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.
In honour of John Barrowman's 50th birthday today (11th March, for those of you awkward enough to have drastically different timezones), here's an old favourite from days gone by:



JB is celebrating by launching a t-shirt highlighting trans issues in the States. Go John.
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.
[community profile] fandom_stocking fic for [personal profile] lost_spook.

Fandom: Press Gang
Characters: Lynda and Spike
Gen, 3200 words

... )
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: (methos)
( Oct. 6th, 2016 21:42)
Earlier in the year, [personal profile] lost_spook posted a ficmeme using lines from poems as prompts of a sort. It looked interesting, but I had a lot on at the time. Then this morning I read that today is National Poetry Day. What better day to take out that old meme and dust it off? The rules are fairly straight forward. Write down five fandoms in alphabetical order. Go here. Note down the fifth line of whatever random poem you land on. Partner it with the first fandom in your list. Click refresh, and rinse and repeat for all five.

And good luck if, like me, you have a mild allergy to Emily Dickinson.

Five poems, five ficlets, five fandoms )
Dear Brain,

If there's some reason why I've spent the last few days singing a selection of songs from the BBC Radio for Schools production Queen Beryl & the Romans, which my school performed in 1982, then I'd love to hear it. Equally, if there's some reason why I can faultlessly sing a bunch of songs that I haven't heard in thirty-four years, when my memory regarding anything that might be a bit useful is pretty much non-existent, I would also like to know. Really, Brain. It's embarrassing.

Oh hey, look: Peter Davison's got an autobiography coming out! Sounds promising. We already know he can write. I like the write up at Amazon:

His fans have spoken, but despite their requests, Peter Davison has gone ahead and written his autobiography anyway. It wasn't the book they tried to stop it was more like the book they didn't want him to start.

I think I shall look forward to that one.
It's been a pretty rubbish week, hasn't it! We accidentally broke Britain, we accidentally broke Europe, we accidentally broke the national - and possibly the international - economy. We also appear to have broken both the Government and the Opposition, meaning that the country is currently being run by Larry, the Prime Minister's cat. And as if that wasn't enough, we made Nigel Farage happy. Oh Britain. If there are any world leaders reading this: this is what happens when you ask ordinary people to make your extremely complex economic and political decisions for you, when all they have to inform them is the media. Anyway. Beneath the cut is a five minute video from an American comedy series, and trust me, you need it in your life right now. Sarcasm, with added Tennant and Capaldi.

Click! )

Never have I missed Drop The Dead Donkey more.
I've been Ambassadors of Deathing. This is an early Pertwee Doctor Who, and I found it quite splendid. Astronauts who aren't really astronauts, and lots of slightly wobbly SFX killing people willy-nilly with flashes. I do like a good bit of Jon Pertwee. It's funny how different my favourite Doctors are. Hartnell, all deceptively bumbling, with Ian and Barbara to do the energetic stuff for him; Pertwee striding about the place with his cape all a-swirl, never missing the chance to speed around on a motorbike or a helicopter; Davison with his butter-wouldn't-melt approach, all enthusiasm and improvisation; and McGann, switching from joy to broodage in a heartbeat, randomly snogging passersby and actually managing to get a girlfriend. But none of that is anything remotely to do with "Ambassadors Of Death".

It's a good fun adventure, with a very good guest cast. A seven parter, which could sometimes be the downfall of the Pertwee era, as at times you can't help but think that they'd have been better off being just the usual four. This one uses its episodes well though. The story doesn't outstay its welcome, and if anything it could almost use a few extra minutes to stop the ending being so sudden. I imagine that anybody reading this who is remotely interested has already seen it - but just in case, some astronauts turn out not to be astronauts, to the consternation of the British Space Agency (who pays for all this stuff in the Whoniverse?! Britain must have the best economy in the world!), but to the grim joy of psycho renegade General Herne the Hunter Carrington. He wants carte blanche to annihilate all aliens everywhere, and is hoping to manufacture hostilities between humanity and its visitors, in order to trigger a UN-sanctioned aliengeddon. Meanwhile, HAVOC hurl themselves and each other all over the television screen, and lots of stuff goes snap, crackle and pop.

Here, have some pictures:

... )
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.

... )
So, I bought a new computer keyboard. It's good, because there's lights in the keys, as there's not a lot of light here at the best of times. I have my suspicions that the keyboard is not of British manufacture though (well - what is). The box reads:

The Hight Wird Keyboard (I'm assuming the first word is meant to be "Light". The second is a bit of a mystery):
  • Cool backinghting (back lighting, I'm guessing)
  • Wnjoy typing (Enjoy typing - that one is almost right!)
  • High qualith (Again it's obvious what they mean (I'm very impressed by the ability to get a typo on every line though))
  • Stable spray (Um... thanks?)

So yes, that's a thing that happened. Another thing is that I've been watching Grange Hill again on YouTube. I started from season two, as season one is a bit rubbish. I know we're all supposed to like Tucker, but I always find him a bit of a loudmouthed yob. As far as that first intake is concerned, I much prefer Justin and Andrew, the quiet, nerdy boys, who manage to be bizarrely slashy for a pair of underage schoolboys on a children's TV show (oh internet, what have you done to my brain?) I knew a few too many Tuckers at school, and none of them were what you might call friendly, especially if you were one of the quiet, nerdy lot (hello). Anyways, I bring it up because midway through season four it turns into an unexpected Doctor Who crossover, as we're introduced to River Song: The Secondary School Years. I've embedded both episodes below the cut, and they're fixed to jump straight to her bits. There's the set up in the first episode, and the pay off in the second. And I can only apologise for the horror that is Mr Humphries, father to Alan, Tucker's mate. He is the most horrible actor.

