Nathan Barley - Thoughts in retrospect? Page 3

Nathan Barley. Nathan Barley (Nicholas Burns). Copyright: TalkbackThames.

Nathan Barley

Comedy series which mercilessly parodies the lifestyles of young London media types

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Julio Lluvia

  • Tuesday 30th July 2013, 3:53am [Edited]
  • London, England
  • 123 posts

I believe they called it Nathan Barley because in the TV go home series Nathan's name was used a few times in the description although it was called "c*nt" so fans who were familiar with TV go home would understand the reference.

I also thought this came out before the Boosh

Nathan Barley was a superb piece of work just like pretty much anything Mr Morris has done. It was almost a correct vision of the future of Shoreditch, Dalston and Old street, Morris had great vision.

It was also very funny and dark and launched the career of Ben Whishaw.

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Quant Boy

  • Tuesday 30th July 2013, 9:50pm
  • London, England
  • 9 posts

I agree, pretty much on the money in terms of the world it was trying to lampoon in and around Shoreditch. There are even more people like that now!

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zooo

  • Tuesday 30th July 2013, 9:55pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 69,187 posts

Were we even using the word hipster back then?

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Maurice Moss

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 12:11pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 120 posts

I'm not very familiar with the whole Shoreditch culture and faux hipster thing, but surely you see plenty of these types on the internet and social media? For me it felt like (not a direct comparison obv) well written Idiocracy with more cringeworthiness and better humour.

Although it's still being loathed by a surprisingly sizeable majority. I can see why though.

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reds

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 12:58pm [Edited]
  • Australia
  • 2,651 posts
Quote: zooo @ July 30 2013, 9:55 PM BST

Were we even using the word hipster back then?


Don't think so, but I guess there has always been hipsters in a way. In a few years there will probably still be a version of hipster, just the nametag and whatever "marks" that person as one might change.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 1:25pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,366 posts
Quote: Maurice Moss @ July 27 2013, 5:26 AM BST

I would love to hear some thoughts of people who like the show and why Nathan Barley is much more appreciated now than when it got released.


Very easy to answer.

It mocked a type of person that few who weren't that type of person, had yet any experience or knowledge of the existence of.

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Maurice Moss

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 4:14pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 120 posts
Quote: Aaron @ July 31 2013, 1:25 PM BST

Very easy to answer.

It mocked a type of person that few who weren't that type of person, had yet any experience or knowledge of the existence of.


Yeah that's what I thought. But then, has now the idiots themselves grown in number, or have people got familiarised with the concept of Shoreditch Twat/hipster thing NB is mocking? I was going for the former actually - I never figured it was mocking such a specific niche of people before I'd read up on the show later (after watching it that is).

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 5:52pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,366 posts
Quote: Maurice Moss @ July 31 2013, 4:14 PM BST

Yeah that's what I thought. But then, has now the idiots themselves grown in number, or have people got familiarised with the concept of Shoreditch Twat/hipster thing NB is mocking? I was going for the former actually - I never figured it was mocking such a specific niche of people before I'd read up on the show later (after watching it that is).


Three things:

1) Those kind of people don't tend to watch an awful lot of live television anyway, discovering and making cult hits via word of mouth and DVD sets.

2) Those kind of people have indeed grown in number, and diversified somewhat so there are different types of them, able to recognise traits of other types of them, and indeed more able to laugh at themselves.

3) The rest of the public are now more familiar with their kind.

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chipolata

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 6:17pm
  • England
  • 29,715 posts
Quote: Aaron @ July 31 2013, 1:25 PM BST

Very easy to answer.

It mocked a type of person that few who weren't that type of person, had yet any experience or knowledge of the existence of.


But the type of person being satirised - hedonistic, trend obsessed etc - is surely just an archetype? The idiots were merely the latest incarnation of a brand of people that had been sent up zillions of times before and since. In that respect it should have been a timeless satire that appealed to a broad range of people, but it just sort of...miss fired.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 31st July 2013, 6:26pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,366 posts

To some extent that's true, but it showed the idiocy of the character in contrast not to normal people, but to other simply less-wanky members of the same media circle. And set itself entirely in that media world. And similarly used a lot of technology of that world.

