mockturtle (hellblazer06) wrote,

there and reichenbach again

Every time I go out into the office lobby, this enormous and bulging black bin bag has moved to somewhere else in the lobby and is skulking in a different corner or leaning against a different wall. I'm afraid I'm too much of a child of cheap and creepy British telly not to raise an eyebrow at this sort of behaviour, you know, from watching the sort of shows where they'd imbue a bin bag with dread and menance, because that's all the FX budget ran to.

Nevertheless, I'd have to declare their efforts most effective because I still can't but help find that independently mobile black plastic bin bag of unusual size rather unsettling.

Okay, yes, maybe that old wowser Mary Whitehouse had a point, but life would be so dull if there weren't any creepy deserted lobby wandering bin bags.

Sorry, at an enforced loose end (tech woes, as always) and unable and/or unwilling to push on to anything else. First, still a bit tired and poorly after last week, and I'm tired of wasting ten whole days every time being completely and utterly wretched, especially this one (any work day you stagger home covered armpits to ankles in your own blood is a rough one, imho). Also, my resolution this year to see if I can get by on the bare minimum of effort I seem to have taken to like a duck to water. Work ethic be damned, I'm heartily sick and tired of flogging myself raw and getting nowhere, especially, like last night, staying up all night metaphorically sticking sparkly little stars on the project and not even getting so much as a 'meh' for my efforts. Sod that, then.

And so to television. Rather spoilt for choice while I was still faffing about, and so faffing about meant I'd didn't have to choose at least, but I did sit down and attend as much as I could when Supernatural came on. I need my Winchester fix, and I mean, I needed it. Oh, Dean, poor Dean, breaking my heart with his fixed smile. I know that MO all too well. Oh, Dean, you poor bastard. Possibly not the most distressing thing I'll watch all week (I have Sherlock yet to view at time of typing this) but, man.

I figured they'd have Dean move more into the dad role now that Bobby was gone (sorta, kind of, it is Supernatural afterall, I've already read a rumour of a return guest spot), but man, they didn't wait around, nor did they employ any subtlety with the whole babysitting thing (seriously, the kid Dean was babysitting seemed far less trouble than Sam) and the hard shell of fake fineness. Poor old Dean. He is going to implode so bad the whole universe is going to be sucked in after him. Oh dear.

Nevertheless, I love the boys, and I needed a fix, because the two episodes I sort of watched on the weekend (always with the multitasking and missing out on stopping to enjoy myself for five minutes) just weren't enough. I need my boys. They make me smile. Even the hamburger one is pretty damn funny.

Ah, don't mind me. I'm just annoyed I couldn't churn out those fics. I should have been able to finish them, but couldn't. Nothing left in the tank (hence the massive Dean empathy).


There they were, Holmes and Moriarty locked in mortal struggle atop the building, the big iconic scene that is so iconic it's been rehashed for over a century, the big moment, phone rang. My phone never, ever rings, and I dare say nor will it ever again with the reception I gave the caller, but, well, crikey. Yes, I have a pause button but it well and truly ruined the moment, you know? Gah and fie on the insufferable caller.

Been a while since a phone call has ruined my viewing pleasure. It was one of the few pros of being a social outcast (ironic now that we have such things as time-shifted viewing). Ah well, I can watch it back, but it will not be the same. Nothing will ever recreate that hanging on the edge of the seat moment. Ruined, ruined, ruined.

And it was edge of the seat. And damn, because that has been the best telly I'm going to see all year, which now stretches ahead of me like a wasteland (though maybe Who will pick up if the boys are not distracted by Sherlocky things? It seemed to suffer from the old Buffy/Angel/Firefly too many plates no winners debacle last year). And I mean, seriously, White Collar, Nazi treasure? Try the crown jewels. That is how it's done, baby.

That was fabulous btw, Moriarty and the Tower of London. It was so silly, so Avengers-esque OTT silliness, but I loved it for all that. Enough swagger and you can sell me anything. Now that's a super villain, oh yes indeedy. But yeah, I feel like the best is behind me now, glorious ride that it was. It's like the fourth of fifth film I ever went to see in the cinema was Raiders, and I walked out thinking damn, that's it then, I am never going to see another film I enjoy more as long as I live, it's all over. And you know, I never have.

