CRRRRS 518 Burn It All Down

By Roy Mathur, on 2024-01-02, at 23:53:30--01:31:35 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show

Happy New Year!

New Year's greetings from Castle Royenstein.

Though the whole family was sick and exhausted, and my father went into hospital for surgery on Friday and returned on New Years Eve, we tried to make the best of our New Year celebrations. Our diminished appetites meant we didn't start on the Christmas pudding until New Years Day and even the Yule log remained unmolested until my mother and I saw the New Year in with a couple of slices on New Year's Eve. What I saying is that the entire household is stressed and all is tad out of kilter. Hence, sloppy podcasting, as you are about to find out tonight from the number of errors from previous pods I will address.

However, I am glad to be talking to you again, mostly for the sheer distraction of it. Phew.

The Observer

Follow-up from 516.

As well as making myself and you miserable, by talking about depressing news that I have no hope of helping to change in any positive way, it's boring. In any case, why listen to me inexpertly ranting about something better covered in the mainstream press, when my expertise is geekdom? (Well, apart from all the cock-ups in reviewing Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road and other stuff. Cop-out maybe, but I've said often enough that I'm more of a casual reviewer. Excuses, excuses...)

I know this because I've been editing and uploading some older and excruciating podcast shownotes. I meant well, but what was I thinking?

If you come across an old show and find me veering away from Heinlein to bang on about some British politician's stupid face, you have my permission to fast forward.

Instead of letting the daily news cycle kill me with stress, I've gone back to an old habit instilled in silly airhead me by my parents when I was younger. I now plan to get my news only once a week, on Sunday, from The Observer. For anything more urgent, like imminent alien invasion, my phone will sound the government's early warning.

Dark Harvest

2023 horror movie, based on bestselling novel, concerning a rural annual tradition of teen boys frenziedly hunting down and killing the dreaded Sawtooth Jack monster to ensure the town's survival.

Child of the Corn plus The Purge plus Rawhead Rex plus The Outsiders plus Mauritian folklore from my childhood about how the next year's sugar cane harvest is assured, which I hope is nonsense because it makes this film look like Play School in comparison.

The love interest cinema booth girl sounded too modern and sheriff was doing a very bad imitation of an angry country red neck. The soundtrack was anachronistic for the period and this is 1962, not the 50s, so why are are the Bandits gang, greasers?

In conclusion, a Stephen King-like and predictable within minutes, though mostly okay teen horror, with a few good gory chu-spluk kills. The creature design was good, but cartoony. What saves it were the beautifully filmed opening sequences. Drones, lighting, sound... across the board those cornfields were made captivating.

We get this week's title from the last line in the film: "Burn it all down!" That seems appropriate for saying goodbye to last year and hope that this year is better.

Dirty Filthy Love

Today I rewatched this 2004 Granada's TV film for ITV.

Architect Mark's (Michael Sheen) tics and strangely compelling habits, as he calls them, plus work and marriage stress combine to send him spiralling into anxiety and depression.

One thing that annoyed me was one character's trotting out, seeming verbatim straight from a textbook, psychological nonsense that has been used on me. I.e. what have you got to worry about that makes you tic or do some compulsive behaviour? If it was that simple, I'd be Jim Dandy.

It is, however, a much better portrayal of Tourette's and OCD than Edward Norton's Motherless Brooklyn, that disappointed me in 352. I read that one of the writers apparently has OCD themselves. It also somewhat reflects my own late diagnosis of Tourette's in 2016. Really quite amazing for a condition classified more than a hundred years ago.

A Murder at the End of the World

2023 FX on Hulu mystery/thriller/techno thriller from the makers of The OA.

True crime author and punky sleuth/hacker daughter of cornoner becomes embroiled in murderous goings ons at a tech billionaire's retreat in Iceland.

It rubbed me the wrong way. For a start, I was already miffed with the same creative team of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij behind The OA for sabotaging the last episode of that show.

Secondly, and more importantly, this is clearly another drama influenced by Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. Like Salander, Darby is on the spectrum and a sexy, tattooed hacker. Unlike Salander, she is also the skilled amateur detective daughter of a coronoer, a successful published author, and sweetly likeable to boot. While, Salander is just about believable, and her difficulties make her easy to empathise with, Darby has too much talent for one person and is altogether too cloying.

I also didn't like her thuggish inked boyfriend and the other rich, obnoxious suspects, so the stakes were zero for me. One episode down, none to go.

Good? The garage door opening scene make me laugh hard. It's the too-clever-by-half kind of cock up that, as an inveterate tinkerer, has often happened to me. It's a comedic situation that every hacker in the world would recognise.

For All Mankind

Season four of the alternative history space race sci-fi show is back in full swing and I'm still watching.

At the millennium, Al Gore is president, and while this imaginary world is not perfect, there are flourishing Moon and Mars bases.

I'm sad that in this reality we got bogged down in endless war, recession, and climate collapse---thanks rich people and politicians---and we still don't even have so much as a potting shed on the Moon.

Wishful thinking isn't such a bad thing. Let's make 2024 better.

Rick and Morty

The episode 10 season 7 finale is more of the clever sci-fi horror comedy. In the last episode theyend up incepted in a scary hole. It's great, it's always great.

This very well might be currently the best science fiction show on television. I even bought a Rick and Morty t-shirt for Christmas, and then forgot to wear it.

