More Great Telly – Guilt, Daisy Jones & The Six and “Dancing Barefoot” by Patti Smith

As this place seems to act as my web diary nowadays I no longer keep a paper diary. I did get a small one from a neighbour at Christmastime however (think it was surplus to requirements) and I’ve been using it to record the films and TV dramas I’ve watched this year, plus the books I’ve read. Time to share some of my favourites here I think.

I’ll start with the telly – I last did a roundup of what I’d been watching 10 months into the pandemic, and although it was a well-received post, I did feel a tad guilty about having had so much free time for boxset binging, especially when many of us were really struggling at the time, what with home-schooling kids and remote working. Hopefully this time, the divide between the time-rich and time-poor who visit this place will be less pronounced. Also, I’ll not admit to all of it, just the ones that have really made an impact.

Well, we didn’t dilly dally with this one and have finished it already, but if you haven’t yet watched BBC Scotland’s dark comedy-drama, Guilt, I would thoroughly recommend it. Think Better Call Saul relocated to Edinburgh, or Fargo on the Firth of Forth. Here is the trailer.

You really need to watch the first two series before embarking on the latest (and final) series, but only four episodes in each so very doable. I have always liked Scottish actor Mark Bonnar who seems to pop up on our screens regularly, but in Guilt he really is the lead actor and gets a chance to shine in the role of Max, a Leith boy done good, but a Leith boy whose charm and lawyer shenanigans don’t always get him out of a fix. I won’t offer up any spoilers but I would urge you to watch it. For the music bloggers who visit here, Max’s brother Jake runs a record shop very much like the one in the film High Fidelity, so lots of musical anecdotes interspersed throughout the show. Catch it on the BBC iPlayer.

But this is a music blog, so next up we have the Amazon Prime show Daisy Jones & The Six. Regulars who visit this place will already know I have a real fondness for the music that came out of Laurel Canyon in the late ’60s/early ’70s, so it was a no-brainer that I would watch this drama set in that very place. It charts the rise and fall of a fictional rock band made up of an amalgam of real-life characters from that time (we spotted Fleetwood Mac, Ringo and George, plus many more).

One of the lead actors, who played the titular Daisy Jones, was Riley Keough who interestingly is Elvis’s granddaughter. Both she and British actor Sam Claflin, who played Billy Dunne in the band, provided the vocals and if this is indeed the case they both did really well. Again I don’t want to give away any spoilers but the format they used, with documentary style footage included of their future selves, worked really well I thought. Oh, and Daisy’s extensive wardrobe of hot pants and diaphanous garments felt right for the times. There is a soundtrack album, and a couple of the songs from it have been released as singles. Here is a clip of Look At Us Now (Honeycomb). Wonder what Elvis would have thought. He would have been a proud grandfather no doubt, but that was never going to be.

Looking at my little diary, here are the other dramas I’ve really enjoyed so far this year: Happy Valley final series (BBC iPlayer), The Gold (BBC iPlayer), Dead To Me (Netflix), You (Netflix) and Blue Lights (BBC iPlayer). The common factor amongst really memorable telly is the writing, and there can’t be many people in the UK who didn’t watch the final series of Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley. It was going to be tough coming up with an ending that tied up all the loose ends and left viewers satisfied, but I think she managed it. What a fine young man Ryan had turned into too. As for Neil Forsyth, the Scottish writer who gave us Guilt, it seems he also wrote the screenplay for The Gold, the mini-series centred on the Brink’s-Mat robbery of 1983. It makes sense now that I enjoyed both so much and it was good to see the talented actor (with a wonderful voice), Emun Elliot, pop up in both. Blue Lights, set in Belfast, follows the trials and tribulations of three probationary police officers and it was so well-received a second series has already been commissioned. More synchronicity here in that one of the police officers is played by the same actor who played Max’s wife in Guilt.

From across the pond came the black comedy, Dead To Me, very much centred around the bond of friendship between two women (in amongst all the death!). It reminded me of the days before I met Mr WIAA when I was lucky enough to have a series of very close female friends, the kind you do everything with and can depend on entirely. These kind of friendships are by their nature short-lived, especially once a boyfriend or partner comes along, but I have fond memories of those days and this drama reminded me of how important it can be to have such a friend. My last pick, You, was also from across the pond, although in the final season the action moved to London. It’s a psychological thriller and although I thought it lost its way a bit in the second season we persevered with it and enjoyed the twists and turns along the way.

