Saturday, January 15, 2022

"In The End, It Is Impossible Not To Become What Others Believe You Are"

The second From The North bloggerisationisms update of 2022 begins, dear blog reader; with, for those who are interested in such things (hello, David), an update on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's health situation at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. Hands up all those who are now expecting a lengthy - and intimate - list of ailments, sickness, misery and woe. 
Okay, dear blog readers, you can all put your hands down now. Yes, sad to report, this blogger has been feeling effing appalling over the last three or four weeks (since, in fact, just before Christmas). Firstly, a persistent and lingering chest complaint was finally diagnosed as pneumonia (something this blogger always thought was a pretty damned serious thing to have but, at least where he was concerned, it didn't seem to overly concern his team of medical professionals). This blogger is pretty much over it now although he does still have to go for a chest x-ray in a couple of weeks just to make sure there's been no permanent damage to his lungs. No sooner had that malarkey been sort-of whupped than Keith Telly Topping was back at the local Medical Centre to be diagnosed with not one but two fungal infections (one in a somewhat delicate area, the other less, considerably so). These may be - and indeed, probably are - related to each other although Doctor Chris did not rule out the possibility that all of the fungals in the hemisphere had decided, independent of each other, to have attack yer actual Keith Telly Topping when his general immune system was at a jolly low ebb. Add in some of the back pain which this blogger has been a martyr to from, of-and-on, since his twenties (but, particularly around this time of year when the weather gets a bit parky) and you have a full picture of the sorry state in which this blogger finds his very self. This blogger has said it before, dear blog reader, but it's worth repeating - it's not easy being yer actual Keith Telly Topping. Even on a good day. And he doesn't have many good days. 
Still, dear blog reader, whilst it is an ill-wind which blows no one much good, they reckon, lengthy periods with this blogger being either curled up on the couch packing a hot water bottle or two (mostly two) and a quilt or, indeed, giving up on the day completely and taking himself off to his nice warm bed has had one or two beneficial side effects. Such as the opportunity for this blogger to read - for the second time - Mark Lewisohn's groundbreaking (and muscle enhancing, when you try to pick the damn thing up) extended biography of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them), Tune-In.
Over five hundred pages in and it's 1959 - John, Paul, George and Ken ('the rhythms in the guitars, man') have just gotten themselves a residency at Ma Best's Casbah Club in West Derby. But, they 'have no drums.' Will they grow some, dear blog reader? Only time (and, obviously, the author) will tell. Over the next twelve hundred pages and he'll still only get up to the end of 1962. Come on, Mark, I know you're working hard on volume two and we all appreciate that (some of us, admittedly, more than others) but a potential released date for 1963-1966 (even if it's just 'this decade') would be nice!
Of course, this blogger has had plenty more to do whilst suffering from his ill-health and general nastiness than merely read a book. Like, catching up with the last few episodes of his two favourite podcasts, both from the BBC, Kermode & Mayo's Film Review ('hello to Jason and long-live the Blue-Haired Feminists', obviously) and Americast. Both of which, if you've never checked them out, are thoroughly available from Baby Sea Clowns. He's also been rediscovering a - long-abandoned - admiration for Heinz Beef Ravioli in tomato sauce. Because, nothing (but, nothing dear blog reader), helps to temporarily improve the mental well-being of a person who is feeling more than a bit poorly than Heinz Beef Ravioli in tomato sauce. Nothing. Take it from one who knows. And remember, it's one of your five-a-day. Apparently.
Of course, any and all examples of physical exertion for this blogger have been right out of the question. Even those couple of trips down to the Medical Centre to get his shit diagnosed have felt like running a marathon as the cold air hit this blogger's weakened lungs and fair sucked all of the enthusiasm he'd once had for, you know, life right out of his body and scattered it, in tiny fragments aal ower The Estate.
Of course, there has been one other thing which has occupied this blogger's time since New Year's Day which is probably worth reporting. The bit you've all been waiting for (allegedly).
A gosh-darn good question, dear blog reader. One which, in fact, deserves (and, is going to get) a gosh-darn good answer.
Thus, in no particular order other than the purely chronological ... The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them): Get Back.
Digging For Britain From The North favourite Doctor Alive, what's not to love?
Knives Out
Ski Sunday - even if it has gone downhill of late. Come on! Plus, you know, any excuse to play the theme tune.
Waking The Dead
The Torture Garden (good God, something half-way decent on The Horror Channel. That'll never catch on!)
I, Monster
Paddington
Paddington 2 (possibly the first franchise since The Godfather where the second movie is actually better than the first. And the first was pretty good)
Qi XL
Rules Of The Game
Toast Of Tinseltown ('yes, we can hear you, Clem Fandango!')
