And toddle isn't quite the right word. Bent over against driving gusts of rain, more like. It was so miserable a red double decker bus trundled past and it had gone a block and a half before my poor brain twigged that something was out of kilter, and I can forgive the poor old brain for thinking trudging in the dark and cold driving rain naturally goes with red double decker buses, from past experience, but this ain't London. No idea what the bus was about but it bemused and set the scene.
Then, just as I arrived at the Quay, enormous fireworks burst forth from the Opera House forecourt. Full on, for about fifteen minutes, and so very pretty. I stood, clung to the railings in my mittens and scarf, ooohing and ahhing at the unexpected show. No idea what that was about either but it sure blasted away the work merde with bright sparkly pretty so I was happy.
Stopped off for a dark hot chocolate and glass of merlot at the Guylian cafe (much needed), read my book for a bit, then shrugged the poor old coat back on again (it really doesn't do heavy rain, as miserably demonstrated by our day out in Central Park) and braved the blasted wastes of Bennelong Point until I got under shelter. Really, not the place to be in a rain squall, though it was kinda fun to watch the rain twist and swirl violently in the lights, but I think that was the merlot talking.
So, yes, Opera House. Stephen Fry. Oh yes. But first, the climb to my seat. Such a climb, the sort of climb where you think establishing a base camp and breaking out the oxygen wouldn't be over doing it in any way. Yes, a rather rubbish seat but I didn't care because I remember booking it, on my wee PC in New York, with the Empire State Building beaming out over my shoulder in the window, and trying to buy a ticket at the Opera House, and feeling very cosmopolitan at that precise moment (though I knew it meant I was going home, and I really didn't want to). And how I clung to that ticket later, when every other plan went tits up. Good old Stephen Fry, he wouldn't let me down. Nor did he.
So the man arrived, to rapturous applause, and he talked, lectured, rambled, reminisced, regaled and joked, and even ate his very first Tim Tam live on stage (with a too cute squeak of delight). He spoke of words, writing, lying, meeting Hugh and Emma and his cherished memories of Peter Cook (with a marvellous anecdote worthy of any chat show) and, most interesting to me, his youthful crime spree with stolen credit cards. It was an interesting (and I dare say, useful) dip into the the mind of a devilish lad (he makes such hijinks sound much more exciting than Neal ever does, and tempered with a great deal more remorse and shame, too). I'm sorry, I just couldn't help but lean forward when he got onto that.
But basically it was just Stephen being Stephen, dishing out the quite interesting facts, name dropping and being very cheeky and funny and filthy and oh, I have loved this man since my teens, he is one of the very pillars of my universe, and sitting there, listening to him, it just felt like the most natural thing in the world. I didn't feel like I had to try hard to enjoy it, I just did. I'm so glad I went. It must surely rate as one of the great experiences of my life, only it doesn't feel like that, it just feels like it was perfectly right and natural that I should have sat and listened to the great man.
But yes, I came home, even after a long, damp, cold wait for a taxi, all thrilled and swoony. I saw Stephen Fry. And he was Stephen Fry. And I couldn't ask for, or want, anything more. Bwee!
Meanwhile, finally finished the Chandler and I'm onto Tom Sawyer, which I haven't read since, well, we'll just forget how long since, but I couldn't help but thinking of a certain cable tv character when reading this bit of introductory exposition:
"Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can't learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is. But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's all down again and I can't hit him a lick. I ain't doing my duty by that boy, and that's the Lord's truth, goodness knows. Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I'm a laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he's my own dead sister's boy, poor thing, and I ain't got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks. Well-a-well, man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it's so. He'll play hookey this evening, and I'll just be obleeged to make him work, to-morrow, to punish him. It's mighty hard to make him work Saturdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and I've got to do some of my duty by him, or I'll be the ruination of the child."
