swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Jun. 12th, 2017 21:44)
Lately I have been cruelly ignoring the Kindle, in favour of proper books. This is at least partly [personal profile] elenopa's fault, as she recently went on an Arthur Ransome Society weekend, and made me think (for the hundredth time) that I really ought to give his books another try. I scorned them rather as a child, for not being "proper" adventures, in that there are no bad guys/proper peril/fisticuffs, etc, and did my best to avoid them. Grown Up Me (well, slightly) decided that We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea might be a good place to start a reappraisal, as it has (nearly) proper pirates, and actual proper danger in it. It seemed too long for the amount of plot, and got a bit repetitive in places, but it was good, and I shall probably try another soon. In the meantime I've fallen down an old book rabbit hole, and am currently two thirds of the way through Gerald Durrell's My Family And Other Animals, which I also studiously avoided as a child, probably for much the same reason. It's not such a good read. Much funnier, but suffers from the most horrendously purple prose. It's like swimming up hill through treacle, but with witty anecdotes. It has its attractions, mind. It's my mother's edition, from 1959, and I think [personal profile] lost_spook will appreciate the cover:

... )

I do like a colour-coded Penguin!

On the telly front, I'm still wandering through a rewatch of the Beeb's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I love it muchly. This week was episode four, with the King's Roads, and Edward Petherbridge as George III (looking rather older, and considerably less dapper, than when he was Lord Peter Wimsey, just about the only other thing I've seen him in). Why are there only seven episodes? It's not fair. I find myself wanting a wartime spin-off, all about Jonathan doing magic for the army; and that's just for starters.

Oh, and hey - Doctor Who this week! I know it was a bit ridiculous, but I thought it was fun, and I was greatly entertained to see Anthony Calf in it (he was the captain). In 2015 I watched The Monocled Mutineer, Beau Geste and Fortunes Of War more or less at the same time, and he cropped up in all of them, so it was nice to see him again. And, yet again, being a period army type. Still, he didn't get shot this time, which is a step up.

And I think that's all for now. Which is just as well, as if I don't produce some kibble sharpish, I will be eaten by a small ginger cat. Bye.
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( May. 15th, 2017 19:45)
Haven't done this in a while, as I haven't been watching anything much of late, save Doctor Who and Agents Of SHIELD; and talking about stuff that everybody is watching seems a bit pointless somehow. I have been reading though, and I've just finished a book that felt worth a mention. It's called The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair, by Jöel Dicker, and it's a big, chunky, 600+ page whodunnit about a schoolgirl who was murdered in the summer of 1975, and the investigation that begins when her body is discovered in 2008. Although it's so big, it's a very easy read, and I found myself getting through it very quickly. So if anybody feels like a murder story that bounces about from year to year, and keeps throwing interesting hooks at you, that would be a good one to go for. Originally written in French, apparently, although I read it in English.

On the watching front, one thing that I did do was rewatch the first episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell today. Wednesday will be the second anniversary of the show's debut, so it felt like a good time. It's still fab. I'm appreciating Vincent Franklin as the brilliantly smarmy Drawlight a little more this time around, now that my attentions aren't so taken up with Strange and Norrell themselves. Also, he and Lascelles do some quite splendid snide bickering - typical bored, rich men about town, indulging in gossip, and getting their entertainment from other people's misfortunes. They're great side characters in the book, and they also work well in the series. If I could change anything in episode one, I think I should have liked to have seen a little more of Segundas. His role as a sort of magical fanboy is rather effective. It's nice to be seeing it all again.

This week's Last.fm top five artists:

Blondie (due in part to their new album, so I am a little bit up to date!)
Dean Martin
The Equals
Manic Street Preachers
Caro Emerald

In other news, I've decided to do that music meme that's knocking about, but since I've been completely incapable of choosing a song for the first question (I'm supposed to randomly choose one with a colour in the title, but who can randomly choose a song?), I've decided that it has to be from one of the above artists. So beneath the cut are the Equals with Black Skin Blue-Eyed Boys (released in 1970, and this is from a TV appearance in 1971).