I will finish with the song that was used as the opening theme to Daisy Jones & The Six, one that formed an earworm when we were watching the show. Dancing Barefoot by Patti Smith was recorded for her second album Wave in 1979 but was the perfect fit for this new drama released in 2023. Something timeless about it I think and the lyrics really did work for the character of Daisy.

Dancing Barefoot by Patti Smith:

So, a lot of telly there but not as much as I admitted to during the long periods of lockdown. What have you been watching of late? If you have anything you think I might like, please do share. I’d love to hear from you and as you know by now, I always reply.

Until next time…

Dancing Barefoot Lyrics
(Song by Patti Smith/Ivan Kral)

She is benediction
She is addicted to thee
She is the root connection
She is connecting with he

Here I go and I don’t know why
I fell so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me…

I’m dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come on like some heroine

She is sublimation
She is the essence of thee
She is concentrating on
He, who is chosen by she

Here I go and I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly,
Could it be he’s taking over me…

She is re-creation
She, intoxicated by thee
She has the slow sensation that
He is levitating with she …

Here I go and I don’t know why,
I spin so ceaselessly,
’til I lose my sense of gravity…

(oh god I fell for you …)

The plot of our life sweats in the dark like a face
The mystery of childbirth, of childhood itself
Grave visitations
What is it that calls to us?
Why must we pray screaming?
Why must not death be redefined?
We shut our eyes we stretch out our arms
And whirl on a pane of glass
An afixiation a fix on anything the line of life the limb of a tree
The hands of he and the promise that she is blessed among women.

(oh god I fell for you …)

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

18 thoughts on “More Great Telly – Guilt, Daisy Jones & The Six and “Dancing Barefoot” by Patti Smith”

    1. I think you would like it. Very much of its time and the story told in quite an unconventional way which I liked. Obvious where the inspiration for the characters came from but fun working it all out.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for the recommendations, Alyson. I don’t watch a lot of TV – not always intentional but a combination of factors, several as ‘Dad taxi’ often get in the away, so Mrs. K & I usually fall into the cliche/habit of box set binges. I think I must be one of a very small number who has yet to see a single episode of Happy Valley, but I think we will get to it eventually!

    I haven’t seen Guilt either but I agree with your comments about Mark Bonnar. Particularly memorable appearances in Unforgotten and Humans and he was a highlight in the largely disappointing The Rig.

    One that I missed and wanted to see was The Terror, a fictional account of a real-life Royal Navy expedition in the Arctic and starring Ciarán Hinds and Ian Hart. When I tried to track it down on BBC iPlayer, the only series available was called The Terror: Infamy which focuses on a Japanese internment camp in the USA during World War II. Despite being narratively unconnected, these series are apparently one and the same, although confusingly despite being series 2, Infamy is labelled on BBC iPlayer as series 1! I think the first series is supposed to be better, but there are some good moments in the latter and it’s almost worth it just for the starring roles by George Takei (Star Trek, of course) and Naoko Mori (Torchwood).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I seem to remember my life was like yours about a decade ago what with the “mum taxi” duties and work and elderly parents. Once I took up blogging I barely watched telly at all for a year but nowadays I have much more time for such pastimes as you might one day (if you choose to go down that route).

      I’m so glad Mark got such a high-profile role in Guilt as he’s been a prolific supporting actor for years now and I always like him in things. The Rig was very disappointing – it seemed to start out as one thing and then turn into something from a very different genre indeed. I got that there was a message in there but think they could have done it better. It was really big in the US apparently which I found hard to believe.

      Yes, we watched The Terror with Ciaran Hinds. Again like The Rig it morphed into something else but glad I watched it. Sorry to hear the BBC iPlayer has failed with their links and that the expedition one has got lost – hopefully it will return. Will have to look out for that other Terror.


  2. Glad there were no spoilers for Guilt 3 as we are watching it in real time.
    Mark Bonnar was excellent also as Duncan in Shetland. A character not to unsimilar to Max.
    Blue Lights got better as the series progressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very current so I wouldn’t have dared to give out spoilers but we went back and rewatched the previous 2 series ahead of the new one so been really good. I love things like this set in Scotland as the humour is so relatable and you recognise so many of the locations. Yes Mark Bonnar in a similar role in Shetland but with Max he takes it to a whole new level.

