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What I bit the bullet and signed up to Netflix for. Star Trek: Discovery.

Read more... )

Summary: I'm not as invested in original Trek as I was in realWho, so the reboots haven't bothered me at all, and this is no different. There are points of detail that bothered me about these episodes, but I'm willing to give it time. On the whole, it was worth signing up to Netflix to see it. Whether I can justify the expense of continuing after the free month will depend on various things.

More telly

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:56 pm
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This seems safe...

Going through Netflix's genre offerings like a dose of something that moves very fast, I light upon Travelers (sic), starring Eric McCormack of Will and Grace fame, and featuring a time-travel operation so half-baked, ill-considered and shambolic that it could almost be British. (Spoilers to follow.)

Read more... )

I'm being a little hard on the show. It's well written despite the aforementioned flaws, and the writers are not afraid to sling around a few deep concepts when things aren't exploding. McCormack is always watchable, and the other principal performers, previously unknown to me, acquit themselves more than competently. I'm actually hooked, though whether I'll get the chance to watch season two is anybody's guess.
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There's a besetting difficulty in adapting the Sherlock Holmes stories for the stage or screen, which has never to my mind been satisfactorily addressed. The playgoer or tellywatcher, the member of the audience, is necessarily an objective observer, separate from the action and from the characters. He views the story from the outside. In all but two or three cases, though, the Holmes stories are told as personal reminiscences by Dr Watson, and are inseparable from his subjective viewpoint; and to ignore this fact is to miss a great deal of the subtlety of the stories that has kept them so evergreen for so long.

Watson is constantly telling stories against himself. When he has Holmes say, "I have always done you an injustice, Watson. There are others," referring to a particularly obtuse witness, it is a sign of self-deprecating humour on the part of Watson himself, a humour which, in an objective retelling of the event, it is sheerly impossible to convey. Here lies the reason for the frequent portrayal of Watson as a blimpish buffoon, by Nigel Bruce and others; the fact that a blimpish buffoon could never have written the stories in the first place escapes the notice. The Watson we are supposed to see in the stories is Watson's own subtly exaggerated caricature of himself, made thus, of course, to play up the brilliance of Holmes. Try doing that on television.

I've just watched a longish Youtube video entitled "Sherlock is Garbage, and Here's Why," to which, with your kind indulgence, I shall not link. It's an hour and a half of pulling Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's adaptation to bits, and much of what it says is right on the money. Moffat's obvious contempt for his audience is nowhere else as clearly shown.

On one point, though, I would partly disagree. One of the charges that the video lays against Sherlock is that, rather than focussing on the method of the solution of each crime, Moffat and Gatiss make the show increasingly All About Sherlock. A similar thing happened with nuWho, where it became for a while All About The Doctor, but that started with RTD, so Moffat can't be held solely responsible for that.

But a cursory reading of the original stories shows clearly that, as far as Watson, the narrator, was concerned, it was indeed All About Holmes. He relays faithfully Holmes' methods, and details his solutions, but the purpose, for Watson, is purely to show how exceptionally brilliant, and incidentally how thoroughly decent a chap, is his friend. This is one of those things which, in the objectivising process of adaptation to drama, can get lost; in Sherlock, it has not got lost, but it has lost its rationale. John Watson, as played by Martin Freeman, would never have written such accounts of Sherlock's cases as Doyle's Watson puts down. Nobody would, for Sherlock, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is not at all a decent chap and has nowhere near Holmes' capacity to inspire loyalty and devotion. Add to this the fact that Moffat is such a lazy writer that, as the video witheringly points out, most of Sherlock's solutions to cases can only be explained by magic, and the dislocations inherent in the adaptation become only too clear.

I gave up on Sherlock after he quite definitely and unequivocally died in front of Watson in the season finale, only to be resurrected in the final two minutes, and the first episode of the following season, after pouring scorn both on various convoluted theories as to how he survived, and on the groups and individuals who put them forward (representing, as the video says, the actual fans of the show), revealed Moffat's actual answer; it doesn't matter how he survived, so don't bother thinking about it. I gather it didn't improve, so I won't be going back to it.