Quentin Blake's Box of Treasures: Zagazoo, Quentin Blake's Box of Treasures: Jack and Nancy

These are the first two of a series of hand drawn animated short 2023 films from Eagle Eye Drama and available on iPlayer. They are based on the work of Quentin Blake, a prolific artist and writer of children's books. He also worked as an illustrator for others, including Roald Dahl.

The first story is about a couple who discover an unusual abandoned baby, who they care for as it turns they lives upside down by changing into a menagerie of endearing but destructive creatures. It's a bittersweet metaphor about bringing up a child.

The second is about two children who, after talking to sailors, waft out to sea on an umbrella and have adventures on a faraway island. Again, a metaphor, this time about the incredible imaginations of children.

Both are sweet fantasies and well drawn and Adrian Lester's narration is warm and funny and I look forward to the rest.

Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder

I said in 514 that the long distant look in the ship's corridor was achieved by deep depth of field. That terminology is very oldschool camera. That's Citizen Kane oldschool camera work.

The reality was that it was probably CGI'd to within an inch of its life.

What this tells you is that I was brought up on analogue manual cameras and old glass by Mum. While I know how oldschool photography works I'm sketchy on digital photography and video, and know bugger-all about CGI.

Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road

Here's some follow-up correcting errors I made in 517.

Adding insult to injury, even my attempt at zeitgeist, before even embarking on the error train, wasn't the spirit of the times, rather the insular spirit of me. I was all over the place that night.

Thanks to Janet Fielding's Tweet pointing out the wonderfulness of the Master's Rasputin, I stand corrected. While I find most, but not all, music in Who terrible, I appreciated the Master gyrating to BoneyM.'s camp Euro pseudo-disco pop in The Power of the Doctor.

Further correction: the TARDIS changed quite a lot in Old Who, as well as New Who.

Even further correction: as I rewatched the opening, when I put it on for my mother (2023-12-30), Ruby's accent is explained in the script. She was brought up in Manchester until her mother had to return to London to look after her grandmother. I did get the feeling, however, this was tacked on, once it became apparent Gibson couldn't do Londoner.

The need for frequent follow-ups to correct errors in previous pods is about all that keeps this show going.

The Famous Five

This is a new 2023 BBC adaptation of Enid Blyton's children's mystery novels. The showrunner is Nicolas Winding Refn, a fact which will become important in a moment. As someone who remembers ITV's 70s TV show, read at least Blyton's The Rat-a-Tat Mystery, and enjoys the youth sleuth team format, I was looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, the moment the mystery got rolling, it rubbed me the wrong way. What really set me off, I don't know whether this was in the original text, was seeing out protagonist, George, poking at the body of a diver on a beach, not seeing if the person was alive or dead. She then casually strolls off, meets some other kids and they return to oggle the body.

Nicolas Winding Refn, the showrunner, directed Drive, Only God Forgives, The Neon Demon, etc., all of which I have spoken about on this podcast and all of which would not suggest he'd do a good job with a light show about kid detectives. And he doesn't.

There are nice sailing scenes and cute hairy dog, but the lead George has been written annoying, sulky, and callous. When she was sailing or talking to the dog, she was great, otherwise I didn't like her character at all, which put me off the show. Not the actress's fault, but the bizzare way she was written.

Warning: if this has inspired you to dig into the books, the originals were occasionally sexist and racist, but luckily, in the book I read, it was either absent, I missed it, was oblvious to that aspect, or read an edited version. (Whereas reading Charles Hamilton's collected Magnet, while entertaining, in retrospect also makes me shudder).

Yes Minister, The Thick of It

I'm a fan of Yes Minster, the BBC 80s political satire about the UK government.

After having watched and rewatched it many times since it's initial broadcast, I was hungry for more of the same and decided to give The Thick of It a try. Armando Iannucci's 2000s comedy was based on the Tony Blair goverment, and heavily featuring Malcom Tucker (Peter Capaldi); a vicious parody of Blair's spin doctor Malcolm Campbell.

Even seeing the terrible characters get their comeuppances didn't make it any less too close to the bone. It was too painful to watch. I'll stick with Yes Minister.


Did you know Peter Falk's Columbo was the third incarnation of the character played by two different previous actors, first on TV, then on stage in the 60s?

The creators, Richard Levinson and William Link, said the rumpled howcatchem sleuth was influenced by Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment's Porfiry Petrovich and G. K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton's Father Brown.

Blake's 7

Happy Blake's 7 Day. The first episode, The Way Back, was broadcast on BBC1 on Monday 2nd January 1978 at 18:00.

I was glued to the set, watched every single episode of Terry Nation's anti-Star Trek, and bought the magazine for years via a WHSmith subscription. Remember those racks at the front of the shop? I also had some of the books gave them up, then re-bought them within the last few years.

Long live the glorious rebellion and down with the fascist Federation!

JLab Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones

In 465 I said these were, "...worth a punt." There are not, as they have developed a high pitched whine.

Analogue wired cans are still best.

A Hash of Things

Why so many errors?! This is a solo podcast, fact-checking is onerous, and my time is limited.

Of course, I try to make sure I don't make mistakes, which is part of the reason for such detailed shownotes, but sometimes I rather make a hash of things.

New Year's Resolutions

Unordered, here they are:

1. Relax and get well.
2. Re-edit and re-publish my novel and edit and publish a draft anthology of horror short stories.
3. Buy a car.
4. Do more canoeing.
5. Finish motorcycle training.
6. Move.
7. Go on an exceedingly long road trip because, god, do I need a holiday.
8. Finish and backup my blog.
9. Watch less, read more.
10. Meet more people.