Daily Archives: 15 January 2009

Nine wishes for 2009 #8: for me to get a chance to pursue some personal projects

Its 1am on 15 January 2009 and I still haven’t finished my “nine wishes” for the year. How crap am I?

That very crapness is what I want to address, at least in passing, in number eight. By the end of 2008, I was frankly a bit of a misery guts. There are lots of reasons for that – the relentless media refrain of “we’re all dooooomed!!!” doubtless hasn’t helped much – but one of the reasons was that 2008 was just so busy for me.

Workwise, we have been on an upward spiral – but it has been tough. Barely finding a window to take my annual leave, I ended up taking the bulk of it at the end of the year. I barely found the chance to think for myself and it took a toll both on my cheeriness and on this blog.

I want 2009 to be different. Starting with my request for ideas for things I could do to cheer me up, I’ve ended up taking on a number of commitments – arguably too many.

Most of them I can’t talk about right now (but you’ll find out soon enough). Suffice to say that among these are plans to overhaul Liberal Drinks and develop some ideas which might increase take up, and to revive my plans for Reflecting Britain.

Unlike most of my other wishes, this one is entirely in my hands. Watch this space.

Patrick McGoohan & Ricardo Montalban RIP

Losing Patrick McGoohan today was bad enough, but then it was announced that Ricardo Montalban has died as well. This is indeed a sad day.

For politicos, McGoohan is probably the greater loss because of his highly political (and radical – not just of its time but of all time) subversion of the secret agent genre The Prisoner. It emerges that this is now being remade into a film (courtesy of the makers of the new film, you can watch the original series online gratis) – something which rivals the Watchmen film in terms of making me feel ambivalent. McGoohan’s aim of The Prisoner was to be entirely subversive – essentially an act of trashing his own brand (which after Danger Man was very valuable indeed). How subversive can a remake be? The Wicker Man anyone?

Compared to The Prisoner, Fantasy Island (which is also currently being remade by – ack! – Eddie Murphy!) seems very tame indeed. I’ve never seen it, nor do I particularly intend to catch up for lost time.

For me, Montalban is to be lauded for one role only: the eponymous chracter is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – arguably the greatest Trek film. Montalban’s performance was brilliant – as hammy as Shatner, to be sure – but both sinister and sympathetic at the same time. The film is remembered for two main scenes: Spock dies at the end (you didn’t know? Sorry!) and Khan and Kirk’s chat-off in the middle. Known in particular for Shatner’s completely over the top screaming, Montalban’s performance is a pitch perfect counterpoint and utterly chilling.

Growing up in the early 1980s, both McGoohan and Montalban were thus major punctuation points in my growing up. ITV reshowed The Prisoner in the early eighties to great fanfare while Star Trek was omnipresent. I doff my cap to you both, gentlemen.