I shall, however, often return to the original stories, in which John Watson, that competent and intelligent medical practitioner, chronicles the exceptional yet easily fathomable achievements of his friend, and pokes gentle fun at his own rather more pedestrian thought processes; and I shall wonder if, between the buffoonish portrayals of Bruce and others, and the capable yet somewhat solemn renditions of Burke and Hardwicke, there will ever be found a way of adapting the stories for drama which can combine the two aspects in the right proportions.
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From The Mentalist we went on to Mulberry. This is a very strange and utterly adorable British fantasy sitcom, starring Karl Howman, who was flavour of the month for a time and now languishes on Eastenders, and Geraldine McEwan, who was wonderful and should have played Athena White if that stupid production company had ever actually wanted to make a series of the Merrily Watkins books.

Howman plays Mulberry, who turns up out of the blue at a crumbling old manor house owned by Miss Farnaby, played by McEwan. Her only company in the house is a discontented couple of servants, Bert and Alice Finch (Tony Selby and (series 1) Lill Roughley, (series 2) Mary Healey); she occasionally tries to hire a companion but nobody will put up with her for long. Mulberry invites himself into the job and at once sets out to bring the reclusive, cantankerous spinster out of herself and out of the ruts of "family tradition" and "self-reliance" in which she has worn herself to a shadow.

But that is not what Mulberry is supposed to be there for. Read more... )

SO then we moved on to less delicate emotional ground with Remington Steele. This was a very popular series in the eighties and made Pierce Brosnan a star, which was not very fair on Stephanie Zimbalist who was actually the protagonist; but that was part of the point. In those days we thought that by being funny about sexism while drawing attention to it we could make a difference. (Now, of course, we know that the only way to fight hate is with more hate, and the only way to defeat bigotry is to make ourselves extinct.)

Zimbalist plays Laura Holt, a smart, competent and talented detective in Los Angeles. Read more... )
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We've been binge-watching The Mentalist, which is very good, and we're on the last season now. In the season we just watched, around about the sixth or seventh episode, the show's Big Bad, Red John, was unmasked, and James Hibberd in Entertainment Weekly had some thoughts about that here: http://ew.com/article/2013/11/24/the-mentalist-red-john-review/

I think he missed the point. (Next bit won't make much sense unless you've read the article.)

Read more... )
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I am two tracks away from completing my new album Coming To A Theatre Near You, which I began on May 29th of this year. One track is an instrumental and is being troublesome. The other is one that I am hoping my friend S will record herself performing for me, because she wrote the tune and it is much better when she sings it. Everything else is done.

Let's just...let that sink in. I just almost finished an album. In a month. And as far as I can tell, the only thing seriously wrong with it is my voice, which is kind of unavoidable. I still like my arrangements, the songs are variable but none of them are, I think, actually bad, and the tone colours of the album are nicely diverse. It is, of course, very white, but then, as Davy Jones said, so am I, what can I tell you.

And I've got it done in a month.

The moral is clear. Grit your teeth and do it yourself. I still want my wonderful friends who can actually sing to sing on the Argenthome album, because that needs good voices, but I no longer have any serious expectation of making that happen in this decade. This album is not attempting to be a Truesingers album; it's me as a rather unlikely Truesingers tribute/covers band. Argenthome needs to be a whole lot closer to good.

But Owls...I could revive that one and do it this way. Finally get that done.

If you want to hear the ten currently available tracks from Coming To A Theatre Near You, you can sign up on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/zandamyrande to pledge as little as a dollar a month (and it's collected on the first of the month, so that gives you four weeks free access), and look at this post: https://www.patreon.com/posts/coming-to-near-12422702 for links to all of them.

I think you'll agree that it's not at all bad for a month's work.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Shaving. I have a complex relationship with shaving.

I've just done it, and my face feels like mine again. If you ever see me with a beard longer than an eighth of an inch, it's a sign I've been down for a long time. There was a time in my life when I actually chose to have a beard, but it was never entirely a free choice. My skin, you see, objects to being shaved, and while this is probably true of most people--hence the proliferation of lotions and potions and gunks dedicated to making it less of an ordeal--it seems worse for me. My face feels like mine, but it's also prickling and itching like mad and making me want to scratch it, and nothing seems to stop that. I've tried. Of course, the fact that I then spend the next three hours finding bits I've missed and debating whether to trail back to the bathroom and get rid of them doesn't help.

