sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-06-12 03:01 am

Time jumps like some magic rebound

I am not sleeping at all. I can't think. I am very tired of it.

1. I was in the middle of a work crunch last week when I read that Helen Dunmore had died. Once again, I hadn't even known she had cancer. I'm not even sure I knew she was a poet as well as a novelist. (The poem quoted at the end of the obituary is excellent.) I had discovered her a few years ago with The Greatcoat (2012), a breathtaking ghost story set in the echoes of World War II; she followed it with the post-WWI The Lie (2014), a messier, equally haunting novel about a young veteran whose shell-shocked eidetic memory matches the way time seems to have crazed and jumbled in the wake of the war, like the mud-caked apparition he keeps seeing of his oldest friend and first love and commanding officer who died on the Western Front. "Things ought to stop once they're finished, but this won't stop. They say the war's over, but they're wrong. It went too deep for that. It opened up a crack in time, a crater maybe. Once you fall into it you can't get out again." I was reminded of Nick Murphy and Stephen Volk's The Awakening (2011). I am not at all surprised to see from her bibliography that one of her early novels was titled Talking to the Dead (1996). I had just been coveting the paperback of what I thought was her latest novel, Exposure (2016); it didn't look supernatural, but it might surprise me. She has one last novel and one last poetry collection. I'm sure I'll track them down. I just didn't want a last anything from her for a long time to come.

2. In the wake of Delta and Bank of America pulling their sponsorship from Shakespeare in the Park's Trump-inflected Julius Caesar, I hope everyone remembers that five years ago the Acting Company staged an Obama-inflected Julius Caesar which nobody seems to have boycotted for proxy-assassinating the President of the United States and the lesson here—aside from double standards as usual—is the multivalence of the play, which is why people keep performing and reperforming it against all kinds of different political backdrops and I trust it will outlast most of them, especially the current administration.

3. How did it take me until tonight to learn that the Ronald Reagan impression on the 12" mix of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Two Tribes" was performed by Chris Barrie? (The civil defense broadcast is Patrick Allen doing an impression of himself.) He also imitates Mike Read as well as Reagan on the 12" mix of "The Power of Love," but that was less weird for me. It wasn't already on my iTunes.
lost_spook: (s&s - silver)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-06-12 08:26 am (UTC)(link)
1. Ah, I'm sad to hear that. I'm now not entirely sure whether I really read any of her books - I think so, but one of her children's titles, when I was working. (I read a lot for work/book selection, and some of them have blurred, and the ones I can think of hers I know - the Ingo books - don't stand out, but something evidently did, even if I don't know what it was.)

2. *side-eyes people* (Also, yay, JC! I kind of hesitate to mention that at the risk of sounding worryingly obsessive, but, er, you do know that the BBC 1979 Julius Caesar has David Collings as Cassius, right? (It is simultaneously both awesome and hilarious. My favourite bit is where the guy who dies on top of Cassius at the end, falls dead on him the wrong way round and Richard Pasco has to stand there and continue to give the speech as if he's fallen the right way round. I expect they were threatening to switch off the lights & there was no time for a retake.)

3. I didn't know that, but then he would have been doing Spitting Image at the time, so he would have been a fairly logical choice. (Also, yay, you like Red Dwarf? How did we avoid each other this long??)

And, btw, as I may forget otherwise, I was watching a Thriller episode yesterday and thinking it was v S&S-ish and then realised, no, literally, it looked just like the A1 set. And then realised that while Thriller had some ITC involvement, it was made by ATV who made S&S only a few years later, so it probably was part of the same set. (No wonder time shenanigans happen - what do you expect if you re-use part of a house that's been occupied by a black magician who's lived for 150 years by taking life from other people? Steel would have been even more frowny if he'd known.)
Edited (clarity!) 2017-06-12 08:28 (UTC)
lost_spook: (b7 - dayna)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-06-12 05:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Red Dwarf (along with Blackadder) was one of my formative college experiences.