Funky guitar under here )
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swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Apr. 10th, 2017 20:56)
I keep forgetting to do this, although admittedly it doesn't change much from week to week. Since last time, I've watched a fascinating mini-series that, like Boy Dominic, I picked up in a Network sale a couple of years ago, and have only just got around to. It's called Wolcott, and was apparently Britain's first police drama with a black lead. I wish I could say that it distinguishes itself! First the good points: it has a great cast. George Harris is a charismatic lead, and heads the cast well as the titular Wolcott. He's supported by a shedload of British character actors, many of them familiar from other police dramas, including Christopher Ellison (Burnside from The Bill as - surprise! - a crooked detective). Rik Mayall also features as a loathsome, racist PC. It also has very funky music. That's where the good stuff ends. Apparently the cast hated the show, and I can see why. It's trying very hard to be Shaft, but what worked for New York City in the seventies, is not going to work for London, and certainly not in 1981, the year of the Brixton Riot. The characters are dreadful stereotypes. Wolcott himself is impossibly good; everybody else is either a racist, or a two-dimensional Jamaican gangster. Jeepers. I've since taken refuge in a rewatch of the final season of White Collar, which I loved so much at the time. It's still good. If you've never seen White Collar, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Oh, and also in the world of telly - Sleepy Hollow finished. No decision yet on whether there will be a fifth season. I ended up really loving season four, against all the odds. It was nearly as much fun as season one, and the new cast were all great. Jenny got to be properly awesome throughout, and the last scene of the final episode was proper silly grin stuff. A nice place to leave the show, if it turns out that that was it.

In reading, I've just finished A Symphony Of Echoes by Jodi Taylor, the second in her time-travelling historian series. It's all about an institute called St Mary's, which houses a band of historians, who travel through time to witness famous events. Think time-travelling history nerds, fuelled by tea and explosions, and you're pretty much there. The books are fast-moving; a bit shallow, admittedly, but fun. Sentences like "We're St Mary's - there's something wrong if something isn't on fire", will give you some indication as to why it appeals to me. I've heard that the series gets better as it progresses, so I shall certainly hunt out some more. Otherwise still scrambling through a complete Sherlock Holmes readthrough, and am currently on The Valley Of Fear, which is an interesting one. Don't think I've read it before. Holmes books are always oddities. Nothing happens in them - absolutely nothing at all. They break all of the "show, don't tell" rules. We're told about everything after it happens, and never witness anything exciting. And yet somehow you never mind. Conan Doyle's prose is a thing of beauty. (Although if you could stop with all the "You can tell he's a criminal by the shape of his head", and "It was clearly a woman's handwriting," Sir Arthur, that'd be good, thank you kindly.)

Also a thing of beauty (corny links, I has them) was the weather of the last few days. My mother's weeping cherry tree exploded into life quite magnificently (she's only had it a year, and last year it only managed one flower!). It's properly settled in now though, and it looks stunning. Spring is nice. I do wish this one particular wasp (I'm assuming it's the same one, purely because they look alike, although I admit that that's hardly damning evidence) wouldn't keep flying through my window though. I have to keep leaping madly to the kitten's defence to stop her trying to eat it. *sigh*

There are pictures under the cut, of springy colour. It's all grey again outside today though. You're a killjoy, April. Give me my sun back.

... )

Oh, and top five artists of the last seven days, courtesy of last.fm:

Queen
a-ha
Blondie
Joe Jackson
Pet Shop Boys

(a-ha just put out a new album in 2015, so that list is more modern than you might assume, honest.)
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Mar. 20th, 2017 20:56)
Boy Dominic came to its inevitable end, in a sweet and joyful reunion. I felt bad for them, knowing that most of the cast were soon going to be murdered off-screen, in order to trigger an unexpected sequel. Still, even with that shadow hanging over it, it remained a fun little series. Julian Glover cropped up in a handful of episodes (he was evil, of course). One episode had Brian Wilde in it as a dastardly murderer, which amused me. Nice bit of unexpected casting. All in all, I recommend it, at least to fans of seventies telly. The usual caveats apply, obviously. In one episode the windows are very obviously made of plastic sheeting, which amused me. Partly because of how obvious it was, and partly because it hadn't been invented yet. Good gender balance though, and a fine cast.

Following the one-sided struggle against The Brothers Karamazov, I decided to stick to short books for a while! I read an interesting 1935 novella called It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis, which a lot of people have been recommending recently. Although it was written in 1935, it's quite clearly the story of Donald Trump's election, so possibly Sinclair Lewis had a time machine. An interesting one. Also read Douglas Adams's Last Chance To See, about his voyages around the world for the BBC in the late eighties, to track down endangered species. Two of them are gone now (and so, obviously, is he). The statistics quoted are terrifying, especially for the collapse of the northern white rhino population. Humanity, you suck.

