swordznsorcery: (lucifer)
( Nov. 5th, 2018 20:17)
I keep forgetting to do this - and when I don't forget, I never seem to have the time. But I have watched things! And some of them aren't Lucifer. For one thing, how good is Doctor Who at the moment?! I'm delighted with the new series. Jodie Whittaker feels more like the Doctor that I grew up watching than any of the other New Series takes on the character. No "lonely god" nonsense. No super-powerful being. Back to being a cosmic hobo (albeit a really, really clever one). I like her gang lots, I like the group dynamic, and I'm having fun. Also, they don't seem to be trying to make each episode BIGGER than the last, and the music hasn't annoyed me once yet. It's remembered that it's only supposed to be incidental, and not a constant cacophony of howling voices. Huzzah. So I am happy about all of that.

Also, the other day I happened to look at a TV guide for the first time in about three years, and I saw that a channel called Talking Pictures TV were showing a 1954 film called It Should Happen To You. Not a very well known film, but it was Jack Lemmon's first big role, and it also starred Judy Holliday. So obviously I had to record that. I watched it at the weekend, and it was daft and entertaining, and very 1950s. Judy Holliday was wonderful. She's almost unknown now, which is terribly sad. Primarily a Broadway star, she only made a few films, because she died young. She really lights up the screen though. She's magnetic - and with a great singing voice too. I first saw her in Bells Are Ringing (1960), the film version of one of her Broadway hits. She stars in the film with Dean Martin, and I very much recommend it if it ever comes up on TV. Anyway, It Should Happen To You gave her a good opportunity to shine, and raise more than a few smiles.

My beloved Top Of The Pops repeats have hit a low point - Chris de Bleurgh at number one forever with Lady In Red. Impressively, it's even worse than I remembered. And, just to make things even worse, they let him sing it live, just him and his piano. Seriously, it's what the fast forward button was invented for; although the iPlayer doesn't really do fast forward. They should look into that, just in case he's ever in the charts again. More seriously, all this means that we've arrived in August of 1986. I'm starting secondary school any time now. This is extremely disconcerting. Some things you really don't want to live through again, even obliquely.

Not reading much lately. I've been sorting through some books to see what I can get rid of, so I've been sort of re-reading a few old ones. Currently half reading Shadowmancer, by GP Taylor. It's definitely going in the jumble box!

Mostly though, I'm still watching Lucifer. Loving season three. It got an increase in episodes, and they decided to use them by going old school, and doing a bunch of standalones. It gives the support cast more of a chance to shine, and they've come up with some brilliant little detours from the main plot. The field trip to Las Vegas was wonderful, and there was also a fun flashback episode, showing Lucifer's arrival on Earth, pre-series. The internet doesn't seem to enjoy it all nearly as much as I do, as not every second of every episode is spent focused on The Ship, but whatever. I don't think I'll ever understand modern telly viewers.

I'll leave you with some Lucifer fanvids, as I found a vidder on YouTube who makes awesome ones. Probably some mild and non-specific spoilers (or possibly whacking great ones, depending on your outlook), so approach with caution if you're thinking of giving the show a go. Or just watch them anyway, as they're brill.

Bring Out The Bad (a compilation of the show's sillier side, as well as some drama):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjYrEIruuw

A Little Wicked (a celebration of the glory that is Maze):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wu5Q0SW0yk

I Like Trouble (in which there is trouble):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmXhGaeH8IE
swordznsorcery: (lucifer)
( Jun. 18th, 2018 21:18)
It is Monday, and - marvel of marvels - I've actually remembered to do this. I've even watched something, so it's not just books.

Reading's been a mixed bag lately. I've been reading this trilogy on and off. It's called the Riftworld Trilogy, by Raymond E Feist, and I started it last year I think. I seem to have missed out on most of the famous fantasy series, so I thought I'd try one where the books aren't nine hundred pages each. Books one and two were great, and I raced through them. Book three turned out to be a turgid wasteland. This is the first in a whole series of trilogies by Feist, which is a little daunting to say the least, especially if the others are likely to be more of the same. Still, maybe one day.

