Posts from 30th March 2007

Mar 07

thrillers by (grown-up) kids: some more agatha christie

FT + The Brown Wedge11 comments • 1,682 views

7 dialsok so now in my trek through a.christie decade by decade i have reached one i like unreservedly (=no.1 in the 1930s omnibus, The Sittaford Mystery, 1931, where she really finds a rhythm), so i am going to try and sum the 1920s AC for you

i. AC invented the teenager (tuppence in The Secret Adversary; anne bedingfield in The Man in the Brown Suit; bundle in The Secret of Chimneys and The Seven Dials Mystery, in this last alongside a whole bunch of generally idiotic young men)
ii. servants are largely emo, except when they are jeeves knock-offs
iii. haha the empire wtf*
iv. the appeal — besides i-iii — is that AC (and her heroines, and YOOF IN GENERAL) are BOTHERD. oh it’s a murder, oh it’s politics, oh it’s me getting married — everything is just a lark, it’s fun to play detective, nothing matters; AC is observant, clever, funny, and almost MILITANTLY flippant — people-as-types have amiable fun poked at them; she has a real ear for the rubbish people say to one another, but this isn’t SATIRE, that would imply an idealism somewhere in her and i don’t think there is, except a deep belief that whatever commitment-to-real-serious-life drives people to kill, or rob, or become politicians, IS ALL FOOLISHNESS, so you might as well just BE foolish, or clever but direct it towards frivolous puzzlesolving time-killing (bcz at least no harm can come of that?)
v. this sets her apart from her predecessors — even chesterton, who is all-fun-all-the-time, turns it to serious moral ends (he is telling us how complex people are; and father brown is a detective of the material facts of the SOUL); conan doyle is passionate about logic, rigour and evidence, and the rich variety of london; dorothy l.sayers cares about the intelligence of women as an issue, and that people are decent to one another — all three keenly sketch the shifting mores of the day; which agatha does too, except she turns it all into tintin-ish cartoons (the seven dials is as nuts as cigars of the pharoah), and it all feels second-hand in her hands (not necessarily in a bad way)
vi. maybe this is a post(great)war thing — like the anomie and jazz-age dazzle in sayers’s murder must advertise, where the Young Things party like it was already after the end of the world — anyway i’m definitely interested to see how it keeps up (i associate agatha with UNCOOL and ELDERLY detectives, after all)
*viii. to exaand on this: where real-world elements do intrude — like rhodesia or the balkans or wealth and aristocracy, AC is clearly perfectly capable of seeing right through the rubbishness of the set-up; and sort of does, the way she comments on it; but just doesn’t (even slightly) make the common next step, which is to want to do something about this…

UPDATE: i meant to include this, which is my absolute LOL-fave of a line, from seven dials: “When you ran up and said there might be danger, I was more determined than ever,” went on Loraine. “I went to Harrods and bought a pistol.”

Radio Times readers drink the Cool Aid

FT10 comments • 944 views

The furious Who Whype spinning around us throws up a gem from the Radio Times. RT asked their readers to vote for their Coolest People on Telly and guess who came top:

  1. Doctor Who (David Tennant)
  2. Jack Bauer in 24 (Kiefer Sutherland)
  3. The Fonz in Happy Days (Henry Winkler)
  4. Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth)
  5. Cat in Red Dwarf (Danny John-Jules)
  6. DCI Gene Hunt in Life On Mars (Philip Glenister)
  7. Dermot O’Leary
  8. Columbo (Peter Falk)
  9. Dylan in The Magic Roundabout
  10. Sawyer in Lost (Josh Holloway)

So here are two more lists from the writers of Freakytrigger*:

Top 5 things we know about the chuckleheads voting in Radio Times polls

  1. They are all sexualists on a par with the writers of the Observer Women Monthly Magazine
  2. They believe that Cat in Red Dwarf is cool. Cat is not even the coolest character in Red Dwarf. Red Dwarf ffs.
  3. They believe barking ‘It’s our only chance’ into a cell phone while torturing your relatives and breaking into embassies is cool**
  4. They have never watched an episode of Happy Days
  5. They are about one place above the numbskulls voting in Teletext polls.

Redressing the key point of sexualism…

FreakyTrigger’s Top 10 Cool Ladies of Telly


FT Periodic Table: Element 1: LOVE

Blog 7 + FT2 comments • 1,943 views

element-1-love.jpgWhat a bunch of saps we are. But then if you ask fifteen people who have been on a pub crawl for six hours what is the thing that underpins the universe, well a slurred Love is not the unexpected response. Anyway, someone jumped the gun, because as we all know from Luc Besson’s odd as batshit movie*, Love is the Fifth Element. Well not so in the world of FreakyTrigger, love is the most reactive, fundamental element.


it’s the end of the videogaming world as we know it

FT7 comments • 943 views

This is real Nostradamus end times fare: believe it or don’t but it’s confirmed by Nintendo: Sonic and Mario: together at last in Mario and Sonic at the OLYMPIC GAMES!! Oh. My. God. But Mario beating Sonic at speed? NEVER HAPPEN. Unless the cheating bastards pull a Thundercats on us. I am still traumatised from a story arc of Thundercats where they had to decide who was going to be leader of the Thundercats. The leader had to beat all the other Thundercats at their special abilities. So, RUBBISH old Lion-O had to beat Cheetara in a speed trial, right? So they have a long flat route, and a dangerous short cut through an HORRIBLE JUNGLE. Cheetara runs really quickly over the long route, and Lion-O showing BRAVERY and STUFF takes the jungle route, and just about wins. BUT HE WASN’T FASTER!! Cheetara was awesome and she should have been leader. I’m still angry about this.

PS – I was always a Sonic/Sega person back then. But now I’m all about the Nintendo. The appearance of Tails was bad enough, but when KNUCKLES THE ECHIDNA came along it was just insulting. Never mind “Shadow” the Hedgehog. Stop making “dark” equivalents of good character brands! It hasn’t worked with Pokémon, it hasn’t worked with Sonic, it will NEVER WORK! Note there has never been a “Dark Mario” (there has been an actual ‘shadow’ Mario in Paper Mario 2, but he was AN ACTUAL SHADOW which is different as any fule kno).

Poptimism – Lesson Thirty Three (and a third)

Poptimism Podcast2 comments • 743 views

Gotta Work – Amerie

Au Arbres Citoyens – Yannick Noah

Get Down – Groove Armada ft Lady Stush (Calvin Harris Remix)

Stop Me – Mark Ronson / Daniel Merriweather

Head Over Heels – Tears For Fears

Fergie vs The Fray – She Is Glamorous – dj lobsterdust

Oh Timbaland – Timbaland


Land Of Pain And Glory aka I Blame Steve Redgrave

FT + TMFD2 comments • 791 views

Was struck this morning by an advert on the back of the freebie Sport magazine that gets given away at stations. It shows a finely hewn young man looking extremely serious, holding a bit of gym equipment shot in such a way to make it look as if he is in a prison with his hands on the cell bars. “DEATH ROW” is the headline, and then the strapline below is “The Boat Race: Pain, Punishment and Glory”.

And I’m thinking – hold on, the Boat Race?