What else? I watched Saving Mr Banks, the story of Walt Disney's struggle with PL Travers to get the rights to Mary Poppins. It was good, but a bit frustating. Every time somebody blinked, the narrative switched from the 1960s to the 1910s, or back again. Could have done with spending more than ten seconds in each one at a time. Also Colin Farrell was in it. Despite that, it was nicely done, and an interesting story. And Bradley Whitford was in it too, which helped to counteract Colin Farrell to some extent. I've been singing Mary Poppins songs ever since though, so it may have been a mistake.

Top five artists for the last seven days, according to last.fm:

01. Chuck Berry
02. Madness
03. Huey Lewis & The News
04. Duran Duran
05. Oasis

I know. I'm so modern and up to date.
swordznsorcery: (sleepy team)
( Feb. 27th, 2017 20:54)
It took effort (and I admit that I did skip some of the longer and more impenetrable chapters), but I have finished The Brothers Karamazov. Damned if I know what it's about though. I mean, certainly it's the tale of three brothers, and their father is murdered by somebody, but this apparently major event is probably only about a third of the narrative. The rest is wandering down lengthy side trails, talking of ailing schoolboys, boring monks, a veritable barrage of people with assorted ailments, and some people who may or may not be in love with each other. It must surely have been written whilst high. It's the only sensible explanation. (I'm guessing there's at least one level of allegory going on, and certainly there's comparative examples of fatherhood, and the importance of father figures, but jeepers). This is one book I'm not recommending! I've gone back to Sherlock Holmes now, and have just started The Hound Of The Baskervilles. It's a much better story, and Conan Doyle manages to tell in a dozen pages what Dostoevsky needs four hundred to even begin getting around to.

Boy Dominic remains entertaining, although it must be said that Richard Todd's bit of the plot (a short scene at the beginning and end of each episode) is infinitely more engaging than his wide-eyed son, still getting into assorted scrapes in the Yorkshire countryside. Each episode is only half an hour long though, and Brian Blessed is there, so it's enjoyable enough. Just had another Return To Treasure Island alumnus turn up, which was nice. Also falling in love with Sleepy Hollow all over again. Season four has been absolutely splendid so far.

Making use of last.fm's glorious statistics capabilities while it's still there (it seems forever in danger of falling before the unappealing juggernaut of Spotify), I see that my top five artists for the last seven days are:

1. George Harrison (14 plays)
2. The View (13 plays)
3. Kaiser Chiefs
3. Mika
3. Pulp (12 plays each)

I do like a nice list. Elsewhere I am mostly thinking about dragons for I Surrendered, and trying not to get sucked into the world of temptation that is Prompt Amnesty Week over at [community profile] 100words. Every ten weeks you get to choose any of the previous prompts. They are very prompty.

I have finished my cup of tea. Woe.

Bye.
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Feb. 20th, 2017 20:37)
A blatant rip off of [personal profile] lost_spook's What I'm Reading Wednesday.

I think I've given up on The Brothers Karamazov. Or maybe I haven't. I shall probably pick it up again, but I've read two other books since I put it down last! Ordinarily I wouldn't struggle on with something, but people who are usually worth listening to keep telling me how good it is. The Kindle tells me I'm halfway through it, although goodness knows how. The less annoying brother just battered the butler possibly to death with a kitchen appliance, so it has briefly got interesting. I may persevere. In the meantime I'm reading something I picked up in a charity store: Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler. A husband and wife team of treasure hunters travel the globe seeking out archaeological finds, whilst being shot at. She's a history buff and a crack shot; he's an engineer and a danger magnet. It reads like a Hollywood blockbuster waiting to happen. It's good, but it's also very annoying - more to do with the writing style than the plot. People don't use cameras, they use Nikon 6FSb97s with HJK982.7 lenses, for example. Possibly he makes a packet on the advertising, as it's a trend that's repeated with cars, boats, jackets, shoes, phones, laptops, etc. But yeah, good story.

