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Moonbases and jetpacks

I have decided to travel back to the 1980s. Yes, time travel. It's 2009, surely it should be possible to do that now.

In the super modern world of 2009, we have mobile phones on which irritating little tits can play terrible tinny music loudly on my train so where the hell is my jet pack? And my food capsules and my 3-D hologlasses which make me feel like I am tripping up the yellow brick road when I am in fact dodging pools of sick, drunks and crackheads in King's Cross? Where are they?
(Love the location of my new workplace. Post-industrial hellmouth is a great 'look', particularly at 10pm.)

I want time travel. I won't disturb the fabric of the causal nexus, I promise. No butterflies will be harmed in the making of this adventure. I won't even go and warn myself about the leopardskin pants or the first year of sixth form, no matter how tempting it might be. I just want to go back for a few weeks.

Since we're living in the pseudo-80s at the moment, I'd rather visit the real thing. Loud, flashy and shallow. Great music. Completely ridiculous hair. Irony hadn't been overused to such an extent that one desired to beat with a saucepan the next person who 'ironically' appreciated Love Thy Neighbour (I mean, yes, you wanted to beat anyone who appreciated LTN with a saucepan, but it wasn't because of irony). Politicians you could properly *loathe* in the knowledge that they weren't all like that, just the ones in power. These days, seems like they are all like that.

Back then there was economic misery too, and articles about cooking dead pigeons you found on the side of the road to save money and mending your shoes with sticky tape. Well, I exaggerate, but only slightly. And people from the south shook their money at people from the north at football matches, and Thatcher was doctrinaire, monstrous and magnetic, and I was dressed from jumble sales because my dad was unemployed for two years, which is not fun as a teenager. But it didn't matter because there were The Smiths and the cliffs at Flamborough; the Romantic poets and Spooky Wood; Edge of Darkness and the Who Dares Wins pandas -- and soon there were going to be jetpacks and moonbases.

* * *
Resolution #1: to read more this year
I've been rereading V For Vendetta as part of the 80s kick. One of the things I've been thinking of doing this year is rereading things I loved in the past and trying to work out why they worked for me, and more, *how* they work. If any of you know of any writing/review/meta of V For Vendetta I'd really appreciate a link. Or just your opinion of its strengths and weaknesses would be nice.

* * *
Resolution #2: Stop. swearing.

One of this year's resolutions is to swear less. M and I have decided that we are adopting Little Old Lady Swearing as our tactic of choice. Somehow "Have you lost your blinking mind, you motherflipping twit" is not so satisfying but I did promise...*
*Except in the car, where I am allowed to shout "****yb*****cks [1], you ****ing ****-faced ****head, did your ****ing indicator break, you giant ****? Where did you learn to drive, the Blindfold School of Motoring [2]?" as much as I like, as long as no one else is there.

[1] Best. Swearword. Ever. Must not be said in front of other people. ****y****ingb*****ks is even better but beyond the pale.
[2] I know. I am so, so ashamed.

* * *
Resolution #3: To write more this year. If that means an LJ post about telly, so be it
I didn't watch the telly much this Christmas, and of the things I watched I loved best Blackadder Rides Again, though this might be because I wish it was the 80s, rather than this rubbish pseudo-80s we've got going on at the moment.

What I liked best was that they were so honest about how difficult a process it had been to make the programme. It sounds like everyone working on it had about five opinions, and given that several of those actors/writers are the cleverest people in most rooms they walk into, it can't have been easy trying to get them to keep their noses out. I miss the glorious silliness of Blackadder, its determined goosing of the English language, its ridiculous plots and immense quotability.

I suspect Miranda Richardson's been at the botox. She remains ungodly beautiful but now her eyebrows don't move. And what the hell was Stephen Fry doing in Africa and WTF with the thing with his feet and the masseuse? WTF? I have rummaged through my box of many words and acronyms and the only ones that fit are "WTF were you thinking, Stephen?"

I am still weirdly attracted to Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder II. My favourite editorial response ever was in Smash Hits, when they had Black Type. Anyone remember Black Type? Just me? Okay then.

