Northern Soul vs The Ottomans
Posted by celticman on Tue, 08 Oct 2013
The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors BBC 2 11.20pm. Produced and directed by Gillian Bancroft and presented by Rageh Ommar this is, I suppose the equivalent of BBC saying we’ve done the Jews (Simon Schama The Story of the Jews) now I suppose we better do the Muslims. The latter had Simon Schama doing everything: writing, directing, appearing on camera, twiddling the funny bone, the former has Rageh Ommar and you know what, and this shouldn’t be relevant and shouldn’t matter, but I don’t know if he’s a Muslim. But Schama was such fun. This felt like sitting through an extended sociology lecture. All very relevant in understanding the division in the Middle East and factionalism of Sunni and Shia, but I nodded off near the end. Mehmet II’s taking of Constantinople in the fifteen century was a high point or low point, depending on where you stand, and we heard how his conversion of The Sacred Palace of Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine Empire, into a mosque was a symbolic show of grandeur and sign other Muslims that we’ve done it lads. This is the equivalent of a secular army conquering London and converting Westminster Cathedral into a gay disco.
Northern Soul written and directed by Gillian Bancroft was a nostalgia fest. It’s Wigan 1975 and adolescents dance all night to Soul music by obscure black artists nobody else ever heard of. It’s The Commitments meeting Dirty Dancing and God did it look like so much fun. Film clips show none of that dancing round handbags with the guys hugging the walls that sticks in my memory, but guys and girls going for it full tilt and doing their own thing. It helped that they were out of their face on speed. But they talk about those times with the revivalist glee of a Billy Graham on the god juice. I miss it and I wasn’t ever there.