weapon- your heart and mind – your words and actions matter.

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Take heart. You’re not alone.  And don’t forget. There’s always chocolate…

 

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House of Cards

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I’m a little late to the party but I want to write about House of Cards.  First of all, if you haven’t seen it, watch it now.  Second of all, here’s why.  It’s the future.

It’s beautifully shot with a fantastic cast led by Kevin Spacey, an Oscar nominated writer, Beau Willimon and set in a captivating world of power and deception.   As each episode ends the next begins, with no recaps, very little story of the week.  This is a giant 13 hour movie.

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When I saw the trailer I wanted to watch it.  Instantly.  And was prepared to pay for the privilege.

And this is key.

This is premium content for a subscription paying audience.  It has to be outstanding to cut through all the noise, all the ‘filler’ shows, all the not-quite-right, ‘quality’ series available on Freeview.  Cable has to justify its cost and so now does Video on Demand. Netflix had to design something so good you would sign up to monthly payments to see. Here’s why.

We have no more free time. We only have an hour or so to spend watching a show so it had better be good.

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We want to watch it when we like. I don’t want to have to wait until 9pm to watch a great drama series on TV.  I want to watch it in bed when I wake up, on the move, when I’m in the mood.  I want to watch it where I want, on a portable screen or screens.  And I’m prepared to pay.  Not a huge amount, but enough.

I want a show that is exactly tailored to my requirements.  Not too old, not too young, not too male-skewed, not too girly –  but I don’t want to be pandered to or second-guessed or dumbed down any more.  That’s what ‘House of Cards’ gets right and all those over-targeted niche TV shows get wrong.  I  want the best.  And with the migration of top-flight talent from cinema to television, fleeing from the tent-pole culture of blockbuster movies, I am getting it on the small screen rather than the big.

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At Cannes I heard someone ask ‘What is the future of cinema?’  The answer was, ‘Television’. Correction – it’s Viewing on Demand.  Kevin Spacey was right in his Edinburgh address.  Binge viewing is what we want and what we can now have.  I overhead a guy on the tube telling his friends that watching a whole series this way is ‘like reading a book, you are so immersed in the world and its characters you keep going back for more’.  And more.  And more.

Once the Emmys are over, will there be more pale imitators of House of Cards?  Cheaper series we will mainline like cheap candy when Netflix and Co have to produce much more original content at a lower per programme cost?  Or will quality continue to win out over quantity?

I hope it will.  I always think better in silence than in noise.

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What kind of series inspire you and why?  Leave a note here or contact me  @emlin32 on Twitter.  Happy viewing!