I feel like that now, because, man, I loved those three episodes. Yes, silly, plot holey, but oh my. Where to start? Well, every man and his hound (geddit) will have posted reviews so I'll just squee over:

♥ The way they'd plant stuff from the actual text into the stories, be it a name, place, plot, line, prop or whatever. I don't know the books backwards and forwards by any means, but I'm fan enough to enjoy the thrill of recognition. It oddly made the series one of the most canonical, even if they did twist and turn stuff this way and that. They understood and kept the essence of the thing, the sure sign of a true believer. So many hack writers just have no idea and it shows, especially compared to shows like this that know their subject so well they're playful.

♥ The post modern sensibilities. Perhaps because it's been written by blokes of my generation, but I find shows that try to operate in a vacuum quaint. I loved the way they revelled in the medium, the way they set up expectations and then went sideways (very much like Buffy and Chuck), the immersion in time and place, which will probabbly date it as much as the originals, but I liked the use of media (digital, tv, print. etc) as not only the old 'you're tuned to K-PLOT' info dump exposition services but actually a fair whack of the plot of the last episode (trial by media, so very British).

♥ The hat. Never been a fan of the hat, ever, but it was fun to see the show so cheekily confident now they could mess with the hat.

♥ Sherlock's shirts all have buttons. No fancy cufflinks or tiepins for him. He does have the hero coat, though (Who doesn't love it when John calls him on it, too, tres adorbs).

♥ The crazy Avengers it's all secret spy gas stuff. I love it. I'm thinking of having a H.O.U.N.D and P.U.R.R.R. double feature, since they're both by my chair right now. Which says more about me, really, but I love the classic British sense of whimsy and macabre that pervades the series. (BTW, I know Mr Moffat has seen The Hidden Tiger because it has the wallpaper gag from Blink in it).

♥ The whole the boy protests too much thing with 'confirmed bachelor' John Watson. It could become tiresome but somehow never becomes so, especially the whole holding hands while handcuffed scene. My personal favourite though is our passive aggressive hero muttering 'crisps' in reply to the oft asked question that everyone wants to know - giggle. It's a silly running gag, but compare it to the squeamish ve don't do dat here Yanks. Over on Sherlock they're out on the other side, or not out, as in the case of the perpetually in denial John (come on, just give in, or are you afraid he'll lose interest?).

♥ The casting. Perfect. Spot on. Finally, in the 21stC we get a Watson who is not a dolt (but a happily passive agressive domestic partner/sidekick/PA) and a Lestrade who isn't a complete walkover or idiot either. Finally, somebody decided to make Sherlock scary smart instead of making everyone else non functioning idiots drooling on their shoes. And those small flashes of humanity in Holmes, the brief moments that carried poor John from story to story in the books (such a pining little girl in the books, is John, quite a bit of the time, when he hasn't got the hump with Holmes). Even Mrs Hudson gives as good as she gets in this show. I love Mrs Hudson.

♥ Moriarty. Hated him at first, but they stayed the course and I was kind of in awe in that last episode. I love the whole 'you're insane', 'you're just getting that?' exchange. So very Buffy.

♥ The updating. So simple it's a wonder no one has tried it before. Cabs = cabs. Street urchins = hoodies. Easy peasy, and clever too, sometimes, the way they did it. Holmes was always cutting edge CSI Baker Street in the books, it was fun to finally see some of that on screen, bringing it back to the man responsible for all those shows in the first place. Tricky not to appear old hat, but that's where Benedict comes in, and gives it a spin.

♥ Friendship. The way it all came down to friendship. For someone who sees himself as standing alone, Sherlock sure has a mighty tight little band/scooby gang/entourage. I like the way that in British series it's aways down to mates, in ways American shows rarely are (it's always about the prize/goal/macguffin).

♥ Everything. I love this series so much. It ticks all my boxes, hits all my buttons, and then finds a few more and tickles those, too. This show is just perfect (I won't even quibble over the minor huh? moments that occur once the euphoria finally rubs off).

Which is why you'll never find me writing fic. It doesn't need it (well, that and the fact that I've been trying to write Sherlock fic since I was seven and I've never cracked it). I save my ideas and efforts for shows that are interesting in premise but fall over in the execution (you know who you are).

