swordznsorcery: (xenon)
( Dec. 31st, 2015 20:12)
2014. Guess what?! Yep, still drawing a blank. British politicians being horrible, although admittedly that doesn't narrow it down much. Fabulous summer, if you like hot weather (I do). I spent most of it renovating my mother's garden, digging flowerbeds and unearthing very old dead things, back from when round here was still a sea. I rather wish it still was. Not that I'm entirely advocating life in the Jurassic, as I'm pretty sure the music was rubbish, and internet speeds seriously sucked; but on the plus side I'd be living in an ocean paradise. Also, no electricity bill. Although there's probably a good reason for that.

Yes, I am blatantly avoiding the topic of 2014. It was a pretty good year for television. How To Get Away With Murder started. The first season was very watchable, and so far the second season has been pretty much unmissable. I think it's away until February, dagnabbit. Wretched mis-season hiatuses! (Hiati? No, that sounds more like a country). I only started watching because of Baby Ian Chesterton, but it's so much more than that. He's great, incidentally. Deserves to go far.

Also starting this year was Constantine, which I loved, and Forever, which I adored. Neither made it to a second season, and I am still in mourning. Television is a cruel mistress. Or something.

Good year musically. I discovered a new band, although I can't remember how off hand. Probably mucking about on YouTube. Very good debut album, but it remains to be seen if they'll be worth following further. Queen dug an old song out of the archives, which was nice; and the E Street Band continued to galavant about the globe, and wilfully distract me with YouTubery (Kitty's Back! Stayin' Alive! Hurrah)!

A bad year for fandom, though. Alexandra Bastedo, who played Sharron in The Champions, died this year. Those three were always so close, and as the extras on the DVD release showed, they'd remained so, which somehow made it all the sadder (and turned out she'd opened an animal sanctuary after she quit acting, so she was clearly Nice People). James Garner died too. Not so unexpected, that one, but he was Old Hollywood, and we're running out of them. And of course Mike Smith. And there's nothing else I can say about that.

... )
*collapses in a heap* If I ever decide to embark on something as long and involved as this again, somebody please hit me. Still, I made it! Not doing 2015, because this is 2015, even if it won't still be tomorrow. I can hardly say "Rememeber when...?" when we're still here. So instead I shall just say Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (three hundred exclamation marks), and leave you with two songs from a pair of bands who came back unexpectedly in 2015.

... )
Have a good 2016!
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 30th, 2015 19:34)
2013 was the year of Roger Taylor's long-awaited (if you're me) fifth solo album, Fun On Earth. Absolutely nothing else happened though, honest. Well, maybe a few things. Television gave me Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD, and then amazingly didn't take it away again after a half dozen episodes. It's still going now, even. Or will be, once they've stopped pootling around with their mid-season hiatusing, and have given it back. It's fab. It's got Agent Coulson and a flying car.

What else? I mentioned Roger's album already, didn't I. Damn. It's very good. Lousy cover, good songs. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were still on tour, so possibly the reason I didn't notice much else happening was because I was busy stalking them on YouTube? It was fun. As a hobby I highly recommend it. (Look! Cover Me! No Surrender! Live from London in June! Hurrah)!

Um. Some other stuff happened. Maybe I should do this entry as a fill-in-the-blanks? I remember watching Hostages, which was hilarious. I still don't know if it was supposed to be. It was a one-off, which was just as well, as no way was it going to get recommissioned; but despite that less than sterling recommendation, if you didn't see it, you should. It was very, very funny. I especially loved the episode when [spoiler] got shot. Funniest thing I've seen in years.

The Beeb aired Dancing On The Edge this year. It was a mini series by Stephen Poliakoff, who has impressed me greatly in the past (Caught On A Train (1980); Perfect Strangers (2001); The Lost Prince (2003)), but this was just a mess. It was supposedly the story of a black jazz band in London in the thirties, but it turned out to be about lots of white people instead. It even had white people telling black people how to deal with racism, which really shouldn't still be happening on the telly in 2013. Soundtrack was excellent, mind. I bought it before the end of the series. Some lovely bouncy jazz.

And then the Doctor had a birthday. :) And there was feasting and merriment. Well, there was a film, with Ten and Eleven and Eleven-and-a-half, or whatever we're supposed to call him. Best of all was Peter Davison being very silly with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy though. The Day Of The Doctor was fun, but The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot was demonstrably the best 50th birthday present ever. I hope we don't have to wait until 2023 before they're similarly silly again.

... )
swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Dec. 29th, 2015 21:36)
I moved house in 2012. Theoretically a simple enough procedure, but it turned into a comedy of errors so far as my internet connection was concerned. I can't blame my ISP, which seemed to be doing its best, but BT were a nightmare. I don't think it can actually have been sixteen years before I was reconnected, but it certainly felt like it. I spent the offline time intending to accomplish something useful, but in reality doing some extensive moping, and quite possibly squeaking every time I looked at my computer. Oh, and I rewatched Blake's 7, which seemed like a worthwhile use of my time. And wrote a Torchwood/Rentaghost crossover, which isn't really a worthwhile use of anybody's time, but whatever.

Beyond that, pass. When I started this, I thought that these would be the easy years, but they're not. I know a few things, obviously - Arab Spring, ISIS, David Cameron and Ian Duncan Smith being dicks, etc, but for the most part recent history is a mystery to me. I'm sure something must have happened somewhere in 2012. There was Hurricane Sandy of course, which caused some nasty damage along the Jersey Shore, but I have to confess to mostly knowing about that because of E Street fandom. Staying up until stupid o'clock to watch the benefit concert, because the E Street Band and the Who were playing, along with quite a lot of modern acts that I couldn't pick out of a line up, and frankly wouldn't want to. Otherwise, apparently I was looking the other way.

