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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  November 15, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PST

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>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight we begin with kenneth branagh director of "murder on the orient express." >> it's what shakespeare calls the poison of deep brief that can awake the primal and something shocking occurs. that quiver under these sometimes apparently gentile stories with exotic and pleasing characters is fun for actors. >> charlie: we continue with john saunders. >> it's been a way of softening ers between people and breaking down projections and taking
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concepts and complicating them with human characters. >> charlie: we conclude with macklemore and his new album "gemini." >> i want to hear the song i made and when you find that pocket and your voice. when you find out who you are as a person and that's translating to a record, that's when you realize i have something here. >> charlie: branagh, saunders and macklemore when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications
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from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: en branagh is here and won for best director and best actor at age 29 for his film adaptation of henry v and start in murder of orient express with johnny depp and judi dench and penelope cruz. here is the trailer. >> would you mind if i join you? >> you're the world famous detective.
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>> you're inauthentic. >> you're funny. >> i know what it feels like to be have a man in my bedroom. >> what do you think of a dead man. >> leave her out of it. >> the real killer is right here. i'm sleeping here where everyone can see me and a can see
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everyone. >> trust no one. >> charlie: i'm pleased to have kenneth branagh back at the table. welcome. >> thanks, charlie. >> charlie: with everything you've been doing, why this? >> it's a fantastically gripping style. the prospect is kept that 15 characters might have performed this violent act of murder. i read it as an adolescent and got a passion for reading crime fiction. and when the opportunity came up what i sensed was a darker and more emotional tale under that crowd pleasing murder-mystery. that drew me in. >> charlie: it was made in '74. >> yes.
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and it's gone in a different direction. there's a big cinematic invitation to the spectacle. with the landscape and exotic locations. we start in jerusalem and go to istanbul and the alps and then it's a parlor game and to my surprise it goes deep and dark and a psychological mystery unfolds with a dirty, powerful revenge story. >> charlie: that's where you wanted to go? >> yeah. think inside is the story about how human loss or what shakespeare calls the poison of deep grief can awaken the primal and something occurs and that quiver underneath these sometimes apparently gentile stories with exotic and pleasing
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characters is quite the dynamic and fun for actors. >> charlie: is there one at the center than other films? >> the genius is she comes in and he backs away. he allows people to underestimate him. they find his mustache ludicrous. in our case it's a fairly sizable one and find his accent one they can condescend to and he's aware of these. he can speak perfect idiomatic english and the man with the stupid mustache you can tell he's easily a retired hair dresser.
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he is subject to this condescension. while that's happening and sits behind the weighty mustache -- it's the assertion of his difference. he's happy to be someone to say the mustache is evidence of your incredible vanity to which he says, yes, so. i spent time preening the mustache. that's me and welcome to you. it becomes quite the tool in his interaction with people. >> charlie: you wanted to both direct and play him? directors and detectives are always looking for the body language under the forensic gaze and tells whether people are lying and if you're directing this wonderful group
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of actors i found myself staring so carefully because i in this master class of people i very much admired in a setting in itself that was big and spectacular and the acting wanted to be intimate and personal and room-sized. there's an opportunity for subtlety and that was a pleasure to watch because these are all thoroughbred actors and people in command of their technique. i find when people are experts at it it's breath taking. >> charlie: exactly. it's also said they read this and took the opportunity and felt like they couldn't let down their fellow actors because they're so good. i have to bring my a-game. >> i think that was sweet. we had a den mother in dane judi
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dench i saw actors walking up and curtsies because she played a queen so many times and though she's the most down to earth individual but had an aura they responded to. i got the sense they understood and i did eventually where you ask people to come to the pictures when they can get their entertainment 1,000 ways and to have the event of all those people in the room at the same time playing in scenes where the camera does not cut and it begins at one end with a close up of willem dafoe and michelle pfeiffer and the guy in the back turns out to be johnny depp. you haven't cut and they were all there and the energy and pace of the scene is create by their interaction. they're all what clint eastwood referred to as fast start-up
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actors. they have incredible intuition. you want to catch them as fast you can and i learned to rehearse as little as possible and catch the happening. i love sport and watching athletes like before a wimbledon final and watching people how little they do. >> charlie: i'm fascinated by the idea of women wimbledon and an individual sport, a boxing match, how the idea of the role these people play is so far removed.
