swordznsorcery: (manolito)
( Nov. 16th, 2014 14:47)
Because I never seem to post these days, I'm just going to blather about something, regardless of whether or not I have anything to post about. It's rained fairly heavily for most of the last week. Friday was glorious though. My mother, having discovered a bottle of gin in the cupboard that nobody can identify (we assume it's a relic of my grandfather's day), has decided that she wants to make some sloe gin. So on Friday I set off in search of sloes. For those of you who grew up in towns/aren't fruity at all in nature, sloes look a bit like giant blueberries, but are in actual fact evil disguised as fruit. That shouldn't be a surprise, since they grow on blackthorns, which are themselves pure evil. People don't so much want sloes, as are forced to use them because they live in the middle ages, and there's little alternative. So when an (otherwise apparently) perfectly reasonable human being decides that they want to make sloe gin, it's best to smile gently and accommodate them. Then back away slowly.

So anyway, I spent four hours on Friday climbing hills and crawling through thorn bushes, on a hunt for sloes. Everything was early this year (the blackberries and elderberries have already all gone), so it wasn't easy, but my mother now has a copious supply of sloes, and some gin (or probably gin), and goodness only knows what will happen next. She told me that she wanted "about a pound" of sloes. I asked how much that was, since I had no intention of going equipped with a set of scales. She very helpfully suggested that it was about half a kilogram. Yes, thanks for that, Mother. For the record, in case you should ever need to know, "about a pound of sloes" is roughly equal to "rather less than I picked". So she's going to make even more sloe gin than intended, despite a: not knowing how to make it, or b: whether or not anybody is going to be fool enough to drink it.

Elsewhere, I have now finished watching The Rockford Files - or season one of it, anyway, which is all that I have. I heartily recommend it, if you're in the mood for seventies detective shows. Rockford is a terrific character, ageing, beginning to slow down a little, finding fisticuffs both harder to partake in, and harder to recover from, and increasingly suffering from a life with a very irregular income, and an increasingly dodgy future. If that sounds grim, then it's not really. It's often very funny. James Garner is a terrific lead, in the quite brave position of a heartthrob who is showing that he is no longer in his prime. But blimey, the d├ęcor. I shared a picture a few weeks ago of a brown, stripy apartment:

... )
swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Sep. 16th, 2014 21:06)
I think Kojak has ruined me for cop shows. I've been watching season one of Starsky & Hutch, and it keeps making me cringe. They're really, really terrible cops. Prettier than Kojak, maybe, but I know who I'd turn to in a jam. They don't follow proper police procedure. Their behaviour at crime scenes is appalling. And their gun control! Everybody in Starsky & Hutch has a cannon, and they blast them constantly, in all directions, without even the slightest attempt to aim. Fortunately the bad guys are all terrible shots, which helps no end, because neither Starsky nor Hutch shows any evidence of ever having handled a gun before.

The writing on Kojak is better too. Starsky & Hutch have a worrying amount of cases brought to them by their girlfriends; and no matter how serious the episode, it always ends with a tacked-on laughing scene, usually with everybody sitting around in Hutch's living room. Sometimes he even gets his guitar out, and they have a sing along as well as a laugh. It's a fun show, and in its way it's perfectly enjoyable, but the last three to five minutes are often best skipped.

Oh dear. I like the show really. As a fan of The A-Team, and goodness knows what else in the ridiculous violence genre, I shouldn't be having a problem with any of this. It's just the contrast with Kojak, I think. I've gone from careful, considered policing, and well-written, layered plots, to tyre-screeching nonsense with ridiculous shoot outs. I like ridiculous shoot outs! Kojak has made me sensible. I can only hope that it wears off soon.

Meanwhile, the seventies are continuing in their usual vein. Oh the joys of period decor. I don't think I've seen anything worse than on The Hardy Boys yet, but they're giving it their best shot:

... )
Woe is me, for I have run out of Kojak. Bloody television, always ending. I think I might watch some Rockford Files next, partly because James Garner, and partly because I'm rather enjoying the seventies, and don't want to leave just yet. The paint is terrible, the wallpaper is worse, but all the same there's something welcoming about the seventies. Plots develop at a sensible pace, the editing isn't done by a crazed heroin addict, and there's absolutely no stupid wobble-cam or crash zooms. All of which serves to make me sound like a complete fuddy-duddy, but I don't care.

And I've run out of Kojak. I hate it when that happens. When you watch a show, you get used to the characters and enjoy their company; and then it ends and you have to move on to different people, when you'd rather still have the old. I'm going to miss Kojak. I'll miss Crocker and Stavros more, but I will miss Kojak too. He's such a pleasingly different sort of cop. For starters he's not a maverick. Oh, he's unconventional (what TV cop isn't?!), but he's a dyed in the wool teamplayer. No rushing off alone, no stupid solo ventures. I don't know if that was as much of a breath of fresh air in 1974 as it is now, but I've certainly enjoyed it. And it's all so entertainingly vintage. Kojak with his inkwell on his desk; and Crocker was wearing a brown tweed waistcoat with a pocket-watch today. Waistcoats with pocket-watches, people! That's proper dressing, that is. Although I'm amused by the idea that this naive young cop in 1974 should think so. He and Kojak really do appear to be sharing a wardrobe.

Must admit, for all that I've enjoyed the show, I do kind of wish it had ended sooner than it did, though. For the first couple of seasons it was something really, properly good, and genuinely different. Season three was good too, though it started to repeat itself a little. By season four it had become pretty generic, and audiences apparently began to jump ship. So, bizarrely, the producers revamped the show for season five, and turned it into a comedy. Who looks at a gritty, realistic (ish, shut up) police drama, and thinks "this needs more slapstick"?! It's the equivalent of adding sex and drugs to Tom & Jerry. One episode even has Liberace in it. Now, I like Liberace, don't get me wrong; but as a pianist, not as a guest star on Kojak. Characterisation got chucked out the window, too. For four years, Kojak enthusiastically displays his willingness to bite your head off if you so much look at Crocker a bit funny. Then in season five, Crocker gets kidnapped by an armed gang, and suddenly everybody's standing around making jokes, and not being at all bothered. And Kojak goes off for a chat about frozen yoghurt with Liberace. Yeuch. Still, I watched season one last, so it all ended on a high note. And there was Antonio Fargas and Paul Michael Glaser as guests (though not in the same episode), so that was nice. And now I'm going to shut up. And possibly hunt out some Starsky & Hutch on YouTube.

But I'd rather have more Kojak, damn it.


Here, have a wilfully funky seventies theme, with slightly wobbly titles FX. Everything is so polished nowadays. Sometimes I think they're rather missing the point.
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