      Yes, it took a while to get into Blue Lights but I thought the last two episodes were exceptional.


    1. Ah yes of course, you are a fan of Korean drama. Considering I thought the film Parasite was amazing and the premise of Squid Games very clever (and scary) I will have to look out for these other titles.


  3. Many thanks for the insights into all these, Alyson, this should become the go-to place for all our TV recommendations and reviews! We don’t watch a lot of series – we are one of the very small number Khayem mentions who have never seen Happy Valley! – but I’m sure we’re missing out on some really good ones and ‘Guilt’ is shouting out to me for many reasons so I very much appreciated your views here. Some of the many reasons for me are that it’s Scottish, the record shop reference/musical anecdotes you mention, your description of it as a dark comedy-drama, and Mark Bonnar (have to admit to a bit of a swoon there). The other night we spent 90 minutes watching a film we thought sounded interesting only to find it was really very clichéd and rather ridiculous (but we stuck it out to the end because it hooked us in just enough, a bit like a bag of sickly sweets you find yourself eating but later regret), and now I wish that we’d spent that time watching an episode or two of Guilt instead… To the iPlayer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all subjective of course and we all like different things but Guilt has received really good reviews so hopefully you’d like it. Lots of views of Edinburgh as well so you might recognise places from last year! Yes, as we get older the actors I have a bit of a crush on are now the ones with grey, balding heads and Mark Bonnar is up there as one of my favourites. He is not that likeable in Guilt but I’ve watched him in a few interviews and in real life he comes across as being a really nice smiley guy. Interestingly he went to school with the actor who played his brother in Guilt as they are both boys from Leith (which we didn’t visit last year).

      Yes, I hate that when you invest a fair amount of time on something but halfway through wish you hadn’t. I often choose films that have won Oscars for viewing at home but they tend to be films that are quite ‘difficult’ and won an award for acting skills etc, and not light-hearted Saturday night viewing – Mr WIAA just raises his eyebrows.


      1. Just to say we watched Ep 1 of Series 1 of Guilt last night and are both absolutely hooked! Love it and can’t wait to watch the next one (probably tonight) and then the later series. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve mostly been watching old TV shows lately, but I did enjoy The Gold (perhaps because it was set in the 80s?) and I’m intrigued by Guilt – I do like Mark Bonnar. Some new stuff I’ve watched with Louise that I’d recommend… but these days, it all depends on which streaming services you subscribe to… Candy (with Jessica Biel & Melanie Lynskey, also set in the 80s) and Beef (Ali Wong & Steven Yeung). I wouldn’t recommend Citadel though, it’s awful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I really enjoyed The Gold too and it turned out it was written by the same person who wrote Guilt. The wonderful actor Emun Elliot was in both. Mr WIAA worked in Tenerife in the 80s (teaching locals to speak English with a Scottish accent) and he remembered well the start of the Timeshare boom – now we know how that came about!

      You are right, there are so many streaming services nowadays but I think we still watch most stuff on the BBC where you have the iPlayer. Amazon Prime I’ve kept as we order a lot online so worthwhile for the delivery costs and DD always had Netflix so we’d miss it now if we got rid of it. Sadly Disney+ had to go once I’d watched the Beatles doc series – kind of thing you can subscribe to for a month for specific programme then bow out.

      Thanks for your recommendations – will look out for them (or not as the case might be).


  5. I still have a ‘paper’ diary. I’ve kept all my old ones going back to 1981. It’s how I keep track of my gigs as much as anything. The blog is a labour of love for me; I’ve said on more than one occasion the tingle I get when staring at a blank screen and filling it up with words is a thrill that never goes away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to write long journal entries many years ago but mainly it was the pocket diary-sized affairs that I did keep up for around a decade until the family calendar became a thing. Those pocket-sized diaries have come in handy however for looking back, although I no longer even remember who some of the people mentioned in them were – I can’t believe I used to live life at such a pace. Of late this place has become my record of what’s been happening in the big wide world and closer to home but finding it tricky at the moment what with Coronations and Eurovision – neither topics seem to go down well around here! For the record, we did have a Eurovision party for the first time since the pandemic so that was fun, but I might not write about the songs – Cha Cha Cha.


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