Friday, 13 November 2015

Jekyll and spies

Gorsh, time for a session of SPEAK MY BRANES. And I warn you, if you click on the link, I have a lot to waffle about, starting with some musings on ITV's 1930s-set Jekyll and Hyde.
At first I hated Jekyll and Hyde. The script in the first episode was jarringly clunky. When Jekyll bellowed 'Nooooo' after getting some tragic news, all I could think was, “Didn't the entire internet mock the scene where Hayden Christenson does just that in Revenge of the Sith a decade ago? Haven't the scriptwriters learned anything?” All I liked was the 1930s styling.

I persevered with the programme because I learned a lesson from Partners In Crime, which really grew on me. Now I'm actually starting to enjoy it. Yes, it is very silly, and there's no getting around the fact that Dr Jekyll was raised by a family in Ceylon yet has a completely different accent to them (my own relatives from Asia had a very odd accent FWIW), but once you're prepared to view it as an adventure story for family viewing, it's still no Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it's waaaay better than Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which I generally pretend doesn't exist.
Ravi, that moustache won't fool anyone.
Things I liked: it's great that Jekyll has an adoptive Asian family – it's fab to see whole groups of Asian characters in a genre show, not just a token one or two. I also think Hils is a tremendous character: she's not eye candy, she doesn't mope over blokes, she drives like a maniac and will take on a lobster monster armed only with an antique shotgun. LOVE HER. Lily and Bella are both non-wimpy female characters, but they are both meant to be pretty and clearly there's 'more' (read: tedious possible romantic entanglements) between them and Jekyll, whereas Hils is a proper old-school adventure hero, only female – Dickless Barton, if you like.
GO HILS!
You could grizzle about all that being anachronistic, but this is a kids' show, and I think we can ditch the authentic between-the-wars sexism/racism in favour of showing children that women and people of colour are ACTUAL PEOPLE not just objects for white men to interact with. I'd say the less traditional characters like Hils and Jekyll's foster brother Ravi are the ones that are most engaging, possibly because the scriptwriters haven't had decades of stereotypes to fall back on and so have had to work a bit harder to create them.
Honestly, these things are horribly freaky.
The Beholders really are the creepiest monsters I've seen on telly in ages. They're like something out of a Francis Bacon painting; no wonder ITV got masses of complaints about the show being unsuitable for its time slot. They beat yet another encounter with the Daleks or Cybermen in Doctor Who any day. So yeah, the programme's grown on me.

New topic: I reviewed Cold War thriller comic The Coldest City last year. I liked it, but wished there had been more words. Well, I'm getting my wish! Not in novel form, which would have been my preference, but it's being turned into a film. On the subject of spies, it's not vintage but if you're in the UK, the BBC's new thriller The London Spy is amazing and I can't recommend it enough.

Finally, Hayley over at Pearls and Purls gave me a Liebster blog award, so here are my answers to her questions...

1) What's the best job you've ever had?
I've been working in magazines since 1997, and I love it. Okay, like all jobs there are times when I grumble about it but I do actually enjoy what I do. It's creative and means producing things that bring people pleasure, what's not to love?

2) If you could go back in time for one day, which day and year would you go to? 
5 August 1962. I'd call an ambulance for Marilyn. Why her? Not sure. I guess because her death seems to have turned her into the ultimate victim, and I'd want to give her a chance to be something else.

3) What is your biggest fear? 
Not having anywhere to live.

4) What is your ultimate dream or goal in life? 
To have a book published. But I think that will remain a dream! I have ideas for books, but always say I don't have time to write them, though I have friends who have written books while holding down full-time jobs. If I really wanted to do it, I'd put in the effort to do it, just like they've done it. I mentioned The Coldest City earlier; I used to work with Antony, who wrote it. He wanted to work in comics back then, and has achieved that at the highest level, not just through talent but through determination and hard work. My friend Paul Starkey has just had a novella published, after years of commitment. So perhaps my ultimate dream isn't to have a book published at all, but something I haven't thought of... Maybe I'd rather travel more.

5) What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world? 
I'd stop people killing each other

6) What is your favourite time of year and why? 
That bit when spring is turning into summer, and everything is fresh and green and blossoming.

7) What three words would you use to describe yourself? 
Fat middle-aged lady. Though I suspect many people would dispute the 'lady' part of that.

8) What compliment do people give you the most? 
They like my hair.

9) What is the best book you have ever read? 
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré.

10) What do you enjoy most about blogging? 
The diversity of bloggers, and the windows onto the lives of so many lovely people all around the world. So often the news is full of the terrible things human beings do to each other, and blogging shows you the other side of that, the supportiveness and kindness and all-round decency people are prepared to show each other.

11) What instantly puts a smile on your face? 
My kittens. They're noisy little vandals but I love them. And travelling with Mr Robot. The Addams Family. Christmas trees. Red pandas. All sorts of things, really.

