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.

... )
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.)
It's been a fab day today. I got the lawn mowed, and did some pond tidying up. Also planted some stuff that will hopefully be tasty eventually. Then I retired to the iPlayer, and watched some programmes about Top Of The Pops in 1977 and 1978, and terrified myself by remembering all of it. I was two in 1977, for goodness sakes! Why do I remember every twist and turn of the UK's pop music scene back then, including still being able to sing along with most of the songs?! If I could remember a few useful things as well, I wouldn't mind so much. Blimey, things were scary back then though. Wall to wall Boney M! Also Brotherhood Of Man, in pink nylon, singing a spectacularly cheesy song called Angelo, in which two young lovers commit suicide. Sung complete with synchronised "waving goodbye" dance moves. I don't think it was meant to be funny.

Boney M, though. Forty years on, I still haven't quite figured out what that was all about. Ra-Ra-Rasputin indeed. I went to YouTube, with the intention of posting an illustrative video on the horrors of the likes of Rivers Of Babylon or Brown Girl in The Ring. I wound up getting distracted by the "Recommended for you" thingy at the side of the page though, and hit on this, so you got lucky:

... )
It's the song Style, from the 1964 film Robin And The 7 Hoods, performed by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The film isn't perfect, but it's good fun, and this song always makes me smile.

And here, have some bottled spring:

... )
The first is tulips, the second is my mother's Magnolia stellata. I bought it for her several years ago, as she's magnolia mad, and doesn't have space for a tree. It was tiny, and this year it flowered for the first time. Also, my first ducks of the year!

Now that I've spoken of sunshine and flowers, it'll hail tomorrow. Ah well.
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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.
I guess by now everybody knows that yesterday we lost Chuck Berry. Anybody with an interest in popular music knows what an important figure he was, so there's no point in running over that again (John Lennon said that it all started with Chuck Berry, and he wasn't far wrong). But like any other form of evolution, there's no clear cut moment when jazz, blues and gospel became rock and roll. Just as there's no set moment in time when you can point to dinosaurs becoming birds - rather a whole slew of intermediary fossils charting the progression over millennia - so it is with music. Chuck Berry - and Little Richard, and Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis despite his different instrument - were all influenced by a formidable lady named Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and now seems as good a time as any to share a little music. So there's a couple of songs beneath the cut. If this doesn't make you smile today, it's a fair bet nothing will!

... )
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swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Mar. 9th, 2017 21:09)
Shamelessly ganked off [livejournal.com profile] dimity_blue, because it looked fun: Put your mp3 player on shuffle, and write down the first ten songs.

01. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
02. You Better You Bet, The Who
03. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinéad O'Connor
04. Promise Her Anything (But Give Her Love), Dean Martin
05. Old Red Eyes Is Back, Beautiful South
06. Runaway, Del Shannon
07. Let's Face The Music And Dance, Nat King Cole
08. Play The Game, Queen
09. I'll Be There For You, The Rembrandts
10. Chicka-Boom, Guy Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... )
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