mockturtle (hellblazer06) wrote,

brave new world

War! What is it good for?

Well, great tv plots actually, from Sharpe to Cybermen and from Cracker to The Sweeney, from Bond to Adam Adamant, and all points in between. Not to mention some cracking songs.

Damn weather. It thought it was Summer for a few days, then snapped back for a few frosty Spring mornings. Especially frosty when I had to get up early yesterday to water the garden: the hose was frozen again. Frosty too re the outdoor loos at work. Now I grew up with outdoor dunnies so I ain't no princess, but ice cold loo seats first thing in the morning are one bit of 70s nostalgia I could well do without.

There was a cartoon in one of the papers (sadly not online, or I'd throw you a link), but at least it made me feel like I wasn't the only Gen Xer to be tinged with a strange sort of Ostalgia for the Cold War. Happier times.

Which brings me to what I watched this weekend. The Cold War was name checked in Adam Adamant, though the episode where the religious fundalmentalist was planning disaster to scare people closer to piety had an ugly ring oj de ja news about it. It's completely effing tragic that the silliest plot in a very silly Sixties spy show actually rings true. I swear the scene where the guy is tracked down and killed by doom saying sandwich board men is the sole reason why I have an abiding phobia of doom saying sandwich board men. Creepy.

Then, of course, there was the Bond marathon on Movie Greats. Ah, history through the eyes of the Bond franchise. Seriously, one could manage a meaty thesis if one were so inclined, from geopolitical posturing to just the changing fashions and behaviour. James is cringingly old world empire, being awful to the help (especially Quarrell in Dr No), foreigners and women. Though as as a man from MI6, I suppose it's almost part of the job description to be leery of foreigners, the lower classes and the opposite sex. Btw, cracked up over Joanna Lumley being very Patsy in OHMSS.

And then there was the Living Daylights. A bit of a pre 9/11 film, one might say. Certainly I can't see too many films being made these days that are Taliban! Yay!

I remember seeing this film in the cinema, one of the first Bond films I actually saw in the cinema and not on telly, and I am staggered at how the good guys are now bad guys and vice versa, according to current American foreign policy, if that's not too much of an oxymoron. Dosado and change your partners.

Which leads into Goldeneye, and similiar themes explored in Friday's Cracker, about old soldiers in old wars being told their sacrifice means nothing in the new new world order. Okay, yes, I really was just watching for Sean perving opportunities, but at least, for a Bond film, it tried to address the end of the Cold War, it was just made too close to the death throes to be realistic or objective. The real price (Russian mafia, terrorism, Taliban, etc) would not become obvious until later. Weirdly, America's cold war was the only thing keeping a lid on America's drugs war.

Which was mentioned in Cracker. Oh yes, Jimmy was angry and he had something to say, so do expect a work of the same sort of subtleties as the Hillsborough episode of Cracker. It starts and ends with a soapbox polemic, and it was kind of confronting to hear characters actually say what I've been secretly thinking for years, but never dared say after my first few brutal slap downs (having opions being a treasonable offence these days). Trust Fitz to bypass his tact circuits as always. However, it was, to me, more about Ireland than anything else, and the 9/11 references were there to illustrate hypocrisy and hype and highlight the futility of death, war and sacrifice. There was also a decent amount of rage over not being able to call Ireland a war (and I'm only one or two degrees seperated from folks killed on all sides, so I have some appreciation of the events). Basically, it was your bog standard crazy vet on a killing spree cop show classic, just dressed in new clothes.

I did like it though. Fitz was Fitz, age has not mellowed him, and they filmed a lot around where I'd stayed in Manchester the last time I was there (I have relatives not too far away, in my Oz distances, so I always pop up to Manchester when I'm over there, LOM has nowt to do with it, I just like the shops), and, surprise, surprise, Richard Coyle as an angry shouty DCI. Are angry, shouty coppers back in fashion now?

Shouty coppers and Northern Ireland and ex soldiers popped up again in The Sweeney, this time with two ex-soldiers indulging in housebreaking, and going beserk when they hear an Irish accent. However, that was hardly discussed as the real point of the episode was a smoothy political new style copper, very much in the Sam mould (or, at least, undeconstructed DCI Tyler), who, despite being the darling of the higher ups, had no bottle and eventually pretty much fell to pieces under fire. So the whole Northern Ireland thing was just background noise as the now classic old vs new coppers played out. Great for posing for photos but crap at the hard stuff, complains Jack, and probably quite rightly.

War was the background of all the cheesy late 70s, early 80s vids I ended up watching on Saturday afternoon.If it wasn't the now terribly cheesy post apocalyptic visions of vids such as Toyah's "Brave New World" and "Thunder In The Mountains", which is still a brilliant Boudica inspired piece, to the post Blitz wastelands still lying around to make for tasty backdrops to vids for The Specials and Teardrop Explodes, etc. Then there was The Jam and Boomtown Rats, back when they were angry young men, not grumpy old farts. Sometimes I don't think I paid enough attention to the Thatcher years, I didn't realise I was going to be examined on it later. To change the mood a little there were Squeeze and Madness. Dug out some old Banshees and The Cure, and, weirdly, I note that my LOM fics are just about the only fics not to reference "A Forest", when, to my mind, they're the only ones that should. Look at baby Robert! Pre-Maybeline. And then there was the silly and the fabulous. I did not know that Peanut Gallery had Tentpole Tudor's "Swords of a Thousand Men" in his collection. I adore that song. Played it over and over. As punishment, or what he thought was punishment, PG put on "Stand and Deliver", since I'd whined that I wanted nothing with gospel singers or featuring anything I might have once worn). He warned me that it was oh so camp. Hardly, after having sat through Dead Man's Chest (which makes Danger Island look postively European by comparison). In fact, it was a delight. I watched it over and over. Nope, Johnny Depp has never seen the vid for Stand or Deliver. Not bloody effing likely he hasn't. Fabulous stuff!

