A week or so back, [personal profile] arnie1967 asked about favourite songs, and how they make us feel. It was an interesting question, but I didn't get around to answering it at the time. Kept thinking about it though, and with my usual inability to come to a decision about favourite songs, I shovelled a bunch of them into a folder, and then wrote down the first ten titles that resulted from a random play. This is the result, and it's a playlist that I'm very happy with. As to how they make me feel... Well, they're good songs, so I suppose the obvious answer is "good", but there is a bit more to that, at least occasionally.

... )
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: (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: (e street)
( Mar. 4th, 2016 20:04)
Memed from [livejournal.com profile] meathiel - spell your username in song titles. I restricted myself to songs on my hard drive to make it a bit more interesting (although I do have a lot of music on my hard drive, so I wasn't exactly restricting my choices by much!)

S - Somebody To Love, Queen
W - Wonderwall, Oasis
O - Obviously, McFly
R - Radio Nowhere, Bruce Springsteen
D - Don't Turn Around, Aswad
Z - Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie
N - Nothing Is Keeping You Here, a-ha
S - Suicide Is Painless, Manic Street Preachers
O - On The Sunny Side Of The Street, Dean Martin
R - Run To You, Bryan Adams
C - Carrie, Cliff Richard
E - Eee-O-Eleven, Sammy Davis, Jr
R - Rock This Joint, The Max Weinberg 7
Y - You Really Got Me, The Kinks

If I'd had the foresight to call myself Sswworddznssorcceery, I'd also have included the following:

Start Me Up, The Rolling Stones
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?, REM
Don't Be Cruel, Elvis Presley
Sunday Girl, Blondie
Come Dance With Me, Frank Sinatra
Electric Avenue, Eddy Grant

And my grateful thanks to David Bowie. If it hadn't been for Ziggy Stardust, I don't know what I would have done! Twenty years ago when I signed up for Geocities, that Z looked like a good idea. It does occasionally have its downside though...
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: (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 "Remember 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: (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: (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: (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. 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.

... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Dec. 11th, 2015 19:26)
1994 was a big year for me. I went to university, and also got online for the first time. Access was a bit limited to begin with; they were still installing the equipment to properly get the place Netted up. But it was there. Instant communication with the entire world! Okay, okay - a little bit of it, mostly in other colleges. The internet was a lot smaller in those days! But communication, without that troublesome face-to-face nonsense. It was quite the revelation.

Lots happened before I got there though. My local area got turned on its head at the start of that year, when the Fred West saga was uncovered (literally). He'd been murdering young women for years, and burying them in his back garden. One of a number of jobs that I had that year was delivering newspapers, and I had strings of little old ladies sitting by their front doors every day, desperate for the latest bit of news! One of the victims, who had disappeared in 1973, was local, and they all remembered the search that went on for her at the time, in fields round about. That turned into quite the major story - and Gloucestershire was collectively most put out when Harold Shipman turned up a few years later, and Yorkshire stole the "home of the country's most prolific serial killer" title. Granted, it's generally held that West killed more people than was proven, but he's highly unlikely to have hit Shipman's total. Although, do we win on points for having a violent one, when Shipman did it all with a quiet voice and a syringe? A vital point of order, I think...

Happier news in South Africa! Nelson Mandela was elected President in this year, which was good to see. A long, long time coming. Good for two reasons. One, he was the best man for the job - and two, his amazing shirts instantly brightened up any gathering of international leaders. I loved those shirts.

Elsewhere though, it was one of those years. Pretty much anybody I'd ever watched on telly seemed to die in '94. George Peppard! Farewell, Hannibal Smith. Telly Savalas (so long Kojak). And whilst I'm on the subject of policemen - how'd I forget to mention Raymond Burr yesterday?! Cameron Mitchell, who had had a long film career, but who I remember best as good old Buck Cannon in The High Chaparral. And of course Roy Castle lost his cancer battle this year. Nick Cravat and Burt Lancaster both went in '94 as well - together until the end. And Kurt Cobain of course.

John Smith, the admittedly dull leader of the Labour Party, also died this year, very suddenly. I don't know if he would have stood much chance making Prime Minister come the next election (he really didn't seem to have a personality at all), but his death saddled us with Tony Blair. Heaven only knows what might have happened had he lived. Iraq? Afghanistan? It's hard to believe that he'd have gone down that route. But, inevitably, there's no way of knowing that now.

Good year for music. Britpop was well underway. Blur's third album and Oasis's first one both went stratospheric. Pulp's ninety-ninth (or whatever it was) finally made them stars. M People were gigantic for five minutes, and the Manics came out with the critically acclaimed The Holy Bible. Don't know that it was a big commercial success at that point, but it made their name as a band to watch out for.