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the talent is so extraordinary. i'm constantly asking there's the edge one has over the other it's all mental. that's the difference. >> i agree. it's fascinating to see at work. they're at the high level of performance capability and yet it's not percentage and has to do with the way they can apply and enjoy or find the way to enjoy because mostly the best of that happens when people are in the zonal grace.
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even if people don't understand in those terms if they are intuitive, these masters of these art forms or whatever it might be. you could make a piece of furniture but when they're there you sense there's a potential and they can move and react swiftly it's a compelling and attractive quality. >> charlie: what's your take on him and how he changes? >> he begins the story in the film declaring there is right, there is wrong and nothing in between. he wants to believe if he can control the world and have criteria for judging, life for a man like him for whom imbalance and chaos is distressing. he's obsessive and tries to impose order when he discovers a violent crime but by the end of
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the story what lies between good and bad occupies a moral gray zone. he has to take on board the pain of other human beings who may have arrived at some appalling violent act via tremendous personal pain that he may be forced to empathize with or understand in a different way but not as simple he hoped it might be or could be. in some way it's distressing to see. and he carries a tenderness and sensitivity of soul that wishes the world could be as it should be not as it is. for him he says in seeing it that way. -- >> charlie: is there a wariness. of him? >> the gift he has for detection makes life almost unbearable but it's good in the detection of
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crime without self-city -- self-pity and makes him melancholic and he's got a delightful eccentricity and likes puddings and dickens and in those moments he's like a child. >> charlie: whose influenced you as a film director? >> literally and recently i had an experience with christopher nolan who directed "dunkirk" and i've admired robert aldman and people when i've had the chance of being near them have this incredible capacity -- we touched on it on other things on
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high level performance. they're super prepared. they have brilliant technical skills and they can dance with it and lift off. i saw christopher nolan do that with dunkirk. he knew his subject inside-out and puts himself in a situation where there are so many variables with boats and tanks and thousand of people. >> charlie: therefore -- >> he's able to, as it were, work with the prepared piece and deal with the chaos. somehow have that quiver of life underneath something that's also been beautifully prepared. at that stage you have a great collision between the preparation of a great artist and the living in the moment of the same artist. >> charlie: someone told me he's
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totally immersive. >> the focus is wonderful. watching him was like i imagine a great painter in front of a canvas. it's riveting. the power of concentration is striking. feel as though you're seeing a beam come out of their eyes and he never sits down. he prowls the set all day like a trans. he's the first director i've worked with in a costume fitting. you pictures and trust everybody else. not that he doesn't trust them but was there. it's a very bespoke thing and very impressive and particular. >> charlie: directing is one thing and acting is another but doing them at the same time, what's the secret to that?
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>> our consultants were there various times to say, no, yes, more, less. i was warmed up. and sometimes it gets rid of the superficial i used to call nerves but i now call excitement because it's a more positive way of thinking about it. because of directing i have the luxury of being able to ask in this case the other brilliant actors but also of myself to pick up the camera when you're not quite ready and i've started the last few years with close ups at the beginning of the day
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and of shooting any particular scene because in trying to capture the rawness -- it's like the italians in architecture. they always want something imperfect. i tried to create situation where's you do that and it's more uncomfortable but it's life and if you present that in a murder mystery some tension is helpful. >> charlie: for me in terms of over preparation is to stimulate the spontaneity. that's the only thing it ought to do. other people have argued to me in terms of this kind of thing you don't want to know too much. you want to know a lot but not too much. don't want to be hostage to what you know. you want what you know, in a sense, to inspire you. >> i agree.