If I had the money and my druthers, I'd do something permanent about it, but that's pure vanity and totally unjustifiable, and besides there are people of whom I am fond who for some bizarre reason like me with facial hair, so I feel I need to keep the option open for their sake.

But it is my face, and while it will never ever in this world be a woman's face, despite the best efforts of FaceApp--I sometimes try to analyse just what it is FaceApp changes, but I haven't succeeded yet--I'd kind of like it not to be aggressively full-on male at least some of the time.

And let's not even talk about my arms and legs.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Yes, I know I haven't. I don't know, it's just...I don't feel as much at home here as I did in my little LJ. I know it's better, it's got central heating and the roof doesn't leak and there aren't Russians living in the dustbin, but LJ was where I started out this blogging lark and I was forced to move out of it and I'm just not used to this place yet.

Anyway.

A line in a story I'm working on brought "Walk Away Renee" to my mind, and trying it over, I realised I was singing "Don't walk away, Renee, you won't see me papa tulang-gown," which doesn't make a whole heap of sense even for me. So I went Googling, and found the Four Tops version, which is the one I know, with the lyrics, and corrected my mondegreen. And then I found out that that was not the original version, which was recorded by a group called the Left Banke, and possibly co-written by their keyboard player about a girl he may or may not have been in love with. So I listened to two recordings of them doing it.

They don't do it right.

Let me rephrase that. The band that originally performed the song sing the second line of the chorus, the one I had so much trouble with, a certain way. They do it "ta-tum ta-ta-ta-taa tum tum tum." And it sounds...limp. Nothing there. When the Four Tops did it, either they, or the producer, or somebody, tweaked it just a little, to "ta-tum tum tum ta-ta-ta-taa-taa," and it lifts the whole chorus nine yards over the head of the original. Which only goes to show that creativity doesn't stop when the song is written.

As for the rest of the song, the lyrics are very good, though I get the feeling they may have picked the best three verses out of an awful lot of them. There's a disjointed quality to them. The arrangement is nice too, in both versions, though "Reach Out" will always be my favourite Four Tops song in that respect.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Well, sort of. I've started posting videos on my Patreon page, of a concert I did with my bandmates Chris, Valerie and Silke, back in 2012. The first one, Road Song, is free, the second, Centipede Questions, is patrons only ('cos it's an original Zander-style song). You can find them, along with the first two episodes of a piece of D'niverse fanfic and various other bits and bobs, at https://www.patreon.com/zandamyrande or thereabouts. If you haven't looked already, why not head on over?
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
It's patrons-only, so if you want to see it sign up for as little as a dollar a month. And if you like it, tell your friends!
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
The importing process has now finished. Sadly all my lovely LJ icons are gone, and since the computer I made them on is also one with Nineveh and Tyre, they probably won't be coming back. I've only got the option of fifteen on here anyway.

I still don't know what if anything was wrong with the new LJ user agreement, except that it was in Russian, but the deed is done now. An era ends, a new one begins. We'll see what happens.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
So, um, hi. If you follow this journal you'll know I have a Patreon page now, which I've started in a desperate attempt to put my abilities to some use in plugging our leaking domestic economy. I have thirteen lovely patrons right now, which is a wonderful start, but I am really hoping for more.

I've made it a monthly-pledge Patreon rather than per-thing, because I have no idea how to price my things even when I manage to finish them. So for as little as one dollar per month (it's a US site and they show everything in dollars, but they'll take whatever) you get access to everything new I put up there, and I'm aiming to put up at least one piece a day.

Looking at other people's Patreon pages, that looks like a heck of a deal.

And the more you pledge, the more I can do. I intend to start putting music and art up there in due course.

There are now more reward tiers, if you feel able to pledge a bit more. You can comment on my posts and tell me what you like or don't like, what you'd like to see from me. I really hope you will.

Because this isn't just about the money, though that is important too. This is about you and me having a conversation, getting to know each other better. It's about me getting better at making art for you. As long as it's something I can do, I promise to try.

If you know someone who might enjoy my stuff, tell them. If you enjoy my stuff, pledge a little (or a lot if you like, but a little will do if you spread the word).

Let's see if we can make this work.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
So, um, hi. If you follow this journal you'll know I have a Patreon page now, which I've started in a desperate attempt to put my abilities to some use in plugging our leaking domestic economy. I have thirteen lovely patrons right now, which is a wonderful start, but I am really hoping for more.