The Avengers! That happened this year. We had to call it Avengers Assemble here, in case Britain saw Robert Downey Jr in a bright red metal suit, and thought that he was Patrick Macnee. Which presumably makes Mark Ruffalo Diana Rigg? Anyway, it was fab, and everything blew up. On the smaller screen there was Ringer, briefly. On paper it looked wonderful - Richard Alpert, Mr Fantastic and Buffy the Vampire Slayer teaming up. With evil doubles! But it was another of those twenty-two episode shows that didn't get good until halfway in, when everybody else had stopped watching. So it went away again.

Musicwise the year was better. Springsteen brought out Wrecking Ball, and embarked on a two year long world tour with the E Street Band. Two years! Of obsessively stalking them on YouTube, and cheerfully filling my hard drive with music. That was a great tour, and a nice tribute to Clarence and Danny. It's horrible when your fandoms start losing people. Familiar, for those of us who aren't so into the new stuff, but still horrible. Which brings me to the Monkees, I suppose - and also to marine biology. Specifically to Mike deGruy, a hero of mine since I was a teenager. A whirlwind of enthusiasm for sharks and cephalopods, who died this year. No fair, universe. He was on your side.

... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Dec. 28th, 2015 20:42)
The rioting year. Still not sure what happened there, but Britain seemed to go collectively mad this summer. I remember it primarily as the year when Clarence Clemons died, so I spent the summer mainlining E Street bootlegs - which make a pretty good soundtrack, it turns out, for a summer filled with rioting. Not that I was near any rioting, I hasten to add. At that point I was still living up a hill in the middle of nowhere, and aside from some slightly pissed off squirrels, when the dog chased them, things remained largely calm. London went nuts though. It was very strange. I can understand dissatisfaction, especially with the way that the economy is these days, but in Britain people tend to show their dissatisfaction by quiet muttering. Or, if they're really annoyed, by not voting in elections, just in case that might prove something. Rioting is quite new.

Tellywise, this was the year when Torchwood came back, all Americaned up. I didn't mind that - change is good - but I did mind the five episodes worth of story being spun out over ten weeks, with a nonsensical ending tacked on. Ah well. It's all in the past now. It was also the year of The Cape, a terrific fun superhero show that I only discovered long after it was already axed. Poor little show. Another to add to the list of programmes that deserved much better. Likewise Zen, a police drama starring Rufus Sewell that the BBC debuted this year, only to axe after three episodes. Viewing figures were great, critical feedback was excellent, but there was a change at the top in the drama department. There's always something, isn't there!

Musically, this was the year of Adele, who seemed to sell about fifty billion records for no conceivable reason. Not that she's bad, but I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

Elsewhere, it was the year when Nicholas Courtney died. Dear old Brig - he was supposed to go on forever! It was also the year when Jimmy Savile died. Boy did that ever open up a can of worms. To begin with, everybody wondered why his will stipulated that his coffin should be buried in a huge chunk of concrete. Then we found out. Sorry, Brig. You really didn't deserve to be in the same sentence as him.

... )
swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Dec. 27th, 2015 19:32)
Oh, 2010. That was a year and a half. I always knew, when my grandfather and I started living together, that it was only going to end one way. Obviously. I always assumed I'd take him his cup of tea one afternoon, and find that he'd slipped away in his armchair though. That or that he'd just not come down to breakfast one morning. I didn't expect him to have to take to his bed and slip away by degrees. I imagine that neither did he! The cruel irony of old age is that, if you're strong enough to still enjoy life, you're too strong for your body to give in easily - and just a few weeks before he fell ill, he was still getting up the stairs faster than all three of his sons. I suppose it was stupid of me to expect him to go quickly. The NHS were amazing, though. District nurses are a wonderful thing. (Even if it is always a slight disappointment that they don't ride bicycles nowadays).

As to the rest of it, I think it was a quiet sort of a year. I wasn't paying attention for the first few months, admittedly, but I'm sure I'd have noticed if pirates had raided the Houses of Parliament, or Prince Charles and Prince Andrew had duelled over the succession. Or even something major that didn't involve swords. It was the year when Nip/Tuck ended, my beloved show that was now a shadow of its former self thanks to bad management. It was the year when Lost ended, and 99% of the fandom boggled at the screen in bewilderment, and wondered why we'd bothered. It was also the year when several million childhoods heaved a collective sigh, when both Corey Haim and Gary Coleman died - and Stephen J Cannell, come to that.

On the international stage, there was some brief hilarity when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano became the bane of every newsreader's existence, by spitting out lots of smoke and debris, and buggering up the airlines for a good few weeks. It was also the year when America raided the BBC's store cupboard, and nicked the superb TV miniseries Edge Of Darkness for a Hollywood remake. It seems to have vanished without trace, so clearly sometimes the the gods of the screen are just and true. Not often, I'll grant you, but sometimes. The BBC also raided their own store cupboard, and came up with a sequel to Upstairs Downstairs, annoying pretty much all the fans of the original. I enjoyed it, but admittedly I never got around to bothering with the second series, whenever that was.

And of course this was the year when a-ha called it a day, the year after their final album, Foot Of The Mountain. They released a final single, and then went their separate ways. Until this year, of course! Sometimes you do get a happy ending - albeit a temporary one. Naturally.

... )
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Dec. 26th, 2015 19:39)
2009 was the year that bit back. It seemed as though just about everybody in my family got diagnosed with something horrible this year. Happily, for the most part it went okay, but blimey, 2009. What did we ever to do you?!

Elsewhere, it was the year of Children Of Earth, the Torchwood mini series that broke the fandom. Some loved it, some hated it, some were baffled at how completely it reimagined everything. I think it's great, but it's so far removed from the first two series that I have trouble seeing it as the same show. It was also the year when White Collar started, hurrah! I do love that show. I probably didn't see it until early 2010 though. I know I had several episodes to catch up on anyway.