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to achieve liftoff particularly with the weird mysterious process of performance where my experience is in the classics where if you have been able to do that with a technically challenging medium like shakespeare you're hoping ultimately when you lift off the part will play you because you understand in the mind and art of a great proteic writer there is -- poetic writer there is something beyond words and you are merely the vessel. you might flack yourself you bring something to it but you want to do so much you can get out of the way and shakespeare can enter and then it's thrilling. you look good. >> charlie: other than the fact it has a great star and great director, why do you think
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dunkirk resonated? >> the expeditionary force had been driven back to the french coast with the french army and the goal was to advocatevacuate and they overran europe with the blitzkrieg and essentially the entire british army was stuck on a long stretch of beach and ready to be picked off by german air forces in the incursion of the land forces and in a brief and miraculous spell those
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400,000 men were rescued largely by the british navy but in the gap that was literally how close boats can get to the shore because of the way the tidal system works. nearly 800 small boats at the request of the government came across the channel. in some cases there was a canoe. a canoe came across to get some of these boys. it was amazing as churchill called it an amazing deliverance and miracle though you'd call it a retreat or as germans called it a defeat. and the idea that however dark the time if there is a determination not to give up or put one foot in front of the
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other or trust and put your faith in basic humanity as it were your fellows came to meat you and lend a hand. that the a beautiful idea you need not give up. >> charlie: much success with this. >> thank you. >> charlie: george saunders is here and hailed as the master of the short story. earlier he relieved his first novel lincoln in the bardo. in a review colson whitehead said that it's a defeat of humanism and it's nice to see a writer you've followed for years reach a different level of achievement.
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welcome. >> nice to be here. >> charlie: tell me about winning the booker prize. you don't know when you go. >> i got the message it with a bit going to happen and i shouldn't get my hopes up. >> charlie: last year was the first time an american won. >> i was too nervous to eat my dinner and was focussed on applauding when someone else won. i had it prepared just in case. >> charlie: what did you tell them? >> i talked about the historical moment we're in and that the inclination and time of difficultiy is difficulty is to deon i quoted a story where it was
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said of a character's daughter she hopes she understands she's not helpless like the dress under the iron. and for those concerned with the historical moment can maybe reassure ourselves with the idea we're not helpless or alone and through literature and intellectual engagement you can pull yourself up. literature is a force for communication and compassion and at a time like this is when we maybe need it the most. >> charlie: to have compassion as much as we can in difficult circumstances or to give support to others we feel maybe in the same place. and i think as we have seen
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literature as a way to soften borders and taking dismissive concept and complicating them. any of us can use that in a world that is dominated by what i would consider a fairly shallow and pervasive mode of media in which you tend to think of the other person as an invisible anonymous other in opposition to you. literature says, no, the person you think is your enemy regarded with enough affection and time and care and love will be seen to be very similar to you actually even if they're quite different in the world we emanate from the same root. to me this is a time when maybe a certain cultural tendency to minimize art or treat it an indulgence is called into question. we should recognize art is the way people think best about the
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world and most deeply about the world when we're engaged in a work of art. >> charlie: you're best known for writing short stories. everybody wondered when you'd write a novel. >> i slipped up. willy was 11 and his favorite son and died of typhoid quickly. i thought that's a good one for somebody to write but not me. part of an artist's job is to know your limits. at that time i was carving out a place for myself and there was no intersection on what i could do and what the book would require. over the years i got older and got -- i felt well, i've lived as much as anybody and the circles start to intersect more.
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>> charlie: you said why not? if you have a small town and work it you don't want to leave everything on the table and get to the point where i was at where i was so scared i almost turned from te challenge. there was a period where i thought it may be hard and might not work but in the sake of future work you have to give it a try. >> charlie: and you decided to do it through the vehicle of monologue? >> yeah. a former student said if you ever wrote a story it would be in the form of monologue and i got excited like that could be good. you're trying to do it where it's not dead on arrival and has
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potential and maybe self-confusion. as you're writing the best feeling is i'm not sure this is going to work and it made it to the end a not at a foregone con like the book would work. >> charlie: to the end you weren't sure? >> that was one of the funny things about a novel, you really don't know. it doesn't go out in the worldfu worldful world until you're done. i don't know if it's difficult. sometimes people are saying it is. it's got a narrow entry point nep first 30 pages are disorienting by design. i wasn't sure if people would take that gamble with me and find at the end it paid off. that was sort of the thing i wasn't certain about. >> charlie: and have you historical characters, link o lincoln and his wife and two sons.