17 comments :

  1. Aw, I loved finding out a bit more about you! I was thinking about arranging a vintage bloggers afternoon tea outing in London sometime in February, would you be up for it? We could really dress up and go somewhere posh like Claridges.

    I hated J&H, I stopped watching it after 20 mins. I know that's not probably a fair chance but life is too short when they are so many other glorious things to watch!
    xx

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    1. I might be able to - I might be in London in February anyhow as we're thinking of spending a long weekend there for my birthday. It'll be a tricky month next year, though, as it'll be the first anniversary of my mother-in-law's death on the 13th of February, so I won't want to be away from home that weekend.

      Yeah, J&H isn't for most vintage lovers! Though perhaps it will lure a new generation into the delights of deco.

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  2. I loved your answers, completely agree with nos. 5 and 10, would argue that no.9 should be The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and, having seen you in real life, would definitely disagree with no.7 - you're bloody gorgeous, you daft bat.
    How good is London Spy? I'm already excited for Monday night. xxx

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    1. Aaaah, but I *am* fat. I just refuse to accept the negative connotations most people apply to the term.

      I did wonder about Spy Who Came in From the Cold - the radio version the BBC did a couple of years back was absolutely brilliant. But Tinker, Tailor has such a strong place in my affections. London Spy was fantastic. It felt almost a bit too slow - chap meets chap, chaps fall in love, all very nice, Whishaw's bum, lovely but not really what I was watching for - and then BAM! You know the bit I'm talking about. Really tense and dark. Roll on the next episode.

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  3. Oh, it's so lovely to find out a little more about you and find someone else who loves red pandas! They have to be the cutest animals in the world.
    Fat? Middle-aged? Stop that now!
    I was bored stupid by Jekyell and Hyde, which is weird for anything set in the 30s for me. I switched it off half way through the first episode and started watching Peaky Blinders instead, it's a million times better.

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    1. Red pandas are one of my very favourite animals. We put one on top of our Christmas tree each year!

      I do like Peaky Blinders, though I keep hoping something awful will happen to dreadful Grace - I'd be happy for it to happen off-screen so we don't have to see her again. Jekyll and Hyde is really a family adventure, I'd expect it to draw more fans from the Doctor Who watching set than from vintage fans. I'm a bit bemused by where the money seems to be spent - the Ceylon sequences look like they were shot on location, but Lily seems to live in her one dress. It's a very nice dress, but you'd think a fairly posh 1930s woman would have a few more frocks at her disposal.

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    2. I didn't even start watching J & H I thought it looked terrible form the trailer (I know, I know, I'm so judgmental!) missed London Spy I must try to catch up with it.

      I'm another one who loves reading other people's answers so thank you for sharing. I laughed at no. 7, I'm with you all the way anyone who hears me swear is quickly disabused of the lady idea!

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  4. You know, #2 could be a great novel. You show up, make Marilyn a pot of coffee, and the two of you make gag telephone calls to the White House or something.

    #5 Hear, hear.

    #7-No, no, and no.

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    1. If I had to hang out with someone that'd be trickier. I suspect Jane Russell would've been fun.

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  5. As a non-TV watching person I have no comments on your reviews but it is lovely to find out a bit more about you. Maybe one day you will have time to write that book, if you travel it could be a travel memoir. I don't see a "fat, middle-aged lady" when I look at you. I see a lovely, vibrant woman and that is just through pics. I know where you are coming from though. Give the kitties a pat from me. ;) Xx

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    1. Kitties say MOAR PATS PLZ.

      There's so much travelling I want to do! I love it. Though I can't go for any extended trips cos of work and cats...

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  6. Fat middle-aged lady?!
    My dear, my dear.. Oh, Mim!
    Please, do not use such term when describing yourself.. because the way I see you is: natural body-blossoming Fantastique! (and I stand my ground!) :)

    Marija

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    1. Hehehe, statement of fact. No-one can avoid ageing, it happens to all of us. And the fat... well, it's there! But I like my body, it's fun to be in...

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  7. Can't comment on the TV shows as I haven't seen them, but I do like finding out about people, so it's good to read your answers! I think there's a book in you, you just need to get going on it - starting a big project is often the hardest part. Kittens will always prompt a smile, and yes, blogging provides a welcome reminder that in an uncertain world, there are plenty of good, caring people. Like you! xxxx

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    1. I've got one on the go, I just haven't worked on it in ages. Perhaps that will be my Christmas project when work's shut down for a week - to get enough of it in shape to start sending out.

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  8. It's really awesome that you'e been working in the magazine industry since 1997. Way to go, dear Mim. I've read some of your writing (such as the pieces you've penned for In Retrospect magazine) and always greatly enjoy it, just as I do your blog posts.

    ♥ Jessica

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  9. Thanks for the name check! With regard to being published, maybe you just haven't had the killer idea that'd push you over the edge into knuckling down the writing. Or maybe you'd just rather be doing all the other wonderful things you do (by contrast if I'm not writing I'm pretty just much watching telly!)

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