TV is Good (Part 1)

September 21, 2019 at 7:32 pm (Uncategorized)

OK, I like TV, and I probably watch more than is good for me. On the cusp of the fall TV season (looking forward to Stumptown on Wednesday), thought I’d look back to some of the favourites from summer.

In no particular order

1 The Boys

Imagine the Justice League of America were jerks. Really bad jerks. Then you might have a sense of The Boys.

2. Good Omens

I re-read Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel before I watched the show, and you know what, the show was as close to being a perfect adaptation as possible. Marvellous.

3. Blood and Treasure

Take a bit of Indiana Jones. A bit of the Dan Brown novels. A talented cast including two impossibly hot leads, and hope for the best. It doesn’t quite make for essential TV, but I gladly watched all the episodes. I was sure it wouldn’t be renewed, but it’s back for season two.

4. Pandora

This one is on the list because I just couldn’t take it. It followed the CW formula of pretty boys and girls getting into trouble, but in a SF context. Except that the stories were paper thin and hopeless formulaic – Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched a lot of derivative SF (I live in Canada after all), btu even I have limits. I did like how they used Dylan songs for episode titles though.

5. Carnival Row

Fae steampunk. If that doesn’t hook you, just watch the first episode. I loved this show. Was right about one of the villains, but still got tricked. It’s true there’s one plot-line that doesn’t quite seem connected, but I’m confident it will all make sense in the next season. Essential.

6. Wu Assassins

Netflix’s first (almost) all Asian marital arts series, is, well, not as good as we hoped. The story line about a “chosen one” who will save the world from the evil Wu elementals, is a bit flat, and the ending felt silly Two things though. There is a stunning piece about anti-Chinese racism that’s worth watching the series to get to, and the fight scenes are absolutely amazing., mainly thanks to Iwo Uwais and JuJu Chan. Incredible.

7. Krypton

Season two of the story of Superman’s grandfather outdid the first. More Brainiac, more Zod, Doomsday, Adam Strange gets a jetpack, and Lobo makes his debut! And an ending which teased either Darkseid or the Thanagarians (depending on what you think you say). So, it makes sense SyFy cancelled it. Argh!

8. Agents of SHIELD

A short summer season, but ironically one of the best. More weirdness from the team, a new Coulson and more. One more season after this one.

9. Fleabag

Season one was great, season two was outstanding. Nothing I say can prepare you for this brilliant show.

10. Undone

A show about non-linear time using weird trippy animation.  A show about murder and family. I’m on episode 5.

 

<sigh> I do have too much time on my hands.

 

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The Long Ryders at the Horseshoe Tavern

September 16, 2019 at 9:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Way, way back in time,  actually it was probably 1987, I saw the Long Ryders at a little bar in Hamilton. Among the songs they played was “Run Dusty Run” from their first album Native Sons.In performing the song, the band modified the line, “Run Dusty run don’t hold back the hammer, I got a little lady on the other side,” to “I got a little lady on the Hamilton side.” Whoop whoop! as chance would have it, I saw the band the following night in Toronto when they opened for Billy Bragg at the Concert Hall. They played pretty much the same set (excellent both times), but now the line was “I got a little lady on the Toronto side.” Ha! Three decades on, the band has reformed, has a fantastic new album, Psychedelic Country Soul, and is playing the Horseshoe Tavern. Would they play the same song? Turned out “Run Dusty Run” was not on the set list, but plenty of Toronto references slipped in (Fro the final “Looking for Lewis and Clarke,” the line about Tim Hardin was replaced by a reference to Neil Young and Massey Hall).

I broke a personal rule coming to see the Long Ryders. Never see a band that reforms if you saw them in their prime. As it turned out, this was a rule that was made to be broken. It was a terrific show. The band played a generous 75 minute set along with a two-song encore, starting with “Gunslinger Man” from Two-Fisted Tales and concluding with the rousing “Lewis and Clarke.”

It’s been said of the band that they invented alternative-country, but never got the credit for it. Might be some truth to that. The band emerged around the same time as the Paisley Underground of bands like Green on Red, ,the Dream Syndicate and the Rain Parade, btu unlike those bands who drew on the energy of punk and married it with sixties psychedelic or garage sounds, the Long Ryders drew on Gram Parsons and country-rock sounds. I seem to remember the genre being referred to as Cow-punk and including bands like Rank & File and Jason & the Scorchers). Anyway, it remained a niche, albeit a lovely one, before the “No Depression” sound burst forth at the end of the ’80s.

Great band, criminally not as well kknown as they should be, but you still have a chance to appreciate them via the original three albums, and the new one is rather good too.

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Saturday’s Kids

September 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm (Uncategorized)

From the somewhat underrated Jam album Setting Sons (probably because it is sandwiched between All Mods cons and Sound Affects)

Saturdays boys live life with insults,
Drink lots of beer and wait for half time results,
Afternoon tea in the light-a-bite, chat up the girls, they
Dig it!
Saturdays girls work in Tescos and Woolworths,
Wear cheap perfume cause its all they can afford,
Go to discos they drink babycham talk to Jan, in bingo
Accents.
Saturdays kids play one arm bandits,
They never win but that’s not the point is it,
Dip in silver paper when their pints go flat,
How about that, far out!
Their mums and dads smoke capstan non-filters,
Wallpaper lives cause they all die of cancer,
What goes on, what goes wrong.
Save up their money for a holiday,
To Selsey bill or Bracklesham Bay,
Think about the future, when they’ll settle down,
Marry the girl next door, with one on the way.
These are the real creatures that time has forgot,
Not given a thought, its the system,
Hate the system, what’s the system?
Saturdays kids live in council houses,
Wear v-necked shirts and baggy trousers,
Drive Cortinas fur trimmed dash boards,
Stains on the seats – in the back of course!

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Election 2019: Let the games begin—and may the odds be ever in your favour (McLeans Article)

September 14, 2019 at 4:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Was writing a longer piece on the upcoming Canadian election when I came across this article.  Tabatha Southey is always funny, and this article is no exception.

Election 2019: Let the games begin—and may the odds be ever in your favour

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Lovers Town Revisited

September 2, 2019 at 12:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Just felt like this song. 

 

 

It’s that summer of the evening
Get ready and roll the cassette
There’s boys outside preaching genocide
And trying to think up some sort of threat
And the ladies in the cloakroom
Take no notice of me
I wish myself was back at home
But there’s nothing safe in watching TV
There’s something born tomorrow
That I lost when I was out for a drink
How many gangs is it gonna take
To change the way I think
It takes more than good intentions
And a big bloke on the door
And though it’s never the same after the first time
That doesn’t stop them coming back for more
Fighting in the dance halls happens anyway
Sometimes it makes me stop and think
Sometimes it makes me turn away
Sometimes it makes me stop and think
Sometimes it makes me turn away
Sometimes it makes me stop and think
But most times it makes me run away

 

 

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