I have been YouTubing. Don't you just love rich people, who had video recorders long before the rest of us had even heard of them?! Back in 1982, Children's BBC screened a fifty minute long adaptation of a book called Ghost In The Water, by Edward Chitham. This then disappeared into the bottomless vault of tapes in the BBC basement. I recall finding it brilliantly spooky, and the two and a half other people I've since met who also remember it agreed. I long ago gave up any hope of seeing it again though. And now it's turned up on YouTube! You can watch it here, if you are so inclined. Since it's a one-off film rather than a serial, it keeps the pace up throughout, making it seem almost modern (save for the almost universally brown colour scheme, obviously!), and the cast are terrific. Fourteen year old Tess is assigned a local history project by her teacher, and finds herself haunted by the restless ghost of a young woman who died more than a century before. I didn't find it scary this time, but it is very nicely done, and very atmospheric. So pleased to have seen it again!

Seriously though, check out this school interior:

Who even makes a paint that colour, let alone buys it or uses it?! It may have been 1982, but clearly they were not free of the seventies yet.

And then, also on YouTube, I found East Of Ipswich, which I hadn't seen since the Beeb broadcast it in the late eighties. It's a short film (seventy-odd minutes) written by Michael Palin, and very loosely based on an incident in his early life. Richard is seventeen, and hauled along by his parents on a deathly dull seaside holiday at the tail end of the fifties. It's brilliantly evocative of a particular time and place - rock & roll might have got the big cities hopping, but out in the provinces, a church social was still seen as the height of entertainment; and a seventeen year old boy staying out until ten o'clock at night - in a coffee bar! (gasp!) - was in for a stern telling off.

Though it's roughly based in reality, it's not really autobiographical. In real life he met his future wife, but I'm guessing that two youngsters becoming pen pals, and eventually getting married, was far less likely to be commissioned as a film! Instead, Richard gets tangled up with a naughty Dutch exchange student and some bad boy rockers on motorbikes. And! Guess who turns up as one of the rockers! Yep, looking startlingly young (and not terribly dangerous, it must be said), whilst sporting a quite fabulous DA:

Tip Tipping - one of the many reasons why old telly is better. The other rocker there is fellow stuntman Wayne Michaels, known to fans of Robin Of Sherwood as Michael Praed's regular stand-in. And, telly being what it is, frequently the stand-in for the bloke that Michael Praed was fighting as well. He's also the man behind the infamous bungee jump at the start of GoldenEye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loud stuff here )

Farewell to the 80s, then. Onward to the 90s.
swordznsorcery: (face)
( Dec. 5th, 2015 19:26)
Writing these things every day is bloody hard. Whose stupid idea was this anyhow?!

Oh, 1988. Peter Powell and Mike Smith both left me in 1988. To be perfectly fair, Smithy didn't go away - he just left the radio and went back to the television - but Radio 1 replaced him with Simon bloody Mayo, and how's that supposed to get me up and ready to face school?! And then he went and crashed his helicopter. That was a scary couple of days. Presumably a lot more so for him and Sarah Greene, but even so.

By this stage, me and music had pretty much agreed to take a trial separation, and start seeing other people anyway. 1988 was the year when Stock, Aitken & Waterman's stranglehold on the charts began (think Simon Cowell, but with '80s bounce). Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, and bland pop for the pre-teen. And on top of that there was Bananarama every way you turned, and Bros on the rise. I got pretty heavily into '50s and '60s stuff at this stage in my life. There'd been a fair bit of it on offer anyway thanks to my parents' record collection, and since there was only me and my younger sister left at home by now, there was plenty of opportunity to investigate all that. It did wonders to help me fit in at school. :D We lost Roy Orbison of course this year, so his music was all over the place, and there were a few reissues of old songs due to adverts. I know that the Hollies' He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother came out again around about now, but I can't remember what advert that was from. My brain says beer?

It was around now that Monty Python's Flying Circus got a partial repeat as well. Had to wait for the twentieth anniversary the following year for the early stuff, but what I saw was enough to get me heavily addicted. It was also the year of A Fish Called Wanda, so there was certainly plenty of Python to go around. Speaking of anniversaries, it did seem to me as though the Beeb was a bit lacklustre in celebrating the Doctor's. There was a special episode of course, but that was about it. (Nice trailer here, courtesy of YT - Ian and Vicki! (this was also the year that William Russell became a father again, when little Alfie Enoch was born)).

And then of course the year ended with Lockerbie. Crazy days.

... )
So, [livejournal.com profile] davesmusictank posted a rather nice piece of music by Johann Nepomuk Hummel earlier. And, since I am incapable of reading that name without hearing it in Michael Palin's voice - and since it was Python's 45th birthday yesterday, and I missed it - I figured that I might as well bother the rest of you with something appropriate. This is the rather excellent Decomposing Composers, from the album Monty Python Sings. One of their quieter, more reflective moments:

I bought this album when it first came out, for the 20th anniversary in 1989. On cassette, with a huge, concertina-ed inlay full of lyrics written in ant-sized print, and a very sweet dedication to Graham. At the time I was really only familiar with The Lumberjack Song and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Imagine my parents' delight when I began to fill the house with the gentle strains of Every Sperm Is Sacred and Sit On My Face. I have to be quite honest and admit that I didn't realise what that latter song was about until some years afterward. I was the worst teenage rebel ever.

In other news, Starsky & Hutch grows progressively sillier. In the most recent episode, Starsky got shot in the back, so Hutch slung his arm around his neck, hauled him up, and carried him into a back room whilst yelling for clean towels and hot water. He'd been shot, Hutch. He wasn't having a baby. We'll skirt around the fact that you probably killed him just by moving him like that anyway. Then he gave Starsky his watch, told him he'd synchronised it with the one out front, and told him to cause a distraction, having completely failed to tell him when. And the episode had the worst "comedy" ending ever. It's a fun show, it really is, but those "comedy" tag scenes are driving me insane. Still, it's a lot more entertaining than Gotham, so there's that.
TV meme, shamelessly nicked from several people on my f-list. Behind a cut, because it's me, and I can't not waffle.

... )



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