In Tellyland, lately I am mostly watching The Boy Dominic, which I bought two years ago for about 50p in a Network sale, and am only just getting around to. Richard Todd is believed lost at sea, and his young son Dominic, played by Jim Dale's son Murray Dale, wanders around the Yorkshire Dales in a silly haircut, getting into scrapes and missing his dad. Also starring Hildegard Neil in some slightly alarming make-up, and Brian Blessed apparently auditioning for Long John Silver (but with two legs). They made a sequel a couple of years later, in which both Richard Todd and Hildegard Neil had been horribly murdered, with seems very sad given how jolly hard Richard Todd is trying to get home. I shouldn't bother, Richard. You're safer as a castaway.

(Actually he isn't. He's just been drugged and kidnapped by dastardly foreign types, and is suffering from amnesia. But that probably still beats being horribly murdered in order to give your son a second set of adventures).

It's very well made, anyway. By Yorkshire TV, in 1974. Scarcely anything wobbles.
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I'm sure that I should probably have been doing useful things today, but instead I have been making clockwork dinosaurs. They don't quite work, at least without some disassembling, and careful sanding down of bits and pieces, but they sort of waddle a bit. My sister found them in Poundland. They're a brilliant design, if very small and fiddly, and putting them together was something of a comedy of rescuing bits from the cats, rescuing bits from the floor, and being incapable of telling one bit from another in the instructions. Clockwork dinosaurs under here )

So that's the only interesting thing that's happened lately. I don't seem to have posted in ages. (No change there then.) I keep meaning to, but I only ever get as far as thinking about what I want to say. I've been intending to mention a book that I read last month, as I know that it may well interest one or two of you. It's called Life With Kenneth Connor, by Jeremy Connor (he of the fisticuffs cameo in Carry On Nurse). It's not a particularly well-written book, and at less than two hundred pages it's not a particularly in-depth book, but it does provide a nice bit of insight into a fascinating life. It also gives a good account of the making of the Carry Ons, and also quite a bit of period theatre, briefly in wartime, and then mostly in the 1950s to the 1980s. Then there's He-de-Hi and 'Allo 'Allo later of course. Some interesting stuff for anybody into vintage BBC TV and radio, or Pinewood Studios. Jon Pertwee pops up, as you might expect given that he was an occasional Carry On-er, and Patrick Troughton also makes an appearance (on a motorbike!), as apparently he and KC were at drama school together. Yep, everybody on TV back then really did know each other.

Anyways, if you don't expect literary brilliance, it's a good little read. Some nice stuff about Kenneth Williams, proof that everybody in the world really does love Joan Sims, and some genuinely pleasant little LGBT moments as an added bonus. Recommended.

Also had some interesting viewing lately. I found this Screen One production on YouTube, called The Police. It's from 1990, and tells the story of a group of primary school children who set up their own police force to combat bullying. Everything goes wrong of course. An odd subject for a Screen One, since they were usually about adults, but then for all that the cast are young kids, it's not a childish story. Not cheerful or happy, but worth a watch!

Other than that, this month I have mostly been staring in mounting horror and befuddlement at the daily news, and getting caught in the rain. Meanwhile it's apparently February already. Whoever put the year into fast-forward, kindly put it back to normal speed. There's snowdrops out and daffodils coming up, and I've barely got the hang of January.

PS: Festivids happened! And there was much good stuff. Here, have some links (beneath the cut):... )

And now I have to go and do something more useful than clockwork dinosaurs. Bye.
How are we already in week #2? It's going to be 2018 before we've drawn breath at this rate. So far I'm not achieving a great deal. I started the new year by beginning to read The Brothers Karamazov, but that's ground to a resounding halt. Yeesh. There is a not a character I don't want to strangle (and I'd quite like to throttle Dostoevsky while I'm at it). I think I'll give it up for a bit, and try again later. My tenth anniversary rewatch of Torchwood was rather more successful, happily. I was pleased to find that I loved it just as much now as then, including the ones that I hadn't seen since their first showing. It looks quite hilariously cheap at times though. You can certainly tell that it was made in a hurry. Strictly speaking I should wait until this time next year for the tenth anniversary rewatch of season two, but I want to watch the James Marsters episode, so that ain't gonna happen.

In other still-old-but-newer-than-is-usual-for-me telly, I haven't watched any more Heroes since I last posted about it, because stuff always seems to get in the way. I must get back to it (preferably before Trump gets bored, and blows us all up come the summer). I think I've forgotten which episode I watched last though. Damn.

