In the early hours of yesterday morning I watched the last couple of episodes of the third season of The Wire. The climax, thoroughly splendid though it was, felt oddly anti-climactic, but in a clever way, reflecting the ceaseless frustration at the heart of the day-to-day life of a Baltimore Poe-lease. Ending aside, the season as a whole was one of the most excitingly subversive things I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, you must, for it depicts what might happen in a drug-fucked inner-city ghetto if drugs were effectively legalised. It’s very powerful and in my most ‘orribly ‘umble, very important telly. And you know, it goes all the way to the President. He loves The Wire.
So anyway, the other day I found out something which surprised the bejeesus out of me. It concerns Michael K Williams, the actor who plays everybody’s favourite character, gay gangster Omar Little with such ferocious charisma that Barack Obama, officially the world’s most charismatic man, was like, totally blown away. He’s also soon to be seen in an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which I really must read, apparently. And this is the thing: midway through filming The Wire, Williams took time out to dress up as a cop and mouth the words of one of history’s most misunderestimated artists, Our Kelly.
Unfortunately, it’s unembeddable, but please, particularly if you’ve never seen it, do enjoy the scarred master in this, my favourite chapter from Our Kelly’s masterwork, Trapped in the Closet. I insist.
And when you’ve watched that – and only then - you must watch or rewatch this. Then you must sit back smugly, full of good humour and fine wine and you must marvel at the beautiful brilliance of the modern world. And then you must mutter the word ‘intertextuality’, softly, under your breath, and then laugh it off, embarrassed, slightly theatrical. Then you must storm out of the room pretending to have left a pan of shrimps boiling.
This is the last of the grass I smuggled North from Londonshire. By this I mean this, this fingerbread guffstuff. Then I’m clean, man. And that peeves me, because a joint in the evening is good for me. It’s great brain-oil. And it peeves me because drugs will never go away. Whether we’re talking about my harmless drugs or other people’s nasty drugs, they’re all here to stay. We really should start working with them. And my hope is that if President Obama can unflinchingly appreciate the emotional intelligence and brutal morality of Omar Little, then maybe he’s the man to move the west a little closer to a properly regulated approximation of Hamsterdam. That, for me, would be an evolutionary coup. Not Needle Park madness, but something that actually addresses the problem. I like for example the sound of the heroin maintenance programme described in this eminently readable article right here, and I propose that we do something similar in this country, specifically tailored to my desire for the ‘erb. Until then, there’s a place up the coast from here called Blyth that I every much like the sounds of. It sounds blithe. I might go there this weekend.
Now, seconds out. Season Four. Actually, fuck it - let the seconds stay. We're all family here.