So anyway, some poor soul wrote in "My friend thinks Blackadder is well gorgeous" and Black Type's response was: "They're called glasses". Which is very funny when you're 12 and reading it for the first time. It was as funny as the All About Eve review in the NME by Barbara Ellen which made me weep silent tears of laughter in the John Rylands Library for a full half an hour. I think my friends knew I probably wasn't studying The Federalist Papers.
* * *
Resolution #4: No passive, unthinking consumption. That goes for TV, food and music
Two of the things I most wanted to watch this festive season were The Royle Family and Gavin & Stacey. I loved one and thought the other was total bobbins. Had The Royle Family been written by anyone other Caroline Aherne, would all the critics have scurried to praise it? Had it been written by someone like, say, Paul Mayhew-Archer, wouldn't everyone have been shocked and outraged and saying that it portrayed the working classes as stupid and feckless and ignorant and this was class war of the worst kind, yadda yadda yadda?

The jokes that worked were lazier retreads of ones that had worked before, or half-arsed lines that Ricky Tomlinson or Sue Johnston turned beautifully. The stuff with David Senior was a mass of tics and stunts, overplayed by Tom Courtenay, and there were numerous lines that wouldn't have made it into the first few series of The Royle Family in a month of Sundays. The reason that show worked in the first place was because it was beautifully observed and played with great naturalism. It was like sitting down in the front room at my gran's and listening to my mum's cousin Susan bemoaning her fate, and my aunties talk about [whoever] who is "no better than she should be" (a terrible slur) and who in the family was doing what scandalous thing and who had eaten all the pies. The Tv would be on, and there would be a tin of biscuits on the table and maybe the odd game of cards played for buttons, and all the jokes were funny because they were inside jokes.

At its best, The Royle Family let you in on its inside jokes -- and they were told fondly.

I am not sure who the joke was on this Christmas. Possibly the BBC, for paying Caroline Ahearne, Craig Cash, Henry Normal and some bloke I've never heard of to sully the memory of a great sitcom.

Gavin and Stacey was thirty-five minutes of decent material stretched into an hour and the main fight was too forced, but it stayed just on the right side of broad and ridiculous. However, inside the sad jokes about Mint Baileys, cooking turkeys and Do They Know It's Christmas, was a sad and intricate subplot about Smithy, Nessa and Neil, beautifully played. I wish they'd stopped after series two, but since they didn't, it wasn't too bad a way to carry on.

* * *
Resolution #5: to find out more about my family
Much to my surprise, my dad has been doing some geneaological research. Or rather -- typically for my dad -- he has found a distant relative who did the research and sweethearted a copy out of him. I now know my relatives back to the seventeenth century. 1678 is where the trail begins, in parish records.

I didn't discover any lost lords or privateers or intriguing mysteries. They were bare-bones-of-the-arse-poor fishing stock, scrabbling to live on the few patches of flat land on an island that looks out over the swell and howl of the Atlantic Ocean.

They only started to spread from their home village in the early twentieth century as a result of too many brothers and too little work. These are the names repeated through that history: Severin, Cornelius, Julius, Hans, Martin, Jenny, Borghild, Anne. And this is where I come from:
It doesn't even have a wikipedia entry, which I think is how we define the boonies these days. At least I come by my love of the sea honestly.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
When the movie version of V for Vendetta came out, I did a writeup on both it and the comic. I also had mixed feelings on the movie, but liked it more than most comics-based ones (which isn't saying much).

I only wish I could make myself swear less. I try. Also, I want flying cars, but I always think of that one Buffy story by Yahtzee that's set hundreds of years in the future when they wake her up to the be slayer again, and she asks Angel where the flying cars are and he says they came and went centuries ago for obvious reasons -- think about how awful people are at driving in just two dimensions.

Edited at 2009-01-02 01:57 am (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
Thanks. I enjoyed that review. You're right about Dascombe et al being interchangeable, but I liked Delia and the good cop, Finch. You made me want to drag out my copy of the film now (no terrible thing)

Phoenix Burning, yes? Such a good read.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
And now in my turn I want to read the comic.