In non-fandom related stuffs... nope, sorry, that's all very boring. I ate a very nice banana this morning, if anybody's interested. Spent the weekend mainlining 1983 episodes of Top Of The Pops on the iPlayer. Peter Powell! Stupid clothes! Peter Powell in stupid clothes! Also Wham! and Spandau Ballet (more stupid clothes). Took the kitten to be spayed last week. She's now sporting a bald patch, although major surgery doesn't seem to have slowed her down any. (Technically she's not a kitten anymore, as she'll be two in May, but she has stunted growth due to a bad start in life, and also she's quite convinced she's still a kitten).

Figure A: Cats (this being the internet, you're probably familiar with the species).

The 2016 Fandom Meme, plus cats... )
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Dec. 31st, 2016 20:48)
Obligatory end-of-year post. I was going to do the meme that everybody's posting today, but it's got too many questions! I get bored after answering about ten. So instead I'll point you at this rather wonderful 2016 song, which nicely sums up everything we've all been thinking. Not safe for work; but then it probably couldn't have been. It's tempting to hope for better for 2017, but bearing in mind that Trump hasn't even come to power yet, my natural tendency towards optimism is currently feeling a tad wobbly.

2016, then. The good bits. Best telly (other than the mothballed old stuff that I usually watch) has probably been Lucifer. I heartily recommend that one to most of you. Season one was fun last year, but season two has been terrific, and Tom Ellis is a revelation. Here he is (in character) belting out a jazzed up version of All Along The Watchtower.

Best book... I wish I could say the final Temeraire, but it seemed a bit of a damp squib, somehow. Mind you, my expectations were probably set a bit high. Instead I think I'll go with The Tyrannosaur Chronicles by Dave Hone, because tyrannosaurs. Basically he wrote the book I've been wanting since I was about four. Now all I need is for somebody to write similar ones for all the other types of dinosaur! And Dimetrodon while they're at it. And listen! The first fireworks of the evening.

Best music is an awkward one, as I don't listen to much modern stuff. Lee Mead put out a new album earlier this year, called Some Enchanted Evening, which I like a lot. Nice to see him doing some old standards, as he always was good at them. And Holly Johnson had a new single out this year called Ascension, which was good. Even if did come from the Eddie the Eagle film. (Sorry, I grew up in Cheltenham. I have an Eddie the Eagle allergy.)

Best film is another awkward one. Pretty sure I've only seen one 2016 film this year, which was the live action (well, mostly CGI, actually) remake of The Jungle Book. Fortunately I absolutely loved it, which is just as well, as I guess it wins by default. Trailer here.

Looking back at my list, I see that the first book I read in 2016 was Immortal In Death by JD Robb. Sounds frighteningly prescient for the year that was to follow, so if all of that was in any way my fault, I apologise! Last book of the year was Is There Life Outside The Box? by Peter Davison. Less murder, more jokes. Also, a special pair of sentences for you, [personal profile] lost_spook! On page 196: "I was keen to make The Last Detective; it reminded me of a show I'd watched as a teenager called Public Eye that starred Alfred Burke. With its easy pace and gentle humour and world-weary central character, it had been a success for many years." (Yeah, he's not in love with punctuation. Sorry about that. ;) The index, however, is a thing of beauty.) But see! All you need to do is abduct Peter Davison, and extract the missing episodes from his brain! This is a faultless plan for 2017.

Um. And I shall leave it there. Happy 2017, everybody. Let's try to keep the NHS; try to stop Trump inadvertently starting a nuclear war with China via Twitter; and, I don't know. Hope that Trump takes his head off, and reveals that he was Hillary Clinton all along? Well, it's a thought.

See you in January.
swordznsorcery: (manolito)
( Aug. 3rd, 2016 00:23)
So, [personal profile] heartonsnow said that I had to post something. That was more than a week ago actually, but I still haven't thought of anything worth posting. Still, let's see where this goes. I'll start with books, as that's easy.

... )
swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( May. 28th, 2016 20:45)
A book meme ganked off [personal profile] liadtbunny, and general rambling about life, the universe and everything stuff.

... )
I'm basically being trolled by cats now. I just cleaned out my keyboard, and there was at least one full cats worth of fur stuffed under the keys. They must get together to poke it down there when I'm not around. None of which is what I came here to post. What did I come here to post? Nothing. Something. I ought to post something, as I never do, and the rest of you lead interesting lives, or at least manage to make yourselves sound interesting, and I'm just here being me.