Jonathan Creek (except for the crap last series with Sarah Alexander which this blogger boycotted on general principle)
Missions
Only Connect
Mark Kermode's Secrets Of Cinema
The Planets (BBC, 1999)
The Man Who Stole Cricket (a fascinating, disturbing and multi-faceted story of greed and criminality almost fatally ruined by the inclusion of the punchable Jonathan Agnew and his sneering 'wise after the event' views. For a man who only played three test matches in his career - and he wouldn't have got those if England had an even slightly decent bowling attack at the time - he doesn't half talk as if he believes he's the wise and sagacious bastard-love-child of Don Bradman and Gary Sobers)
Around The World In Eighty Days
The Hunt For Bible John
The World At War
The Cleaner
Arena: The Orson Welles Story
Watergate (BBC, 1994)
Hot Fuzz
Porridge (let's just pretend that the Twenty First Century remake didn't happen)
Almost Famous (Untitled)
Star Trek
Moving swiftly onwards, this blogger had hoped to have seen at least one new movie at the cinema by this stage in 2022, having tentatively arranged with his good chum Young Malcolm to go and see Operation Mincemeat (a subject which both Young Malcolm and this blogger are fascinated by) in early January. Sadly, Warners made a late decision to postpone the UK release of the movie until April due, they claimed, to Covid-related malarkey. A great shame, that, although those previously mentioned health considerations would probably have caused a delay in this blogger getting to see it anyway.
In the meantime, the next cinema visit this blogger makes is likely to be Christian Schwochow's recently-released Munich: The Edge Of War, this blogger having been a great admirer of the Robert Harris novel which it is based upon. Hopefully, another week of antibiotics, rest (and hot water bottle) and this blogger will be in a position to leave the comforting safety of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House (and, be able to use the well-known Hungarian phrase 'I am no longer infected' with impunity as a bonus) and get his ass into town to either watch the film, go for a nice Chinese meal or, indeed, both. We can dream, dear blog reader. Dreaming, as Blondie once said, is free.
And now, dear blog reader, here are some of the news stories which have occupied this blogger's attention, amused yer actual Keith Telly Topping, infuriated him or just made him plain perplexed over the last couple of weeks: From The North favourite Elvis Costello giving, as usual, great interview with the Gruniad Morning Star; another Gruniad piece about Neil Cole's Museum of Classic Sci-Fi, hosted in cellar of his Allendale townhouse; the death of Hollywood trailblazer and From The North favourite Sidney Poitier; the death of another From The North favourite, Peter Bogdanovich; the death of another From The North favourite, Ronnie Spector; a spectacular display of The Northern Lights pictured over Scotland (and some parts of North Northumberland). Ooo, pretty.
Also, of course, there's been the fall, the fall and the continuing fall of Britain's least-favourite Royal arms dealer and (whisper it) alleged sex offender (allegations which he, it is important to note, strongly denies); the fall, the fall, the fall, the fall and, the potentially ultimate, fall of Britain's least favourite Prime Minister (at least, since the last one); Michael Gove missing a Radio 4 interview slot after getting stuck in a BBC lift (if Simon Mayo is to be believed - and he should know - it was the Radio 1 lift that Gove got stuck in, thus meaning at least he'd've spent half-an-hour being exposed to some bangin' tunes that are Very Popular With Young People); the leader of The Oath Keepers militia group facing sedition charge over last year's Capitol attack (and, it only took them three hundred and seventy one days to press the charges); Alec Baldwin turning his phone over to investigators in the shooting of Halyna Hutchins; Terry Christian back on Radio Derby; the man who was pictured as a baby on the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind issuing a revived lawsuit against the band after his initial complaint of child pornography was thrown out of court by a judge; Kanye West being named as a suspect in an LA 'battery offence' (one presumes that's battery as in 'assault and' rather than 'what you put in your domestic appliances to make them go'); former child prodigy Ruth Slenczynska releasing a new CD at the age of ninety seven; should the BBC play The National Anthem - including, presumably, the racist verse about 'crushing rebellious Scots' - at closedown as, reportedly, some arsewipe smear of a Tory MP wants them to?; a man damaging a BBC headquarters statue with a hammer (a man must have a hobby) and Laura Trevelyan getting surprised by a flurry of snow while filming in Washington DC. In the middle of January. Yeah. I think a fair few people could've told her that was more than a possibility.
Well, dear blog reader, that's your whack for another, shortish, From The North bloggerisationism update from the sickness-infected Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House (where the coughing is regular and the oozing is frequent). Hopefully, by the next time this blogger has enough material to post a further update for you all, the first half of it won't be full of distressing details of medical shenanigans.
Finally, dear blog reader, the first in a new, semi-regular, From The North series, 'Alternative Happy Endings For Films With Decidedly Unhappy Endings'. Number one: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
And, on that bombshell, dear blog reader ...

