Death usually comes with a jingle. The jingle of a breaking news alert from the BBC, Guardian, Washington Post or Sky News apps on my phone. I’ve not monitored this enough to make a scientifically based assertion, but I sense that the BBC is the quickest at bringing bad tidings. News flashes are almost always bad news. Today, the news was that Anthony Bourdain had died. Tragically, at his own hand. I imagine you would know who Anthony Bourdain is. If not, he’s a chef, a writer and a travel/food show presenter. I’ve never had the pleasure of feasting on a meal served up by the great man, so I cannot speak for the quality of his cooking. But I love his writing. His television shows even more so.
Isn’t YouTube one of the most wonderful inventions ever? It’s an archive that seems to know no bounds. Whatever you want to watch, no matter how old it is, you can find it on YouTube. It’s not even all illegal. Though a fair share of it does have pretty dubious looking copyright issues. What I like is how legitimate companies have embraced YouTube as an archiver though. One of the latest examples being British Pathe, who have dumped everything they’ve got on Google’s servers.
But perhaps history viewed through British eyes isn’t your thing. There’s a Mexican contigent who visit me in my corner of the web. And I have something for you, if you haven’t found it already. The excellent Canal Once has a series, La Ciudad de Mexico en el tiempo. Look back at one of the greatest city’s on the planet as it evolved, revolted, devolved and turned into the wonderfully ghastly mess it is today.
This series is not viewed through British eyes. Although one can’t help but feel that it would have been nice if it had been filmed through a British lens with a British camera crew. The Pathe guys, perhaps…
Let’s jump to the present. There are a few television presenters I watch out for, not wanting to miss a show they make. Simon Reeve is one. Anthony Bourdain is another. The later is an American chef, who like to tour the world. His most recent show took him to Mexico City and on to Oaxaca. It was a good show. But I couldn’t help but feel that there was an odd balance in the story between decapitated bodies and fabulous Mexico cooking.
It would have been nice to see some of the more positive non culinary aspects of Mexico make the final cut. Life in DF is more than ‘shoot a policeman, have a taco. Behead a narco, have a taco. Hang an informer from a bridge, have a taco’. But the over riding theme of corruption that runs through the show, encompassing every part of Mexican life, is a true and sad fact that holds the city and nation back. Badly. Many believe the War on Drugs to be a failure. It’s clearly been a raging success. You just, perhaps, didn’t fully understand what the desired outcome was. Bourdain will also introduce you to the poor chef/restaurateur that fell victim to the daughter of a government official recently.