FlashForward also happened this year. And then stopped abruptly. It was one of those shows with a lot of promise, but a production staff who clearly didn't know what to do with a twenty-two episode season. Nothing happened for weeks, half the audience stopped watching, it picked up, but too late. A shame, as I should dearly have loved to see where it was all going! Another one to add to the list of sci-fi shows that got bashed over the head by the networks. It wasn't alone. This was also the year when the BBC aired Paradox, a wonderful show starring Emun Elliott and Tamzin Outhwaite as a scientist and a detective investigating weirdness from outer space. Outer Space!! I rewatched it only recently, and it turned out to be even better than I remembered, annoyingly. Why can't they let me choose which shows to axe and which to save?!

Talking of ending, this year also saw the final episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, the chat show/Pythonesque comedy series that had been a hit for NBC since 1993. I only watched it for Max Weinberg, but it was a lot of fun over the years. I still rather miss it. Still, sixteen years is a good run for any show.

Some good films at the cinema this year. None of which I saw this year, or in the cinema, but whatever. The Hangover, which I love (and didn't see until around 2012), Sherlock Holmes (the RDJ/Jude Law version), which I think I also saw in around 2012, and The Brothers Bloom, which nobody saw in 2009. Which is a shame as it's extremely good, and I recommend it highly. So yes. Not so much "cinema in 2009", as "on DVD just the other day", but never mind.

Oh, and politics, world events, things that make me look brainy, etc, etc. Yeah.

... )
swordznsorcery: (johnblack)
( Dec. 25th, 2015 19:43)
2008 was a mental year. If you made it through, congratulations! Between air crashes, typhoons, hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes, it's a wonder that anybody did. One earthquake in Sichuan wiped out upwards of seventy thousand people on its own. That's a lot of people.

My year was certainly better than that. Probably depending on which fandoms you swim in, 2008 was quite eventful. Over in Days Of Our Lives-land, recent madness (cost-cutting caused them to kill off their main star, then do a complete one-eighty due to the backlash) had led to many a disgruntled fan taking refuge in classic storylines, and putting them up on YouTube as they went. So I spent a good chunk of '08 up to my neck in dastardly kidnappings, demonic possessions, jungle escapades and mediaeval torture chambers. Truly Stefano DiMera and John Black are the pinnacle of soap. You can keep your EastEnders and your Coronation Street! I was also revelling in the first E Street Band tour since YouTube happened. Footage from all over the world! And boy do some fans have some good recording equipment. So that was nice.

Didn't all go well on E Street this year though, as 2008 was when we lost Phantom Dan Federici to cancer. They brought in a talented substitute, and the tour turned into a huge party in celebration of Dan's life, but it's never been quite the same since. Also bowing out this year were the great Eartha Kitt; Mitch Mitchell, drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience; and jazz band leader/I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again supremo Humphrey Lyttelton; so hopefully they all met each other on the way out, as the jam session would have been extraordinary.

The world trying to drown, crush or shake half the population to death aside, this was quite a quiet year, I think? I was rather buried in fandom, due to it being decidedly better than real life. Well, let's face it - how many of us can boast a real life filled with jungle adventures and dastardly kidnappings? Some stuff happened. It was the year of the American Presidential election, which meant that the rest of us had to put up with wall to wall coverage all bloody year. Do I have to put a spoiler warning before saying who won? (Clue - it was an Islamic illegal immigrant. Maybe).

Not much idea about telly this year. It was all happening on YouTube. The Beeb did bring out The Invisibles though, which I loved. It was a comedy drama about two ageing, sort of ex-thieves (Tony Head and Warren Clarke), but I must have been the only person who did like it, as it disappeared after six episodes, never to return. TV that I like is good at that. *grumble growl*

... )
swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Dec. 24th, 2015 19:26)
Having reached 2007, I can now look back on LJ as an aid to memory. Needless to say, this is spectacularly little help. On this day in history, as it were, I helpfully aided the would-be historical researcher with an exhaustively in-depth review of Richard Hammond's interview with Evel Knievel, and some warbling about the BBC's Christmas concert, in which that year's prospective Josephs sang some songs (though not enough, apparently) with the previous year's prospective Marias. Which, if taken as any sort of aid to memory, would make my year appear to be all about insane crashing and wannabe West Enders. Although, in all fairness, that's not a bad summary of my year. 2007 did not go well. It started out deceptively normal, then took a wild swerve in May, and attacked with all guns blazing. And I apologise to all of you who got caught up in that summer's appalling floods. They fitted my mood so well, I've always half-considered myself responsible.

As I said, the year didn't start off badly at all - in fact quite the opposite. ITV debuted Primeval, and I fell in love with the whole ruddy thing. Although I enjoyed most of New Who that year, Primeval was more fun than almost anything had been in years. Some great characters, a great set up, and giant prehistoric beasties at every turn. Joy and merriment, although sadly only for half a dozen weeks. Over on the BBC, Outnumbered aired for the first time this year as well. That was good, at least for the first few years. The little girl in that, Ramona Marquez, is the daughter of Martin Marquez, my stalker Hotel Babylon guy (see last year), so that was nice. Less nice of course was the fact that this was the year that Verity Lambert died. She gave us some terrific television over the years. A remarkable woman.

And then of course there was Any Dream Will Do. Who could have thought that I, with my reality TV allergy, would have become so ridiculously attached to a little group of guys trying to be chosen as the lead in a production of Joseph?! But I did. Enough so that I've tried to keep up with the careers of a handful of them, particularly the winner, Lee Mead. Although I'm not watching Casualty, Lee. Sorry. Not for you, not for anybody.

Musically, not a bad year. I said that with complete confidence, didn't I, but I was no longer really listening to the radio by this point, and have no idea of the pop scene. There was a new album from Springsteen this year; a proper one with the E Street Band. None of his dire solo nonsense. Sorry, Bruce. I never have liked your solo albums. So far as the cinema is concerned, there was the superb Pan's Labyrinth; although technically I think that was released in 2006, but who's counting. Also this was the year when they tried to remake The Hitcher. Why?! I don't think anybody saw it though.