Normally a sitcom idiot is portrayed as an idiot within the normal, real-world; see the pomposity of Tony Hancock in very normal, every-day situations.

By contrast, everything in Nathan Barley, from the characters to the settings, their clothes, their lifestyles, technology and really entire existence, was confined to the small north London media elite.

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gappy

  • Thursday 1st August 2013, 1:45pm [Edited]
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,002 posts

Has anyone ever read Wyndham Lewis' Apes Of God? It's a big, sprawling satire on interwar Bloomsbury types.

It's effectively exactly the same as Nathan Barley, in that it spends a lot of time attacking a small coterie of culture workers and their hangers-on, that most people didn't know aor care about.

Also, like NB, it's not well respected because it's not a very good novel, if you want to judge it that way (eg characterisation, plot, all that stuff), but is still a brilliant piece of work. I see NB as pretty much the same - not really a great sitcom, as sitcoms go, but still a hugely original, entertaining piece of satire, and a very good piece of TV.

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Tokyo Nambu

  • Thursday 1st August 2013, 7:02pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 189 posts
Quote: gappy @ August 1 2013, 1:45 PM BST

Has anyone ever read Wyndham Lewis' Apes Of God? It's a big, sprawling satire on interwar Bloomsbury types.

It's effectively exactly the same as Nathan Barley, in that it spends a lot of time attacking a small coterie of culture workers and their hangers-on, that most people didn't know aor care about.

Also, like NB, it's not well respected because it's not a very good novel, if you want to judge it that way (eg characterisation, plot, all that stuff), but is still a brilliant piece of work.


On the other hand, Anthony Powell's "Dance to the Music of Time" is widely respected and constantly in print, even though in large part it's a big, sprawling satire on interwar and immediately postwar Bloomsbury types that most people didn't know or care about. Pamela Flitton may be fictional, but is probably better known than Barbara Skelton, and more to the point you can enjoy, and wish you'd met, the former without the slightest idea of who the latter is. The reason DttMoT is a better twelve novels than Apes of God is one novel is not only concision (I suspect that Lewis's novel is little shorter than all twelve of Powell's taken together) but also that Powell's writing transcends the settling of personal scores, and therefore is perfectly readable today, whereas Lewis's book requires footnotes.

Similarly Nathan Barley: it just isn't good enough to be funny unless you have some knowledge of what's being satirised, and therefore it was niche at the time and rapidly dated. Like Lewis.

[[ I realise that "Invitation to the Dance" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0099484366/comedyguide-21/) rather undermines my point... ]]

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gappy

  • Thursday 1st August 2013, 7:26pm
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,002 posts

Interesting points, Tokyo, thanks. Cool

But I don't think NB or AOG require footnotes to enjoy. Some poeple in it are clearly settled scores, as you accurately put it, but I'm not sure it's important to understand the specific background to see the intention any more than it is to know all Dante's contemporary reference points when reading The Divine Comedy (err, not claiming either of them are as good as Dante, BTW!).

I've not read DTTMOT, but I don't think that AOG or NB would be better if either of them had real rounded characters that you'd like to get to know. I don't think it would make either a better work, but it *would* make them a better novel and sit com respectively, because making rounded characters interact is pretty much what novels and sit coms do. Which is fine, but I think that sometimes there's room for a book or a TV serial that doesn't do that, but still has value and, crucially, makes you laugh.

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Ben

  • Thursday 1st August 2013, 8:04pm
  • England
  • 18,350 posts

I really didn't like it when it originally aired. Might give it another spin one day to see if it's aged well.

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Maurice Moss

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 4:28am
  • England
  • 120 posts
Quote: Aaron @ July 31 2013, 5:52 PM BST

Three things:

1) Those kind of people don't tend to watch an awful lot of live television anyway, discovering and making cult hits via word of mouth and DVD sets.

2) Those kind of people have indeed grown in number, and diversified somewhat so there are different types of them, able to recognise traits of other types of them, and indeed more able to laugh at themselves.

3) The rest of the public are now more familiar with their kind.


Yep, agree. That seems very likely to be the case.

By the way, at the time, what was "They babble into handheld twit machines about that cool email of the woman being bummed by a wolf" supposed to refer to? Handheld twit machines, i.e.?