Yep, you know who, the early years. And honestly, what sort of a boy genius con artist would Neal be if he wasn't a devilish lad at the outset, was expelled and censured all over the place and had a record by the age of twelve, as most budding grifters do? Neal would probably have a record going back that far, but probably all over the place, under a variety of aliases, so maybe Peter doesn't know the whole story (especially if local law enforcement logged it as a caution or did not proceed or whatever they do to keep the stats down).
But yes, I wasn't thinking of Neal at all when I picked up the book at all (I was actually thinking yay Mark Twain, having just read some of his pithy and spot on comments about American foreign policy), but you can bet I am now. Cause it's swindle after swindle, trick after trick. Not to mention the showing off. Can't forget the showing off. Funny how narcissism always seems to go with a fair degree of sociopathy and mischief as well as a precocious cleverness.
I dare say that young Neal has been running rings around people all his life, and that's why Peter holds his interest and attention so, because Peter is the rare person who can keep up with Neal, follow him and sometimes bounce ahead and cut Neal off at the pass, so to speak. Though I dare say it's the whole ego and showing off thing that gets Neal more than anything else, that need to show just how clever he is by signing his work, or hanging around to see the drama he's created. Oh, my little lord of chaos. There's a lot of Loki/Trickster in there, too. He just can't help himself, and is always so boyishly smug when he's playing with things or people, so puppyishly smug when he thinks he's got one over on folks.
He can be so cheeky and charming, and I suppose at least we've got Peter there, being Neal's stand in conscience, reminding him if he goes to far, or the cost of some of his jolly japes. Which does tend to make Peter less fun and naggy on screen at times, compared to Neal's cool. And Neal is so, well, Neal, it's nigh impossible to watch the show rationally. What is it they say? The devil always gets the best lines? Something like that, anyway.
Poor Peter. He kind of reminds me of Voctoria on High Chaparral, whom I never liked as a child because she came off as a screeching harpie and killjoy, but watching it now from the other side of youth I can totally see why the poor put upon woman exists in a perpetual state of pissed off, surrounded by blokes who, well, I was going to say have the morals of alley cats, but they make alley cats look like Scottish church elders.
Peter isn't quite so shrill, but I can see why Peter is perceived in the popular press as the less fun character. It's a heavy load, being the straight man.
It must be wearing on Peter, too, as he's pretty much pulling double shifts now trying to sort out the bloody box thing and keeping Neal corralled, well, as much as he can without tying Neal to his bed every night (now there's a thought). So right now Peter's dealing with a long distance relationship, trying to keep Neal busy and yet out of trouble, investigating his own conspiracy theory, keeping secrets, trying to keep his job, dealing with his faith in the Department of Justice and the system taking a severe beating, and he's probably being white anted along the way as well. Man, that's a lot for a guy to be carrying around.
And while I quite like the dark and shaky notes added to Neal's character (though to my great grief he has the Winchester emo moments with anyone but Peter), I'm not sure I buy it being all over Kate, but I suppose why not? I'm just thinking, after everything else Neal must have seen or done or lived through, but I guess there's a limit and since Kate was his holy grail, his ideal, the idea that kept him going through gaol, I guess he would start to fall apart when he failed his quest, as were. Not that the kerniggets in Le Morte cared two hoots whether the maiden was rescueed with or without head, but I dare say Neal does, being the perfectionist he is, and, to my mind, it's not losing Kate so much that has shaken him, but the idea of her. He's lost all his hopes and dreams. Now that I could believe would give young Caffrey pause. There's a line in an unfinished Lewis fic o'mine where a character describes to Lewis that it wasn't just her child that she had lost, but all the hopes and dreams she'd had for that child as well, and that's kind of what I'm gettiing at. No more golden picket fenced dreams for Neal. That's got to bite.
I guess the boy now has to decide what he wants to do now. For the moment it's revenge, and, really, Peter, you so need to talk him out of it. What was that great line I heard on one of my tv westerns (I forget which), something about when you go for revenge you need to dig two coffins (one for the other guy and one for yourself). So what's gonna happen if Neal gets his revenge? Will it make it all better? No, of course not. Will it destroy him? Quite possibly, we just don't know by how much.
