Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book vs. Telly - London's Lawless

That I am an Anglophile should come as no surprise to anyone who's read this blog. Similarly, if my love of sitcoms, history, and hot gay writers has yet to become a matter of the public record then it let it be so noted now.

It's only inevitable, then, that in the course of compiling the library here at the Pop Culture Institute motifs should occur, and henceforth, whenever they do, they will be ripe for blogging.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I wasn't too many pages into "The Long Firm" by Jake Arnott when it occurred to me that reading this book would involve rewatching "Thick as Thieves", which I'd bought earlier.

Both tell the story of the Smoke's criminal classes in the same era - the 1960s and early 70s. Both do an admirable job of sympathising the criminal while not condoning their acts, a kind of tightrope act becoming more commonplace.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting As accomplished as Mr. Arnott's prose is, though, it's a little dry; as usual, the modern fear of adjectives gets in the way of what could have been a really juicy story. "Thick as Thieves" writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, on the other hand, really capture the argot of Fulham's criminal milieu. Bob Hoskins is memorable as George Dobbs, John Thaw's Stan Hardwick is at once a counterpoint to and a bookend for his more famous Inspector Morse, and even when Pat Ashton's accent slips you can hardly fault her. The first time I watched it I think their combined accents sprained my eardrums.

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New President of Harvard Has Vagina

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Academic world all in a tizzy.

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World's Best Teacher

Seriously. He taught me - ME! - how to make links, get this, using code! Code is practically math, y'all.

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One Saturday in Vancouver

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One Saturday in Vancouver I decided I wanted an adventure. I often feel this way on Saturday, which, given the orderly nature of my weekdays is only natural. Usually I have a seat at my computer and after a couple of hours the feeling has passed.

Only this week I'd gotten a hot tip (from the manager himself, no less) that I could repair my damaged memory card at Kerrisdale Cameras in West Vancouver. I probably ignored the logistics of such a trip once I heard that what I'd once thought irreparably damaged might be repaired. My blood was hot; this was one adventure which was unavoidable.

Well, West Vancouver is quite a distance from where I live, a journey involving two crossings of water and a journey into, well, not exactly uncharted territory, but into a part of the city I haven't made a habit of frequenting. So what else could I do? I dragged my friend Seumas into it.

Now, Seumas owns a car, which was part of the reason I made such a decision. Also, Seumas has a tendency to sit in the house and brood, and this particular Saturday in Vancouver was a beautiful day. So I called, set up the trip, and off we went.

Mistake #1: Driving through downtown.

Mistake #2: Not calling ahead first.

I mean, it took us over an hour to get there (when, for instance, I could have walked there in two) and when we finally got there said git was nowhere to be found. "Oh, Saturday's his day off," said the clerk I finally got to help me, oozing apathy like Quebec maples ooze syrup. I wracked my brain, searching for the exact words he'd said to me, and there they were: "Sure, come in on Saturday and we'll fix you up."

Fortunately I was with Seumas and not, say, anyone else I know, since not only is Seumas very patient (I mean, he's taught me things and I'm still alive, so that should tell you something) he has a very calming influence, especially on me. We left the store blinking in the intense sunshine of Ambleside Village, and I for one was unsure what to do next, except that I knew I was hungry. Seeming to read my mind, Seumas took me to lunch, where I feasted on prime rib, whose horseradish sauce nearly got the taste of disappointment out of my mouth.

One the way back we took a different route, touring the devastation in Stanley Park. Passing Sunset Beach I snapped the above photo. Then we got trapped in even more construction schamozzle, this time on the Cambie Street bridge.

So off we'd gone in search of some Grail or other, only to fail in our quest. Yet, I got a nice change of scenery, a couple of groovy new pictures, and most importantly, an hour or two of time with a friend. Also, at lunch, he taught me how to write code for links.

Lesson learned, I'd say. Even if your adventure doesn't pan out, consider the adventure you did have, and be grateful for it.

I know I am.
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