Did anything important happen in 2007? No? Oh good. On to the music then.

... )
swordznsorcery: (jack)
( Dec. 23rd, 2015 20:29)
Just as 2005 was the Doctor Who entry, 2006 was always going to be the Torchwood one. I've heard all the arguments about why I shouldn't like the show, mostly centered around the Cyberwoman in high heels and a metal bikini, but I'm sorry, I just don't care. She may have been dressed in ridiculous clothing, but she had a fight with a Pteranodon. Just review that sentence, people. A cyborg in a duel with a Pteranodon. That lives in the roof of a secret underground lair. With an invisible lift. Some time in 2005, somebody poked around inside my head, and found all the things that I most wanted in a TV series, even if I didn't know it. Then they made it. And I know it's mad, and rushed, and sometimes badly put together, but at the same time, everything about it makes my brain squeak with happiness. And so I don't care that the hardcore sci-fi fans are still complaining because it wasn't Nu-Battlestar Galactica set in Wales. I don't care if everybody else thinks that it's silly. 2006 gave me Torchwood. I like 2006.

I probably shouldn't do, all things considered. I was made redundant this year (as it turns out, being made redundant is my great talent in life. We all have one, supposedly, and it's nice to know mine). And I can't say for certain whether it was a great year or not in any other regard, because - guess what! - I don't remember much about it. Except for Myfanwy the Pteranodon in her secret underground headquarters beneath Cardiff. Saving the universe with Captain Jack Harkness. Sorry. It's just so much fun typing some of that stuff. It's whole sentences that you just never get to write at any other time. I do know that Saddam Hussein was executed this year. I can't imagine anybody mourned him, but I'm still not sure if we killed him because he wasn't very nice, or if it's because we fancied his oil. And I wish I was a little more certain that it wasn't just the latter. There were probably some films at the cinema. There were some records, but most of them weren't very good.

Alongside Torchwood (did I mention that that started this year?), the Beeb also debuted Robin Hood and Hotel Babylon. The former... was not good. It could be at times, particularly in series two, but much of series one was dull and colourless nonsense. Whoever was playing Robin (I do know his name, I'm sure of it) was horribly miscast, although Patrick Troughton's grandson Sam was rather good as Much. Richard Armitage was terrific as Guy of Gisburne, and once the writers realised that we all much preferred him over Robin, things picked up nicely, for a while at least. But oh, the missed opportunities. And then Hotel Babylon was hilarious. I watched it largely for Martin Marquez, an actor who once spent the best part of three years stalking me across the UK (almost literally - he was in rep theatre, and when I was going to and from university in the nineties, he always seemed to be appearing in something just down the road). I knew the name from The Bill, so it stood out on the flyers. I've been stupidly fond of him ever since.

Oh, but Torchwood. *brain in happy place* Series two was all polished up and homogenised, but still good. Series three was terrific, but a different show entirely. Series four is best forgotten. But series one! With time-travelling aeroplanes, psychotic faeries, Captain Jack dancing with Captain Jack on a 1941 dancefloor - and, yes, a ridiculous Cyberwoman. Fighting a Pteranodon! That was 2006. Huzzah.

... )
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 22nd, 2015 20:19)
Let's be honest, 2005 is going to be the Who entry, isn't it. I can't really remember anything else anyway! This was the year when the BBC finally gave us our ball back, with Christopher Eccleston in the TARDIS this time. I have to be honest - I've never really been happy with New Who. I liked Matt Smith in the role, and I think Capaldi is great, but by and large the plots leave me cold these days. It's been so great though, these last ten years, watching kids playing at Daleks, and waving forks at each other and claiming they're sonic screwdrivers. The forks. Not the children. Doctor Who is popular! For those of us who don't really remember the alleged golden age of Tom Baker, let alone the sixties, when the show was really a phenomenon, it's quite remarkable. Our little show, with Christmas Day specials, and international interest, and toys on supermarket shelves.

This was also the year that Russell T Davies hit gold with another production - namely Casanova, which if memory serves came along at the same time as a major Hollywood version of the story, and blasted it good and proper. With a sonic blaster, probably. David Tennant and Peter O'Toole were terrific sharing the lead, all youthful exuberance from the former, and wistful but still sparkling old age from the latter. Episode one is a true highlight, and if anybody hasn't seen it yet - do so! Go on, hurry along. What's keeping you.

Filmwise, Zorro came back for a sequel, but I don't remember a thing about it. They had a kid I think? But if there was anything major in the cinemas this year, it clearly passed me by. Was Corpse Bride big? That was this year, but I didn't see it for centuries afterwards. It was very good though.

It was the year that Michael Sheard died - I read that on Wiki when I was looking for hints, and was very surprised. So long ago! He appeared on Doctor Who and Blake's 7 of course, upping his cult status (he may well have appeared on Doctor Who more than anybody else who wasn't a regular) - but he also did Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and a shedload of other culty things. His forte appears to have been playing Hitler, which he did at least three times! In Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, The Tomorrow People and The Dirty Dozen, without checking with the IMDb. There may well have been other times.

John Spencer died too of course this year, turning the end of The West Wing into something unbearably poignant. Poor Leo! That episode wouldn't have aired until 2006, I guess. Doesn't seem nearly that long ago.

... )
swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( Dec. 21st, 2015 20:03)
I moved house in 2004. This is probably my main memory of the year. Up a hill in the middle of nowhere. Windswept, desolate, silent - if it weren't for the fact that the whole of Gloucestershire seemed to use the local roads as a race track, it would have been damned near perfect. Well - that and if the local landowners hadn't had some kind of psychotic hatred of wildlife. I used to go for long walks with my sister's dog, and spend them disassembling snares and counting illegally shot badgers. It was a nice place to live though. Illegal fox hunts notwithstanding. Got stranded up there every winter, and the power used to go off at the slightest excuse, but the middle of nowhere is definitely the best place to live. Internet speed sucked, mind.