Hmmm. Could be interesting if not for the fact that my faith in the WC writers, whose grasp of continuity lacks a certain attention to detail, isn't all that it should be.
But never mind that. Just watching the first five minutes, and I know why I watch this show. And it ain't for the plots. Oh yeah.
Air - Sexy Boy
Yello - Oh Yeah
Fri: Oh look, Stephen has discovered Golden Gaytimes, and the fabulous slogan: "it's so hard to have a gaytime on your own". Yes, ooo-er. Very Twitter and titter worthy, I've always found.
Let's forget about the rubbish time I'm having so far, complete with near smooshing. Well, when I was in the recently refurbished (although that should be defurbished since it seems to have gone decidedly downmarket) when I was showered with nuts and bolts from the newly installed and much, much uglier and industrial looking light fittings. I stepped aside but it never came down. I handed in said nuts and bolts and whatever they do now is their concern. But still, it gave me pause.
And it's a pity I'm having such a rubbish day because last night, oh, telly made me a very happy girl indeed (which is just as well as the days here are quite miserable).
First up, Chuck is back. Yay Chuck. Even without Bryce (sniff) it's still fun to watch. I mean, Bryce was hardly ever in it but he still gets name checked quite a bit, legend that he is, casting a very wide shadow over proceedings, having been the one to kick them off, sexy little protagonist that he was. I couldn't find any cheezels, which was probably just as well, as the Peanut Gallery is into the wallowing on the couch in a dressing gown phase of the old unemployment gig so it might have been a little too close for comfort. Anyhoo, Bryce is dead (Really? Are you Sure? Did you check?), Chuck and Sarah are broken up, Casey is still growly, unless shooting up bad guys (on an old set I saw only the other week in High Chaparral) and Morgan is back, too. Ditto Jeffster. Did I tell you about my Jeffster t-shirt? I love that t-shirt.
So that was fun. Btw, what's with the fake Bryce look in White Collar all of a sudden? Fake Bryce is no Bryce at all. To borrow from Lost in Austen, I'm having a post modern moment and I'm not enjoying it.
Anyhoo, then it was The Tudors, which, just when I was losing interest now that the slutty Ms Howard has lost her head, they dish up an all Cavill all the time episode. Swoon. Drool. Lust. It was all very Sharpe's Siege on some long forgotten battle that Harry think's he's going to be remembered for (not as such, old chap) but blah blah blah boring. I'm afraid I was watching with my Henry Cavill goggles firmly affixed and just for once felt I was getting good value for momeny. Oh, pretty, pretty Henry. And when he spoke French? Puddle. Puddle. Puddle.
Bonus points for Jody from The Fixer and his ill-fated slash buddy.
So, in that sober frame of mind (not!) I turned to matters Sherlock. Squee! Flail! OMG!
Yes, it was that good. So good I've still got a silly grin on my face despite the outrageous slings and arrows of a toxic workplace (and in case you think I'm still a petal, I mentioned where I worked to a passing aquaintance down in Melbourne, striking up conversations with strangers as I do when abroad, and, oh, the whistling intake of horrified breath. That sort of reputation. I honestly can't think of anywhere worse regarded, but I digress).
Where do I start? The completely perfect casting of Holmes and Watson? Mark Gatiss bringing an Avengers soaked swagger to his role (and don't think I didn't catch that, wallowing in all things Steed as I am right now)? My beloved Rupert Graves as DI Lestrade?
Or the clever updating of the books, almost damn cheeky at times, with the three patch problem and the badly scratched iPhone, etc. My favourite though I think has to be the way they dealt with dear Sir Arthur's notorious inconsistency with where Watson was shot (in Afghanistan I believe, which can be quite painful, I understand, and did you see how I sat on any Khyber Pass jokes?) by making it psychosomatic. Heh. Well played, sir.