... )

That is some impressive hair. How she expects to do judo with those bunches in the way is anybody's guess.

Beyond that, I am still Simon & Simon-ing. Eight seasons! Why can't all the shows I love last that long?! I suppose some shows would get a little repetitive, but the great thing about S&S is that even if it did I wouldn't care. Half the joy is in the characters. Rick and AJ (and their mother, who I love) are so nice to spend time with. I'm trying to keep it to one or two episodes a week, old-telly-watching style. Sometimes that works.

In other other news, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band are back out on the road, and in their tour opener in Pittsburgh last night, they played a nice tribute to David Bowie. So here's a second cut, with them doing Rebel Rebel.

... )

And that is all. Not that it was much to begin with.
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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (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: (johnblack)
( Dec. 10th, 2015 19:45)
1993! I didn't like 1993. I seem to be saying that sort of thing a lot, I know, but we have at least turned a corner now. I left school in 1993. That was a good bit of the year! No more green socks. No more hideous tie. No more enforced company of homicidal teenagers. I screwed up my A-levels, mind, which wasn't such a good bit of the year; but that will happen, apparently, if you haven't slept since 1989. I can't say as I particularly recommend that as a life choice, incidentally. The (very) late night telly had its upside, but there's a good chance it only seemed good because I was effectively a zombie. So I can't really recommend that either.

1993 was a weird year. A girl I'd sat next to at school for years found out she had cancer that March. She was a few weeks younger than me, so neither of us was eighteen yet. You're still supposed to feel immortal at that age! She got through it, fortunately, but I was still sending her ridiculous cards when I went to university a year later, so it must have been a long slog. Wakes you up, that sort of thing.

Elsewhere, Czechoslovakia ceased to be, which saddened me greatly. I was given an atlas when I was five, and fell in love with that word! I had to learn how to spell it immediately. Kenneth Connor died, which was a shame. I always did like him. Bill Bixby died as well, and so did River Phoenix and Audrey Hepburn. And so did Blockbusters come to that! No more "Can I have a 'P' please, Bob?" (Although I never did hear anybody actually ask that one).

Film-wise, I remember going to see Splitting Heirs with my sister and her fiancé. It starred Eric Idle and John Cleese, which was why I was interested (anything Python-flavoured, still!). I recall almost nothing about it though, barring a gag involving a 2CV. If my quick search around the Net is anything to go by, that's about all that anybody remembers. The former Brat Pack did The Three Musketeers, although rather badly. Seriously, who cast Kiefer Sutherland as Athos?! He clearly should have been Aramis. And Charlie Sheen should have been Athos instead. Still, Paul McGann was good, if only briefly. Oh, and Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau teamed up again for Grumpy Old Men, although I didn't see it for several years. Highly recommended, anyway.

Do I have to mention Dimensions In Time?! Still, it did have a fab cast. Pertwee, Davison, McCoy and both Bakers, plus more companions than you could shake a stick at. Just a shame about the script...

... )
swordznsorcery: (xenon)
( Dec. 6th, 2015 20:24)
I have been DIY-ing for my folks with, um, somewhat mixed results. And I am slightly deaded. I have screwed all the screws. I have drilled and sawed. No hammering, which is probably just as well. My aim isn't great. But! Enough of 2015, for it is 1989. Fortunately only in a manner of speaking, because I'll be damned if I'm going back there again, even just for a visit.

I mostly remember unrest in 1989. Tiananmen Square. Eastern Europe - Romania, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and then the Berlin Wall coming down. And Hillsborough of course, back in the UK. And did my sister get married that year? I think she did (and no, I have no idea why I'm asking you either). I'd ask her, but it only lasted a year, so I'd get my head bitten off if I mentioned it. ;) My overriding memory of it is making about a billion sandwiches, as we did the catering ourselves.

Otherwise, with the obvious exception of the cancelling of Doctor Who, for me this year was mostly about Monty Python's Flying Circus. Repeats on the Beeb, Michael Palin doing Around The World In 80 Days, books galore on the history of the show, and the release of Monty Python Sings, an album of their songs (which I bought in Our Price, on cassette (can life get any more 80s than that?!)). Played it to death that year, albeit very carefully, given some of the lyrics. You have no idea how many times I have caught myself singing Medical Love Song at inappropriate moments. I'd blame dear old Graham (he wrote it), but of course this was the year that he died, one day before the anniversary. His (sort of) autobiography was re-released a couple of years later, and is still one of my favourite books.

Somewhat Pythonesque goings-on elsewhere too that year - A Bit Of Fry & Laurie debuted, and so did Maid Marion & Her Merry Men. Also KYTV, although that's rather less well remembered! It was all about the goings on in a fledgling satellite TV channel, was very good indeed, won a ton of awards, and then disappeared without trace. And speaking of disappearing, the last Blackadder episode - that Blackadder episode - aired in November.

And the music that year was almost as tragic, because this was the year that New Kids On The Block hit British shores, tangling in the charts with yet more Bros, Kylie and Jason, and now joined as well by Sonia and Big Fun. One big pop nightmare! Added to which, Bruce Springsteen (who was seriously ill with bipolar disorder, although none of us knew that at the time), went and sacked the E Street Band (they got back together again a few years later, when he'd recovered some). Things were bad in Musicland. Fortunately, there were a few exceptions.

Loud stuff here )

Farewell to the 80s, then. Onward to the 90s.
.

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