sovay: (Sydney Carton)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-07-13 02:55 am

There's a room where the light won't find you

It is the night before Readercon and I am running a fever. I had a nausea-making headache all day, but I thought it would break when we got the torrential rain that briefly turned our street into a water park and caused the women's toilets at [personal profile] spatch's rehearsal space to overflow. It ebbed a little and I finished my work and then I had to stop looking at my computer and lie down for several hours in a darkened room. I get that on some level my body just wants to exist in a state of perpetual Victorian ill health, but the second floor does not a garret make—especially when we have upstairs neighbors—and I am unconvinced that laudanum would work any better on me than most opiates. Also, I'd really just rather not.

1. I don't know whether to describe this essay on Brian Clemens' The Professionals (1978–83) as a celebration, a critique, or stomp-on-the-brakes rubbernecking, but it's wonderfully written and has convinced me that the show was definitely something, even if not necessarily something I want to see. Okay, maybe a couple of episodes. "Having watched the whole of Sapphire & Steel, every surviving episode of Ace Of Wands and his contribution to the children's supernatural series Shadows, I can say without hesitation that 'Heroes' is by far the least realistic thing that PJ Hammond has ever written."

2. Speaking of sympathy for the fascists: vidding Star Wars' Imperials to "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" might sound like low-hanging fruit, but it's Lorde's cover and the vid is both darkly funny and creepingly immersive. [personal profile] handful_ofdust calls it "a Mirror Universe existence" and I had somehow not quite noticed before that unless the vidder futzed with the light levels, Imperial interiors in the original films all look like something out of a horror movie, Kubrick-sterile and glowing dark as space. The music sometimes follows and sometimes illuminates the images and the whole project basically delights me in the same way as realizing a few years ago that Piett fandom had gone mainstream. ([personal profile] kore, are you the person who directed me to Michael Pennington's deleted scenes?) Rob observes that the line about Mother Nature is especially trenchant in context of the Battle of Endor "when they're fucking defeated by Ewoks and trees."

3. Speaking of getting fucking defeated by nature, Rob has chronicled on Twitter the night the baby spiders decided to join us in the shower.

4. Speaking of things I wish hadn't happened, this article courtesy of [personal profile] rushthatspeaks is an interesting and valuable look at the filming of rape scenes and it is not that I feel bad now for having loved Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo (1970) when I saw it, but I feel a lot stranger about future Jodorowsky and that really angers me.

5. I don't have a good segue here. They Can Talk reminds me a lot of The Far Side. I am especially fond of "Shark Rescue" and "forbidden."

At least I have no programming of my own tomorrow.
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

[personal profile] cyphomandra 2017-07-13 08:56 am (UTC)(link)
I am still working through your links but loved the piece on The Professionals; I've read rather a lot of Professionals slash fics, much of it before actually seeing any of the series, always a good way to ensure cognitive dissonance and the fact that I have to think really hard about which is Bodie and which is Doyle. I think the article is an excellent description of how I felt about what I have seen.

And as a rather bouncy contrast to your Star Wars vid - have you seen the hard life of an Imperial trooper as done by lego characters to Dolly Parton?
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

[personal profile] cyphomandra 2017-07-13 11:36 pm (UTC)(link)
(What is the fandom like, given the source material?)

The heyday was pre Internet and zine-based, but a lot got digitized and it's still active - I know a couple of people still writing in it. Friendly fandom and never had (as far as I know) any of the massive schisms that hit other shows, such as Due South - I think it helps that there's only one major pairing, although there are some die-hard Crowley shippers out there. Lots of long fic, heavy on the angst and hurt-comfort, some plotty, some oddly domestic, a healthy population of varyingly believable AUs (they're circus performers! Bird watchers (not an innuendo)! Doyle (curly haired) is actually an elf!).
lost_spook: (Default)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-07-13 09:11 am (UTC)(link)
1. It sounds fair enough and, yeah, I have seen S1 of The Professionals and definitely wouldn't recommend it to you! But I could see why people would watch it. The credits on David Collings's episode are really quite something (the article quotes them too, I see). THat description of PJ Hammond's ep is quite something though, although I don't remember it at all if it was S1! Presumably it wasn't?

2. That is a good vid! I found it a while back, I can't remember how (someone had been reblogging my old telly pics probably) and, lol, so many British TV actors are working for the Empire.
lost_spook: (s&s - silver)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-07-13 12:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay, so do you have any idea why he's randomly dubbed for five seconds on his way out of the bowling alley?

LOL, that was one of the first things I said when I watched it! "That's not David Collings!!" Nobody else I know who's also watched it noticed or cared, because I suppose they were too busy admiring either Bodie or Doyle, or both. (How can they not? He really does have such a distinctive voice, yes! But there, I don't get excited by Martin Shaw in tight jeans, which is equally incomprehensible to them, I suppose. ;-D)

I assume something went wrong with the sound on location - maybe there was some noise or problems spotted afterwards or something - and David Collings wasn't available during the post-production period. (I wondered if it was Martin Shaw, as it sounded a little like him to me. Pros fandom is in depth enough that somebody might know if you can find some online episode guides of the sort that have trivia, but I should imagine it would be something like that.)