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>> and others. >> charlie: and there's a dinner at the white house. >> there was a famous party the lincolns had. one thing that drew me in in the first place is the heartbreaking idea that the lincolns were going to have this big reception and right about the day willy and his brother got sick. they said we think it will be okay go ahead and have the party. so they did and willy got worse that night and went down hill and died a couple weeks later and he can probably hear the marine band from upstairs. it's every parents' nightmare that you did something to hasten your child -- >> charlie: you talk about life and love. what's that? what kept coming up in my mind is this weird dilemma where we're designed to love one another and we find so much meaning in it.
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in my darkest hour what i find is what i love and you look up and you realize it's the other unnegotiable truth is i end, you end, our loved ones end. it seemed hard to reconcile those. it's set on the night when lincoln is doing that. he can't deny he love his son and knows in his body and yet life goes on and he has to lead the country out of this war. >> charlie: what's the definition of bardo? >> it's a tibetan word for transitional state. we're between birth and death. and lincoln is in this bardo of interesting to transition from grief into a functional state. >> charlie: he thought the war was going to be over quickly in the beginning. >> everybody did. it's set after the battle of
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fort donaldson when people go, oh. there's thousands dead and no clear winners and it will go on a long time. >> charlie: you said about capturing the character of lincoln. when i was reading lincoln it was a part me, part him. i was practicing my ideas while trying to mimic him and his voice and way of thinking. >> you realize you're not writing lincoln, you're writing a father and husband in a certain night in a certain graveyard assuming different p s postures. i read all his speeches and tried to get some of his rhythm to later discard it as needed. in the end you're projecting on
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to him. here's what i need lincoln to be and what i hoped he was. in that situation, you say who is lincoln you find the best in you. the best movement you've had when you felt the most love and genous those are the moments you ascribe to him. in a way it was a four-year party of saying forget the other guys you are, george. can you sum up lincoln three hours a day. you spent five years of heavy research didn't you? >> i was researching as a read. you put everything in you can about the historical period and at the critical moment when you're writing you say i won't worry about any of that. my job is to make a dramatic machine.
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if something true will help me, i'll use it. if it's fabricated i'll use it. >> charlie: how many times did he go into the crypt? >> we don't know. the newspaper said on several occasion. one fun thing to say is it one, two, eight, all in the same night on successive nights. the weird thing about fiction is there isn't a right answer except whatever will call the drama and emotion to heighten is the right answer. in this case i thought three successive nights. when i wrote the next day at the white house it became boring so i had it in one night. >> charlie: having completed it and received the booker prize how's that make you feel? i mean, obviously good. why didn't i do this earlier? it was a mountain i can always climb? i'm glad i did it?
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>> i noticed if you got praise or criticism, if it's good enjoy it for a minute. if it's bad, weep for a couple minutes. then say whatever this is, i hope it helps me be brave in the next one. it was nice it take a chance in the form and emotional range and have the world get it or some of the world have this esteemed panel get it. when i get praise it makes me think i can try something harder. it's a wonderful memory and then note to self, try something weirder. >> charlie: turning to reality politics. you wrote of trump supporters,
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where's all the anger coming from and by years of steadily degraded public discourse we're now two separate ideological countries, left and right and speaking different languages. the lines between us down. how do we get the lines back up? >> that was a year and a half ago. there's two things. don't despair. you walk on the street and people stim have manners. the world is being held together by kind and decency. the second thing is we have to take a diagnostic look at social media. if i go on for four hours watch my mind and body afterwards. almost two species are working. if we take that and multiply it
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times 20 million or whatever it's not surprising or communication is getting abrupt and anxious and agitated. and our empathy is receding. i don't know the answer. i don't think internet is going back in the box but i've been doing serious thinking about my responsibilities to my own spiritual life and what immersion in this made up world and where manners are worse and people appear to feel to in assault -- insult each other. i wouldn't go to a party like that. people in costumes coming up and saying the rudest thing and when they take the mask off they're not that person. >> charlie: it's the anonymity. >> i don't know that equation but somehow there's some urge to be very judgmental and harsh.
