Look Back At Me
Look back at me.
Have you ever thought, said, or wanted to say this as someone walked, drove, or flew away?
On this Labour Day when people march forward to celebrate how far workers have come and how much further they need to go, it’s good to look back on the brave people that fought for workers’ rights.
The BBC miniseries North & South is based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell; screenplay by Sandy Welch and directed by Brian Percival, yes, same title, different show than the American Civil War miniseries, North & South. This North & South refers to the North and South of England, and focuses on industrialization and the inequality between classes.
A couple hundred years later, not much has changed.
The lower classes work themselves into an early grave while the upper classes pay them less than they should to work themselves into an early grave.
Gaskell does an amazing job of showing both sides; some of the upper class want to be fair and some of the lower class want to be more.
Elizabeth Gaskell, considered by some as less romantic than some writers in the Regency-era, after all, she dared to tackle the subjects of: poverty, discrimination, unsafe working conditions, the multiple health hazards of working in factories, unions, child labour and welfare, daycare, nutrition, pollution, inequality between the classes and more, head-on.
Her work, now seen as classic wasn’t beloved by all, still isn’t, many factory owners and the rich didn’t like the truth being exposed or their methods questioned. That hasn’t changed much either.
We feel Gaskell’s conviction in the strength of Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe). She’s not a simpering miss who’s only thought in life is to marry, but a woman of principles, faith, and compassion. She has feelings for John Thornton, well, duh, it’s Richard Armitage, but she stands resolved to be true to herself and others.
Supporting cast is incredible, including Brendan Coyle (now well-known as the enigmatic Bates on Downton Abbey, also Larkrise To Candleford and so much more – I think he’s one of those British actors who probably have their own period piece costumes at the ready).
If you can’t get enough of British period pieces, check out Gaskell’s Cranford series, familiar faces for Downton Abbey fans, Carson (Jim Carter) and Michelle Dockery (Mary), and even an Asgard god (Tom Hiddleston)…one of fav TV games, spot the actor to see if they became a star.
Yes, North & South is at times a grim visage of lives suffered, but with just enough seething, barely contained Victorian passion, fingers lingering as a cup of tea is passed and obligatory smouldering looks to keep it interesting. Have I really been crushing on RA in N&S for 10 years? Wow.
Sometimes it’s the simplest of words, murmured with brooding passion, that capture and inspire, as Armitage admirers (sure, let’s call us that) around the globe believe.
Look back at me.
I won’t tell you if she does.
I can tell you what I would have done.
So as another Labour Day marches on and another summer draws to a close, we look forward. On the off chance you actually believed companies and corporations willing give their workers: fair wages, reasonable hours, days off, health or safety benefits, vacations, or well, anything good workers enjoy, think again. Those were paid for in blood, sweat and tears.
Be thankful and vigilant.
Before Game of Thrones…Gormenghast
Getting antsy waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones to start? Missing the intrigue, passion, treachery, lies, horror, murder, lust, filth, fighting, and fantasy?
Tired of hearing Winter Is Coming when many have had enough of winter?
Then the 4-part BBC Gormenghast might be just the ticket to exotic destinations.
Before Game of Thrones there was Gormenghast. Adapted from the first 2 books in the trilogy by Mervyn Peake, this is a stunningly creepy and brilliant experience you’ll not soon forget.
Exceptional cast including: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Ian Richardson, Neve McIntosh, Richard Griffiths, Zoë Wanamaker, Spike Milligan, and more.
This twisted foray into fantasy will be a stark reminder – more is out there.
Jane Austen’s diverting and delightful Emma has intrigued audiences, in print and on screens for many years. Emma is a woefully well-intended but misplaced matchmaker, suppressed adventuress, and a stymied intellectual. Her main foil is her own Queen Bee attitude; her immature overconfidence that she knows best for everyone.
Along with her overprotective father, her handsome and under-appreciated neighbour/brother-in-law and a whole cast of other characters Emma takes a winding and oft self-deceiving journey to a place she should have explored long before – her own heart.
I enjoyed much of this 2009 TV adaptation.
Lively and amusing, Romola Garai seemed a tad too worldly for Emma.
Jonny Lee Miller (a divine Mr. Knightley) was too background. They needed to use Miller and Michael Gambon to more effect. They really needed to use this whole cast to better effect. For heaven’s sake why hire brilliant actors and then under- utilize them?
The chemistry with Garai and Miller is fabulous, the cut and thrust of their conversations scrumptious, but sparse.
The flow of the series leans at times toward tentative and expected. Emma should be more bold, joyful, and flourishing in it’s a journey of self-discovery.
Overall, this series was charming, efficient, and lovely, but how many versions of Jane Austen novels do we need? Many will disagree, but I would like to see some other stories told, perhaps some that are more unfamiliar to us. While it is cozy to watch a story so beloved and memorable, why not give us some other classics, or lesser known works that we may also enjoy? I know the answer. Money. People flock to the recognizable.
While I enjoy various versions of Austen, I guess I’d also like more variety.
Jeeves and Wooster
Understandable this clunky British 1930s era comedy isn’t for everyone…but isn’t that a shame? You really don’t know what you’re missing, then again, if you don’t know, you’re probably not missing it and are ok with that.
Jeeves and Wooster is a lenient, laconic, laughable dance. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry onscreen are pure magic. Their chemistry is flawless.
Jeeves and Wooster are like:
Pasta and sauce.
Cake and ice cream.
Oil and vinegar.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese.
Hot chocolate and whipped cream.
Chips and salsa.
Cabbage and tomato.
Peanut butter and banana.
Peanut Butter and jam.
Peanut butter and bacon.
They’re peanut butter and chocolate.
Oops, I’ve gone off on a peanut butter tangent. But you get the point. Things that could be great separately, but are superb together.
Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are fantastic on their own, but together, they’re a magnificent treat that’s timeless.
Hugh Laurie plays Bertie Wooster, an upper class British twit who gets himself in one scrape after another. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just kind of oblivious. Stephen Fry plays his long-suffering pragmatic, perfect, and always prepared valet who keeps Wooster’s escapades in check, or at least, he tries. The P.G. Wodehouse books these were adapted from are worth a read as well.
Gentle, carefree merriment.
MONTY PYTHON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE
Just in case I wasn’t feeling old enough, I just realized this movie is 30 years old…30…how is that even possible? Of course, it was a classic from the moment it was conceived. I have watched this movie so many times, I actually had it memorized, er, maybe still do. Some of my best times were watching this with friends, laughing hysterically.
I learned so much about The Meaning of Life from this film.
From the moment The Crimson Permanent Assurance building sets sail, until we find out the real meaning of life, with gratuitous images.
Here’s what I got from this.
Remember, always get the most expensive machines in the hospital, in case the administrator comes, especially the machine that goes ping…
Sometimes the little loves must be sold for medical experiments.
Hopefully you don’t lose your leg to a virus or Tiger (A tiger… in Africa?) or something.
Find The fish…
Careful not to trod in Monsieur’s bucket.Have one more bite, it’s wafer thin.
Don’t open the door to Mr. Death even if you think it’s about the reaping.
In Heaven every day is Christmas.
If you’re feeling small and insecure, think of how unlikely your birth and pray there’s intelligent life in space, ’cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.
If someone asks for your liver for a live organ donation, no matter how good their song, say no.
And gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Merry Christmas to all, I think I may have to go watch this again.