Resilience (1)

Is resilience a virtue? I certainly think so. Its a characteristic, its positive, and it is something I greatly admire. I admired it on a comic book level as a young fellow watching Lethal Weapon – Mel Gibson not simply succumbing to a torturer, and then Mel Gibson racing on foot to chase a car. Then adult hood and real life comes along, and I discovered that real resilience is dealing with ongoing crises and human problems that nobody gets a medal for, and my admiration only grew.

I’m not sure sometimes about some people’s never say die drive. I know middle aged men who have been bankrupted multiple times but are convinced that entrepreneurial success is just around the corner, and to give up on their dream now would be ridiculous. They tell me that I don’t understand. I guess I don’t. I’ve never walked a mile in their moccasins, and frankly I don’t want to. I’m not going to advise anyone, I’ve made my own choices in life. What do you say to people? I love Van Gogh’s work, I have gone out of my way to spend time viewing his paintings, they are a great source of pleasure and inspiration to me. Send me back in time and make me his careers advisor, do you think it would be ethical of me to tell little Vinny to follow his dreams, you can do it, don’t listen to the detractors? Or should I help him find a job and appropriate medication?

It has been great to see the love recently for Australian writer Scott Ryan. Garry Maddox writes well of Ryan’s decades of struggle in the Sydney Morning Herald, and I won’t repeat it here as you can just click on the link. Ryan is the writer (and almost incidentally, it appears, the star) of Mr Inbetween. Ryan is obviously driven, to be able to continue to strive despite setbacks. The difference between him and some would-be entrepreneurs is that he is the real deal and has the goods. I know because I saw Mr Inbetween by accident and laughed and loved it straight away.

I once caught John Safran complaining to Father Bob on radio that he was tricked into watching an Australian movie (it was Daybreakers, from memory). I laughed out loud and understood. I have no patriotism when it comes to television and film. I’ll salute the Australian flag about just about everything else, but I like to be entertained, I don’t like watching something because it is worthy or because it is spinach – get it inta ya, its good for ya. My first memory of a political act was in 6th class writing a letter of complaint to someone or other about mandatory Australian content on Australian television. I was probably a tiny bit old for Skippy by then. I understand the arguments, I follow the reasoning, its just that growing up, so much of it was shit. So many Australian movies feel like they needed a redraft or two of the screenplay.

If somebody had told me, here’s an Australian show, I may well have run a mile, and I accept that my reaction may be wrong and very unfair. Its just a fact. (I exaggerate. There is a lot more Australian in my diet these days than there used to be.) Its an excellent television show with fantastic characters, good humour, a great cast, that is all the better for its Australian flavour. I enjoyed seeing Ray Shoesmith deal with a couple of ice-cream knocking hoons round the corner from where I have shopped many times. I liked hearing the Australian voices. The portrayals have a lot of realism to them – I went to school with blokes like those on the show (not the murdering gangsters, of course). That makes a fantastic show even better. I don’t do reviews, I can only say that things are fantastic or shit, so you are better off reading a professional like Michael Idato who explains these things much better than I can. Idato is very good too on distinguishing between Mr Inbetween and other shows about assassins like Killing Eve and Barry. The additional point I would make is that Ray Shoesmith is a suburban assassin, much more ordinary than Barry or Villanelle, and perhaps much scarier for it.

So: Mr Inbetween – excellent show, I recommend it. Scott Ryan – very good writer, love your work, looking forward to more of it.

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