Other than that, 2004 was a quiet sort of year. Sad one too though. It was the year that Christopher Reeve died. Richard Biggs from Babylon 5 too - and he was young and healthy, and had just said good morning to his wife, when he dropped dead. Just goes to show! It was also the year when I rediscovered pop music, by unexpectedly becoming a McFly fan. They brought out their debut album this year, and I've followed them ever since.

Angel came to an end this year, a year after Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It should have lasted longer. Frasier ended too, although that one at least had had a chance to run its course. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet aired its final episode in this year as well. It had come and gone since... 1984? Always worth watching. The Magnificent Seven were two men down by that final episode, and they found a lovely way to end that really did the show and cast proud. And it was the year that Lost began. Hmm. Now there's one that went on much longer than it should have! I think it's the year that The OC and Nip/Tuck both started in the UK too, though they'd probably started earlier than that in the US. The OC was a teen drama that hooked me completely, despite me being a good fifteen years above the target age group! It lost me after a bit, but that first season was bloody good. And I fell hard for Nip/Tuck. That tailed off too when the showrunner bailed, and went off to do Glee instead, but for several years I thought it was the best thing on television. Properly clever stuff.

Cinema! This was the year of Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow. I love that film so much. It was a flop, which was a hell of a shame, as they'd intended it to be a new franchise. I could have had lots and lots of Sky Captains, but clearly nobody else wanted them. No fair. It's a glorious film, full of giant robots, and vintage touches that hark back to the weekly cinema serials from the pre-war days. And I wanted a sequel. I shall go away now and sulk.

... )
swordznsorcery: (manolito)
( Dec. 20th, 2015 20:16)
I hated 2003. It was officially the worst year ever. Blanking on it almost totally, although that doesn't seem to be unusual lately! The 2000s, scientifically proven to be the most forgettable decade on record. I do know that Bob Hope died this year. He was 100. I was listening to Mark Goodier on Radio 1, and heard it announced there (that's not an amazing feat of memory - I'd been listening to him since the eighties, and if I heard something on the radio, it's pretty much guaranteed it was from him). Sheb Wooley died too, though with far less fanfare. He played Pete Nolan on Rawhide, the 1950s Western series that gave Clint Eastwood his big break. Everybody remembers Eastwood, but Sheb Wooley was far better! He had a website way back in the 90s, and was very hands on with it. I remember him announcing there that he had leukaemia, probably in '01 or '02.

Otherwise, I had to resort to Wiki to help me out with 2003. Mick Jagger was knighted apparently! Boy do times change. Even as recently as twenty years previously, he was still seen as the bad boy of rock music. Or one of them anyway. It was also the year of David Kelly, the guy who blew the whistle on the fact that the government had lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to press for a war. Or a not war. They were still insisting that it wasn't actually a war, although quite what they think the difference is, I don't know. Twelve years on, I don't think anything has happened about that yet. Tony Blair still seems to be walking around free anyway.

It was the year when Buffy The Vampire Slayer ended! Two years too late, one might argue. I was sorry to see it go though, even if I was largely left cold by those last two years. It's a show that I haven't seen in ages, and I would love to do a rewatch sometimes (it can join a long and growing list - where did all the time go?! Days used to be twenty-four hours long. I'm sure they did), but I don't know if I would bother with seasons six and seven again. Except for the musical episode, obviously. Still, everything tails off eventually, and it was a heck of a series.

I had a look through the year's top #100. Ouch. When did SClub7 become SClub8? Like seven of them wasn't already too much? How many people do you need to do synchronised movements to a rubbish song?! Anyway, they split up apparently, so the poor eighth member clearly didn't have a very long career. Um. Oh, I give up!

... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Dec. 19th, 2015 21:00)
*flop* I have been putting up my mother's Christmas decorations, delivering my mother's Christmas cards, and madly trying to get most of her wrapping up done, as there's a family get together tomorrow, and it's all got to be done by then. And, predictably, hadn't been started before today. That's enough Christmassing now for me. Can it be the New Year please?!

Oh, 2002. Still old peopling. Getting used to looking after my grandfather, who was actually very little work in actual fact. I never really knew any of my grandparents growing up, as they lived on the other side of the country, and visiting was an issue. I got to know him very well when we lived together though. He knew a hell of a lot. Could have done without getting the same three Naval tales over and over again though! It became something of a family joke after a while.

Excuse me, distracted. Dean Martin is singing. Not actually, obviously. Just on the computer. Why do I remember more of what happened in the 90s than I do in the 00s? I seem to have spent the last fifteen years bored out of my skull, and paying no attention to the world. Except the bits that are shaped like Doctor Who and the E Street Band. Oh! Queen's Jubilee! (The actual queen, not the musical kind). There was the Party In The Park, and Queen played (the musical kind, not the actual one), with the cast of their West End musical We Will Rock You. That was actually pretty fab. Most of the other acts were famous-for-five-minutes types, and I don't remember them, but Queen and co were excellent. And Brian and Roger played God Save The Queen on the roof of Buckingham Palace, because they're Queen, and they do things like that. Springsteen put out his The Rising album, and went out on the road with the E Street Band again. Was YouTube a thing then? I don't think so. I was still on sloooooow dial-up, but I have since caught up with masses of lovely footage. I love the music, obviously, but few things make me as happy as watching Mighty Max play the drums. :)

The Queen Mother died. That was sad. Royalist or Republican, I'd challenge you to think ill of her. Although admittedly it was hardly unexpected, as she was 101 and hadn't been well for some time. Dudley Moore also died, and that really was sad. He'd had some sort of brain condition, poor sod, and hadn't been able to play the piano for several years. He was an amazing pianist. People tend to remember him for the comedy, and fair enough, but he put out some excellent jazz albums too, with his Dudley Moore Trio. John Entwhistle, bass player of the Who, also died. And yes, drink-and-drug related, but what the hell, he was in the Who.

