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Red Letter Day - My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.
hellblazer06
hellblazer06
Red Letter Day

Well, it’s a red letter day, not that it matters to me. Daredevil is dropping on Netflix, and someone, Netflix arrived in Australia at last, I got an account, I upped my IP contract, and…I’m working. Not just today but the weekend, too.

Oh well.  I’d only waited years to see it, and they’d cast sweet little Charlie, too. Most of the reviews are ok, it sounds like the worst they can say is same old, a point rather hilariously made in one piece that referenced the Lego Movie’s Batman song, and, yes, well, point.

I mean, I was only saying the other day how the Flash has been different (so far) by being a bright, colourful and cheerful superhero show in amongst all the gritty angst, and, as the piece pointed out, surely Frank Miller’s 80s Reagan era darkness has had its day, whether you’re talking about Daredevil, which was a dry run anyway for the Batman which set the template for the next 30+ years.

So yes, poor old Daredevil, seemingly like yet another moody streetfighter, when he was actually the pioneer and poster boy for darkness and misery, but there you go.

Not that it matters, because I can’t see it (not that I could, because in reality I know I’d just be staring at buffering circles until I cried, but you know, not happy).

In other news, no theatre and darkness – actual darkness as we’re off daylight saving and into Autumn now (even the weather has finally caught up) so it’s black when I go and black when I come back. 

Didn’t have to work  over Easter for once, and, as it bucketed down for two days, and a bit, and as I was bereft of superhero shows  (no SHIELD, Arrow or anything else out here, and they’re rounding up pirates so it’s no go at all) and not of a mood to sit through any barrow pushing historical drama (and I’m not talking actual barrow mongers here, though they’re always there hiding the fire hydrant they couldn’t move, but you know, those films/tv shows that push issues, when lack of running water went hand in hand with institutional injustice, etc.), I dug out The Champions, which I’d not watched in years.

Usually viewed as the lesser cousin of Department S, when watched by itself it’s not that bad. Sure, Richard is way creepy (I saw Mr Gaunt in the filmed version of The Old Vic’s Crucible with Mr Armitage a few months back) and Craig is insufferably smug, and Sharron gets on my nerves (and what is with the massively bogan names, anyway, it’s hilarious). But it’s written by Dennis Spooner, the usual suspects show up (Peter Wyngarde and Vladek Sheybal have popped up so far) and I’m anticipating a white jag hurtling towards a quarry at some point (I’ve already had one car go over but it wasn’t the white jag).  I also love how every episode starts with Google maps, or a very los res hand drawn version, but basically, they drop a pin every episode. I love how the Prague Spring means the bad guys are Nazis or the Chinese, and not the Commies, who might yet buy the TV rights.

I was particularly bemused by the episode where Craig is tortured in a minimalist, modernist room via the thermostat going violently up and down between boiling and freezing, the lights going on and off and voices through the wall. Well, that explains those hotels I’ve been staying in – they’re ex-NEMESIS premises (although the voices that really kept me awake were the couple having the noisiest, most violent sex ever and it went on so long that when they finally had their massively big finish everyone on the floor broke out into spontaneous applause, and yes, that was in Melbourne).

So, working my way through my Champions boxset. And loving it.

Sunday has become tricorn hat night (and will even more once Poldark starts), but so far I’ve got Turn, Outlander and Black Sails.

Turn has become a little more even handed, in making everyone unlikeable arseholes, but it still has its moments, has JJ Feild, and Burn Gorman is still doing his very best Governor Frontbottom (in fact he’s acing Frontbottom so much I’m almost start to like him – shock, horror).

Outlander is back, once again improving mightily upon the book, and yes, events have been somewhat lurid and questionable, but hey, it’s a romantic adventure and it does what it says on the tin. And then some. It’s still a total shortbread biscuit tin lid of a TV show, but it’ll do. It’s Scotland packaged for Americans, and, well, I knew I wasn’t going to be getting Taggart – smirk.

Black Sails finished up and so stuff happened, and I was almost surprised, as they’d drifted so far from the book prequel they were supposed to be, but, turning hard, they course corrected and, well, stuff happened. And my, I noticed young Schmitz is no longer the dewy waif I used to swoon over at the Belvoir. My dearest Toby, use sunscreen – smirk (my bedroom telly is far less forgiving than the back row at the Belvoir).

I should also mention they’d actually set sail in the last episode, which is only bemusing because the Peanut Gallery keeps grizzling that the Love Boat put to see more often, and their crew was harder , and wants to know when Dick Van Patten and Charo are showing up (I suspect he’s not a fan and has been suffering through my double Toby timeslot).