Nor will you find me writing fic about wobbly shows that are not so wonderfully cast or written. I tried last night and I tried today and I have not gotten past the page for being very rudely interupted indeed (I'm fairly sure being trodden on counts as rudely interupted - a herd of louts in the park). Gnash, grimace, grind.

Whatever happened to that lovely day, that one, perfect, lovely day that I wallowed in the warm grass at the foot of a castle?

Speaking of which, most interviews have been dull, repetitive and rigorously on message, but this one, from the New York Post was cute:

The Post: Is there a difference between a red shirt day and a blue shirt day for Merlin?

Colin Morgan: [Laughs] You know what, I don’t think there is. But I applaud you for noticing the difference because even people on set sometimes don’t notice the difference when I change shirts. I think it’s literally dictated by the whim of the costume department, so maybe they have a reason. I’m going to ask them when we start the fifth season, I’d love to know. Maybe I’ll get darker shirts for the fifth season, [since the series] just gets darker and darker.


Oh, I forgot to tell you about Neil and the planes and the rattlebags. Tsk, tsk, it was one of the best and most unusual nights out I'd had all last year.

Yes, I'd saved up one last treat for myself, buying tickets to a reading by Neil Gaiman at The Factory in Marrickville. Which basically meant we spent a warmish summer night in a tin shed like factory in a decaying post industrial inner suburb listening to Neil read very creepy stories off his phone while directly under the flight path, like doors locked, wheels down, direct approach to Mascot flight path. Strange, and yet wonderful.

Himself came with, which surprised me, because you know me, been a fan since my uni days, but Himself has come lately but eagerly to the Gaiman fold, via Doctor Who, and Coraline, which I found on telly one wet evening a few weekends ago now, and he must have loved it, because he bought both the book and comic (signed) that night.

So it was a trip of many bus routes, a chicken pizza (which sat better than I'd ever hoped) from the only food outlet open, and sitting in the park, that came complete with one of those old rockets, in the fading sun until invaded by spiders, jealous of our occupying their seat, no doubt. We took that as our cue to waddle down to the factory, which was, as advertised, an old factory.

There was a bookstall, so we bought, and a bar, with one rubbish barman and a line that twisted back on itself so many times nobody could find the end, so we didn't drink. We sat, and tried to talk under the constant roar of aeroplanes thundering down overhead like massive birds of prey, talons down for the strike (Qantas, Singapore, Thai...).

Then we were herded upstairs into a room that resembled nothing so much as a community hall, again with the one rubbish barman and no cider (one was beginning to suspect it was a temperance venue, so impossible it was to get a drink, thank goodness we'd bought water at the pizza shop). Never mind that, on with the show.

First there was Fourplay, a string quartet, natch, who were quite good, and I did indeed enjoy their version of the Doctor Who theme. And then there was Neil, the man in black, at the podium, reading very creepy short stories from his phone, Amanda's iPad and a book he'd swiped from the shop downstairs. It all rather added to the wonderfully down at heel improv nature of the night, which was fun.

Neil, well, he's Neil, and there is nothing like hearing him read his own stories. He read Orange again, which I'd heard at the Town Hall a few years ago now, and the Rattle Bag, Chilvary and How To Talk To Girls At Parties. How cool was that? Coolest ever. Brilliant night.

So yes, I spent a summer night in an old factory under a flightpath surrounded by people with brightly coloured hair listening to Neil Gaiman read stories from Amanda Palmer's iPad. New York be damned.


Tok myself off to see Sherlock Holmes. Yep, up to my eyeballs in Holmes and Watsons and what is the plural anyway? Never mind, loving it.

Okay, it was hard not to compare and contrast. Both were funny, though the RDJ one tended towards broad, carry on farce far more than the other (that said, the dogging?), both battled our hero against Moriarty, this time your bog standard industrial Bond villain as opposed to Sherlock's clearly Joker-like Jim, and both ended with a fall, and a mournful Watson (RDJ's Sherlock, the far kinder and gentler version, albeit batshit crazy and obsessed to an unhealthy degree with his Watson, did at least put his snookums out of his misery).