The first Buffy story I'd ever read! And at that point, I'd only ever seen "The Gift."
Jan. 2nd, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
I haven't read fic in years, and maybe have read one Buffy fic, but I suddenly have a great and powerful urge to read that.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 08:39 am (UTC)
It's so great, and now I want to reread it too. Also super-long, which is something you rarely see these days, at least in my fandoms.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's a great story. I remember when it was being posted (during the hiatus after "The Gift"), and every post got announced on Buffistas, and people flailed over it.

I love fandom and the big fat long stories that suck you and keep you thinking about them.
Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
I know. It's the one thing that's bad about LJ. It does encourage creative endeavour but it massively privileges that which comes in bite-size chunks.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
I'm glad that you put a qualifier on swearing in the car because, no kidding, I learn new words AND laugh my head off when I'm in a car with you driving. *g*

Those are all good resolutions. I think I'll just copy yours for my own (except I already have the swearing one covered). Next year I resolve to make my own resolutions.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
I like your circular logic, yes *g*
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Wow, that's the most remote place EVER. Holy cow. And yet it's kind of awesome, too. Have you been there?

I fully support your resolutions 3 & 4, both for my own selfish reasons (K is writing yay!) and because they're just good. Unthinking consumption is, I suspect, the demon of our age. "Mindfulness" sounds like a goofy Marin-County kind of thing, associated with crystals and auras, but really, it's what we need.

May 2009 be an awesome year for you.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
All the best for 2009 to you too.

I've been to within a 100 miles of the place, where my dad grew up, which is on the other side of the archipelago, but never to there. I'd only heard of it once or twice before that -- my great grandfather was the last one to live there, but all the antecedents before that are from this tiny, tiny place. Dad has a picture of their house, which looks like something from the American dustbowl, only it's *north of Iceland*. The damned thing blew away in the 1930s.

Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
North of Iceland. The mind boggles! I shiver just thinking about it.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Resolution #4: No passive, unthinking consumption. That goes for TV, food and music.

I like this one very much. (She says as she stuffs crackers into her mouth.)

Isn't it funny to find out things about your family history that support things about you? I was saying to my mom once that I have no idea why I have this weird passionate love of the mountains despite growing up in the flat Midwest, and how I seem to turn into some kind of demented short frizzy mountain goat when I'm there. She just looked at me and reminded me that my father's half of the family-- all of them-- are from Austria. Sigh.
Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
Well, I reckon it can start on Monday *g*

I think you're right; there's something ingrained that's not explicable in some loves, something that just speaks to you. I grew up on a wide, drifting estuary but I've always loved the sea. I reckon it's probably the same for you -- your physical being is in the flatlands but your soul is going "the hiiiiiilllllllsssss are ALIVE!!!!!"
Jan. 2nd, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Anyone remember Black Type?

No, but I remember Smash Hits very, very fondly. I can't believe they actually sold that in the states in the 80s, much less my little po-dunk town. It was on the shelves next to Tiger Beat and 16.

Then it became Star Hits? Or started as Star Hits and then became Smash Hits? Or something? God, I loved that magazine and probably cried real, actual tears when it went away.
Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
I think Star Hits might have been another magazine put out to cash in on Smash Hits' popularity. At one point it was selling hundreds of thousands of copies .

I loved it too. I had Smash Hits posters all over my walls for a while.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
Happy New Year!

Take Care
Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
And to you!
Jan. 2nd, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
I discovered swearing in Tolkein Elvish this year - I'm pretty sure he hadn't thought of it himself, but 'Ceryn Manwë' and 'Huitho!' are such nice expletives to say with feeling. (namely the goolies of a minor deity, and 'Fuck!'.)

I thought of going back to the eighties - and the very first thing that crossed my mind was how difficult it was to go to the loo if you were wearing one of those all in one jumpsuit things with the shoulder pads. Something that obviously left a major impression on me, as I only owned one of them, in a bright sapphire blue satin(!), and probably only wore it three or four times!!

