the Jack (buggery) wrote,
the Jack

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several diversions, and a number of people named Jack

(Diversion in the sense of a pleasant entertainment, rather than the sense of shifting attention from one subject to another.)

First of all, last week petronelle came to visit me and Te. She is quite diverting on her own! Delectable foods were delected, fancuddles occurred, and I won at making fangirls squeal, hands down. (In fairness, I must admit most of the squealing was in response to my sandbagging them with puns or cracked-out ideas like 'what if Jason had been adopted by Ollie?')

Petra also inflicted introduced me to 5.75 wonderful and diverting things during her visit...

Paul Newman and Robert Redford eyefucking
Have you seen The Sting, the 1973 film whose synopsis can be summed up as 'Paul Newman and Robert Redford eyefucking each other while executing a brilliant con on a third crook'? You should. There are no words for how delightfully gay it is.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford eyefucking each other and also a chick
Have you seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the 1969 film whose synopsis can be summed up as 'Paul Newman and Robert Redford eyefucking each other, when they aren't holding up banks or trains, running from the law, or having (barely) offscreen guy/gal/guy threesome sex'? You should. Normally I am driven bugfuck by films based on historical facts which take so many liberties with those facts, but this one is just so much *fun* -- and, of course, gay.

Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor eyefucking each other and also a chick
(Have you noticed a theme?) Have you seen Singin' in the Rain, the 1952 film whose synopsis can be summed up as 'Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor eyefucking each other, in between making the transition from silent to talkie film stars, and eventually inviting a woman to join them in gay abandon and tap dancing'? You should, so long as you think you can handle the somewhat skanky (not bad for its time, but that's hardly saying much) gender issues, and also the fact that it's fairly unrelentingly a musical. (And I don't even like musicals, with no more than a half-dozen exceptions. Ten, tops.)

the Doctor
Okay, so of course I knew there was new Doctor Who, from any number of sources, some of which were even non-journal sources. I was familiar with the general concept of and history of the show, for all that I'd never watched it -- the natural consequence of broad-based sci-fi geekiness combined with access to Wikipedia. (And I had of course seen footage of the Captains Jack Harkness snogging, courtesy of YouTube and numerous friendslist links to same. Thanks, everyone!) Why had I never watched a single episode of Doctor Who before Petra showed up with a laptop full of ninth and tenth Doctor episodes?


You got a lot o'splainin' to do, fandom. This is the sort of thing Wikipedia couldn't be expected to have told me. (On a sort-of related note, why didn't anyone mention Indira Varma's recurring character when squeeing about Torchwood? I know how many of you are fellow Rome fans!)

What did I watch? Well, *with* Petra, I watched 1.9 "The Empty Child" and 1.10 "The Doctor Dances" -- the two-part episode which introduced Jack Harkness, and which also made gas masks unspeakably creepy. I'm not sure how much of why we watched these two first had to do with my having told Petra she was welcome to pimp Torchwood episodes at me (she didn't have any with her, but I decided I was game for at least an episode or two of Who) as opposed to ...any other reason. I did also dig Rose's Union flag shirt, which made her remind me of an extra-curvaceous Jenny Sparks. (Did you notice a theme recurring just now?)

Then, just when I'd gotten to the point where I found Christopher Eccleston charming, we skipped ahead to 2.1 "New Earth" so that I could be charmed by David Tennant, too. (It worked, though I have a hard time remembering that he's meant to be as old as he is with that gawky frame and baby face. Another for the list of Things Which Make Me Feel Like a Dirty Old Jack.)

Since Petra had a pressing appointment to get Te started on a fresh new variety of World's (intergenerational) Finest fanfiction, she left her laptop with me in the room where Te's computer isn't, so that I could watch more episodes without interrupting the DC brainstorming.

I proceeded to watch 1.7 "The Long Game," 1.8 "Father's Day," 2.2 "Tooth and Claw," 2.3 "School Reunion," 2.4 "The Girl in the Fireplace," 2.5 "The Rise of the Cybermen," and 2.7 "The Idiot's Lantern," not remotely in that order. (Yes, I implied that the chronologically unfolding ongoing storyline was part of what attracted me to the show. It's even true. But can you blame me for being attracted to the idea of approaching the show as an opportunity to be something of a time traveller myself?) I stopped partly because Petra didn't have many other episodes with her, but mostly because it was time for her to go home.

Aziraphale and Crowley
I had heard of Good Omens, of course; long before Torchwood was a twinkle in anyone's eye, most likely. The main reason I hadn't already read it was mostly that there hadn't ever been a copy handy when I was in the mood to read some Gaiman (whose writing I adore) or to finally get round to reading something by that Terry Pratchett bloke everyone's so keen on don't hurt me. Petra not only brought her lending copy along on her recent visit, but ensured my interest would be piqued by reading the "In the Beginning" bit which begins the book to me aloud.

I spent the rest of her visit reading especially funny bits aloud to her.

Consider this your cue to rec your favourite Aziraphale/Crowley stories to me.