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that's not the totality of who those people are. we make a mistake and it spills over. >> charlie: was part of your learning experience in writing if i remember, you wanted to diagnose hemingway and carver and whoever else and in a sense figure out what they were doing then you figured out you have to figure out what you're doing. >> i wanted to dissect hemingway and after a long apprenticeship i realized it's a different mind set and there's a person out there reading me, he's just as smart as i am or just as worldly and good hearted. can i keep her on the line and you do that by respecting her intelligence at every turn which
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turns into editing moves to ensure the person you care about and respect -- >> charlie: what was the commencement speech? >> kindness. it haunts you. saying looking back what do i regret, not much in bad decisions but i do regret the many times out of anxiety or self-protection or mindlessness had been unkind to somebody. that would stand behind that. >> charlie: it resonated. it went viral. >> that was nice. that was a quick speech. kindness itself is a nice idea but it's not just being sweet. i don't think that's it.
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if you say i want to be kind today then you get up and you go -- >> charlie: at parties it's the absence of being cool. >> i found where you go to a coffee shop and you see the b barista's been crying you think do i engage or be quiet. you have to be watching and see what she may need. that's a life time job. >> charlie: i think the most important thing is you had the thought. >> yes, that's right. you set your intention. >> charlie: her condition resonated with you. it's a quandary how to reach out or if to reach out but you were
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touched. >> if you're so intent on kindness. you can make a mistake. in our political life there's a big conceptual agenda i carry around, if i only do x i'll never be wrong. that's inverse morality. the idea to being open to what's happening because more data gets in. when we have our ideological banners and liberal or conservative on our hat can have the effect of blocking out the data >> charlie: was there a time you thought absurdism is realism? >> there was the apprenticeship
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moment where i looked around the world and what's absurd about life is we think we're in control and live to have control but the world is always schooling us in harsh or gentle ways your not in control. a guy won a litterary award a literary award and falls down going down the steps. >> charlie: it's great to have you here. thank you so much. when one reads lincoln and the bardo one comes away with what?
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>> this idea -- and it sounds depressing but there's in way out of life without pain. no matter how people are behaving their core experience is a struggle with sorrow. it's the root of christianity and buddhism. the ability to see another human being as a suffering, striving but ultimately doomed person. it sounds kind of dark but the few times i've been able to enact it it's lovely. you don't have to be afraid of someone or oppose you. we're in the same boat. >> charlie: does lincoln go to the crypt because the pain is so horrible for him or goes for another reason? >> charlie: in the book he goes for that reason. almost like -- day the
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son was buried. my imagination tells me he went home and thought this can't be it. that little body is out in the woods. we can't be separated. so he went back to close it for himself. i think that's what happened. >> charlie: thank you. the book is called lincoln in the bardo. back in a moment. mac lamour is one of two rappers to earn a fellow certified award and eminem described him as
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dope. [♪] >> charlie: i'm pleased to have macklemore at the table for the first time. >> great to be here. >> charlie: tell me the difference in rap and hip-hop. >> rap is something you do, an element of the culture. hip-hop is under the umbrella. it's an element. it's one of the elements
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>> charlie: are you a rap or hip-hop artist or both. >> both. if it speaks to you and pumps your heart it's part of who you are. >> charlie: when did it first pump your heart? >> 7 years old. it's the first thing i grew up with. the first music that gave me goose bumps. >> i didn't start with crazy talent. i had a crazy work ethic. i had a school group and i was the worst in the group. >> charlie: see, i love this story. >> i would get on stage and scream, lose my voice and had no breath control. didn't know how to do it. i figured out i wasn't great because i was listening to tapes
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and realize these guys' verses are better than mine and got a karaoke tape deck and practiced and stayed in my room for years practicing. >> charlie: when did you know or did somebody finally tell you, hey, you're good? >> i knew i was getting good when i wanted to listen to myself and my songs. it's one thing to do it. it's another thing to say i want to hear the song i made. you can also feel it. when you find that pocket. when you find your voice, when you find out who you are as a person and that's translating to a record, that's when you realize i have something here. >> charlie: tell me about white privilege too. >> the most challenging song
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i've written. it's around nine minutes. around that time. we wanted to take that listener on a visual journey starting at a black lives matter protest rally and race in general. talking about white supremacy in nine minutes so we wanted to start from the place of the rally and come from my spshth perspective perspective and when i heard it after the non-indictment of michael brown. i start there and i'm in my own head and take the listener through the journey. >> charlie: is there a sense of your music being socially conscious? >> there's an element to it. if something in my heart