Also I traced my Mum's family tree back to a similar time - they had never left the parish that she has returned to. A Norwegian Island seems much more romantic to me that this one.

ETA - I also dressed from rummage sales in my teens - but they were earlier than yours. You don't see rummage sales these days - charity shops are so much more refined... (Just realised I used the local term for 'jumble sale' without thinking about it, too.)

Edited at 2009-01-02 01:07 pm (UTC)
Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
Ah, you see I never had one of the jumpsuit things. Maybe I would feel differently if I had. I always wondered how the Enterprise crew went to the bog with those stretchy leotard things on. It quite distracted me from some episodes.

I think the Americans use the term rummage sale as well. I bet rummage sale is older than jumble sale and that's why.
Jan. 2nd, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
I'm all for more writing (from you!) and finding out about one's family. There is a scroll written in Japanese that theoretically tells a great deal about my grandmother's family, but of course none of us second, third or fourth generation assimilated types can read it. We're looking for a grad student.

I gave up swearing for Lent one year (depsite not being Catholic) and it mostly stuck for a decade or so, but lately I think I've been back-sliding a bit.

After reading this post I feel like I ought to go add as much Blackadder to my netflix queue as humanly possible.

I hope your new year will be full of shiny things like jet packs and time travel. Or at least some decent fun.

Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
There is a scroll written in Japanese that theoretically tells a great deal about my grandmother's family, but of course none of us second, third or fourth generation assimilated types can read it. We're looking for a grad student.

It's a bit frustrating, isn't it. I understand enough of the Norwegian to get by but then there's the common alphabet which helps there. Do you know anything about the family already?

And have you watched any Blackadder? Because if you haven't, God, how I envy having all that glorious silliness to watch for the very first time. I can still quote chunks of it, even now.
Jan. 4th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
V for Vendetta had...lots of good V words. I found it a little less engaging than I had hoped, having liked the movie. I couldn't tell some of the characters apart and couldn't follow what was going on a lot of the time. And the plot seemed to meander a lot. It was different politically from the movie, though, so that was interesting. I liked the idea that the populace had just sort of let dystopia happen, which is why the call for anarchy worked.
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
There was a new Blackadder? Why have I not heard of this before? ::pounds on deceitful Internet::

Wow, that's out-there Norway. I am supposed to get the family tree soon from my paternal grandmother, whose parents came here from somewhere in remote-ish Norway. If it's anywhere near your island, I will fall over, but not before I tell you first. *g*

Regarding those ingrained, mysterious genetic preferences: my paternal grandfather could not get his family tree traced back to England/Ireland since the last record of our Grimes he could find ended in here in the U.S. the first quarter of the 1700s (courthouse fire). But we know that's where we came from originally, and it probably explains why I may be the only person who can listen to traditional Irish music long past the point where other people's ears begin to bleed. I love it somewhere deep inside my bones.
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
It was a documentary in which the original cast members talked about their time on the show and how it developed. It actually sounded a bit more like 1970s Pink Floyd than I imagined it would. I'd be happy to send you a DVD of it if you would like.

I also believe that you can love something in an ingrained way without really knowing where it comes from -- so your love of Irish music doesn't surprise me at all ;)
Jan. 12th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
You and I are of roughly the same generation, if the nostalgia in this entry is any clue. Until recently, I couldn't have imagined looking back on that period fondly, and yet. There is also this...

Politicians you could properly *loathe* in the knowledge that they weren't all like that, just the ones in power. These days, seems like they are all like that.

...which, I have to assume, speaks as much to where I was in my life then and where I am now as to what times were actually like then. I get this feeling partially from watching how young'uns nowadays talk about Barack Obama, and oh, how I would like them never to have cause to one believe that "they are all like that."

wouldn't everyone have been shocked and outraged and saying that it portrayed the working classes as stupid and feckless and ignorant and this was class war of the worst kind, yadda yadda yadda?

Wait. You mean to say that in places other than the US, people start flinging the "class warfare" accusations when the media cast aspersions on the have-nots?. Oh, you dear, upside-down foreigners and your right-hand-side steering wheels.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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