Vikings also set sail, but we’re so far behind I’m being terribly spoiled regarding which characters are getting the actual axe, so it’s kind of sucked the enjoyment I had from it.

It’s hard avoiding spoilers when we’re several series behind the rest of the world. Even when I try, too.  I’ve had set photos of Character X dead on the floor and #RIPCharacterX, and that’s in my news feed, not my fandom feed, so I can’t win.

A welcome addition to Tricorn Hat Sundays is the man himself, Ross Poldark.  I think we can pretty much blame Poldark for my enduring obsession with gentlemen in historical dramas of a luridly romantic and soapy bent (everything I know about rotten boroughs I learnt from the original Poldark) . So, what did I think of the new version? Well, I have little problem with Aidan Turner 9even if it did seem like he was phoning in the last season of Bing Human, the yellow gloved waving rant about program scheduling is still an oft quoted classic in our household) and I’ve no problem with the source material, simplistic though it may be (rather like in Turn, you know who to boo and hiss every time they come onto screen, panto style, because it’s so telegraphed) and it’s Sunday night and I have my Outlander/Poldark double and oh my.

A week later and I do have access to Daredevil. Well kinda, sorta. Unlike the most flea-ridden WIFI enabled mud hole, I’m forced to try, and I do say try, if it wasn’t Daredevil I should have given up on Saturday, as I said, try and engage with 21st Century technology with 19th Century infrastructure, that is, copper wire, as we’re not even broadband enabled (and nor will we ever be as it is actual policy to refuse my area broadband, transport, education and medical care as we are poor scum and have no rights) , so I tried to watch it. It came down in fits and starts, so fight scenes that win rave reviews are like jittery silent film Buster Keaton fights to me, all jerky and uncoordinated, and it keeps pausing, lending moments unintended doom-laden portent and meaning, and I miss whole bits as it skips forward. Please, please tell me there will be a DVD release at some stage.

But other than my technical difficulties, man, so far, yes. It’s Daredevil. Faithful to the source material without being slavish, cherry picking the good bits, making it really work.  And the casting is spot on – Charlie has entirely won me over.

It’s still all darkness, though. Literally, all blacks and acid yellows and greens, very thematic, but I’m cool with that. It works, even it’s a bit of a cliché at the moment (there was a hero tv drinking game going round on Twitter where you took a sip every time someone said ‘this city’. As Stephen Amell warned, do not attempt).

I’m still bemused by the amateur villainy, though. Compared to this city, those bad guys in those darkness shows have so much to learn about milking that cash cow dry.

Meanwhile, no dragons  (don’t even get me started on PVR fail) but mainly because I already had tickets to Endgame, and so I went, and that’s two hours of my life and no dragons I’m not getting back. It was dire, dreadful, tedious, bleak and insufferable. And that was just the woman, either drunk or doddery, she shouldn’t have been allowed out as she could not, would not turn off her ‘effin’ phone.

So, yes, trying to meet the education I never had by attending another Samuel Beckett play, as Godot wasn’t so bad and this one had Hugo Weaving and Bruce Spence in the cast. How bad could it be? Oh. Now, Hugo was magnificent, as were the rest of the cast, the set was perfect, no technical flaws at all, but the play, oh the play, it wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Bleak, bleak, bleak, with a side order of bleak and bleak dribbles of bleak gravy.

I tried, I failed, and I missed my dragons (Game of Thrones started last night). At least the cast enjoyed themselves. Apparently it’s quite the intellectual experience to rehearse and perform it, but to watch it? Not so much.

So that’s enough of me trying to improve myself this week (besides, I worked Saturday, proper work, for work, instead of trying to watch DD, so that’s enough of me being virtuous for the week, imo).

Actually, I’ve just been rather wicked. Several times now the floor has been perfumed by sweet, sweet curry and today, and today I eschewed my Calvinist hard apple and went the curry. Burp.

And doubly bad because last night I pigged out on Chinese last night. It was very ordinary Chinese, not even close to my local, which isn’t exactly hatted, but it was close to the theatre and, being a mom and pop Chinese outfit, actually opened before the show and ran themselves ragged to get us all fed and watered before curtain up. Unlike the posh café down the road which seem to be solely an enclave of snooty waiters behind closed doors. . Mind you, there’s still nothing to eat down that way, aside from this canny Chinese outfit. This is what happens when evil developers pull down all the theatres that ran along the entertainment strip, with all the restaurants and transport, and force theatres into worthless industrial warehouses outside the city limits. As I said, the wicked developers in Daredevil? Amateurs.

I also bought a pretty yellow trivet for my dribbly teapot (I swear it’s not me, my other teapot of the same make never dribbles like this one).

Like I have money to burn – not. But needs must, the desk was becoming a modern art work of tea stains.