Heh, RD was part of my uni experience too! I had, once before, put on RD (somewhere in S2) and decided, in some disappointment, that it was too silly to watch, and then at uni a friend made me watch Back to Reality followed by most of S6 in one night, and then - whenever we could rent out a video player and ealier eps on VHS - she educated me on the rest of it. Maybe it's an obligatory part of student life?

The first half of SVII was a sensible place to stop, although I am happy to report that X and XI have actually been pretty good, especially X, which did some nice character stuff. (XI gets the odd downmark simply for not really following up on that development.)

I was distressingly fond of Rimmer by the end of the first series.

This also seems to be pretty obligatory, I feel. :-)

I believe it was the second piece of television I really cared about as a sentient person, the first being Babylon 5. So, yes. I like Red Dwarf.

Okay, I hate to keep throwing TV shows at you (especially v old ones) but someone else I think mentioned Blake's 7. If you love JC, B5 and Red Dwarf as well as S&S and don't mind watching old stuff, you should definitely add it to the list. It's part of the DNA of B5 - JMS has always been very open about it being one of the inspirations for it (and indeed, even quoted it in the show on a couple of occasions, including Avon's "I'm not expendable, I'm not stupid, and I'm not going" line. I watched them the other way round - indeed, watched it because all my fellow B7 fans told me to - and was delighted when that happened. I do wonder if he also saw S&S at the same time, but the particular things that made me wonder are A6-related, so I'll say no more as yet.)

Anyway, B7 is an odd thing, it really is. It's always hard to rec. It's sort of a mash-up of 1984, Robin Hood (in Space), and Shakespearean tragedy with the worst SFX you've ever seen and the most fabulously OTT costumes. It's bleak, grim, and glam-rock all at the same time. Nobody knows who the seven are (are there seven?) and it doesn't always even have Blake, either. (And S4 feels like it's only a heartbeat away from Red Dwarf somehow. Black humour, uppity AI, and grey spaceships, maybe, I don't know?) It's also like some twisted mirror-verse of ST's Federation, and I don't think that was entirely accidental, given the Federation logo in the show! (It's ST's turned on its side.) But, yes, going by that list of things you like, it'd be worth a shot. S1 is very slow, even for old telly, but it's much easier once you reach S2. If you can find it, of course, because copyright issues with the Terry Nation Estate have prevented a R1 release, but there's usually a selection up on YT and DailyMotion at any given time. If you don't know much about it, don't Google it unless you're keen on major spoilers. (The internet will spoil you for B7 everywhere and anywhere. I made a non-spoilery guide a long time ago for that very reason.)

I also don't know if it would have made a difference that until April I was primarily on LJ.

Heh, snap again! ;-) And, yeah, those fandoms aren't really ones I know, or am in, so we would have silently passed each other like ships in the night.
lost_spook: (b7 - dayna)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-06-13 08:50 am (UTC)(link)
In my case, it was just me and my friend binge-watching things in the once-or-twice a term we could rent out a video player, mainly in the first year, really. She made me watch lots of Red Dwarf and Star Trek (the ST never quite took until much later when a different friend made me watch Voyager instead) and I made her watch my DW videos, which she didn't entirely appreciate, lol; hence we wound up mostly watching RD when we had the chance as we both liked that. Our big communal thing was the X-Files, as it aired. Buffy wasn't quite on the radar yet. (Though I enjoyed it when I eventually caught up with it, and Angel too.)

Blake's 7 has been on my list since college! I actually discovered it through Tanith Lee.

I love that Tanith Lee wrote for it! Some people don't like her eps, but I love them, their weirdness and the fact that the B7 universe is wide enough to encompass that.

And, aw, well, I hope the stars align to make it possible one day! It's one of those things that's been influential enough to make it worth it, even if it doesn't live up to expectations. (And it is at least only 4x13 eps in total.)

when I had a couch to lie on, a TV to stare at, and the physical stamina of a damp Kleenex.

Perfectly understandable. *nods* This is kind of me the last few years, hence my disappearance down the old telly rabbit hole. It's just that if I want to talk about all but the most well-known stuff, I have to do a tiresome amount of evangelism first! (Tiresome for both me and other people, especially the other people.) Mostly I just babble wildly and my flist are very kind and humour me. Some even attempt to watch things and either like it too or come away pale and shaking and never trust me again. ;-)

It's been obvious since I read anything about the series that Vila is probably also carrying a placard with my name on it.