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resonates with me on a personal level i'm going to attempt to put this to song. i read an article my mom had sent me about a kid getting bullied in school and committed suicide. i wanted to touch on that and speak from the perspective of that kid and my producer said no, that's not your story to tell but you have a story to tell up this. >> charlie: and that was? >> growing up in a gay area and having two gay uncles and questioning my own sexuality and i thought because my uncles were gay and i was good at art i was gay you know, just being a kid and talking about popular culture and how we use terminology and in general speaking on the subject of marriage equality. that's something that was heavy
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on my heart after reading the article. around that time is when you had president obama come out for the first time in support of same-sex marriages and you're watching society evolve and the conversation evolve and some negative terms being thrown around start to not become the norm and get called out. >> i can't change even if i tried. even if i wanted to. ♪ keeps me warm ♪ keeps me warm
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>> if it's on my heart i want to put it in a record. i don't just make socially conscious music but it's part of who i am and will translate to the songs. >> charlie: thrift shop came along when? >> 2012. >> charlie: what was that about? >> shopping at second-hand clothing stores and something i've done forever getting back to the original karaoke tape deck and clothing wise and personality i always resonated with shopping at second-hand store and buying artwork and women's fur jackets and everything in between. >> charlie: what is it about that? >> it's an anomaly. it's an outlier for some reason the saxophone riff, what i'm rapping about, the timing, the hook, juan's voice, it added up to the music video to this
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cultural moment and i don't think anybody heard anything like it and i was brand new to people. here comes this guy in a huge cheetah coat on a scooter and some slurpees it something new and spoke to people. [♪] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ one? >> gemini is all over the place. it's multiple things and that's what i've embraced about my personality. i may have a socially conscious here or a record where i'm battling addiction here or a little bit flashy on this side so gemini is embracing my multiple sides. it's my astroll -- a my dad approached me and asked me if i was happy. i said the no. drugs and alcohol lead me to
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isolation, depression, stagnation, lack of creativity. and that's where i was at that moment and when he asked me that question i reflected and answered no. i checked in a week later. >> charlie: this is when? >> 2008. >> charlie: nine years ago. doing okay? >> doing okay. yeah. it hasn't been a perfect journey in term of me getting out of rehab to today but it's one day at a time and a got time under my belt and i have a program of recovery now. i always thought i could do it on my own. i can white knuckle it and stop if i wanted to. it's part of the addict. if you don't know what a support group or recovering community looks like or experienced that there's no way to know and you think you can do it by self will.
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for any experience and millions of others self will doesn't work. it's more than that. this is a disease that should be treated as such. >> charlie: where you are today. this is the solo album. the first in 12 years. more solo stuff? more experimentation? >> i think life is an experiment. i want to keep experimenting. i have a two and a half-year-old daughter. and a beautiful wife and another baby on the way in march. life is amazing. that's a huge part of my foundation now is my family and then have you musical side. it's a balance right now of being on the road, promoting the album, sharing it with fans, travelling around the world and exposing the music to as many people as possible while also being a father. i'm loving both of those. >> charlie: great to have you here. congratulations on everything.
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>> thank you. >> charlie: album "gemini" macklemore. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you're watching pbs.
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for several centuries, scotland was ruled from london. parliament hadn't met here since 1707. recently, the scots voted to bring their parliament home, and london didn't object. in the year 2000, edinburgh resumed its position as home of scotland's parliament. scotland's strikingly modern parliament building opened in 2004. the catalan architect enric miralles mixed bold windows, wild angles, and organic themes into a startling complex that would, as he envisioned, "surge from out of the rock and into the city."
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♪ - you know, in life, we tend to do the same thing over and over again without really thinking, like looking in the refrigerator for that item that's never going to be there, or arguing with a friend who's never going to change their mind. i do that all the time. or maybe you're licking frosting off the beaters of a hand-held electric mixer without unplugging it from the wall. that isn't so smart. well, today's show is about breaking bad habits. we're going to start with a stew. we're not going to brown the meat, and we're not going to use any kind of canned stock, just water.

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