Jacob's recaps without pity
(Counts as .5 of a wonderful and diverting thing mainly because my consumption began only after Petra had returned to Casa del Petra y Chico.) Attentive readers may have noticed that I mentioned watching Doctor Who episodes 2.5 "The Rise of the Cybermen" and 2.7 "The Idiot's Lantern" but not episode 2.6 "The Age of Steel" despite the latter being part two of a two-part episode. This is because Petra did not have a copy of that episode with her, and more importantly because I had no idea 2.6 wasn't self-contained when I watched it. Face, meet palm.

Having inadvertently painted myself into a cliffhanger (now there are two metaphors you don't see mixed every day), it occurred to me, when Petra pimped the Television Without Pity recaps of Doctor Who in a vague yet enigmatic way, that I might be able to save myself from my dangling predicament, depending on how in-depth the aforementioned recaps went.

They went so far beyond deep, one of them managed to talk about Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Gnosticism in the context of the episode it was recapping. It was like doing my undergraduate coursework (degree in comnparative religion) all over again, only it was even more fun than the first time round. Jacob the recapper = WIN. Like Petra, 'I foresee Reading Them All in my future.' And so should you.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Petra didn't actually pimp this, per se; she played the song "A Little Priest" for us, while we were here, and this was seemingly all the additional motivation Te needed, following some dedicated squee/pimpage from her friendslist, to acquire a copy of the theatre production as broadcast on television back in 1982. But she *did* play us the song, and that makes up the last .25 thing.

WARNING: THERE ARE NO DEMONS IN Sweeney Todd. NOT EVEN ONE. Just a lot of humans behaving abominably. I felt a touch cheated by the lack of even one little imp, but possibly I'm odd.

Aside from that, and the fact that it's (again!) a musical, I shan't spoil anything. There are some good twisty and other surprises in this story, and anyone who's going to watch it should get to do so unspoiled unless they prefer otherwise. This will become increasingly important, since a film version starring Captain Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp* is due out this winter.

Speaking of the film version... I remember reading somewhere recently (before watching the '82 version with Te) that Warner Bros. had wanted Tim Burton to 'tone down' the horror elements in it. Which I wish I could say surprised me, but, well, I was one of those Batman Beyond fans who was smack in the most-sought-after demographic which Warner Bros. decided they didn't care about if keeping us meant mothers wouldn't let their 8-13s watch.

The important thing, though, is that, having now seen Sweeney Todd in its stage incarnation, I think I want to do a parody synopsis of a hypothetical sanitised-to-WB-standards version. It could have a Hollywood ending, and a SciFi/Halmi-to-Le-Guin relationship to its source material, and the Signor Pirelli character could be replaced by a black character with 1/4 the lines and serve to both be a Token Black Character and play to the 'The Black Guy Dies First' trope -- a romantic comedy with just enough fights and explosions that the male audience won't have to be dragged to the theatre -- a horse designed by a focus group consisting entirely of producers and other Hollywood insiders.

Unrelated except chronologically: In between finishing Good Omens and reading anything else, I devoured the entire Canopus in Argos series by Doris Lessing. (Well, okay, I skimmed past large chunks of The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. Which, considering that it's only a ~120-page novella, and that I actually enjoy reading Herman Melville, should tell you something about how overly expository those long unbroken paragraphs are. It was an aberration, and should not detract from anyone's enjoyment of the four full-length novels in the series.) Um... we didn't have any other Gaiman I hadn't already read, or any Pratchett in printed-book form, and Te did have the omnibus edition. I don't know, it made sense at the time.

I don't even know where to start describing these books. I will say that they don't necessarily need to be read in order of publication, but that if you're starting with Shikasta (aka Re: Colonised Planet 5 Shikasta) you should NOT read Wiki articles, reviews or anything else, because there's an enormous spoiler which nearly every source mentions right off when talking about the book despite it not being revealed until hundreds of pages into the book itself. They're challenging books, both because Lessing doesn't explain some of the concepts she came up with for the series until long after they're first introduced (if at all) and because the main themes of the series are all advanced philosophical (and theosophical, and sociological, and cosmological) questions. They do, however (with the exception noted) manage to be page-turners as well, an impressive balance. So long as the punctuation of this sentence, which is indicative of Lessing's habitual punctuation -- doesn't make you want to punch things then you should be fine. (It makes me want to punch things, actually; but I still got through all five installments, didn't I?)

ETA: And today I shall be having my first root canal ever. Hopefully this will suck less than it might. Feel free to share tales of your own nightmarish root canal experiences, though -- forewarned is forearmed, and all that.

ETA2: Cross-posted to my my InsaneJournal here. Comments are enabled there. I sincerely apologise to anyone who finds IJ's theme offensive; I weighed this concern carefully against the need to have a journal host I felt I could trust not to arbitrarily delete my content. I hope to find a compromise which is more accomodating of both issues soon.

* We should all hope that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp never get round to actually having sex with each other; if it ever did happen, they might stop making films together.
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