If Vila is carrying a placard with your name on it, you had better worry. He's bound to be planning some scam! (And, ha, probably. <3)

For the record, the age of a show or a movie is never going to be a dealbreaker for me. Content which may depend on the era in which it was made, absolutely:

Yay! And ulp in equal measure. Voyages into the past do throw up plenty of attitudes and things that make your hair stand on end! Even the best of things sometimes, in various ways, sadly. (B7 is at least thankfully pretty great on that front - I showed two episodes to my friend the other year and she was highly impressed that they had two women on the flight deck in the 70s, and then even more so when Dayna *points to icon* was in the other ep. And she didn't even see Servalan! - but it has three episodes by Ben Steed, that are so misogynistic nobody knows how they got there. The only debate in B7 fandom on them is whether or not they were so obviously misogynistic they were meant as a parody. (They are Harvest of Kairos, Moloch and Power in case you ever do get around to watching B7, because it's definitely better to be warned first. It's a fandom bonding experience that we all feel better for having gone through or something, though, especially the MANLY MALE that is Jarvik.))

(Rant about the arthouse audience that MST3K'd their way through a 35 mm screening of The Birds (1963) goes here.

Oh no!! (The thought of it is too distressing! I can't even look.) And I know - it's fair enough if people don't want to watch older things or can't get into it. Life's short and unless it's for study, why on earth should they bother? But if you do, then take it on its own terms! *nods* (I get very annoyed about people who are all, "It's so fake, it's so bad, it's unwatchable!" about old British TV. Yes, it's very theatrical and often slow, but once you get into the style, it can sometimes be amazing, and frequently much more complex than a lot of more modern stuff. Also, it's a kind of time travel and that's a value in itself, and we're the first generation that has ever had quite such free access to the past in this way - it's been possible for a while, but it's the internet and DVDs that have made it so much more so.

I read a handful belonging to friends (and will periodically check in on yours if you don't mind), but do not maintain one myself.

My tumblr is mainly where I put screencaps and gifs from old telly and film, so you're more than welcome. Anyone is more than welcome!
lost_spook: (b7 - dayna)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-06-14 07:39 am (UTC)(link)
May I take it you've read Lee's novel Kill the Dead (1980), then?

Not yet. I'd only heard about it sometime after watching B7 (which was, er, around 2008-9, I think) and I haven't been able to read properly since 2010 - this year is the first time it's more tentatively normalising. It's been v frustrating. (Hence me and old TV and David Collings; back in 2011, I really couldn't do anything else and it was truly awful. I desperately re-read the Chalet School series slowly, hoping reading would come back in the end and - s l o w l y - it has. I trust. It's still all a bit tentative, as I said.) I'd like to read it, though, when I have brain!

For whatever it's worth, I don't generally find it tiresome to read people enthusing about things they love.

Heh, indeed. I joke, but, yes, it's one of the joys of Fandom/journalling - to hear people going on about the things they love, even if they don't sound like your kind of thing. And, of course, sometimes they are, which is even better. (Although when I'm talking about cardboard telly, I do wonder...)

Is this a situation where word of God would help or is God either dead or been hiding from this question for years?

Oh, no, wherever Ben Steed is, he needs to stay there! 0_o The parody people are few in number and merely faintly optimistic. We all know what the truth is. My friend Liadt watched his Crown Court episodes, and they're pretty much as bad. One of the terrifying things is that IMBD claims he also wrote a children's series. Luckily, I haven't ever found anyone who's watched it. It's just that B7 is comparatively progressive for its era, so THAT in the middle of it is just the most unbelievable thing. But, anyway, if you watch B7 you'll have the joys of analysing Mr Steed's psyche to come for yourself. It defies description. I've watched a lot of British 60s and 70s TV, and there has been plenty of sexism of different kinds here and there, but nothing on Ben Steed levels but Ben Steed. His episodes are so bad you have to keep watching them because you can't believe they really were that bad. But, yep, THEY WERE. Every time.