I've made it a monthly-pledge Patreon rather than per-thing, because I have no idea how to price my things even when I manage to finish them. So for as little as one dollar per month (it's a US site and they show everything in dollars, but they'll take whatever) you get access to everything new I put up there, and I'm aiming to put up at least one piece a day.

Looking at other people's Patreon pages, that looks like a heck of a deal.

And the more you pledge, the more I can do. I intend to start putting music and art up there in due course.

There are now more reward tiers, if you feel able to pledge a bit more. You can comment on my posts and tell me what you like or don't like, what you'd like to see from me. I really hope you will.

Because this isn't just about the money, though that is important too. This is about you and me having a conversation, getting to know each other better. It's about me getting better at making art for you. As long as it's something I can do, I promise to try.

If you know someone who might enjoy my stuff, tell them. If you enjoy my stuff, pledge a little (or a lot if you like, but a little will do if you spread the word).

Let's see if we can make this work.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/conversation-8571542

A short-short story this time, stand-alone. Patron-only. I hope you will look at it and like it.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/conversation-8571542

A short-short story this time, stand-alone. Patron-only. I hope you will look at it and like it.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
S., you may remember, is the creation of JJ Abrams, of whom it has been said, and writer Doug Dorst. It consists of a novel, Ship of Theseus by the fictitious V M Straka, beautifully packaged as a nearly seventy-year-old library book, extensively annotated by two fictitious readers and lavishly adorned with miscellaneous documents stuck between the pages.

This is a book that could only ever be a book. There is no conceivable way to translate the whole of it into any other medium. The story...well, there are at least three stories, possibly four; the story being told in the novel, which itself goes disturbingly nonlinear at times, the story of the writer and his translator and what happened to them while the book was being written and thereafter, and the story of the two aforementioned readers, told via differently coloured annotations in the course of at least four separate passes through the book and not necessarily sequentially. The possible fourth story consists of what may or may not be going on in the world around the readers as they pursue their relationship with each other, with the book, with the author. This is a book that could never be filmed, dramatised, even read aloud. Even as an ebook (which has been done) it's missing a whole dimension of experience.

So, it's clever. What else? Well, I find the novel, Ship of Theseus, not the sort of thing I would go out of my way to read, but very compelling nonetheless. The story of Straka, like the unseen fourth story, I have only imperfectly grasped; hence the reread. The story of Jen and Eric, the readers, is very well done indeed. It never seems implausible that they are conducting this conversation entirely by writing in the pages of a printed book and then leaving it on a shelf for each other to find. They are believable, well-drawn, flawed and vulnerable characters and I grew to like them.

The only problem I find with S.--and it may not be a bug, but a feature--is that it's all but impossible to pick a storyline and stay with it. The novel, the prior and subsequent passes of Jen and Eric, the maddening codes and ciphers contained in the translator's footnotes, all conspire to distract the attention, and I end up flipping back and forth through the pages, unable to settle on a story and stick with it, unwilling simply to put the book down and try something less demanding. It's worth the effort, though. The last words in the book (apart from the endpapers) mean nothing unless you've read the whole thing first...and when you have, they're funny, and moving, and hopeful.

I will treasure my copy of this book as long as I live. Whatever you think of Abrams' efforts in other areas, this he got right. Unless you're uncontrollably enraged by people who write in books, you might like to give it a try.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
Okay. If I have done this right, the following link should take you to what is probably the beginning of a new Gestalt story:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/possibly-new-8553397

But, if I have done this right, it will only do so if you have signed up as a patron, for as little as one dollar per month. I don't know if this will work, and I'm not sure if I like it, but this is the path I've started down and I have to give it a fair whack. We really do need the eggs.

If you aren't a patron and you can see it anyway, please let me know.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Okay. If I have done this right, the following link should take you to what is probably the beginning of a new Gestalt story:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/possibly-new-8553397

But, if I have done this right, it will only do so if you have signed up as a patron, for as little as one dollar per month. I don't know if this will work, and I'm not sure if I like it, but this is the path I've started down and I have to give it a fair whack. We really do need the eggs.

If you aren't a patron and you can see it anyway, please let me know.

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