Oh, and I had tea and a biscuit. I was gifted a tin of my very favourite Fortnum and Mason Lucifer biscuits, for doing the smallest job ever (as opposed to the sods who grumble when I through 300% against the wall) and, oh, bliss. I’ve bribed every one with biscuits, it’s all good. Finally, someone who gets that a promise of a biscuit is a far better motivational tool than threats of violence.

And Netflix, Netflix is wicked. I’ve known folks for over 20 years and they’d not had a clue what I was into. It took Netflix a week.  Well done, their algorithm. It’s also wicked because instead of being out in the yard getting bitten to pieces (which I did not do because I was going to the theatre and who needs to be covered in rashes ad bites – that’s my excuse) I was inside trying to watch DD. My parrot cried, I mean totally sobbed, outside my window (and was gone by the time I raced out, wretched in guilt). Wicked.

Clearly, impulse control isn’t what it could be at the moment.

Later…still resisting the Netflix, mainly because the commute is so awful I spend four or five hours every night trying to get home (the same commute took under an hour in 1990) so I’ve no time for TV, reading my emails (or anything online) sleeping, cooking, eating, doing housework, paying bills).  Last night the sun set, night fell, it started to rain, still couldn’t get on a bus. Took me over two hours, just to elbow my way onto a bus (the others went past full or could only fit six more people on, and I wasn’t one).

I did make time for the Justified finale, which I watched late, but managed to stay awake, because all those ‘nobody get out alive’ previews had me feeling a touch anxious. So they turned it around. Just this once, everybody lives!  Well, aside from this year’s bad guys, who had to make up the quota, and give us the proper, oh so proper vintage TV western showdowns we weren’t going to get otherwise (anyone who says they don’t make westerns any more has clearly never looked up from their Mad Men feed).

I did love it. Sentimental as hell, and proud of it. Highlights for me were Raylan’s impish smile when Art pulls over like an angry Dad on a road-trip, and Raylan gets his way anyhow, the entirely non-sentimental farewell to Tim, and the last scene with Raylan and Boyd (almost acknowledging that it wasn’t a western, or a crime story, but a love story – let’s call it a romance, in the 19thC meaning of the word, which should cover it).

Yup, it was a good ending. The show had started to wobble and weary, but it was a good ending.

Finally got up to the episode where Athestan cops it on Vikings, and that was sad. I think I drifted off in a few places from exhaustion, but I got the gist. I liked Athelstan, and thought the character still had uses in being Ragnar’s confidant, showing us the enigmatic man’s inner thoughts, but I guess that confidant thing is what got the odd little monk killed. Floki can dress it up all he wants in theological debate, but he was just jelly, big time.  Anyway, after escaping teary scenes in Justified, Vikings made up with it with a very vulnerable Ragnar just ripping my heart out as he grieved alone on the mountainside.

Also took two goes to see all of the first episode of Wolf Hall, the Tudorsploitation pick du jour (I can’t remember where I read the term but I love it and I’m using it). I was just tired after working all day, and it’s very quiet, and surprisingly lacking in heads flying off, for Tudorsploitation, at least in the first episode.  It is, however, very faithful to the books, which is pleasing (so many things have been of late, it’s gratifying). 

It’s a bit dry, but so are the books, but it has some of my favourite Brit thesps in it and I suppose if I want all the trimmings of Tudorsploitation (gruesome deaths, sex, intrigue, appalling table manners) then I’ve always got Game of Thrones, which of course started this week (and I had to wait two days to see it). Honestly, first episode was more than a bit meh for me, more a very long recap than hitting the ground running with new adventures, but I guess it’s an old dog now, in TV show years.

Later still…there was gardening. Well, I really wanted to watch Daredevil but that wasn’t going to happen – the copper wire non bandwidth gives all the fight scenes a jerky silent film Buster Keaton quality, the screen freezes on a shot of a coffee pot giving it uncalled for meta meaning and then I’ll miss whole chunks as it stutters and skips forward.  Painful.

And the freakish native passionfruit vines the birds keep depositing in  the backyard (the ones covered in purple berries, whodathunkit) had grabbed hold of the old listing Hills Hoist, so Something Had To Be Done. That was me, wrestling vegetation, pulling large, angry spiders down on top of me (ouch) and basically not having fun. 

So I still look like I’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge over a dozen times, because I pretty much was, and my hair seems to have set that way. At least the spider bites worked out – spidey sense had me leaping out of the way of a car running a red light, which I couldn’t see because it was dark, pissing down and I had my hood up.

It’s still raining, I can hear it lashing against the window. There’s the rain I was promised. Oh well, it’s not like Netflix was happening, and some vines were vanquished.

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