As I said, it's a fun fandom bonding experience with quotable lines and competitions as to which BS ep is actually the worst. (A subject of actually quite fierce debate, unlike the faint 'maybe it's a parody' one, which really only applies to Harvest of Kairos, which does sort of answer that one in itself. Once may be a parody, three times... :lol:)

Sorry, talking of going on about things (and of all the things to go on about)! But, yeah. Ben Steed. He was a thing. And I hope he's seen somebody about his issues since and is a now a better person and maybe just writes calming poems about gardens or something, if he isn't already dead and they just buried him quietly somewhere.

One of the most interesting books of film criticism I have ever read was Boyd McDonald's Cruising the Movies: A Sexual Guide to Oldies on TV (1985/2015) because it was more like internet fandom than any criticism

Oh, that does sound interesting and unusual! Most film critics like to be dispassionate, except we all know they're not really, because human beings. :-)
lost_spook: (cat)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-06-13 08:50 am (UTC)(link)
Sorry, I keep meaning to say, I'm sorry to hear about the insomnia. That's rotten.
moon_custafer: (Default)

[personal profile] moon_custafer 2017-06-12 09:28 pm (UTC)(link)
I've only seen a few episodes of B7, but they included the one with Colin Baker as a space pirate.
moon_custafer: (Default)

[personal profile] moon_custafer 2017-06-12 11:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Flamboyant and leather-clad.
choco_frosh: (Default)

[personal profile] choco_frosh 2017-06-12 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Have Dan and I ever done the Wilma Flintstones scene in front of you?
ashlyme: (Default)

[personal profile] ashlyme 2017-06-12 01:08 pm (UTC)(link)
1. Goddamnit! I'll have to read something by her. Either "The Greatcoat" or "The Lie" sound good.

3. Rimmer/Reagan - I hadn't known that until you told us. Grief!
choco_frosh: (Default)

[personal profile] choco_frosh 2017-06-12 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I am not sleeping at all. I can't think. I am very tired of it.

I am so sorry. I hope that when the weather breaks, if not sooner, things will get better.
gwynnega: (Basil Rathbone)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2017-06-12 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I clicked through to Chris Barrie's Wikipedia entry and started to laugh when I read that one of his roles was "Trevor, the director of the mock panel show 'Ooer, Sounds A Bit Rude' in episode two of Filthy, Rich & Catflap." (I vaguely remember that episode!)

I've never watched Red Dwarf, but I watched a ton of Spitting Image.
gwynnega: (Leslie Howard mswyrr)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2017-06-12 10:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I remember that mugging host! And I miss Rik Mayall.
dhampyresa: (Default)

[personal profile] dhampyresa 2017-06-12 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
2. Brutus remains an honourable man.
dhampyresa: (Default)

[personal profile] dhampyresa 2017-06-13 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Then you should stop lending your ears to anyone who asks!
landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-06-13 12:18 am (UTC)(link)
So Shakespeare in the Park is suggesting that a hypothetical Trump assassin would be haunted by the ghost of Trump? That sounds like a serious deterrent... I'd take Banquo's ghost instead any day.
landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-06-13 03:16 am (UTC)(link)
At least that way you get blank verse!

Even better, Banquo is silent :-)

I enjoyed, in their different ways, both of these articles.

I'd seen the humor article, but the serious opinion piece had some good lines too :-)

landofnowhere: (Default)

[personal profile] landofnowhere 2017-06-13 02:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I was wondering what the 3am ghost tweet version of "I will see you at Phillipi, then" would be. Not sure what Banquo would tweet, though. ("Need independent prosecutor to investigate Duncan murder?")
asakiyume: (aquaman is sad)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-06-13 03:55 am (UTC)(link)
I'm exhausted by ideological wars penetrating everything, but that double standard is infuriating.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-13 09:42 am (UTC)(link)
Inserting Political Figure Here in Julius Caesar isn't even ideological wars, to me. It's more on the level of trite directorial cliché. If nothing else, getting worked up about this is silly because the people who did it will be loving this.