I followed that up with a Blyton, as I found one in a charity store last month, and couldn't resist. It was one of my favourites of hers when I was very small, called The Adventure Of The Strange Ruby. It's a great fun adventure about a brother and sister who go on holiday to Swanage, and rescue some kidnapped twins. There's abandoned mansions, and sinister statues, and casual racism, hurrah. I love how the children's mother has to go away and look after a sick relative, so she just pats the kids on the head, and tells them to go off and camp for a few days. Blyton is the antidote to over-protective parents - which is kind of ironic, given that the children in her books spend most of their lives a: talking to strangers, and b: getting kidnapped. But there you go.

Then I read a fabulous book called The Dinosaur Hunters, by Deborah Cadbury, about the early years of palaeontology, and the gaggle of eccentric English amateurs who first discovered dinosaurs, and invented geology and uncovered evolution in the process - much to the consternation of those of them who were also vicars (vicars had education, money, and leisure time, and were the backbone of early geology). I've been hearing wonderful things about this book for years, but have only just got around to it, and I'm glad I did. Absolutely brilliant. I've moved on to a potted history of Alexandria now, which is family history stuff. Fascinating city.

Viewing-wise, I've been catching up on RTD's A Very English Scandal. It aired on the Beeb some weeks ago, but I never remember to actually watch the telly these days. It's up on the iPlayer for another few weeks (and comes to BBC America at the end of the month), and I heartily recommend it. Terrific performances, a lovely thread of black humour, and for once Murray Gold didn't make me want to throttle him. Lovely costume and set design too, perfectly recreating the naff decor of the sixties and seventies, and also the frequently inadvisable moustaches. If you haven't seen it - see it.

Also still watching the Top Of The Pops repeats, which is highly compulsive, but frequently inadvisable. We're heading into autumn of 1985 now. I've had Feargal Sharkey singing A Good Heart in my head for the last forty-eight hours, and I may need to hunt him down and exact revenge.

And Lucifer got saved from cancellation! Huzzah!
swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Feb. 26th, 2018 19:39)
This "Media Monday" is turning out to be more and more of a misnomer. Still watching nothing at all, bar old episodes of Top Of The Pops courtesy of the iPlayer. 1981 has segued into 1982; and whilst the former was wall to wall Adam and the Ants and Shakin' Stevens, 1982 has given me three weeks at number one for Tight Fit with The Lion Sleeps Tonight, followed by three weeks of the Goombay Dance Band and Seven Tears. Oh eighties. Where did your cool go?! (Although I've developed a sneaking fondness for Seven Tears). Over in 1985, Gary Davies has reached peak hair, Kid Jensen has abandoned me for ITV, and Janice Long and Peter Powell are supposed to be pretending that they're not an item. The music has hair nearly as big as Gary Davies's, and I can amuse myself spotting the acts that have managed to survive long enough to make both eras. 1982-5 is a long time in pop music.

Books! Currently reading Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveller's Guide To Elizabethan England, although I've not finished the first chapter yet. Promising though. I like his writing style, and he clearly knows his stuff. I recommended the last one in the series, and you all turned out to have already read it! But this one looks like a good sequel, in case I've beaten some of you to it this time. A couple of books back, I read another one by the same author, Ten Centuries Of Change, which examines the progression of human society under such headings as transport, science and technology, medicine, etc, over the last thousand years. Good book.

I also read a very good book called Forensics, by Val McDermid, who apparently writes whodunnits as her day job (gloomy modern ones though, so I've not read any of them). Forensics examines the use of science in crime investigation, including DNA, fingerprinting, computing, and a host of other techniques. Interesting stuff, and she makes it all really readable, with some fascinating case studies, both historical and modern. Not for everybody, I appreciate that, although she does keep the gory stuff to a minimum!

