"Omar Little is the gay stick-up man who robs drug dealers for a living on The Wire..." (The Guardian Guide, July 19-25)
Monday 28th July, TG4 10.30 p.m.
It's finally here on terrestrial TV, the fifth and final series of the superb US crime drama. TG4 is the Irish language national broadcast channel, who showed the previous four series at various times in the graveyard schedule. There's nothing Irish about the Wire (except for Aiden Gillen - Carcetti - and a few other things to be mentioned below) and it's not subtitled into Irish (though that might help... sometimes). In fact, TG4 do a good line in quality US television - Cold Case, Without A Trace, a weekly Western, and a while ago now, the equally cult (and fantastic) show Carnivale.
Obviously this season of The Wire has been on HBO already in the States, and it started in the UK on cable channel FX last week, hence the Guardian TV guide. So I've had to wait a little while, which meant I wasn't able to follow the coverage in the AV Club or elsewhere. Not to fear, because the Irish Times music writer and Phantom FM DJ, Jim Carroll, is devoting a thread on his blog every week to The Wire. Best part is the Tyler Durden-esque rules he's laying down:
"The first rule of On The Record on The Wire? "Casual viewers? Fuck the casual viewers".
The second rule of On The Record on The Wire? If you’re not a fan, don’t read it.
The third rule of On The Record on The Wire? Sheeeeeee-it, you have to ask? Clay Davis for Taoiseach, of course."
So I'll be following that, as well as the AV Club TV Club, the excellent, literate Wire blog Heaven and Here, and josephlovesit on Geek Down. The Wire is nothing short of the cultural apotheosis of modern television.
But other than its incipient awesomeness, what reasons do I have for mentioning The Wire on this particular music blog?
1. Tom Waits, 'Way Down In The Hole'. This is the theme for The Wire, performed by different artists every season (including Waits himself on the second season). It's covered by Steve Earle for this season.
2. Baltimore, MD. Whence not only The Wire comes, but also (it's a big city, obviously) a wide variety of alternative music including Dan Deacon's Wham City collective, Matmos and, of course, the superb post-hardcore group Lungfish. Not just Lungfish but the various associated bands such as Asa Osborne and Daniel Higgs's Pupils, Nathan Bell's Human Bell, and the punk preincarnation of Lungfish, Reptile House.
3. Baltimore, Co. Cork. Yeah, the original Baltimore is a small town in west County Cork, on the south coast of Ireland. It's pronounced slightly differently - 'Bal-timore' rather than 'Ball-timore', and I don't think anyone's ever called it 'B-more'. I can't find anything about crime statistics, but it was sacked by Algerian pirates in 1631.
4. Did I mention it's awesome?