... )
swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Dec. 18th, 2015 19:56)
2001. The year the world changed, or so they say. A bit of the world, maybe. I was still picking up old people who had fallen out of bed, and had graduated to looking after my grandfather, who wasn't up to living alone anymore. I also acquired a feral cat that my sister found somewhere and fell in love with. My cat definitely didn't fall in love with him! I was half afraid she might try to eat him, as he was a kitten and still very small, but in the event she didn't deign to go anywhere near him.

Otherwise, apparently I remember even less about 2001 than I do about 2000! I remember the BBC debuting The Blue Planet, a documentary series about the sea. Gorgeous photography, bugger all information. Typical modern telly! Still, it did look very nice. I remember it particularly as being from this year, because the first episode aired on 12th September.

It was the year that Jack Lemmon died, I remember that much. Long a favourite of mine. His son, Chris, was one of the stars of my beloved Thunder In Paradise of course, so possibly making me laugh runs in their family. Chris wrote a wonderful tribute to Jack, the book A Twist Of Lemmon, which is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I recommend it.

The West Wing first aired this year - in the UK anyway. I fell in love with it about two minutes into the first episode, and I'm still waiting for the American public to wise up and elect Martin Sheen as President. Okay, so he has no intention of standing. But that's immaterial.

George Harrison died this year too. My favourite Beatle. Helps with choosing this year's music, anyway. I checked the Top 100 for the year, and it's a cacophony of teeny pop acts covering old classics. Yuck! One or two good tracks that I remember, but I'd rather leave the rest lurking in the murky clouds of history. My kid sister turned nineteen this year, and she was all about Steps and SClub7. Argh!

... )
swordznsorcery: (johnblack)
( Dec. 17th, 2015 19:32)
Drawing a blank on most of 2000. It was the year I turned vegetarian, I know that much. I started working at an old people's home - those two things aren't related. As far as I know you don't have to vow never to eat a resident before you're allowed in the door - which on the face of it seemed a perfect job. Basically I was supposed to pick people up if they fell out of bed. This meant sitting in a room on my own all night, never having to speak to anybody. Unless they fell out of bed, obviously. Or wandered the corridors stark naked, which happened far more often that you might imagine. Life in a residential home is dull, and you have to make your own entertainment. Poor sods.

As I say, on the face of it an ideal job. It was deadly dull though, and the pay was rubbish. I was also running the office during the day (sleep?! Who needs sleep?!) Old peoples' homes have to operate on the lowest possible budget, because there's no money in old folk. If they can fill two jobs with one person therefore, they will. It used to make me smile sometimes though. Every so often they'd get some local musician in, to play old songs, and make the residents go misty-eyed with recollection. What are they going to do when that's us?! I have visions of young musicians coming in to play Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter to a row of gently nodding oldies.

Elsewhere, this was the year that Almost Famous came out at the cinema, which I know that I loved, but I haven't seen it since, and I don't remember a great deal about it. Kid writes about band for music magazine. There was nearly a plane crash. And lots of rather good music. Also it was the year of The Road To El Dorado, although I didn't see that until some time afterwards. Terrific film. If you haven't seen it, do so. (That's an order). Music-wise I'm totally drawing a blank though. I used to have the radio on in my little night watch room, but clearly not a lot registered! About the only thing I can say for sure is that this was the year Channel 5 showed the last few episodes of Sunset Beach, a mad-as-a-squirrel soap that had won a cult audience amongst those of us with nothing better to do at ten o'clock in the morning. It was replaced by Days Of Our Lives, which proved to be even more mad. America does soap operas so much better than Britain does. In British soaps, people just yell at each other about who they're having affairs with. In American soaps there's evil identical twins, microchips in brains, and demonic possessions.

... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Dec. 16th, 2015 20:02)
1999 was a bit uppy and downy, I suppose. Some stuff undoubtedly happened on the world stage. Insert a meaningful bit of commentary here about world politics, etc. Or don't. I haven't bothered. For me it's mostly the year when, after dithering about not quite knowing what to do with themselves, following their reformation in 1995, the E Street Band set out on a world tour. There was, sadly, no YouTube at this point, but lots of footage has obligingly found its way there since, and the DVD of the concluding show in July 2000 is barnstorming. Here, have the opening two songs from the North American tour debut in New Jersey, on July 15th. Aren't I kind. :)

Elsewhere, 1999 was the year when, for the first time, somebody I knew, and who was the same age as me, died. His name was Chris, and it was an accident. One of those things that's absolutely nobody's fault, and that could happen to anybody at any time. Makes you think. Didn't know him well (me and people generally find it in our best interests to avoid each other as much as possible). But he was a nice guy. One hell of a pianist too.

Good year for the movies! The World Is Not Enough made three great Bonds in a row for Brosnan, and he also had The Thomas Crown Affair out this year, one of the few cases when I prefer a remake to the original. Also out this year was The Mummy, which I love to pieces. Didn't like the sequel, and didn't make it beyond the halfway point of the threequel, but that first one is wonderful. If you haven't seen it, do so this very minute.

Tellybox wise, this was the year of more new Doctor Who, in the shape of a Comic Relief special that saw the Doctor played by just about everybody with a British passport, and culminating with Joanna Lumley running off with the Master. It was very silly, lots of fun, and helped to make us all forget about the Children in Need EastEnders thing of a few years earlier. Channel 5 started a new telefantasy series that they'd co-made with New Zealand, a show called The Tribe that, unbeknownst to me at the time, was going to completely eat my brain, and lead to a Niagara Falls of fanfic over the next few years. It tailed off eventually (it lost its teeth when it became a global cult hit, and they started to water it down for American audiences - and then they changed the show's premise in season four, and I gave up on it). That original storyline, and the little group of characters at its core, though, still holds a part of my brain hostage. I really must get around to a rewatch sometime.