Think that's everything. Don't get snowed in tonight. :)
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swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Jan. 29th, 2018 19:55)
How is it nearly the end of the month? Where did January go? Only yesterday there was Christmas stuff all over the place, and now it's all Easter eggs everywhere.

I haven't done one of these posts in ages, I don't think. It's probably not going to be much of one now, either, as I haven't really watched a lot. I am reading rather a good book at the moment though. It's called A History Of Ancient Britain, by Neil Oliver, and apparently it accompanies some TV series which I'd not heard of. Nicely jaunty book, anyway. I've not got very far with it - we're just coming out of the last Ice Age - but it's very promising. I suspect it's a few years old though, as Oliver says that he doesn't agree with his fellow historians' idea that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred at all, whereas we now know that they did. It's all there in the Northern European genome. Doesn't mean that it was a starry-eyed romance of course, but it clearly did happen. And that's my reading.

On the watching front, I've been enjoying (mostly!) the 1980s Top Of The Pops repeats on the iPlayer. It was 1984 for most of last year, and we've just started 1985. Last week somebody dumped a whole load of 1981 episodes there though, so I spent Sunday chain-watching about a billion of them (all right: five). 1981! That pretty much marks the time when I first got into proper TOTP watching: Shaky and Adam Ant all over the Top Ten; a very young Spandau Ballet and the Duranies; blasted Chas and Dave, and their interminable rabbits. The Cure just did their first appearance. And every other song in the top twenty being a John Lennon one. Gods, it was all so long ago!

And that's that. Other than [community profile] festivids going live! [community profile] festivids, hurrah (and thank you to [personal profile] thisbluespirit, as I always forget to keep an eye open for it). My favourite one this year is a rather nice Ladyhawke one here. It's not a very well known film, unfortunately, though it does have something of a cult following on the internet. It's based on an old European fairy tale, about a pair of lovers separated by a magic curse - she's a hawk by day, and he's a wolf by night. And there are swords, and a very big horse. The vid does a nice job of capturing the spirit and the visuals, and is very nicely done.

I think that's it now. I'm off to boil the kettle.
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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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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: (e street)
( Nov. 27th, 2015 19:35)
"Flash! I love you! But we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"

I suppose 1980 is the year of John Lennon. I don't know that I remember his death so much as the shockwave it caused. It was clearly something really big; something that everybody everywhere was talking about - and then Imagine was everywhere, for the next year. Good things happened that year too though; in the telly department especially. My eldest sister had been a fan of Blake's 7 since it began, so I was aware of it all along. It didn't really engage me to begin with though. Vague memories of finding Servalan a bit scary, and of wondering why they kept Avon around, as he was clearly a bad guy(!). And then, in 1980, Blake went AWOL, and Tarrant and Dayna turned up instead. I've been a fan ever since. :)

I must have been growing up that year actually, as it was the year that Grange Hill won me over as well. My brother was the same age as Tucker and co, and had been watching all along, but it wasn't until series three and four, which both first aired in 1980, that I began to watch properly. That was when Stewpot's year joined (still my favourite GH group). Stewpot, Precious, Pogo and Gripper. It was properly good back then, and well worth a rewatch.

Musically, 1980 was a heck of a mishmash. Adam Ant first caught my attention, with his white stripe and his big boots. Ska was catching on - The Specials had probably been around a while, but I was noticing a lot of stuff for the first time. Madness were getting bigger; and meanwhile Dennis Waterman was singing I Should Be So Good For You, which I don't mind admitting I still love. Actually, if you look at this handy link here, you can see the biggest hits of 1980, and it really is a weird mixture. Some truly great pop, ska, rock, etc; and in the middle of it all, the likes of Doctor Hook and the St Winifred's School Choir, the latter with the most terrifying song ever performed on TOTP. And dear gods, Liquid Gold with Dance Yourself Dizzy. I can't have heard that song in a good thirty years or more, and now I have the chorus prancing about inside my brain, like some ghastly spectre raised from the dead. Please send help. Urgently.