War was still waving the flag on Saturday night, but I didn't really care. Doctor Who. Sharpe. The Professionals. Whee! Bodie! Pink shirt! And muffin top, tsk. That's what you get for trying to squeeze into those oh so tight pants. It was episode one, with the mad poisoner, the spiked cafe bar and a very, very young Burnside. I think I have to mention Bodie's pink shirt again. It was so pink! In the Ch7 versions I remember, it was so waashed out it was an off white shirt. Oh yeah, I should mention again that when I watched the Profs, as a young lass, it was cut down to just car chases and shootouts, so I never knew it had plots, and a somewhat right wing polemic at that. So when I say that my formative years were spent ogling Bodie and Paul Weller, please don't have an aneurism trying to imagine it.

The Professionals and The Jam. Throw in NME, Oh Boy and Smash Hits, and I'm right back there.

Oh yeah. Sharpe. Swoon and swoon again. He's just so purty. It was Sharpe's Battle, the one with that guy from Heartbeat and the fart jokes, and where poor young Perkins buys it, after having The Sex, naturally enough. Sex with a woman, at least. I always raise an eyebrow over the lad's whine about "why is it always me in dress?". Always?

Doctor Who. Swoon. I do not know why, but again, DT is less OTT in the ABC versions. Is it watching it in my native system that makes it play out at the right speed, some subtle tweaking like that? Anyways, part deux of the Cybermen story, and the poor ducks, all blue and cold, lots of war references again, mostly final solution and resistance stuff, plus the usual plucky Brits, off to stop the monsters, then home in time for tea and biscuits. Or not, as this time around we do tend to pause and note death, albeit briefly, rather than breeze by it, which I like. It makes it slightly more real, as much as Doctor Who could ever approach real. Well, it's hardly Ken Loach, is it, but nor do I want it to be.

Okay, the one show I can't tie into the war theme at all, at least not without injuring myself, is Minder, though oil rich Arabs did play a very minor, off camera plot pushing role, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a particularly snitty turn by Derek Jacobi.

Still, he wasn't as OTT as John Hurt in last week's brilliant episode of The Sweeney. Peanut Gallery remarked that they didn't so much strike the set as hand over the remains to Mr Hurt in a doggy bag. Banging it out to the back rows, was young John. And it was a brilliant episode, dealing with early 70s white collar computer crime, and bless the writer because they'd really done their homework and although one might point and laugh at the 70s computers and the actual firewall and the actual hacking, the episode is solid, technically correct and completely textbook, so it's just really great to watch, even educational, and it's not all cringeworthy like all those other tv episodes from the 80s and 90s written by men who'd never used so much as an ATM. Also, the interior of that airport hotel? Love it! Bonus George Cole, too.

If one ever wanted to write a paper regarding on screen representations of computer crime, please reference this, and not Hackers, 'kay? And don't get me started on "actors" bashing furiously away at keyboards to log in, when a six-eight character password, usually "password" and a function key or button will suffice. What? They have to write pages of Basic just to open Google?

Anyways, I know what you're thinking: that's a shitload of tv watching, did we do anything else?

Well, not as such, no. Bit of work in the garden, some shopping, cooking, recycling, washing, but by and large, no. I had intended to spend all Sunday afternoon scanning, as the 'to do' pile is now mighty and fearsome once more, but I was so bloody ill I was sent back to bed. I really was in quite a dreadful state, enough for morbid fancy to take flight, certainly (and absolutely not helped by AP showing me where she'd bought some new Fuschias, because she missed the bushes of Fuschias she used to have, way back, that were wiped out with the rest of the garden and every other garden for miles including the then nurseries and market gardens in the area when old Union Carbide let out a cloud of Agent Orange one day when I was but a babe. Yikes and zoinks).

And, reminded of the chap who put "lawks" into my vocabulary, I also spent some time reading, and, finally, halfway tthrough The Vesuvius Club and Lucifer is finally getting down to the kinky sex and boy buggering. At last, I say. I was begining to, oh so slightly, grind my teeth over the fact that, for a book that promised so much, it was delivering far less on the kinky sex side than your average Dalziel & Pascoe novel. And no, I kid you not. I can tell you that my eyebrows fair shot off my head over the bit about Ellie Pascoe's university era experimentation which was tossed in as a throw away aside. Lawks! Peter Pascoe's wife in lesbian shock. Well, I was surprised, to say the least. Obviously the books and series diverge quite a bit re characterisation, apart from the broadest strokes.

They just don't do that sort of thing on Life on Mars, and more's the pity. Stupid puppet episodes, yes, but detectives having nervous breakdowns or swinging wives, not so much. No, screw that, they do, well, the melty detective, anyway, if not entirely the way The Sweeney does it. Just not so sure about the most recent spoilers. Lawks!

Oh, I should also mention, should you find any more typos in this, that I've not had any sleep as it was hellishly noisy last night. The deep sleepers disputed this, but I think the large pools of vomit and the completely trashed bus stop are evidence that wickedness was afoot last night. You know, I'm used to walking through ankle deep broken glass, but this time the glass was scattered across the highway, and being flung back at me like gravel from a lawnmower, which I did not like. Not one bit. And this morning the local shops were robbed. I suspect a new and interesting 'family' has moved into the neighborhood.
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Tags: adam adamant, dalziel and pascoe, doctor who, james bond, life on mars, richard coyle, sean bean, sharpe, the cure, the professionals, the sweeney

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