From the edi­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

AS you read this I’ll be pack­ing my bags for a hol­i­day in New York — not to make you feel jeal­ous, or any­thing; just to ad­vise that you’ll get a re­port or two from that part of the world in fu­ture weeks. A rel­a­tively re­cent hol­i­day was spent at home — yes, a staycation, as ap­par­ently we must call such things now — and of­fered me the chance to do some­thing I’ve been think­ing about for years: I started watch­ing the US TV se­ries The Wire or, as it is more pop­u­larly known, ‘‘the great­est tele­vi­sion se­ries ever made’’. As with so much else in the fields of lit­er­a­ture, film and TV, I have come to this late: The Wire started its fivesea­son run on HBO in the US in 2002 and ended in 2008 (there was a gap be­tween se­ries three and four). In its first years au­di­ences were small enough that the show faced ax­ing (hence the de­lay in get­ting se­ries four up) but those in the know adored it. I’d al­ways known that fact with­out know­ing why; now, via the box-set, I do know. The Wire is set in Bal­ti­more and es­sen­tially fo­cuses on its un­der­class and the city’s drug trade, in each se­ries tack­ling it from a dif­fer­ent an­gle. The char­ac­ters are drawn with as­ton­ish­ing hon­esty and their lives have a rich qual­ity one can only call Shake­spearean. It is soul-stir­ringly, bone-shak­ingly good, and de­serves ev­ery ac­co­lade. On an­other small-screen sub­ject, you may like to catch the Aus­tralian Bal­let’s re­cent In­fin­ity triple bill on pay-TV arts chan­nel Stu­dio on Mon­day. This is not en­tirely a non se­quitur. One of the works is Stephen Page’s Waru­muk: In the Dark Night, which opens in New York on Tues­day — where I will be, as I may have men­tioned — as part of the AB’s 50th birthday tour to the Big Ap­ple. The com­pany hasn’t been there since 1999, so may it break many legs.

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