I read a book! It was a very nice book. It's called The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, by Dave Hone (except he's called David Hone on the cover, to make himself sound more serious and sciencey). It's all about the biology of tyrannosaurs, and what we know, and how we know what we know, and it's full of nice diagrams of skeletons. Also it's purple. 99.9% of you aren't remotely interested, but I'm recommending it anyway, as I promised I would. (I read some other books too, but this one was best).

I've also been watching films, on and off. I've been trying to watch one a week, as I haven't really watched films in years, and to start with I decided it was high time I got around to seeing the Back To The Future trilogy. It's supposedly one of those iconic 80s things, but despite seeing the first one at the cinema about two million years ago, I'd never seen the others. I shan't be bothering again! Although the third one wasn't entirely bad. Then I rewatched the Indiana Jones trilogy to make me feel better about 80s films (and indeed 80s film trilogies, I suppose). That was much, much better. Also 100% more Tip Tipping. The Last Crusade also featured surprise Julian Glover, which was nice. And then after that, I watched the proper Star Wars trilogy, because they actually put out the proper, non-fiddled-with version on DVD, and Amazon was nice enough to be selling it second hand for 12p. Han clearly fires first, sorry George. It was lots of fun, but sadly Return Of The Jedi left me with the Ewok theme song stuck in my head for three days. Here: click at your peril. Dear me, the eighties were a strange place at times.

Some pictures and things )
swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Mar. 17th, 2016 20:12)
Memed from [personal profile] liadtbunny. I actually did this several days ago, and then forgot to make the post public, and now obviously several of the answers have changed! So I'll add the new ones in brackets.

... )
swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( Mar. 15th, 2016 21:22)
Well, maybe not recs as such. I have especially enjoyed these three books just recently, but I do admit that the first one is a bit niche, and it seems that most of you have read the second one anyway. But still! Book recs!

Books! )
Which would be a fascinating crossover, but instead is just a post. One heck of an anticlimax, but there you go.

I am distinctly unFacebookian, so ordinarily I wouldn't link to anything there, but this has been doing the fandom rounds, and I love it. It may be the best Star Warsian thing ever created (except for anything involving Han, Chewie and Lando going very fast in a spaceship, obviously).

https://www.facebook.com/BANGBROSDISCIPLE/videos/134452133246064/?theater

Fans are brilliant. When they're not being ranty anyway.

Elsewhere, I have been feeling very ungrateful. The BBC has kindly made me much New Who, with proper SFX and an actual budget, but all that I really care about is the old stuff. I've been watching "Inferno"! Grumpy green werewolves from the centre of the Earth! Parallel UNIT! Benton with fangs! And they were all wearing eyepatches, the rotters! It's wonderful. I haven't finished it yet (one more episode to go), but I can't see it going bad before the end. And even if the story itself weren't fun enough on its own, HAVOC certainly are. I couldn't have chosen a better tribute to Derek Ware if I'd tried. Every five minutes, one of his gang seems to leap off something, or through something, or into something. Also fisticuffs. Hurrah! I do sort of wish we could have kept parallel Liz though. Not that I have anything against the regular flavour as such, but that blonde wig of hers is ridiulous, and the dark one suits her much better. Also I liked parallel Liz's sarky attitude, and her Brigadier-shooting. Also also, more telly should involve people called Olaf Pooley, just because - and especially if they're mugging at the camera whilst painted green.

So yes, that was fun. I've actually never seen "Inferno" before - there's a few of those very early Pertwees that I've still to see. He's one of my favourite Doctors, so it's nice to still have a few gaps to fill. They are running out though. (No fair). Even though Sean Pertwee is ageing into a splendid reconstruction of his father, he is so far failing to rush about in a cape and fight monsters. Except when he does. And they wouldn't make it right these days anyway.

Elsewhere, in a world sadly devoid of spaceships (although AJ Simon does spend chunks of the first season wearing the Third Doctor's jacket), my rewatch has turned up what must be one of the most hilariously fan-servicey episodes of Simon & Simon ever made. Rick gets AJ into a competition with a body-building nut. Watch AJ do push-ups! Watch AJ do chin-ups! Basically watch AJ flexing bits for a prolonged period. Then watch AJ get the stuffing beaten out of him, and Rick go on one of his over-protective rampages. It's like somebody back in 1986 hacked into fanfiction.net via a timewarp.