But elsewhere in Tellyland, rather than mentioning a few famous people who died this year, it might be quicker to list the ones who didn't. Helen Rollason! Poor Helen. With the greatest respect to John Craven, Helen and Roger were my Newsround team (here they are battling the Blue Peter lot on Double Dare back in 1989). Ernie Wise, Bob Peck, Oliver Reed, Dirk Bogarde, Dusty Springfield... Jill Dando (what the bloody hell was that all about?!). Poor old Desmond Llewelyn, dear old Q from the Bond movies, killed in a car accident. And, in "I'm the only one around here who has heard of him" news - Guy Mitchell, one time American singing sensation. My father, who pre-dates rock & roll, has always liked early 50s music, and I had Guy Mitchell tattooed into my brain at an early age. Ridiculously catchy stuff. There may conceivably be an example under the cut.

... )
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Dec. 15th, 2015 20:17)
1998 was one of those years that we should just have skipped, and pretended never happened. Sorry if it was a good year for you. If you got married then, or born then or something. But we should just quietly forget about it, and scurry on by to 1999. Or possibly 2015.

1998 began with my sister being diagnosed with acute leukaemia. And not just acute leukaemia; that would have been far too simple. She had to contract a fabulously rare combination of syndromes that had doctors all over the world conferring on her treatment. Which was actually good, in one sense. If you're going to get really sick, you might as well go for something special, and get all the best minds in medicine thinking about you. She was down and out for the whole of the year though, and is still dealing with the consequences now - and whilst it could have been a lot worse (especially for her), it was still pretty rubbish. It was a really weird time though. When a member of your family is ill, people start asking after them in hushed tones. They don't just ask how she is, they sidle up to you, and ask like they're delivering a top secret message from the head of MI6.

The younger of my two grandfathers died this year too. I didn't know him very well, so it wasn't a personal loss, but it was a strange sort of time nonetheless. Mind you, the funeral turned out to be unexpectedly entertaining. Are funerals generally hilarious? I've not been to many, but it does seem that they wind up being a whole lot funnier than they probably ought to be. For this one I somehow got sandwiched between my two more irreverent sisters, with the one inclined to get emotional just up ahead. Every so often she'd sob, and they'd giggle. I didn't dare look at anybody!

Honestly didn't pay much attention to the wider world this year. Government being rubbish, Blair being a smarmy git, etc and so forth. I do remember that General Pinochet visited the UK, and was put under arrest on an international arrest warrant. He was supposed to stand trial for crimes against humanity, but the government twiddled its thumbs for ages, and then Margaret Thatcher said that he was a personal friend, and could they please let him go. So they did. So we very nearly did a good thing, and then didn't. Not that anybody really dared hope that he'd stand trial anyway, but it was a nice idea for a little while.

Babylon 5 ended this year. I was sorry to see it go, although obviously it couldn't have gone on any longer. It was my first proper experience of fandom, with all the obsessive discussions that used to take place on the Channel 4 internet forum. I'd never had fellow fans before! And it was such an amazing series. Cold Feet started. I did quite like that, although it was hardly a suitable replacement. Oh, and The Mask Of Zorro hit cinemas! Now there's a good film. The sword work is excellent, and it's such good fun. Dark City too, although I didn't see that until some time later. Again, though, a terrific film.

Music is a different story. I just looked up the Top #100 for the year, and that's a nightmare! Billie Piper, Aqua, Boyzone, Steps, B*Witched, Cleopatra... blimey. Must have been the International Year Of The Power Ballad too, as the top fifteen includes My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, I Don't Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith, and Angels by Robbie Williams. Bloody hell! What happened between 1997 and 1998?! Did somebody outlaw rock music?

And, of course, 1998 was the year when Frank Sinatra went off to join Dino and Sammy. Robert Young and Roddy McDowall also died this year, and Cozy Powell, British rock drummer extraordinaire. Admittedly that was rather his own fault, but it was still a shame. Scuppered Brian May's touring plans for the year ahead, too!

... )
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Dec. 14th, 2015 20:08)
1997. I left college in 1997. Leaving college is decidedly rubbish. One minute you're nice and comfortable, with a well-stocked library and no responsibilities, and the next you're expected to go out into the world, get a job, and be an actual person. This is probably terrifying enough even if you're not me. I wound up working in a factory with a health and safety record that veered between hilarious and non-existent. While I was there, they redesigned the shop floor in such a way as to make it even more obviously life-threatening than it had been previously, which was quite an achievement. It closed down about a year later. I've always felt partly responsible for that. They were going for some sort of European special status, that would have helped them get more contracts abroad, and a top drawer Eurocrat type came and talked to a few of us about our experiences with the company. She asked what it was like to work for them, and we all burst out laughing. They didn't get their special status.

Otherwise, it was the year of my first General Election! I was a bit excited. We were going to drive the ruddy Tories out, at last. Things had got so laughably bad with them, we even had a BBC newsreader randomly standing as an MP in one constituency, just in an effort to get rid of the useless prat who had the job. I soon learned how pointless it all feels though. How your vote doesn't actually count for anything in our stupid system. How the other side soon wind up looking just as bad as the people they've replaced. Especially when the country winds up saddling itself with Tony Blair for the foreseeable future.

Princess Diana died. The country went bleeding insane for a fortnight. Buffy The Vampire Slayer debuted, and the entire internet was chatting about it in an instant. And I couldn't watch it! It was most frustrating. I caught the season one finale courtesy of Sky One when I was at my sister's place one night early the next year, but it didn't come to the BBC until centuries later - at least. Frustration! We did get Dark Skies and Poltergeist: The Legacy that year though. The former was a lovely piece of sci-fi that only lasted one season. Woe. The latter was a great fun paranormal series, that replaced The X-Files in my affections - Mulder and Scully having gone all conspiracy theory in a big way by then. Sadly, P:TL had a massive shake up for season two, and it was painfully obvious that they were now spending less money per season than they once had per episode (literally). And all the good writers ran away. And the grown up, clever elements were abandoned. Still, it was good for a bit.