Or should I squee over the overt slashiness, particulary the comment that went something like "You've only just met, now you've moved in and you're fighting crime together. Should I expect a happy announcement by the end of the week?" Bwahaha! That is so every buddy cop show I've ever watched. Really and truly.
Or there Mrs Hudson promising to turn a blind eye. Or the restaurant guy fetching a candle for table, because it was more romantic that way. Watson tries to protest that he's not Sherlock's date, but just gives up after a while. Snerk. So of course I shan't be able to watch any of my cop buddies dining together without thinking that the manager should do the right thing and fetch a candle, because it's more romantic that way. Wheeze.
And, oh my, the ending? How good was that? Seriously, I had to play it back twice. Oh my, great buddy ship moments of our time. Very Hot Fuzz, if you've not seen it yet. I fear "Look, I have a blanket!" is going to end up in my lexicon, avec flapping, it was such a cute line (especially since Sherlock was in completely uncharacteristic flail at that point).
And why did people keep insisting Sherlock had no friends? He seemed to be ringed with trusty enablers and associates, most of whom genuinely had his welfare at heart, from Mrs Hudson (I'm not your housekeeper, dear) to the dodgy restaurant guy to wistful Lestrade, the hopelessly devoted morue chick and, well, others (lest I over spoil). Would that I had a crack team of lackeys at my beck and call. Not to mention Watson. Oh my, Watson. It's rather overtly stated that Holmes is his new addiction and vice versa. Oh my. It's all kinda dark and twisty and visceral as they eye fuck each other. I love it.
And even though I wasn't watching White Collar (a gal's gotta get at least a coupla hours kip) it wasn't far from my mind. So June is Mrs Hudson (I'm not your housekeeper, dear). And Peter clearly is, and always has been, Watson. Addicted to Neal, addicted to the excitement of Neal's world, and the necessary appreciative and applauding audience (I saw the trailer for this week's ep - could Neal be any more pleased at his notorority?). There were some good lines in Sherlock, bouncing up and down on ideas I'd already played with in my unfinished fics, about Neal sticking around because he desperately needs an appreciative audience, he needs the applause, the gasps of surprise. There was a line about brilliant criminals being the easiest to catch because they need people to see how clever they are - which I'd already pounced on in my fic (did I borrow that from Doyle? Probably, I was coming off a Holmes frenzy at the time I started on White Collar).
So yeah, I saw a lot of similiarity with the brilliant, glittering, sociopathic genius in desperate need of applause and a constant audience, and the loyal to a fault, addicted, partner. The best friend and conscience, the one he trusts and confides in most.
And I kinda liked the way they made Holmes all brittle and thinking too fast for others to keep up, impatient and arrogant and completely clueless re the social stuff (and while Neal can be pleasantly manipulative, he still doesn't quite get the whole thinking of others thing). I liked the way Holmes started to look to Watson for social cues. I liked the way he actually cared. This was a big thing, for as Lestrade sighs, one day, maybe, Holmes will be a good man (ie, a bit more fully rounded and not just playing games in his head).
I also loved his glee over the murders. It was in bad taste, but that was the point. He needs the rush of a case (like Neal needs the rush of a job, it's up to poor Peter to provide legit jobs to occupy him). It was silly, but I loved it (almost like the way Steed and Mrs Peel relished a case). Oh, it was so very ITC/ATV, this version. I loved, that too.
Anyway, I had more thoughts, but you get the idea. I love Sherlock so much. It ticks many boxes. And I think I might know what's wrong with this White Collar fic I've been struggling with. Stop fighting against the Holmes stuff. Just embrace it, and go.
Mind you, I've been working on part three and having so much fun. This spy vs spy game Neal and Peter have going has escalated to the point where they're actually causing each real harm, and yet it's all done for the best intentions. It's really twisted. I really am going to have to call it "Love's Shadow", cause it's all gone a bit Pete Tong. Oh dear.
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