I must have looked at my calendar and thought, yay, two weeks without any engagements. I know, I’ll be sick!
At least, that’s what it feels like. I think it’s just a lurgy I picked up in Melbourne, but as I’ve not had a proper, decent make me feel entirely wretched cold for a couple of years now (that dose of flu/whooping cough/tonsillitis that damn nearly killed me several years ago gifted me with an immunity to everything, until now) so I’m taking it like a grizzling toddler/adult male.
Still, it’s been an excuse to stay close to the telly. Oh yes, Pine. But first, I did see a play last week.
STC’s Talk, at the Opera House, was very funny, oddly timely and a bit old hat (it’s been in production for years), somewhat farcical about serious matters (but so was MASH). It wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be, more an essay on modern media in general, rather than an examination of a shock jock.
It was oddly visceral in charting the decline of the traditional media structure, and I saw it days before Mark Colvin died, but after the Sydney Morning Herald sackings. Oddly, the original number of sacked journos in the play was 50, but, as discussed in the Q&A after the show, they knocked it down to 25, which they still thought high. Turns out 115 was the number. So that was shockingly relevant.
What was quaint was shifting the blame for all this onto feckless Millennial bloggers, rather than the entirely more sinister psyops strategy we know it is now.
Reading that Guardian article reminded me of the tactics described by Fleming, yes, Fleming, in From Russia With Love, and I’m not sure whether Fleming was describing Russian psyops or inventing them, but either way, the blueprint is there. Ditto some of the early Le Carres, should you require corroboration, and if you still don’t believe this stuff can happen, go read Philby’s piece, which can be summed up as a smug ‘too easy’. Or read today’s headlines. Whichever.
But I digress. Basically, I was there to see John Waters on stage (because I still have a thing for Sergeant McKellar, for shame), and anything written by Jonathan Biggins is likely to be very witty, local and topical, and it was. Even the sets were a hoot, with the stark (and entirely accurate) contrast between the ABC and Newscorp press rooms. It was a bit slapstick, more than a bit (too much Revue creeping in), but it certainly hit the mark about the message, even if it did hammer it home with all the subtlety of a shock jock.
So that’s me, supporting the yartz, local thespians and new works. Job done and it wasn’t that painful (see, new works don’t have to be distressingly awful).
So, the Pine. Basically, the screening, at last, a week later, of a very cut down version of his SNL episode, featuring only three skits that had Mr Pine in them (and no music, no monologue, no dance off, but luckily I have friends). Um, what to say? Well, the kid can sing, and sing he did, but I was hoping for more funny, but I guess the called off at the last-minute writer’s strike might have played into that a bit? Maybe? Or did Chris just want to sing his little heart out, bless. (Had I seen the monologue I could have comments about TPTB fascination with white guys called Chris, but I didn’t, so I don’t).
Either way, what I saw wasn’t that funny, but maybe I was annoyed at knowing, from Tumblr, that I was missing out on huge, huge chunks of the show, and 6am is never my optimum viewing time (who am I kidding, I was missing the Thunderbirds) but hey, at least it was Chris on telly. Foxtel also slapped on Star Trek, Star Trek: Beyond and Finest Hours for my viewing pleasure. I was going to hit the tottering pile of dvds, but the cold was running riot by then, and I was too grumpy and wheezy for anything, really.
What I did watch, while sulking, was this woeful piece of MST3K bait called The Five Golden Dragons, a British-German coproduction from 1967 (oh yeah, baby) and set in oh so British Hong Kong, with Christopher Lee slumming it as one of the, well, it’s hardly a spoiler now, is it, bad guys. Oh, it was so awful, despite my existential misery I was screeching with laughter. Especially the tight close-up reaction shot from the really bad dragon mask. Oh my, yes. What a…gem.
This is what Chris should have done on SNL. If he wants to play a spy, play a 1967 playboy one with hokey exoticism and lashings of camp (oh, this film is so…well, you’ll see, in a subtext rapidly becoming text kinda way). (I swear I could have written funnier sketches, I can be funny, why, just yesterday I was asking why these birds were called oystercatchers, as it didn’t seem to me that oysters needed that much catching).
Anyways, since I discovered cheap chop-socky can make me smile, I decided it was time to dive into the limp noodle fest that is Iron Fist, with Daisy no less as an ineffectual simpering villain (so far at least, I’ve got four or five episodes to go). Because I always wallow in the MCU when I’m poorly. It’s tradition.
Iron Fist isn’t at all great, but it’s not as bad as the reviews said, and the whole white-washing/white saviour thing was kind of inherent/inherited in the text, so it’s unfortunate, and TPTB could have done more to address the post-colonial elephant in the room, but they didn’t, and suffered a critical panning as they probably deserved, but it could have been worse (see The Five Golden Dragons).
Actually, Iron Fist could have done with a lot more camp and really silly dragon masks. You know, play up, not play down the woeful historical baggage that drags on it like a boat anchor. That and the most underwhelming, whiny white man-baby rich bitch protagonist, but I guess that’s very now (at least he's not called Chris).
Basically, I didn’t mind it, it’ll do while I’m unwell and grumpy, but it could do with an infusion of Fu Manchu. Go completely Danger 5, go Monkey, go The Samurai. Ah, I guess I grew up with this stuff more than the American white boys making Iron Fist. Would it kill them to give me some Big Trouble in Little China? That should have been their reference. Can I at least have a mesmerist and a giant rat?
I’d ask that TPTB could, for once, not make it all about some rich white princeling with daddy issues, but again, very now. Destiny and daddy issues. Seriously, can somebody put these tropes to bed? Tuck them in with a story and some warm milk?
In other news. the shirt I’m wearing today, while vaguely a Margaret Preston-y print, is fashionably rumpled, because I so didn’t do any ironing on the weekend (see grumpy, sulking, above).
Besides, I can’t iron and hold my phone up at the same time, which the only device that will stream anything right now. My laptop crashes even on iView, and my poor tablet can’t even open up Tumblr with any success. Ah, to be stranded in the country with the 51st slowest internet speeds in the world (NYT). Yes, people in countries where the main form of transport is a goat have a better chance of viewing YouTube trailers than me. Not that I’m bitter or fed up or anything.
In case you were wondering why I still rely on cable and dvd for my viewing choices. Besides, occasionally they cough up charming surprises like The Five Golden Dragons. I should have never have sought out a classic like that on my own (because I have some shred of sanity left). But I was sick, it was on telly. Bliss. Doing it old school.
And yes, it was a dreadfully sexist, racist film but it was 1967 and a British/German production so it is what it is, I was just there for the cringing silly. And besides, like campy fat old white guys with criminal connections really rule the world…that would be silly.
But yes, I realise it’s all a bit wrong, but one can no more argue that it’s not very nice to be racist and sexist with white dudes from 1967 than one can with conservatives today. I wonder what the world would be like if sad old fat ugly nasty petty rich white dudes didn’t put everyone else down.
Ah well, it’s the world I live in. It kinda sucks. But I have (Pine enabling and Olympus de-yellowing) friends, and most folks at work aren’t dicks. So there’s that. I could do without this cold though. Who needs to feel more miserable?
Items of interest: https://plus.google.com/u/0/