The first Harry Potter book came out this year. I bought it for my niece's eleventh birthday. Or possibly her twelfth birthday. However old she was this year, that's the birthday I bought it for. Tomorrow Never Dies came out as well. My favourite Bond movie! I love everything about that one. Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, the song, the fights, the general willingness of everything to go "boom!" with alacrity. Happy happy happy. And Titanic came out too, but I still haven't seen that.

And some other stuff, probably. And rest assured, that Elton John song is not lurking beneath the cut. I wouldn't do that to myself, let alone you!

... )

PS: An early Christmas present from the bods on the Queen YouTube page! Nice. :) Even if it has all been cropped from 4:3 to 16:9...
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 13th, 2015 20:04)
I seemed to spend half of 1996 trapped in an underground train at Liverpool's Lime Street Station, while the police checked out some suspicious object or other. The IRA had decided to start blowing stuff up again, which was nice of them, and this seemed to lead to just about everything being labelled a possible bomb. Not that I blame the authorities for being overly cautious, but it does begin to get boring after a while! Especially when it's an underground station, and there's sod all to look at while you wait.

The rest of that year was spent online (I say "the rest", presumably I did some work at some point). By now the Net was growing and changing so fast that you'd practically notice the difference over a weekend. Probably inevitably, although most of us didn't have anything much faster than a 28.8K dial-up modem, already the video sharing had started. This meant tiny little videos, barely bigger than an LJ icon, and rarely more than a minute long. Mostly, from what I saw, they were Methos soundbites from Highlander, or clips from Late Night With Conan O'Brien; usually Max Weinberg doing something brilliantly ridiculous, or reading one of his fake public service announcements. Happy days. :)

Otherwise it was a year of highs and lows. Take That split, which was a high. The Spice Girls appeared, which was a low. Doctor Who returned for a one off special, with a truly terrific Doctor, and a truly dreadful script. Well, that's being a bit unfair I suppose. Only half dreadful; the bit with the shoes is genius. A sad time for Who fans otherwise though, as Jon Pertwee died shortly before the film aired. Also bowing out this year was TW3 and I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue star Willie Rushton. There's been a Rushton-shaped hole in that show ever since. In American Tellyland, it was also the year that Greg Morris died. He played the great Barney Collier, easily the best thing about Mission: Impossible.

Elsewhere of course, this was the year of Dunblane. Not the best thing to remember a year by. On a distinctly happier note, it was also the year when Jarvis Cocker, slightly the worst for alcohol, gatecrashed Michael Jackson's performance at the BRITs, on the grounds that Jacko was being a tit. In all fairness, he was. I was listening on the radio, and it got a lovely running commentary! Annoyingly though, it was another good year for music, and I have a "short" list of about a hundred songs that I obviously can't fit all of under the cut. It doesn't matter how many times I stare at the list - it refuses to get any shorter!


Some time later... )
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Dec. 12th, 2015 17:58)
A weird sort of coincidence comes with today's post. Today in real time (12th December 2015) is Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday. Happy birthday, Frankie! But today in 40 Years Of Nonsense time is 1995, which is the year that Dean Martin left the stage. On Christmas Day, no less - well, he always did hate parties! Naturally this requires marking in suitable fashion, but I shall leave that until later.

Otherwise, 1995 was basically fun. This was the year that I moved into cyberspace more or less full time. The Net was very much still growing, but there was already a lot going on, certainly in the world of fandom. Lovely early (very simple, largely text based) sites on cult movies and TV shows, many of the kind that the "real" (sadly non-geek-based) world had largely forgotten. Blake's 7 fandom! Actual, real fans, with little pictures lovingly kept from old editions of Radio Times. Fans of Jon-Erik Hexum. As much dinosaur information as I could want, kept up to date, and not written for six year olds, the way that so many of the available books are. And, in modern (for 1995!) Tellyland, lots of people to obsessively discuss Babylon 5 with, on the newly started Channel 4 internet forum. That place was my first internet home, and I loved it. It closed down in 2006, and I've never quite found another place to match it.

It was also the year of Made In Heaven of course: the final Queen studio album to feature Freddie. It made use of the last few songs that he had recorded, as well as some earlier ones that were 'Queenified' - some solo stuff, a song he'd recorded with Roger in the 80s, etc. I was a bit dubious as to how it would all turn out, but in the event it was excellent, and one of the songs on the album wound up being one of my all time favourite Queen tracks. That was a single in 1996 though, so will have to wait until tomorrow!

Lots else in the music world this year. Best of all, the E Street Band got back together! Oasis followed up last year's debut with a mega smash hit second album. The Human League came back after a hiatus of some years. Edwyn Collins was another vintage star with a major league hit this year, so maybe there was something in the water. Pulp had their biggest hit yet with the Different Class album, that really made their name. Supergrass were everywhere, if briefly. Ash made a huge debut with 1977, and Coolio was #1 forever with Gangsta's Paradise, the theme from the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds.

And James Bond came back! With the head I'd been wanting him to have for years. No disrespect meant to Timothy Dalton, who was great, but for me, James Bond is Pierce Brosnan. And GoldenEye was amazing. Fab theme song sung by Tina Turner as well, with some of the most brilliantly appropriate lyrics ever. "You'll never know how I've watched you from the shadows as a child/You'll never know how it feels to get so close and be denied." Still, as it turned out it was for the best that Brosnan did "get so close and be denied" back in 1987.

On the small screen meanwhile, the BBC premiered Due South, and that version of Pride & Prejudice. Darcy-fever, everywhere. A bad year for comedy though. We lost Peter Cook and Paul Eddington this year. Kenny Everett as well, more's the pity. And it was the year when Christopher Reeve had his fall whilst horse-riding. The news came in on the day of my final exam, iirc. A sad start to the summer.

... )
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