Crikey. If I want gooey descriptive terms, it seems I'd best be looking in the food section of the paper rather than any lit/fic I might have at my disposal. Not that I'm even allowed to look at photos of food these days, but crikey. Food pr0n it is, then.
The Seventies, bless 'em! (scan by ze wonderful and fellow crackpot theorist sleeper_frost.
Since Simmo totally gazumped the "Western Archetypes in Life on Mars: A Discussion, with special reference to Kurosawa and Leone" post I've been working on for weeks, I shall instead turn to the topic of this week's major squeeage: Peter Wyngarde, the most influential actor of the late 20thC.
And I don't think that's drawing too long a bow, either. Poor Pete's contribution to popular culture has been grossly neglected and unremarked for too long. Never heard of him or seen him? You have, you just don't know it yet.
Seen The Comic Strip Presents Detectives on The Edge of A nervous Breakdown</a> (Jason Bentley)? Read The Dark Phoenix saga (Jason Wyngarde)? (or saw The X-Men flick that ripped off the comic book?) Read Grant Morrison's The Invisibles? Then you've been exposed to characters inspired by Peter Wyngarde, on in the case of X-3, feeble film plots inspired by a comic book inspired by the Avengers episode A Touch of Brimstone. Peter Wyngarde has threaded himself through popular culture in ways I find both amusing and subversive.
Okay, perhaps saying most influential chap of the late twentieth century is lacing the cuffs just a little, but he's certainly left a far greater footprint in popular culture than one might think at first blush. Who knew old Jason King, devil may care debonair dandy, would become the poster boy for everything that was groovy and ever so slightly silly about the very early 70s.
I can't help it. I'm just bemused that, lately, all roads have lead to the Peter Wyngarde meta. In fact, it's kind of freaky, like all those Bad Wolf refs in Doctor Who (next week, we'll discuss how and why I can't turn a corner without having Sweeney or Prisoner references flung in my face).
I'd insert artwork here to back up my posits, but alas I'm 50km from my books and dvds. I'm also pretty sure I could trace Peter's influence further afield and the odd comic book appearance, but I'm afraid there isn't enough coffee in all the world to get me over the line today. Though according to the IMDB a Peter inspired character popped up in Beano as well. Any news of any other Wyngarde avatars out there happily received and collated.
But I'll have to just rest my case there, as I am so under the weather I need a snorkel.
In fact today is even shittier than yesterday, and yesterday was cold and wet and featured me trying to mop up dinner plate sized pools of my own blood before staggering back to do the work of an entire guild hall. I'm pretty sure that counts as shitty. Today is a repeat, with the volume up to 11. Ouch. Whimper. Whine.
Meanwhile, I purse my lips with the irony of reading today a few articles about the new series of that other Mars show. Remember when I saw the first episode of the second season and was so underwhelmed over the limpid arc and re-writing of characters that they had to put up yellow tape, witches hats and warning signs in case of subsidance? But surely, I posited, somewhat disingenuously, it gets better. Well, if the mea culpa, mea maxima culpa press releases from TPTB on that other Mars show are anything to go by, no, it didn't, it just dribbled along, and what was one of the wittiest shows on tv just limped across the line, haemorrhaging viewers and only granted a half season as punishment for its lacklustre performance. Yeah, sure they had an arc. A crap one. (In retrospect, was it wise to base 22 episodes around what looked like a re-heated episode of Murder She Wrote?)
But I hold my peace, because, you know, I'm sure they have a plan and it'll all be great this year. I have faith, just like that (gag worthy) theme tune to Enterprise. What ever happened to the great Trek franchise again? Oh yeah, it was canned, made extinct, ceased to be. But you know what they say: there are no bad shows, just bad viewers.
Heh. But I don't really want to start up that again (gods, no), I was just bemused at the apology.
Last night we was unwell, but I did wallow with glorious young Sharpe, dashing around being very dashing indeed. Sigh. Swoon. It was Sharpe's Company, with poor Sharpe being demoted to supplies and ditch digging (so been there, Sharpie, in fact still there, Sharpie) and the introduction of the immortal and evil Obidiah, the immortal Harry Price (I'm not dead yet) and young Capt. Rymer, played by Marc Warren, who also pops up in Highlander (so possibly immortal, in my fetid imagings).
Sharpe's career advances over a lot of corpses in this episode, which reminds me of similiar musings by sleeper_frost, who wondered why the fate of almost certain death had no measurable effect on stemming the tide of lemmings that kept throwing themselves at Sharpe. I suppose the magnetic allure of Mr Sharpe outweighs all dangers, and I further mused upon the thought that the body count that trails in Sharpie's wake is perhaps a mere consequence of dancing with death, as it were (it's a metaphor for, oh, never mind...).
A thought no doubt inspired by one of the only zine bound fics I ever read and enjoyed as a teen, a fic that laid the blame for Captain James T. Kirk's miserable romantic statistics firmly at the feet of a certain science officer. It was such a wickedly perverse and subversive take on the old girlfriend of the week cliche that it tickles me still (the title and author are sadly lost to the mists of time).
Surely, though, it would be a full time job, keeping Sharpe single, I was asked. I'm sure it occupies the time, and a good thing, too, for the devil finds work for idle hands. I imagined a weekly planner entry looking something like this:
Mon: prank call Duncan
Tues: kill Sharpe's latest conquest
Wed: kill Sharpe's latest conquest
Thurs: Shopping (eggs, milk, beer)
Fri: kill Sharpe's latest conquest
Heh. But that's just me.
Ah, to hell with it. I don't even have my notes, but the other week, sleeper_frost and I were picking over the Western themes, images and archetypes within LOM, from films namechecked (High Noon, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) to the way Gene sees himself (lone sheriff in a corrupt and uncaring town). There was even a whole bit in last week's Northern Guardian about Manchester being a wild west town (constant shootouts). It even has Injuns!
