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 2 (possibly the first franchise since The Godfather where the second movie is actually better than the first. And the first was pretty good)
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)
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 ...