If creative arts/theatre people do something you find offensive, the best revenge is usually to ignore them completely.
asakiyume: (aquaman is sad)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-06-13 12:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree! I guess I just have the impression that there are forces at work wanting to lock up everything cultural on either one side of a boundary line or another. Julius Ceasar is actually one of the few things all political axes can be sharpened on since yeah: you can insert any authority figure of any stripe in the title position. It's the cascading stupid generalities about identity ("all people here are rednecks/drug dealers/anti-abortion/teen moms") and the actually wrong assumption that people in those various categories are all going to have an identical ticket of political views, and furthermore all people in those categories also like or hate [food item, music genre, recent film], and last of all, by amazing bad logic, if you, too, like food item/music genre/recent film, you must have the same ticket of political views.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-13 03:30 pm (UTC)(link)

Oh, there are, but the nice thing about cultural creativity and art in general is that they can't do that even if they want to, they'll just be wrong.

At various points various political movements have tried to direct art consciously or claim a certain kind of art as theirs, and all that will ever give you is obviously bad art.

People making those assumptions just ends up being a kind of warning label for I Have Not Thought This Through.

asakiyume: (definitely definitely)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-06-13 05:07 pm (UTC)(link)
True! I wish I didn't have the sense that many people haven't thought it through.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-14 06:52 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, protest art is a different and wonderful thing; art funded by politically-motivated organisations is also very different.

However (to go to the most blatantly extreme examples), both the Nazis and the Soviets tried to make Approved Art a thing; it did not work.

In many ways, I think the distinction is this: politically-motivated protest art can produce some of the best art in the world.

Politically directed orthodoxy art is, generally, terrible.

If you try to claim an existing genre of art for your political purposes, it has one of two likely futures:

1) it backfires, because all the good artists who don't agree with your political spin back away, while that art is taken over by people who agree with you but are bad at art

2) it backfires, because the artists rebel, and turn that art against you

For examples of 1, see Soviet Realism, and the terrible art it produced versus the success of subversive art. (While the CIA funded abstract art because the Cold War was weird. Deeply weird.)

For examples of 2, see the really badly-thought-out attempts to appropriate the works of, say, Banksy, or some musicians.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-14 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
oh and if you want to go back further in history you can look at things like the art around the Sistine Chapel and just how much of it basically reads the asshole Popes for filth
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-14 06:57 am (UTC)(link)
They have true gifts for the unforced error.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-13 05:27 am (UTC)(link)
I have chronically acute insomnia issues. I cannot recommend melatonin pills highly enough.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-13 09:39 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, sorry. I tend to mention it because a surprising number of people have only ever been exposed to those awful drugs that break your brain and have you driving all night in your sleep and stuff.

I can understand being sick of it. Melatonin usually works for me - I very, very rarely have nights when I can't sleep at all now - but before we found out about it (it's prescription-only and somewhat rare here) mine got pretty awful. I don't really remember the times when I didn't sleep for a few days very well but my housemates do and it was pretty traumatic even for them.

I assume you'll have tried anything else I'll have heard of, so all I can say is you have my utmost sympathy and I hope it gets better soon.

(I mean, I'm sure it will, but you'll sleep eventually! It won't be forever! doesn't help even slightly when I'm telling myself that if I can't sleep and just the thought of saying that to someone else without this level of caveat makes me want to punch myself.)
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2017-06-14 06:56 am (UTC)(link)
I have idiosyncratic reactions even to medications that aren't supposed to cause them, so I have never even tried things like Ambien or Lunesta: it always felt like a really terrible idea.

So do I. I cannot enthusiastically enough support your conviction regarding terribleness of ideas.

I think it was what's known elsewhere as Ambien that gave me hallucinations and also had me doing things like changing my sheets with a bad shoulder injury and not remembering doing so the next day - I just found new sheets on my bed and the previous ones piled by the door.

I also once made the mistake of taking Sudafed while also being on SSRI antidepressants. That gave me auditory hallucinations - I don't recommend that either.