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complaint confession Recommendation tv

Abso-fucking-lutely

Absolutely, the Scottish sketch show, is just as brilliant as it once seemed to my teenage self, putting all modern examples to shame.

Occasionally, when I have only a little money left to my name and it’s getting me down, I might be tempted to blow it all on a silly purchase of purely entertainment value.  It reaffirms that although I may be poor, I’m still in the category of people who can spend money on silly things of purely entertainment value.   So it was that, a while ago, I was standing in Sauchiehall Street’s HMV, upstairs in the Comedy section, admiring a box set of Absolutely, a sketch show I used to watch when I was in high school.  Back then, it was universally acknowledged to be the best since Monty Python, and we were all lucky to have it.  There, in HMV, I seriously considered blowing forty quid I didn’t have on this paean to my formative years, when I first had a TV in my room and could watch whatever I damn-well liked.  (In a side note, I’d like to thank the French film industry for featuring so much nudity in their output, and to Britain’s Channel Four for showing so much of it after my parents had gone to bed.)

I didn’t succumb, though.  It was too much money, and I, like most folk, have come to realise that much of the time the memory of things is better than the reality of them.  Then, the other day, I sauntered onto YouTube to find an oversized banner ad for 4oD (Channel Four on demand, see?).  Included with the temporarily available new shows were permanently available older programmes.  Among them was Absolutely.

Not only can I report that the show is just as brilliant as it once seemed to my teenage self, putting all subsequent sketch shows to shame, IMHO, but that I discovered to my delight and astonishment that I’d begun watching the show originally from the last episode of the first series.  Which meant I had new Absolutely to watch!

All of which is great except for a few things.  As YouTube and Channel Four have arranged it, the ads which play before and during the show seem to be independent of the show itself, presumably to keep them replaceably current.  A result of this system of dynamic video in the middle of static is that I can’t watch it on my phone.  Plus, if I stop the playback for any length of time and try to resume, I get an error message and have to reload the page (and watch the ads again).  These could just be teething problems with the new embedded video ad system, but it means that, regardless of content, the videos of amateur uploaders are better than this classic TV.  It’s inferior YouTube, from a customer point-of-view.  Not the best idea.

Still, better that this great series is available than otherwise, and if I get fed up with Pepsi Max and Sony Bravia ads crashing my browser, I can just ask for the DVD boxset for Christmas, can’t I?  Now I know I’m not fooling myself and Absolutely remains the best Scottish comedy since Stanley Baxter went to LWT.

By Kenny Park

Kenny Park, pro video editor in Avid and Final Cut for over a decade.

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