writes a love letter
Matt Maltese is a London based singer songwriter known for his frank lyrics and heart-wrenching melodies. Dubbed 'The UK's answer to Father John Misty' and 'A New and Improved Morrissey', his first 2 albums combined the former's wit and the latter's pessimism, and won him a dedicated fanbase, with his single 'As The World Caves In' becoming an unexpected hit on Tik Tok earlier this year, when the world began to seem as though it were doing just that.
For Hook's Love Letter series, Matt writes to the director, writer and actor Will Sharpe, best known as the creator of the dark comedy Flowers.
I think this is my first love letter.
I was 19 when I came across Flowers, living on my own in a small room in Camden and working at a cafe. I was depressed and grieving and heartbroken and indifferent to everything. I couldn’t watch anything without being on my phone or falling asleep. But when I saw Howard from The Mighty Boosh botch a suicide attempt at the start of Episode one, I knew you were different.
On the surface, it was an unhappy story to tell… an English cottage inhabited by a suicidal children’s author with a dysfunctional family. But, really, the first series was six of the most wonderfully weird, painful, funny episodes of television I’d seen. I hadn’t watched anything with that kind of darkness and comedy before. And it was reassuring to see a sitcom on Channel 4 that had such unhappy subject matter - which as we all know - can make for the happiest sitcoms around. I hate to quote your dialogue back at you, but I felt exactly like Shun did when he says of Mr Flowers - “I need to see that miserable happens.. difficulties happen.. this is the world and you can survive”. If that’s not happy, I don’t know what is.
When series 2 came along I wasn’t in such a dark place, but that didn’t matter. It was equally magnificent. Amy’s arc through her bipolar disorder was awful to watch, and the cardboard cartoon cut-out of depression that Olivia Colman’s Deborah uses as a promo tool for her book – perfect. Shun’s alcoholism was a genius touch too by the way. His ramblings and tussling with Mr Flowers in the restaurant bathroom is one of the funniest scenes of television I’ve ever seen.
I moved from Flowers to your two films and inhaled their despair and bleakness. There’s something that magically pokes fun at, and embraces, Englishness in your work. Toby’s incoherent spiel about why foreign films are better than normal films to try and seduce Alice… or Barry replacing mouldy cheese on toast at his dead wife’s grave. Your work tackles the morbid with joy and strangeness, and you turn grief and heartache into an adult fairy-tale/nightmare that, even outside of the Flower’s universe, I think we’re all living in.
So yeah, that’s it from me I think. Will, you understand darkness and you fill it with strangeness and comedy. I needed someone to do that, and you did it better than anyone.
Waiting impatiently for what you do next.