There's Keith Michell there as well, mind, just squeaking into the year's top one hundred, with Captain Beaky. We lost him last week. I highly recommend his 1960s swashbucklers The Hellfire Club (1961) and Seven Seas To Calais (1962), should you be in the mood for some swords and fisticuffs. Yes, I know that's a pretty tenuous link to 1980, but I was raised in a swashbuckle drought.

Some assorted 1980ish stuff is beneath here )
swordznsorcery: (jack)
( Nov. 26th, 2015 19:29)
1979 sounds like a heck of a long time ago, doesn't it! It is a heck of a long time ago I guess, but for some reason it really does sound it. The year that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.

Sorry, I've just given everybody nightmares, haven't I.

I had no idea of things like that back then of course, so I think I quite enjoyed 1979. I started school that year, which should be cause for horror and nightmares, but I actually enjoyed primary school. I went to a tiny little place with only about thirty other kids and two teachers. It was a Montessori school, and the teachers effectively left me to my own devices for seven years, barring handing over a new text book every now and again. I learnt more in one year at that place than I did in five years at secondary school. Now that was five years wasted. But 1986 is mercifully far in the distance just now. Huzzah.

Elsewhere, 1979 was the year I first started taking a proper interest in music, I think. I knew who sang songs, instead of them being just a noise on the radio or on Top Of The Pops. It was a good time to start taking an interest, too. 1979 was a year of Blondie, Madness and the Police. I just looked it up, and the biggest selling song that year was Art Garfunkel's Bright Eyes, but there was good stuff in the charts too, I promise! The Boomtown Rats with I Don't Like Mondays, Elvis Costello with Oliver's Army, and good old Ian Dury with half a dozen songs that year, it seemed like. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick was not a good song to get stuck in your head, because if you started to sing it, somebody inevitably would say okay, and oblige.

Beneath the cut are a few songs from that year. And, despite the fact that 1979 saw both Don't Stop Me Now and Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which are favourites of mine, I've kept it Queen free. See? I'm not entirely obsessed. I went for ones that I liked then, and still listen to now. ... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Nov. 25th, 2015 20:00)
1978 was quite a good year, I suppose, on the whole. Not that I remember much of it. I started nursery school that year. Vague memories of Ritz crackers, and a tree in the garden with a rope ladder up it. The school was run by a terrific woman much in love with the Montessori method, so we went there to learn stuff, not just to climb trees. She had a tiny little office filled with what seemed like endless collections of short stories that she used to let me borrow. It was great. And I did love that rope ladder!

In the wider world, I mostly remember 1978 as the year of Grease. I wouldn't have seen it until it eventually premiered on the telly, but the songs seemed to be in the charts for the whole year, and were forever on Top Of The Pops. Somebody gave my family the soundtrack album, probably that Christmas. I vividly recall us all happily singing along, totally innocent of the swear words! Or at least, I was. My eldest sister would have turned fourteen that year, so presumably she was a bit more clued up. I'm amazed the record never got itself confiscated. Never did much care for the film though, I must admit. Too long, too slow, and too much John Travolta. Also, if you have to dress like that to get him to take an interest, dear, he really ain't worth it. Still, Kenickie and Rizzo are good.

Must have been the year I started taking a proper interest in Top Of The Pops, I guess. The eldest three would have been fourteen, thirteen and eleven that year, so it was probably inescapable! The others all used to air guitar along with the show, but I was already drum mad. It was a funny parade in those days though, which must have put a strain on the air-guitaring. Alongside Grease, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of Andrew Lloyd-Webber back then. And the least said about Boney M, the better...

Just for the hell if it, beneath the cut is my family's favourite Grease song. ... )
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