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Occasions & Causes Why & Wherefore In All Things

And so, me dear bloggerisationism readers, 2021 has ended - you might have noticed. Good riddance, frankly, to a rather shitty year full of unutterable horridness and only-ceasing-at-a-minute-past-midnight on 1 January ladgefulness. As of consequence, 2022 is now upon us. Like as not, it will be just as ungrateful a little twot as the previous ... fifty odd. But, as usual, we live in hope this one might be different.
Therefore, we start off this first From The North bloggerisationism update of the New Year with a semi-regular feature ...
Make what you will, dear blog reader, from the following list of 'stuff this blogger has watched again', 'stuff this blogger has caught-up with at last' or 'stuff this blogger has tuned into out of curiosity ... and because he's got nothing better to do with his time.' This blogger will leave it up to y'all to decide which one(s) fit into which categor(ies).
Therefore, in no particular order other than the purely chronological, Forbrydelsen (series one).
From The North's favourite TV drama of 2021, Mare Of Easttown.
From The North's favourite movie of 2021, Last Night In Soho.
McCartney, 3,2,1.
Summer Of Soul.
American Rust.
The Nevers.
The Cleaner.
A Field In England.
Dexter: New Blood.
Game Of Thrones, series seven and eight.
Star Trek: Discovery, series four.
Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing.
War Factories.
Petite Mamam.
From The North favourite Only Connect.
The Sparks Brothers.
Yellowjackets.
Secrets Of The Solar System.
And, of course, the New Year's Day episode of Doctor Who. Which this blogger thought was great, by the way.
'I'm going to be killed by aliens any minute. Again!' This blogger really enjoyed Eve Of The Daleks, dear blog reader. He thought it was sweet and amusing with its Groundhog Day riffs ('same difference!') and From The North favourite Aisling Bea on terrific form. Some great funny moments - the entire assessment of Dan as 'inferior' sequence; 'we're stuck in a time-loop with killer robots'; 'you have a lot of ex-girlfriends ... they're all alive, aren't they?'; 'Is that a good or a bad thing?' 'Not sure, definitely one or the other!'; 'Haven't seen this much gunpowder since 1605!' Et cetera. So, to sum up, then, that was - unsurprisingly - great. Next, The Sea Devils are back it would seem.
Sad to report, dear blog reader, that this blogger his very self has spent much of the Christmas and New Year period feeling, well, let's not sugar-coat this, pretty rubbish actually. Nothing drastic, of course, many people have far worse health problems than this blogger, but certainly yer actual Keith Telly Topping has had better fortnights in his life.
Although, admittedly, this news story did cheer this blogger up, somewhat. One imagines he's got a big sweat-on right about now.
Also in the news since last From The North was updated, the Honours List; the 'Those We Lost' list; Roman discoveries and From The North favourite Doctor Alice; some people - almost exclusively Middle Class hippy Communist vegan quiche eating Gruniad Morning Star readers - whinging about utter trivia that doesn't matter in the slightest to 'normal' people; the vinyl revivalpussies; the very sad news of the death of Janice Long; the BBC spanking ITV in the overnight ratings of Christmas Day (as usual); Covid strikes big-style at this blogger's beloved (now sellable, but, due to the idiotic mismanagement and penny-pinching of the previous owner, probably relegation-bound) Magpies; from which no one is safe it would seem; Richard Osman on Desert Island Discs; more - self-inflicted - Ashes misery; the standard crass betting on the new Bond crap (which, at least, makes a change from the standard crass betting on the new Doctor crap); Hamilton's lip still trailing the ground; Channel Five spoiling the reveal of the Celebrity MasterChef winner. Which, obviously, wasn't deliberate (oh, no, very hot water); naughty Noth and his naughty doings (allegedly); Jon Snow retires (Middle Class hippy Communist vegan quiche eating Gruniad Morning Star readers everywhere go into mourning and have their Christmases ruined); James Franco's admissionslickable tellyEric and Ernie (well, it is Christmas, what do you expect?); more whinging about trivia nobody 'normal' cares about; if you're going to call someone a Nazi, it's probably a good idea to make sure they actually were a member of the Third Reich or, it's going to cost you a ton of bread; a possible reason why Uranus is tipped over on its side; Laura Kuenssberg's forthcoming departure; the Strictly finalSir Rod in a spot of botherMichael Sheen; I spy with my big eyeFred DineageCleese whinging about trivia no one cares about - except him (so, no change there, then); Rump getting desperate; Newtown Linford police box given listed status; David Lloyd retires from SkyCaroline reaches The White Album and, the extremely surprising - and entirely unexpected - discovery that the rich can't, always, buy their way out of The Slammer.
Plus the greatest bit of news in the history of the world, bar none, Coldplay To Stop Making Music As A Band In 2025. But, you know, that's still four years away, lads, couldn't you just stop now? Don't feel you have to carry on just for us.
Happy New Year, dear From The North blog reader. Let's hope this one's marginally less rotten than its predecessors.