Oh, well, if it was in the first season, I certainly don't remember anything being even a fraction as weird as S&S so that article is thoroughly unreliable. I watched the entire first series and all I can say is that some episodes were certainly better than the David Collings one, aside from not having Mr Collings, and I came away liking Gordon Jackson, but it was Not For Me. Too much overt 70s sexism and all the women getting rapidly murdered.

(You asked about Professionals fandom: it seems to be a very likeable one with lots of good people in it, as far as I can tell. Lots of slash but also lots of long, plotty case fic. Or at least, going by the Pros fans on my flist.)
Edited 2017-07-13 12:21 (UTC)
lost_spook: (s&s - silver)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-07-13 08:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay, cool. Based on this one episode, I couldn't figure out what direction the fic was likely to go in, although banter seemed likely.

I don't think it was a particularly typical episode, to be fair to the Pros. But I was also, as you were, much amused and entertained by David Collings's drenched bomb defusing, and I have not seen him in casual wear in just about anything else. (Hmm, except maybe his Holy City appearance last year, actually, but that was all modern.)

I noped out on the murdering of females when they murdered Pamela Salem. There are limits.
lost_spook: (s&s - silver)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-07-14 09:21 am (UTC)(link)
I haven't even seen the fabled Victorian hyenas and it already feels weirdly apropos for David Collings to show up as a guest star

Nobody's seen the fabled hyenas; the budget didn't run to that.
spatch: (Default)

Bite your head off, man

[personal profile] spatch 2017-07-13 10:58 am (UTC)(link)
I should probably mention that the Ewoks were, by design, supposed to be absolutely savage and bloodthirsty creatures who wouldn't think twice about biting off an outsider's head and jabbing spears down the throat for good measure. Lucas' plan for Return of the Jedi had always involved a primitive tribe as the ones to finally take down the super-duper technophiliac Empire; the original plan was for the Wookiees to do it but someone pointed out that um hello, Chewbacca wasn't exactly primitive (and neither were the Wookiees seen in the Christmas Special, whatever dubious state of canon that was in) so George just switched the syllables around and removed several feet of height and hey presto you got some Ewoks.

Presumably along the way (and I'm doin this without a ton of research because it's late and I'm feelin spunky) somebody else pointed out "Hey, we could totally sell a ton of cute, cuddly Ewok toys" so their savagery got toned down and the cuteness brought out to the fore. Suddenly these primitive, nasty little critters became bright-eyed, inquisitive little jabberers who could be befriended by a kind soul with extra ration treats and awed into worshipful complacency by a magical floating C-3PO, The Droid Who Would Be King. Sure, they're still teddy bears with fangs and that one Ewok at the end of Return of the Jedi is shown with his custom Stormtrooper helmet drumset, possibly with heads still in, but boy did they get tamed something rotten.

The Ewoks' cuteness and love for all creatures beautiful and kind was later brought out even more in the kid-friendly Ewok Adventure TV films. Moreover--and this is where it gets real insult-to-injurylike--Star Wars canon later has it that after the Battle of Endor Ewoks volunteered to go offworld as, so help me Wookieepedia, "therapy Ewoks", to help Rebel veterans deal with the horrors of war. THAT'S RIGHT, CHARLIE, GO HUG AN EWOK AND CURE YOUR PTSD. YUB NUB!

There was one Star Wars franchise what got Ewoks right and that was, fantastically enough, the Star Wars: Galaxies MMO. Planets in the game came in varying degrees of difficulty and skill/equipment requirements, and the forest moon of Endor was one of the toughest. These Ewoks would absolutely fuck your shit up without so much as a cute chirrup. A high-level group of players who knew what they were doing could handle one, maybe two at a time, but it took a concerted effort and a lot of downtime in between skirmishes healing back up. During the downtime, of course, your group was completely vulnerable to an Ewok ambush, and these little bastards came in packs. (They may have been able to summon help as well. Memory's a little hazy on that one.)