Oh, and I finished reading Once A Crooked Man, otherwise known as the first book by David McCallum. It's good, for the most part. Massive amount of brand names getting thrown about. As an habitual viewer of ye olde BBC, which had a terror of anything that might be seen as advertising, this tends to make me twitch. I did like the characters though, and the story was a good one, with at least one decent trope annihilation. He shouldn't be allowed to write sex scenes though. I say this not to be a prude (though I am, admittedly, the sort who rolls their eyes at such things, and waits for a return to the fisticuffs), but he really, really shouldn't be allowed to write sex scenes. At least without a lot more practice.

And that I think is that.

PS: Beneath the cut, AJ Simon, modelling a brilliantly Thirdish outfit. Only in the 1980s would a bookish introvert wear a conservative black three-piece that's bright red on the inside. Oh, 1980s. Stylistically you were bonkers, but your telly was good.

... )
When I was very young, I'd sometimes hear the others in my family talking about a long departed show called Man From Atlantis. It sounded tailor-made for me - a man who breathes underwater! Undersea adventures! Action, adventure and the ocean. It couldn't very well have been more perfect. And then, some thirty-plus years on, I finally got to see it. And it was awful. Not entertainingly awful - not even amusingly awful. Just awful. Lesson learned.

When I first got on the internet, there was a TV series that I'd sometimes hear America talking about: Counterstrike, a spy drama starring Christopher Plummer and Simon MacCorkindale. Simon MacCorkindale! As a fan of the long defunct Manimal, this seemed like a very good prospect. Didn't seem likely that I'd ever get to see it though. And then, a couple of days ago, I found it on YouTube. And, yes, it's terrible. Not the fault of Christopher Plummer or Simon Mac - they're doing the best they can with it. But everybody else in the cast? And the writers? And the directors? Oh boy. Lesson, once again, learned.

It's not going to go into the long term memory though, let's face it. Somehow these things never do.

In other news, I was given a 1978 Battlestar Galactica annual for Christmas, which I've just got around to reading (I wanted to finish something else first). It's in the finest annual tradition of having an appalling grasp of the premise and characters of the TV show, and the artwork borders on hilarious - but Battlestar Galactica! The annual! It made me smile throughout. I particularly like the fabulously jolly interview with Lorne Greene, that suggests BSG might last as long as Bonanza did, and be his next big hit. Hmm. Bonanza ran for fourteen seasons. Battlestar Galactica... didn't. But it was nice of them to try. The stories in the annual have some of the best titles ever, clearly written by writers who got a bit carried away with the whole SF thing. Presumably they usually had to write stories for Grange Hill or The Waltons or something. Amazons Of Space!; Chess-Players Of Space!; Hijack In Space!. When in doubt, always stick "Of/In Space!" at the end of your title. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes. It's a bit sad actually, when they talk to the various stars about their hopes for the future. Everybody seems all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and sure that this is their great stepping-stone to wonderful things. Yeah. Don't hold your breath, guys. The only one whose long-term plan turned out the way he'd hoped was Dirk Benedict, who said that he'd like to act for a few years, then slip away into relative anonymity, live in the middle of nowhere, and write. Which is precisely what happened. Lucky sod!

And speaking of actors who write, in other other news, I've just started reading a book called Once A Crooked Man, by David McCallum (mostly because Amazon were selling it for two quid on Kindle. Sorry Illya, but I can't afford costly book experiments!) I wasn't sure about it at first, as it had a slightly rocky beginning, but the Kindle tells me I'm 25% in now, and I'm enjoying it. It relies very much on people doing things that they probably wouldn't in the real world (the whole story is basically the hero doing this), but it's engaging enough, and I like the scene setting. Some of the prose is a bit clumsy here and there (first book-itis - it's largely inescapable), but the descriptive passages are nicely done, the plot seems strong, and the characters are well drawn. I quite recommend it, if you're in the mood for a contemporary thriller. Mind you, I am only 25% in, so it could all go wrong yet.

(Sorry. I think Counterstrike just murdered my optimism).
swordznsorcery: (steele/laura)
( Nov. 30th, 2015 20:48)
Two of my siblings got driving licences in 1983. Mobility! For a little while anyway. Mobhanded about the countryside, in a wobbly van roughly the colour of cowpats. It had a dodgy handbrake, was religiously opposed to reverse, and it wasn't a good idea to open the passenger window - and it definitely wouldn't have passed any modern emissions tests. But it moved. We went to see Superman III in it. Not a great film! I liked it at the time though. The woman being turned into a walking computer actually seemed pretty scary back then. Saw Return Of The Jedi too - believe it or not, my first Star Wars film. I was mostly wondering who the Jedi was, and where he had been, but it wasn't a bad place to jump in at, Ewoks notwithstanding. Still waiting for a Han, Chewie and Lando spin-off though!