Lots of big stuff from America as well. REM released Monster, with songs What's The Frequency, Kenneth? and Bang & Blame; Jeff Buckley released Grace, which featured the ubiquitous Hallelujah. Was there a TV show in the 90s that didn't feature that somewhere?! Arguably the big song of the year was Springsteen's Streets Of Philadelphia, from the previous year's film Philadelphia. It won just about everything going in '94 and '95 - and (far more importantly!) when he played it live at the Grammys, he did so with Max and Roy. The E Street Band was on its way back!

... )
swordznsorcery: (xenon)
( Dec. 9th, 2015 20:09)
Argh, 1992. What do I know about 1992?! I do know that Peter's Friends was released. I went to see it, but the projector broke down part way through, so I had to go back the same time next week to see the rest. Fortunately it was worthwhile! I wound up buying the soundtrack (which I recommend). Windows 3.1 came out, although I don't think I got anywhere near it until probably around '94, by which point it was about to be superceded by 95. I didn't start using 95 until about 2000 though, by which time... I sense a pattern. :)

Oh, what else happened in '92? Um. It was a leap year. (Counts, hurriedly). Yes. Definitely a leap year. Bush and Yeltsin spent ages having talks to decide that they weren't going to try blowing each other up anymore, which was quite nice of them I suppose. Clinton got elected. I like Bill Clinton. He plays the saxophone, and likes fish and chips. Does it show that I'm struggling with this year? I really don't remember a bloody thing, except school sucking.

There was the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert of course, but I wasn't able to watch that. A rock concert in tribute to a member of Queen was not going to happen with my father present. Happily he was out when it got repeated. Whether that was Christmas '92 or '93, I don't recall, but it was one of the two. Springsteen put out a pair of (E Street Band-less) albums, but I was still cross with him for sacking them, so I don't think I paid much attention. Being (mildly) less ridiculous nowadays, I've got over all of that, but I still think those two albums are rubbish (sorry Bruce). Except for Human Touch and Better Days. Least said about 57 Channels (And Nothing On), the better. What were you thinking, Bruce?! About the same as the British public were thinking, when they elected the Conservatives again this year. 1992! If they'd waited one more year, I could have voted. And I'm not trying to make out that this would have made any difference to the outcome, especially given Britain's rubbish first-past-the-post electoral system, but at least I'd have felt like I could have helped. I still don't know who I would have voted for though. No Greens then, at least locally. Never could quite believe in Neil Kinnock, and Paddy Ashdown irritated me. Safe Tory seat here, so it's irrelevant anyway, but dreams are nice.

What was I watching in 1992? That's usually a safe subject. It was the year that Between The Lines started. I love that show. Still good. That first series is a humdinger, although I do still prefer series two. And there was The Good Guys (which I alone seem to remember, with Nigel Havers and Keith Barron swashbuckling their way about. With swords! There were definitely swords in one episode at least). And there was Sam Saturday, which I'm definitely alone in remembering, about a policeman. (It was a nickname - he was Jewish, so they called him Saturday. Because...? Saturday could just as easily be for Catholics. Anyway, I liked it at the time). And the BBC caused national panic airing Ghostwatch, in which Mike Smith and Sarah Greene, with Michael Parkinson just to make it all look extra believable, pretended to discover ghosts in the suburbs. It was brilliant. They were banned from showing it again. Some people have no sense of humour...

Music! That's something that I do know something about. )

1993 is far less of a struggle. Though that's not necessarily a good thing.
swordznsorcery: (manolito)
( Dec. 2nd, 2015 20:17)
1985 was a bit of a tangle of ups and downs. I got a nephew, and got bitten by a pair of Alsatian dogs, in the space of about a week. Most eventful March ever! Not sure that I recommend it, but it did lend a bit of variety to proceedings. I was told by the nice doctor that I shouldn't do PE at school for a few weeks (this was a Saturday), only to arrive at school on Monday, and be told "Don't be so silly, you're fine," by the teacher. I was fine, to be perfectly fair, but I was rather looking forward to escaping yet another Rounders match! And country dancing. Does every school do country dancing, or were we particularly 'lucky' to be blessed with it? Once a week, tables to the side of the room, find a partner, and do-si-do. And if you don't know what do-si-do-ing is, you don't know how lucky you are. *grumble*

Otherwise, it was one of those years where everything seemed to be going on. Live Aid happened, although I wasn't allowed to watch it, because pop music. Mikhail Gorbachev took over in Russia, and the world was going to blow up again, until everybody realised that he was actually quite nice. Most of the Middle East actually did blow up, but we were only supposed to notice when they were kidnapping Westerners. I think this may have been the year when I started properly noticing current affairs - probably not coincidentally also the year that I was given a radio for my birthday, and instead of it being background noise, it became a huge chunk of my life, regular news bulletins and all. Radio 1. 1063 - 1089 MW. And yes, I can still sing Peter Powell's weekend breakfast show jingles. I won't though. I have no desire to risk traumatising the neighbours.

