Financial Mail - - LIFE IN­BOX - Prakash Naidoo David Gorin

The ea­gerly awaited tele­vi­sion adap­ta­tion of Margaret At­wood’s su­perb novel The Hand­maid’s Tale has fi­nally made it to SA’S small screens and de­spite the ridicu­lously long wait (six months af­ter its US pre­miere), it was worth the wait.

Mon­day nights at 10 pm on M-net (Chan­nel 101) will now be blocked off for the next 10 weeks as lo­cal tele­vi­sion afi­ciona­dos be­come im­mersed in this se­ries, win­ner of eight Prime­time Emmy awards. Two of those Em­mys went to lead ac­tress Elisabeth Moss and guest ac­tress Alexis Bledel, both of whom fea­tured promi­nently in the first episode.

If this is in­deed the golden age of tele­vi­sion, with some of the best shows on screen, then The Hand­maid’s Tale will head that list.

The fact that At­wood served as con­sult­ing pro­ducer in the first se­ries means the scripts were closely aligned to her novel.

In­ter­est­ingly, the se­ries has been picked up for a sec­ond sea­son — to air in 2018 — and since it has tech­ni­cally reached the end of its source ma­te­rial, these scripts will all be new.

When rock stars are re­vealed as nor­mal — mun­dane, even — we know the earth has turned.

The sem­i­nal band Nir­vana in­spired the grunge groundswell that punc­tured 1990s cul­ture. Af­ter band leader Kurt Cobain’s sui­cide, Dave Grohl rein­vented him­self: from drummer in the back­ground to the force of the Foo Fight­ers. Grohl has had a wild jour­ney in the wildest in­dus­try.

Re­gret­tably, a hand­ful of anec­dotes apart, From Cra­dle to Stage isn’t about him, Nir­vana or the Foo Fight­ers. In­stead, it fea­tures his mother’s in­ter­views with the moms of 18 other per­form­ers. They sip co­pi­ous amounts of tea while rem­i­nisc­ing about rais­ing their chil­dren, proudly re­cap­ping their off­springs’ ré­sumés.

Some are in­deed stars; oth­ers aren’t even rock­ers but ob­scure coun­try singers in­cluded to widen the book’s ap­peal to Amer­ica’s heart­land. And the op­er­atic pop crooner Josh Groban just doesn’t fit.

Early mu­si­cal prow­ess is the ob­vi­ous thread in all their sto­ries. Vir­ginia Han­lon Grohl rails against the ed­u­ca­tion es­tab­lish­ment that sup­presses the tal­ents of cre­atively gifted chil­dren. She ad­vises par­ents to “buy that dif­fer­ent drum your rebel has been march­ing to. None of this guar­an­tees you’ll raise a rock star. Just a more ful­filled hu­man be­ing”.

Sadly, this isn’t nec­es­sar­ily true. Ja­nis Wine­house’s sto­ries of her daugh­ter, Amy, con­vey a troubled young mind. Like Cobain, her star­dom — and life — seemed des­tined to burn briefly; stel­lar artists are of­ten frag­ile.

SA fea­tures in the chap­ter with the mother of Dave Matthews, of the epony­mous folk-jazz group. Pre­dictably, Han­lon Grohl in­cor­po­rates lyrics from the band’s song “Cry Free­dom”. Like the mu­sic, the chap­ter is dull.

The book be­comes a repet­i­tive, gen­teel an­them of sani­tised moth­ers’ per­spec­tives on the ap­ples of their eyes. The few pow­er­ful words come from the au­thor’s son, re­call­ing how mu­sic seized him: “Your en­tire world catches fire. The earth-rat­tling epiphany that mu­sic is no longer just a sound, it’s every breath you’ll ever take again.” In­evitably — a let­down — he’s de­scrib­ing his mother coach­ing sing-alongs in the fam­ily car. This whole­some­ness bores.

Grohl de­serves his 2014 in­duc­tion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His mu­sic stirs and rages, and he must be the only vo­cal­ist who can scream in key. Un­for­tu­nately, his mother’s book will make most rock fans scream for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

by Vir­ginia Han­lon Grohl. Hod­der & Stoughton (Coro­net)

Of­fred (Elisabeth Moss) and Of­glen (Alexis Bledel) won Em­mys in

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