Otherwise, this was the year that saw The A-Team, Simon & Simon, Remington Steele, TJ Hooker and Knight Rider all hit British shores. Folks, we have reached peak eighties telly! As long as I live, I think I shall always be a bit confused by shows that don't have shoot-outs, cars flying randomly through the air, and heroes locked in warehouses that are suspiciously easy to break out of. This is clearly the default state of television. They don't even bash heroes over the head and tie them up in car crushers anymore. Might mess up their hair, I suppose. Although if AJ Simon can manage with his fuzzy mop, you'd think anybody could. 1983 was also the year when we got the Bo-and-Luke-free season of The Dukes Of Hazzard. Bit baffling back in those days, when we couldn't get on the internet to find out what the bloody hell was going on! Still, they came back soon enough.

Music wise, I suppose 1983 was the year of Wham!. They'd had a song out the previous year, but they had about three hundred in 1983, and my sister never stopped singing them. For the first time, when she was singing something I actually didn't mind. I've always been a fan of Wham!. I should probably be embarrassed to admit that, but I'm not. Otherwise, Keith Harris and Orville singing Orville's Song proved to be the only thing that would stop my baby sister from crying whilst she was teething. Please forgive us, but we bought the bloody thing, thereby helping them climb dangerously close to #1. I can still sing it. Unbelieveably though, it's not the worst song to hit the charts that year. Rene & Renato probably win that, with Save Your Love. (I'm not posting a link to it - just believe me).


... )

I'm not saying much about books, am I. Just imagine an endless waterfall of Willard Price, Franklin W Dixon and Enid Blyton, and you won't go far wrong. Also anything remotely shark or dinosaur flavoured. This led to me attempting to read Jaws when I was staying with my grandparents.

Yikes. The book is a lot naughtier than the film...!
Spoiler free, have no fear.

So um... yes. This week's Who watching went along the lines of: Hmm. Bit bored. *idly picks up book* ... Was that Peter Davison?!... Oh, that's the theme music. Whoops. I know Missy was in it, there was something about her texting Hey Mickey!, and Sally from The Bill/Ros from Bugs was there too (sorry Sally/Ros, I usually pay much more attention to you than that). And Davros, obviously, but he was as dull as ever.

So, yeah. Is it worth rewatching, so I know what actually happened?! I am sorry, Doctor, but in my defence, the book was Children On the Oregon Trail.
swordznsorcery: (johnblack)
( Sep. 12th, 2015 07:45)
I keep meaning to post, and not getting around to it. I was going to do a post at the end of August, crowing about how many books I've read recently - it's like I've suddenly remembered how to read fiction. I re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and that seemed to spark something, and I managed nine books in August! I've read nothing much but non-fiction in ages, as I couldn't seem to concentrate on fiction. I don't suppose it will last (and okay, I started JS&MN back in July, and some of the books were pretty short!). But yay. I even made a little celebratory picture to show off with. But now September's practically over, so it doesn't work quite so well coming now. Nonetheless:

Bookishness follows anyway )
swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Feb. 14th, 2014 18:49)
Okay, so back in November (ish) [livejournal.com profile] sabethea made a post discussing a particular list of "One Hundred Books You Must Read", and asking for other people to make their own recommendations on a similar theme. I had intended to have a go at answering the question at the time, but there was [community profile] fandom_stocking, and [livejournal.com profile] dw_50ficathon, and some stuff involving actual real people too, believe it or not. But here now, belatedly, is a book post. There aren't one hundred recommendations, although I might just about be able to squeak that if pressed. Due to reasons of space, most of my books are packed away just at the moment though, so I have nothing to refer back to, which complicates things. Neither is this is a list of "Books You Must Read", because that sort of thing is clearly nonsense. Instead it's a jumbled and probably incomplete list of books that I've especially enjoyed, or that have made, at some point, a particular impression. Not such a snappy title, I know, but a far less obviously inaccurate one.

Books... and quite a lot of rambling, sorry. )
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