What else happened in 1985? Phillip Schofield and Galloping Galaxies! (one of those is remembered fondly by much of the country, the other is remembered only by about three people. I won't tell you which is which). The truly great Edge Of Darkness debuted that year, but I wasn't allowed to watch that either. Not because of pop music though. (We didn't do drama, because Dad didn't like it. Any of it). Seriously, if you have not seen Edge Of Darkness (and I'm not talking about the Mel Gibson movie, obviously), then seek it out by fair means or foul, and watch it. Immediately. Even sooner than that if possible.

But otherwise, it was the year of a-ha. They'd been trying for a fair old while with Take On Me, but it took that video to give them the kick start they needed. And then they were off. First time I've ever followed a band from the beginning, and they're just as great now. I like a-ha.

No prizes for guessing whose is the first song under here )
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 1st, 2015 21:08)
1984 was a pretty sucky year, for reasons that I'm not going into. Partly because it was miserable, and partly because I'd get shot if anybody found out I'd been posting about it! But it's not a year that I remember especially fondly. Still some good stuff though. For instance - Manimal! Only eight episodes. There should have been so many more. We also got Blue Thunder that year (cops in a helicopter); Airwolf (vigilantes in a helicopter); and Matt Houston (rich playboy PI with a helicopter). Clearly 1984 was the year of the helicopter. British TV didn't do too badly that year either, although the budgets rarely extended to helicopters. The Bill and Casualty both started that year. Both went on far, far too long, and became ghastly parodies of themselves, but they were both excellent to begin with. Dempsey & Makepeace started, and so did Robin Of Sherwood. Peter Davison ran away when we'd barely got to know his Doctor, and Rentaghost and Crackerjack both ended, probably rather later than they should have done. (And anybody who didn't just yell "Crackerjack!" is being glared at. Just so you know). How did I manage to do anything else, with all this telly-watching?! I think days must have been longer back then. Probably got chopped in half later by the Conservatives, to save money.

Elsewhere, 1984 was the year when my mother decided that, since I never mixed with people my own age, or spoke to anybody ever, I needed to start going to youth club. Oh joy. Consequently, for the best part of a year, I spent an hour every Friday evening in a room full of noisy people. I still didn't talk to anybody, but I suppose I was not talking to them in a different environment, which was possibly at least part of the idea? When she realised that it hadn't worked, she enrolled me in a local Evangelical Bible group instead. What the bloody hell that was supposed to accomplish, I still have no idea. A safe environment, I suppose! Given that the area's three worst problem children had been enrolled as well, presumably in a last ditch attempt to sort them out, it was an experiment quite hilariously doomed to failure. Anyway, we clapped our hands a lot, sang a lot of songs, and I didn't talk to anybody. I'm sensing a pattern. Being the only introvert in a family with seven noisy extroverts takes some careful explaining! Especially when you haven't heard of the word "introvert" yet.

Oh, 1984. You were a problem year. Perhaps that was inevitable, once George Orwell wrote that blasted book!

... )
I keep feeling that I should be posting more. So I've come up with a plan, that I am almost certain to fail to stick to. I turned forty this year. And there's forty days left of 2015. One day - one post - for every year. Can I do it? Almost certainly not. Between being busy, forgetting, and being characteristically rubbish, it's almost sure to crash and burn long before the forty days are up. But plans! Plans are good! So, then. 1975.

Technically, 1975 should be difficult, because I don't remember it at all. But I'm lucky. I was born the same year as two of my favourite albums - quite by chance, two of the most famous, and critically acclaimed, albums in rock history. Queen's A Night At The Opera gave the world Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the most famous songs in British music. It also spawned fan favourite (and live classic) I'm In Love With My Car; John Deacon's smash hit You're My Best Friend; and the quite delightful '39, the best song about Einstein's theory of relativity that's ever been written. Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run gave us the title track, obviously, as well fan favourite Thunder Road and the superb Jungleland. Arguably more importantly (shut up) it also gave us Max Weinberg. Hey, truly great songs may be rare, but there's only one Max Weinberg. And I'd have had a whole lot less fun without him.

Loud noise this way )

Tomorrow, 1976! Or we could take bets on whether or not I'll make it even that far. :)
.

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