So, the grown-ups in this house are deep into the first season of the U.S. TV series “Treme” (pronounced "Tremay"). It's about post-Katrina New Orleans and the series was first shown in 2010 but we're just getting to it now. Named after an area of New Orleans and made by the makers of “The Wire”, “Treme” is every bit as good as the epic series set in Baltimore and, also like "The Wire", it stars Wendell Pierce (Bunk in "The Wire", pictured above in "Treme" mode) and Clarke Peters ("The Wire"'s Lester). Other “Wire” faces pop up in "Treme" too.
As you might expect for a show set in Louisiana's fine city the music in “Treme” is phenomenal with lots of real musos featured and a great theme tune (see below). You can read about Wendell Pierce and the series (and how he learned to play trombone for “Treme”) here. After reading that piece I love Pierce even more than I did when he was just Bunk (and I loved him quite a lot then... no-one was sick behind a car quite like Bunk...).
And whilst this might seem like an odd jump I am starting to think that, after a music-packed weekend here in Montrose (for the annual largely pub-based Music Festival), our little Scottish toon has more than a few things in common with the Big Easy we fell in love with so much last year. Before you mock me consider these points:
New Orleans - Nola/Big Easy/Nawlins.
Montrose - The Mo.
On the coast?
Nola – Lake Ponchartrain to the north, not far to the Gulf of Mexico in the south.
The Mo – North Sea (brrr!) to the east.
Nola – over 300,000.
The Mo – approx. 12,000
Nola – beautiful French Quarter, beautiful Garden District, streetcars, Mississippi river boats, amazing Audubon zoo, art galleries...
The Mo – lovely beaches (most of the time), lighthouse, elegant high street, Montrose Basin for birdwatching...
Nola – traditional and modern, jambalaya, gumbo, Po' boys, a lot of oysters and crawfish and much, much more.
The Mo – quite a lot of fish, plenty of pies (beef is big here...), a good curry house, cakes...
Visitors from out of town?
Nola – top tourist destination (8.75 million visitors in 2011).
The Mo – quite busy this weekend (for the festival). And some people head here for the fishing, so I'm told...
TV series potential?
Nola - “Treme” is excellent.
The Mo – I believe “Borrowfield – the miniseries” is currently in production. A drama series “Hillside Housewives” was in development but producers felt it was just too freakin' dull.
Nola - “Treme” has a great theme tune by John Boutté:
and there are plenty of other songs about New Orleans.
The Mo... still undecided... maybe something by AC/DC (well, Bon Scott was from Kirriemuir... not so far away... and there is "Highway to Hell"...) or maybe there's the song that Jim Reid made from the poem by Montrose writer Violet Jacob:
Or maybe someone can come up with something new? Any suggestions?
Loads of venues playing all kinds of music?
Nola – pretty much all year (with special attention to jazz).
The Mo – hell, yes, especially at the end of May (special attention to rock, blues, traditional - though all styles are covered).
Nola – hot, damned hot.
The Mo – in May (every year!) surprisingly hot. I think voodoo may be involved.
Nola – amazing buskers.
The Mo – pretty good music on the high street stage this weekend, a few lassies singing outside the Little Mermaid chipper too...
Outrageous scenes of public drunkenness?
Nola – undoubtedly (we saw at least a couple of people sitting in some kind of their own waste on or near Bourbon Street).
The Mo – a respectable showing at this year's festival with reports of outrageous heckling, throwing things, bare arses etc. all coming in thick and fast.
Nola – certainly the language on “Treme” is pretty x-rated.
The Mo – f words have been heard in the town (used creatively of course). Indeed Scottish swearing is a long-established artform (witness Malcolm Tucker from “The Thick of it”, Billy Connolly...).
Nola – Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Randy Newman, Anne Rice, Wendell Pierce, Ellen deGeneres, John Goodman...
The Mo – well, fame's relative, isn't it? Lots of musicians (young and old) around just now who might well make it big...if they want to. But then a quiet life in a small town can be good too...
Now, roll on the Mo Fest next year... Montrose's Mardi Gras/Jazz Fest etc. etc..