I've also been having great discussions over at Sam and Gene, also revolving around Gene being the lone lawman and whether or not Sam is his deputy (that's how Gene sees him) or perhaps is the crazy preacher who tags along because their goals are roughly similiar (get the bad guys). Why I saw Sam in the crazy preacher role (so trying not to think of Garth Ennis right now) was the way Sam refers to policing as a vocation. It's not so much what he does, it's who he is, it's a calling for Sam. Gene on the other hand is so much about protecting his city and his people that we went off into a whole clan cheiftan tangent, but it's more of a role, a duty to Gene, whereas it's Sam's life, who he is.
So there are the two basic roles: one for duty and justice, the other because he has to. And Sam has to. He lives and breathes and sleeps his job (waking up with his "hamster nest" of papers). Sam feels his work is the key to getting back, but he's always been very work driven. Even not believing anything is real, Sam will still stay at the station day and night rather than go home or go to the movies. So anyway, Sam's deeply held belief in his work puts him in the crazy lawman end of the scale, imho.
So Gene sees himself as an unwanted, unthanked lawman who protects the town from itself (this is where the whole Toshiro Mifune Yojimbo thing came into it). Poor Gene. Looks like he's been alone and unappreciated (by colleagues, superiors, press and villains) for a long while. How he adapts to and delights in his wacky new pardner is a whole 'nother post (but can read read over at Sam and Gene).
Then there's the visual references, the constant clock shots in High Noon can be seen being used to much the same effect in episode six (high 2pm), not to mention the bar fights, shoot outs, posses and chases. Episode three even throws up the old town meeting, sort of.
The stories also contain many a western riff, though I've yet to see our lads do the whole Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars thing, which I would just love to death. Which is why I was attempting to reference Leone and Kurosawa because they are reponsible for many of the most beloved and references motifs of the genre, inmho, erything from the crusty somewhat embittered loner to rain soaked battles (so beloved of Frank Miller).
Anyway, that was the gist. Then the lads just piped up with:
Glenister: DCI Gene Hunt of the old school. He's a man of his time. And he would have been, thinking about it, ... a man who'd done national service, which was compulsory back in the '50s. ... So he's a kind of tough cookie. ... He makes a lot of references to the western [movie] genre. We have wonderful episode where he just talks, ... there's these titles like A Fistful of Dollars. And he has these lines: ... "Sergio Leone would be turning in his grave if he could see this." And he's got this whole western [idea] and philosophy about how ... he's the sheriff [in town].
Simm: The show really is like a western. ... If you look at it closely, there are so many elements of the western in it. So many.
Um, yeah. What they said.
Anyways, if you want to read more about Gene and his Deputy Dawg, a lot of it is over here: http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/sam_and_gene/. If you'd like to retort or discuss or just throw things, drop me a line.
On another note entirely, have been much cheered this week by pic swapping. It should be some sort of game. Like, I'll see your Ewan with a chicken and raise you Jude with a duck. Surreal, silly and fun.
Also, my miseries this week are solely the fault of one Mr Bloom. It was Wednesday, and the bus was loitering at a stop with a huge poster of Orlando on the side, whoring himself for Pirates, and in my sleepy state I was admiring said poster and thinking aye, but you're a comley lad, young Orlando, when I felt me timbers shiver. Actually like that, the little shiver the old wooden house gives just before the Southerly comes in in the wee hours on a hot Summer's night. Uh oh, I thinks to meself. Then nothing happened. Then more nothing happened. Then sploosh! Hence the mopping up. Damn and blast. All your fault Orlando, standing there and being all pretty. Look what you've done to me. I'm all stupid and grumpy and I reek like a charnel house. Hmph.
So I'd better finish up so I can go home and wallow in D&P book, dvd or lumpy pillow, whichever comes first.
But back to the lads I started this post with: Jack and George.
Finally, proof that even the very best of Seventies cop shows can fall for the old faux mo faux paus:
"I don't blame her guv, I fancy you myself, with that moustache."
We're the Sweeney son and we haven't had any dinner...
Simm Travels Time In Mars
Mars attacks 1973 with a time-warped British police story that mixes Back to the Future and Starsky and Hutch
The stars of BBC America’s Life on Mars cross the pond (and head for the pool)
Life on Mars
Life on Mars
Life on "Mars"
Veronica Mars creator promises a "cleaner" season
Fall TV Preview: 'Veronica Mars' gears up for college and a new format
grant morrisons the invisibles
More tossers on TV
Eureka: Pilot (series premiere)
Going for the Doctor (Tennant)
Retardis: Doctor Who and disability
Last Tap Dance in Springfield
Hollywood agrees to burning DVD issue
Bush Gropes, Planet Cringes
Tut's gem hints at space impact
The History Man
The History Man
The History Man
The History Man
Play For Today
'West Wing' creator's follow-up is slated before its first episode
Hellfire Club - Inner Circle
Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde)
X-Men (1st series) #129
Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde)
A TOUCH OF BRIMSTONE
The Comic Strip Presents...
The Comic Strip Presents Episode Guide
The Bullshitters: Roll Out The Gunbarrel
Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown (1993)
Warning to Canadian Briscovites
Networks face crisis as internet usage begins to bite hard
Memorable Scenes in Forgettable Movies
From Aussie Hulk to right royal bulk
The quaint isles of Britain
Dream job for Simon Burke
Hugh's jeans get cashed in
The Spaghetti West
Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule
Once Upon A Time In Italy
A Man, a Blade, an Empty Road: Postwar Samurai Film to 1970
Midnight Eye. Samurai.
Tracking the Salford Sioux
Frank Miller (comics)
We held it