Lockdown has changed our world, literally. No country has escaped the virus. Even if the infection rate is low every country has been affected by the economics, loss of freedom restrictions on travel. We have come to rely on Netflix et al to relieve the stress.

Apart from the band of chaps who believe it is all a ruse and we do not need restrictions, face masks or vaccine the rest of us have suffered to degree ranging from devastation to social isolation. And each of us have had to adapt – especially as in our social habits in the intense home environment.

Like many I have lost faith in the TV news. At a time when we need effective propaganda to cheer us up TV reporters have turned the ever changing situation into a chance to rip people, policy and rules to shreds in never quest to look clever. I’ve also been clever and found the off button, or rather the alternative viewing button.

But there is only so many repeats, social distanced dramas and selected highlights of previous series it is impossible to watch. And then there is Netflix ( for example ). This is an escape option the route to healing the wounds. Netflix can be addictive, I know, the availability of box sets should carry a warning; “You can become seriously addicted to the following box set. Wake up smell the coffee, take a deep breath and rejoin the real world at frequent intervals”.

Having blitzed through Game of Thrones, ‘I’ll just watch one more episode’, then Medici and Marco Polo I discovered I was mysteriously progressing eastwards. Netflix or rather Netfix – or better still Netfixation had me hooked. This was a world of escapism, and a lot of history. OK I feel I have learnt a lot about the war of the Roses, medieval Italy, and the far east. I then entered the world of the Netflix ‘recommendations’, you liked that so we think you will enjoy this…….Welcome to the wonderful world of Korean drama!

It’s great. It’s the closest thing to the British pantomime. Handsome Prince meets Cinderella. Complete with ugly sisters and the wretched mother who is part of a exceptionally wealthy family owners of a Cheabol (Wiki:- A chaebol is a large industrial conglomerate that is run and controlled by an owner or family in South Korea. A chaebol often consists of many diversified affiliates, controlled by an owner whose power over the group often exceeds legal authority) Chuck in few members of parliament or ‘Assemblymen’ and stir throughly.

Its rather watching Scandal drama where a hard core of actors pop up everywhere leading to weird interpretation of the plot as you mix story lines by accident. Korean is either one of the most difficult or easiest languages to learn. I fall heavily into the difficult learning category, as with most foreign languages I feel embarrassed at mispronouncing foreign words. It’s the excuse I have used for lifetime. Korean also has a different sentence structure and phonetic pronunciation by an English speaker just doesn’t work. Thus the dialogue does not see to match the sub titles. Also Koreans are extremely polite* and have a habit of ending sentences with the word kamsahamnida, which I believe means to thank or be thankful and not as I thought a request to come show me dad which was rather weird.

Anyway to offset the guilt trip of a Korean binge I have reconciled myself that this is the equivalent of reading a novel as you read the entire script in subtitles. Occasionally the subs seem to be a misfit. * The actor is extremely frustrated, or just hit his thumb with a hammer and the subs say ‘Goodness’. Perversely It seems Koreans are very physical. Frequently the female clouts the male – with no remonstration. They shout a lot at the end of a sentence and drink copious amounts of soju. This I have learnt.

Korean dramas fall into two distinct categories. Those which have a happy ending viz Prince Charming marries Cinderella and the Chaebol is overrun etc, or the leading characters die off in the final five minutes of the last episode. There is no indication over which route is about to emerge. This evokes mixed feelings and you watch the last 30 minutes in trepidation holding your breath as they cross the road etc. And then you crash back to reality, and covid and the bleeding weather like emerging from hypnosis. But it’s worth I tell you.

Alistair Owens

The meandering thoughts of someone with too much time on his hands. Tending to see the obscure and irrelevant in most events I have been forced to record this by family members as a means of diverting attention away from them. But I see their plan.

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