Thursday, September 28, 2023

Where's my Gallows Pole at?

There are so many options to see your favourite TV and movie shows these days, with streaming services offering a plethora of excellent content, all available with a click of the remote. But I just want to see the new Shane Meadows, and I'm shit out of luck.

I've been big on all of Meadows films, right since stumbling upon the graceful brilliance of Twenty Four Seven at the local film festival in 1997. The This Is England series is a complete goddamn masterpiece, Paddy Considine does things in Dead Man's Shows that still haunt 20 years later, and all of his films are filled with such warmth and humanity and humour and life, in ways others filmmakers never touch.

And The Gallows Pole - the latest BBC series from the big man - looks just as fucking brilliant as all the rest, but I really wouldn't know, because I can't see it anywhere.

An anti-heist set in medieval times, with the usual hint of pastoral horror that comes with any such period piece now, it screened on British TV earlier this year, and none of the streaming services in my country have picked it up. None of the TV channels are showing them, and there is no chance of any kind of physical release around here - now that all the video stores have faded away.

I even tried the 'this TV show just fell off the back of a truck' of torrenting, but came up short without diving into dodgy website that want my credit card details (only for verification purposes, honest). Pirating has long been the last resort for this kind of thing, but still can't deliver.

It's a little maddening in this day and age, to be able to read all about the work of a major filmmaker, to be able to see all sorts of behind the scenes material and trailers, but to be cut off from the work itself. It feels like it's back in the 80s, just waiting for some considerate local programmer to throw it out on TV late on a Tuesday night. That was still a thing well into the 21st century - that's how I first saw The Wire in the mid-2000s - but it's not even there anymore.

I'm sure I'll see The Gallows Pole at some point, some rotter will rip it out onto Youtube one day or something and I'll finally get my mental mitts onto it, but other than that, it's a brick wall, or an empty field, bereft of all the best things in film.

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