Over the Christmas period we watched Wednesday, the Netflix series in which Wednesday Addams is sent to Nevermore Academy — the boarding school for outcasts with which her parents have a long history. Here, as well as having to navigate the usual high-school cliches (all given a suitably macabre spin), Wednesday finds herself at the centre of a series of mysteries including murder, a monster and several attempts on her life.
It’s really good.
The series does take a bit of getting used to initially and this is not the Addams family we have come to expect. The family is a little more dysfunctional and I missed the sense of the Addams together, facing the world. And I have to admit that Luis Guzmán struck a slightly jarring note as Gomez Addams: He’s not Raul Julia.
That said, it is nice to see a series that attempts to be something more than a slavish retread of what has gone before, and Wednesday does work well as a new take on the Addams Family. A lot of this comes down to Jenna Ortega’s performance in the title role: She manages to channel all of Wednesday’s signature snark while also delivering enough depth to keep us all caring throughout the series.
And then there’s the dance.
Overall, Wednesday is a very well executed combination of Gothic mystery and school-age soap opera. The series is both funny and charming and is built around a mystery that is both intriguing and satisfyingly concluded.
I do hope that Wednesday returns to Nevermore for another term.
Often, when I reach the end of the year I start looking back over the past 12 month’s worth of posts as a way of talking about the year just gone. This year, however, posting has been a bit light, to say the least, so I don’t have much to look back over.
So instead of trying to review the year just gone, I will leave you with The Zealot Gene, from the Jethro Tull album of the same name, which just happens to be the song I have listened to more than any other this year.
Happy New Year to all, and here’s hoping we all see a little less zealotry and polarisation in 2023.
The school summer holiday in Belgium runs from 1st July to 31st August, regardless of what days those dates fall on. This is why all the kids are going back to school today, even though it’s a Thursday. The first day back is a bit of an easy one: the kids don’t have a full day and will be mainly receiving timetables, directions and other essentials.
There are big changes for us this year. The twins have now graduated from primary school, so all three boys will be cycling into the next town for their schooling. The twins were accompanied by their mum today (just to make sure they have the route correctly memorised), but they will be on their own from tomorrow.
I am still working from home at present and, after having the boys at home with me, the house feels awfully quiet today.
It’s that time of year when the boys all head off for their annual summer camp. And this year, they are now all old enough to both cycle there and enjoy the full ten days. We saw them off yesterday morning and spent much of the rest of the day getting used to how quiet the house has suddenly become.
Traditionally the younger kids are dropped off on Sunday, which is generally quite a big event including food, drinks and an chance for parents to catch up on how things are going so far. This social part has been cancelled over the last couple of years because of COVID, but this year it’s back. No barbecue, but I am assured that there will be plenty of food and drink for all.
Of course, with an empty house to ourselves, Eve and I will need to figure out what to do with ourselves.
I don’t want to descend into spending the next two months banging on about the UK Government’s inept shenanigans, so I will try to keep this short.
With Johnson trying to cling to office until September, the Labour Party has attempted to table a no-confidence motion in the Government. By convention, no-confidence motions are always accepted and prioritised.
This time, however, the government has refused to allow time for the motion.
Well, it’s been a bit of a fraught week or so if you follow any of the ongoing meltdown that is the UK government. It all started last week (on Tuesday) when a former civil servant revealed — to no-one’s surprised — that Boris Johnson had indeed been lying about the most recent self-inflicted scandal to beset his administration.
I say that no-one surprised but Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, was so shocked by this news that he promptly resigned. This resignation was followed promptly — suspiciously promptly — with a resignation from Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No further ministers resigned but, over the next couple of days, most of the rest of the government did.
By Thursday, Johnson finally realised that the jig was up and gave a speech… not exactly resigning, but acknowledging that even his own party didn’t want him in charge any more. Of course, Johnson being Johnson, he still tried to cling to his salary for as long as he could get away with. But the wheels were in motion and the Conservative Party eventually started the process of selecting a new leader. Once the leader of the Conservative Party is selected, he or she will automatically become the next Prime Minister and there really is nothing more Johnson can say or do about any of this.
And we now have a date to which we can look forward:
The U.K prime minister is set to step down from his role in eight weeks’ time, after a new Tory leader is elected in a ballot of party members ending September 5. Johnson’s anointed successor is likely to take over as Tory leader and U.K. Prime Minister the following day — Tuesday, September 6.
First we have a couple of weeks during which the Conservative MPs will vote and vote again until they are down to only two candidates. Then there will be a long drawn out summer while these last two candidates attempt to appeal to the few thousand reactionaries and lunatics that make up the wider Conservative Party.
This is going to get ugly.
Eight candidates have managed to scrape together enough support to make it onto the first ballot, and what is frightening is that they are all either genuinely bonkers or pretending to be.
In many ways, Johnson is a symptom rather than the cause of this disaster.
The red-faced Europhobe wing of the Conservative Party has been around since the 1980s, if not longer, fighting the same old fantasy battles against an imaginary enemies while the rest of us got on with our lives.
It was David Cameron who, on discovering that he was unable to lead his own party, decided to hold a referendum to shut them up. And it was David Cameron who gave no thought whatsoever as to how this referendum should be organised, what question should be asked, or what the consequences might be if it all went badly wrong.
As we all know, it went very badly wrong indeed and Cameron promptly resigned.
Cameron was followed by Theresa May who — again, with no consultation or consideration of the consequences — not only rushed into starting the process of Britain’s exit from the EU, but also announced a set of negotiating red lines that set Britain on course for the insanely hard Brexit in which the country has found itself.
She could had invested some time in trying to build a consensus. She could have looked for a form of Brexit with which most people could accept. But instead, she decided to pander to the fantasist minority in her own party and, when she finally found herself facing reality, her party ousted her in favour of Boris Johnson.
Johnson didn’t even try to deal with reality. He simply lied, and lied again, telling the extremists upon whose support he depended whatever they wanted to hear.
Johnson’s lies and delusions have finally come back to bite him, but the end of Johnson does not mean the end of his toxic legacy. Under his premiership, the Conservative Party has become a hollowed out shell, comprising of English Nationalists and Libertarian Fundamentalists and one that has nothing to offer but imaginary battles and endlessly re-litigated feuds.
The schools broke up yesterday and two months of Summer vacation starts today for all three of the boys. And big changes are ahead for us because the twins have now graduated from primary school and will be embarking on their secondary school careers in September.
While attending their graduation ceremony on Tuesday, it struck me that I will never again need to return to the local school, and nor will any of them be able to walk to school. From here on in, all of three boys will be traveling to the next town for their education.
We have much to prepare, but today we shall enjoy the first day of the Summer holiday.