The memories I do have are fond ones of sitting at the Endor shuttleport waiting for a ride off-world and watching entire parties of highly-equipped and highly-skilled players come fleeing out of the forest with three or four tiny bouncing Ewoks in tow. The shuttleports were minimally staffed by Empire or Rebel-allied NPC guards who were more concerned about the player-vs-player faction warfare than they were protecting your sorry ass from a bunch of fanged teddy bears, so when an Ewok train came a-running, everybody at the shuttleport would freak out and scatter. Hiding wouldn't help; a slaughter was all but guaranteed. After the Ewoks finished laying waste to every last player in the vicinity they would go bouncing happily back into the forest, at which point the dead players would hit the "activate clone" button, tentatively venture out from the nearby cloning facility, and begin anew the wait for their ride off the hellgreen forest rock. Probably back to a safer planet like Tatooine. As far as I'm concerned SW:G was the high water mark of the MMORPG era, and that is one of the reasons why.
Edited 2017-07-13 10:59 (UTC)
spatch: (Default)

Re: Bite your head off, man

[personal profile] spatch 2017-07-13 11:20 am (UTC)(link)
(One of the other reasons was that the game's system of crafting, player housing, and interdependence afforded me the opportunity to build a fireworks stand on the most direct route to the Sarlaac Pit from Mos Eisley and rake in that sweet, sweet tourist cash. We also sold plush Bantha dolls and shirts which read "TATOOINE IS FOR LOVERS" and "I WAS DIGESTED SLOWLY OVER A THOUSAND YEARS, LEARNING A NEW DEFINITION OF PAIN AND SUFFERING, AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT")

Pictured here the glorious fez-wearing Ackmena, SW:G Entrepreneur of the Year, with her trusty pet bantha Snuffleupagus
alexxkay: (Default)

Re: Bite your head off, man

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-07-13 01:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks. I knew some of this, but am pleased to learn more. The SW:G anecdote is great.

Also, I am always pleased to see evidence (YUB NUB!) of someone else who remembers the existence of the Ewok songs (removed by Lucas well before he became famous for his revisionism). Not that it was a GOOD song, but it has personal relevance for me. For reasons that I suspect made no sense even at the time, I once acquired a disco remix of that song...
kore: (Default)

Re: Bite your head off, man

[personal profile] kore 2017-07-14 12:59 am (UTC)(link)


Meco also did the Star Wars Xmas Album:
alexxkay: (Default)

Re: Bite your head off, man

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-07-14 12:54 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe? It's been literally decades since I listened to it, and I no longer own a turntable I could check it on.
muccamukk: Bodie sneaking into a house, gun in hand; Doyle leans against the wall behind him, unconcerned. Text: Team Work (Pros: Team Work)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-07-13 03:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I was on the edges of Pros fandom for a while. Genuinely fun bunch.

Though having seen some of the series first, I had hard time finding fic where the characters still had any hard edges. (Despite the well-known fan war with Starsky & Hutch, the characterisation in fic is pretty similar, except S&H is even MOAR fluffy, so Pros fanon lands at about S&H canon for fluff levels.) It's the only fandom I've been in where terrible people are simultaneously made fluffy AND have popular fanon that one of them is a serial rapist.

In my head, Ewoks are terrifying murderfloofs.

ETA: My main Martin Shaw association is actually his excellent reading on the audiobook of The Silmarillion.
Edited 2017-07-13 15:59 (UTC)
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-07-13 08:02 pm (UTC)(link)
NO, but I wish I were!

....omg, hearing Darth Vader speak as not-James Earl Jones is very weird.
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-07-13 08:15 pm (UTC)(link)
And there Pennington is, giving his all. What a love. I wish I could seduce him then. Hell, I'd be up for seducing him now.

....oh, Prowse trained Cary Elwes, that's where I remembered him from.
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-07-13 08:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh man, he was in the epic Wars of the Roses by the English Shakespeare Company, and he was Richard II and [profile] angevin2 got me into that because she loves Richard II, and he was a great Hal as well. The ESC production used to be on youtube, but it got taken down. He's also written some great books -- guides to Hamlet and 12th Night and other plays, a book on his one-man show on Chekhov, another on his one-man Shakespeare show, and he just wrote a book on how he did Lear in Brooklyn. He's great.

From Sweet William
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-07-13 08:49 pm (UTC)(link)
He's a wonderful writer. His book on Chekhov is really really something.
thawrecka: (Default)

[personal profile] thawrecka 2017-07-13 08:11 pm (UTC)(link)
4 - That article was interesting, if a little depressing. I must confess I go out of my way to avoid fiction with rape scenes, if I can, because I find the threat of rape so omnipresent in our culture that it's thoroughly exhausting. I couldn't even get through more than half an hour of A Clockwork Orange because of the way it was filmed, so that every assault was supposed to be titillating and the entire visual universe of the film treated women like objects; it just made me feel like I was going to throw up.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

[personal profile] davidgillon 2017-07-13 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)
OMG, spidergeddon!

I sort of grew up with The Professionals, that article provoked quite a few memories, and at least as many winces. The idea of a unit that mixed criminal investigation and counter-intelligence is quite a good one in terms of being able to tell different types of stories from week to week, it's roughly what the NCIS franchise does now. In fact NCIS:LA is arguably very close to The Professionals in terms of setup, though with bigger budgets and better writers.
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-07-14 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Really enjoyed They Can Talk! Your two favorites are real winners; I also liked the cat who wanted to see if wine glasses bounce.

Hope the fever broke overnight and today's Readercon events go well.