So, young Robert, pretty much playing his old Charlie Chaplin role, and a touch more, um, flighty, than I usually prefer my Sherlocks, but I must be honest, I would have been quite happy had I not had Ben slicing up the screen like diamonds in the very same week. Entirely non-canon, this Watson thing, as poor Watson has to get himself shot to get a smidge of attention in the books, but I did kind of love Sherlock's near single whte female/french farce obsession with Watson. It was quite wonderful (and not just for me, the girl on the end squealed and delighted so much I thought we'd have to put paper down). Holmes and Watson of the 21st century are clearly to be, in both versions, an old screwball romantic comedy partnership as per pretty much anything with Cary Grant (of whom I saw a lot of in RDJ's performance, intentional or not). I cannot tell you how heartily I approve of this trending development. Love.

There was an article about Jude no longer playing the lead but second fiddle, but second fiddle is always where he has shone, and it's a sad thing that he's not done more comedy, because he was the perfect straight man foil for RDJ, just gorgeous, and the bit where he walked stiffly to his wedding, I could feel the hangover. The boy can act, given means, motive and opportunity, and he's found his niche, seems like. I loved him in this, I think it's going to be my favourite Jude role until he surpasses it. Also, never one to shy away from the challenging early in his career, it's nice to see him making a complete prat of himself and not caring. He looked like he was having fun, and it was infectious. Also, just because Watson was married, they played it up between the boys to the point where I'd seen Carry On films far less camp, but that wasn't a problem for me (nor the lass at the end of the row, as she whooped and rolled about).

The plot was, well, very Greenmantle, to be honest (excepting the bits that seemingly inspired Ian Fleming and Mark Gatiss), so I didn't mind, I just knew exactly where we were going and why and Moriarty seemed, well, a bit dull after Mr Scott, if far more faithful. The bit at the beginning, though, when he cleared the crowded restaurant with the tap of his spoon so Irene was no longer meeting him in a safe and public place, that was classy. That was suitably super-villainy. The rest was a bit, well, less villainy than real and recent events, so a bit meh there, and, given the Greenmantle riffs, how depressing that history repeats so often.

Oh, and yes, dear Mr Fry, get a bigger stack of books. Lawks. Getting that image scrubbed from the optics before I next watch QI is going to be problematic. Fie, Jude was the only one to remain fully clothed throughout, the tease.

All in all, a fun romp, and it was mean to see it the same week as t'other Sherlock, but that's the way it goes.

I suppose from now on I will once again be suffering from the twin tyrannies of time and distance, no longer having access to source material within a reasonable timeframe, at reasonable expense, as the Copyright Act of 1966 used to quietly allow for. We have the most expensive books and cds and mp3s in the world, a 300% markup in some cases, and we're months and years behind screenings, if at all, especially if you like obscure stuff like me that just isn't released anywhere in the world. Sigh.

And I haven't even begun on how badly the tv stations treat us out here, refusing to screen episodes, dumping them at 3 am, and this isn't the obscure stuff I like I'm talking about, but acknowledged modern classics like the The Sopranos, West Wing and The Wire. Wait and watch them out here? Chance would be a fine thing.

Then there's the US copyrighting everything, including pink and purple and the human genome, making impossible for galleries and artists to share works, libraries to share books, and for researchers who'd actually like to be able to look at things and, horrors, quote them as a reference. Songs I want to hear, books I want to read, all all behind the great US firewall, locked away from me in perpetuity, like one of those old chained libraries. Medicine is for US patients only. Is this fair? Locking up books and art is only a step away from burning it, you know (you fascists), ditto the medicine, only more so. What about all those artists in centuries past, including last century, who learnt by copying or riffing off the masters? It was called being inspired and learning. Not any more. The US does not allow it. How culturally stifling, how intellectually dulling. How horrible for the world, and humanity.

No surprise then that I've returned to old books and the post office, then. Thank you so much for plunging me back into the 19thC. Which wouldn't so bad, if Sherlock wasn't in the 21st.

Vaucluse House

ChantelB's Photo Album - Neil Gaiman at The Factory Theatre 28 December 2011

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Tags: benedict cumberbatch, buffy the vampire slayer, channing tatum, doctor who, jeremy renner, jude law, magazine scans, martin freeman, matthew bomer, merlin, neil gaiman, sherlock, sherlock holmes, stephen fry, supernatural, the avengers, white collar

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