Ripper Street is the shit

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I meant to write this post after episode 1 of series 1, but failed to. We’re now waiting on episode 6 (of 8) of series 2 (which was sprung on me a bit unexpectedly, if I’d not idly opened the paper that day I wouldn’t have known it was back on).

Anyway, it’s a brilliant detective series set in Whitechapel, the first series was set in 1889, shortly after the Jack The Ripper murders (one of the first lines in it was “she’s been ripped!”). The main character is Inspector Edmund Reid, who was a real person, though he bears little resemblance to his real-life counterpart (who was far more interesting, a high-ranking druid and a balloonist!). There’s also the usual tough sergeant who is handy in a fight, and an American army doctor (and former spy) who does the CSI stuff. The first series had an ongoing storyline revolving around the background of Captain Jackson, who was a Pinkerton detective in the USA, and got involved in the Haymarket Massacre, a real event of 1886. That’s one of the things I love about Ripper Street, though it’s clearly fictional (despite having some characters who really existed), they make a lot of references to things that really happened at the time. Other references include a boat accident which Inspector Reid was injured in (the real one wasn’t, though!), and the shutting down of the “freak show” at which the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, was exhibited.

The new series looked like it was going to revolve around trying to bring the drug-dealing chief inspector of a neighbouring police division to justice, but that appears to fallen by the wayside in favour of more “individual” episodes touching on various political issues of the day such as the growth of Chinatown, feminism and Irish republicanism. There’s also another ongoing plot about Captain Jackson’s wife, Long Susan (who runs a brothel) being in debt to a local slum landlord.

They’ve managed to avoid anachronistic technology pretty well, and have been sparing with stuff that was cutting-edge at the time. No doubt rich parts of London had electric light, but Whitechapel didn’t! They even make reference to the steam-powered lines of the underground, we haven’t yet seen a telephone or motor car, and film is something they look upon as if it’s witchcraft.

There does seem to be plenty of anachronistic speech, though. But it has been toned down a little in the second series. The first used the term Molly House (used in City of Vice a few yeats previously. That series was set in 1749!), and they occasionally sounded more like characters from Shakespeare or the Bible! That’s been toned down a little in series 2, though the odd modern phrase (like “knock yourself out”) has slipped in. I was surprised to hear the term “infernal machines” used. At the time, that was the term used to describe a bomb, especially one intended to kill people.

All in all this is a great show, in fact I’m probably more excited about where series 2 is going than I am about the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who! I hope it continues for a lot longer – the real-life Reid lived until 1917, working as a private detective in a small seaside town after he retired. Of course, the 1890’s and 1900’s were a period of rapid technological advancement and laid the foundations of the social changes that the world wars were to bring about later. If the writers can keep on coming up with complicated cases and ‘impossible’ murders, it will be great to see these years through the lens of London’s poorest!

A couple o comics

A while back, Cambridge Oxfam had a load of early 90’s Beanos in. They included this one:

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Which I beleive is the first ever one that I got (though I can’t remember exactly, pretty sure it had The Pink Glove on it though). Up until then I’d been getting “Turtle Comics”, and pestered my mum to buy them whenever she went to the shop. Of course “Turtle Comics” was probably a flavour-of-the-month craze cash-in, which had been cancelled. So my mum got a “steady rock” of the British comics industry (they had such a thing in those days… just about) “to keep that brat’s mouth shut”. Now I’m a sad, single shut-in with more comic shelves than walls. Result!

On the subject of cool comics, this actually exists:

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Though I only have issues 1 and 3. Better ebay the others, eh?

PCCR series 2?

One of my favourite animes is Pretty Combat Communist Rika-Chan. Unfortunately after it’s first run it vanished into obscurity, even fansubs are hard to come by. But then I wandered into 2ch (Japan’s, and the original, 4chan) out of curiosity the other day, and saw this, with a long blurb:

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Obligatory engrish

It looks like it’s on a whiteboard, a picture taken by somebody sneaking into a meeting room? Curiously, the post was deleted. From what I can gather, reading about Lord Haw Haw’s exploits, 2ch almost never delete posts, even when they are taken to court over them, and lose! Unfortunately I didn’t copy and paste the text down for later translation. I’ll leave you to ponder…

The Olympics are great, aren’t they?

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He’s already got the knighthood, what the hell are we going to give him now?

It’s brilliant when the Olympics are on, especially when they are “at home”. Every radio, TV and computer you pass has some event playing on it. You can linger and discuss the chances of teams. It’s always a conversation starter, “did you see the tennis final?” and so on. It really brings people of all nations together, especially in a cosmopolitan place like my work, and Cambridge in general. People talking about the respective merits of their country’s athletes, and what sports their country is strong at (Ethiopians for distance running, tier “high altitude training” is their lives XD).

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It’s also a chance for more obscure sports to shine. Back in the good old days you had Grandstand on TV every week, showing the highlights from all kinds of sports – equestrian, shooting, diving, swimming… These days if you want to see them you have to pay for satellite and watch obscure channels, or else wait for the Olympics! At least in the Olympics the very best athletes are competing, sports you normally don’t give a crap about, like Basketball, become must-see events with nailbiting knockout rounds. It’s like the World or European cup on an immeasurably bigger scale, and for people who don’t like football, too!

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Of course, the Olympics do have their detractors – the fucking reds. It’s hilariously ironic that this great event, which gets everybody talking about the same subject, causes people to walk with a spring in their step and which sparks off friendly conversations between people of all different nationalities is anathema to the Marx-lovers. They are always banging on about “uniting the people”, yet when something actually does all they can do is complain about “flag waving”, lament all the speed cameras and wet hostels the money could have been spent on, and start calling sport “simulated war”. They are out of touch, their ideology is a discredited anachronism. They have no answers.

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I’ve not watched the opening ceremony yet, but by all accounts it was brilliant. Sensible people said it was brilliant, and reds said that it was a farce, a waste of money and that the tribute to the NHS was pathetic. One red of my acquaintance even went as far as saying that, instead of the NHS, they should have used something that “the British people are proud of”. Hilariously out of touch. A yank red then went on to say that a tribute to the NHS implied that Britain was the only country with ‘socialized medicare’. Hilariously out of touch. With recommendations like that, I can’t wait to iplayer it… as soon as I’ve finished backlogged blog entries, comic-making and sorting out my comic/book/horror film collection (again! more on that when it’s done).

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Oh yeah, I still have plenty of actual sport to iplayer too. I watched the women’s 56kg weightlifting, and very good it was too. The German competitor was hilarious, she screamed as she lifted, then people started screaming back, so she played up to it XD. She couldn’t manage to lift her heaviest weight either, but took defeat in good grace. Oh and of course our own Zoe Smith set a new British record at only 18, one to watch in 2016! The other day I was lifting 25kg bags of dishwasher salt one at a time, staggering about with them, feeling like my arms were being ripped out. Puts things in perspective! I also started watching the lighter weight women’s weightlifting, because the eventual winner looked cwute. I also want to watch the women’s 10m air rifle, the first event for which a medal was awarded. And after that, I’ll catch up on the events of day 2… XD. I hope the BBC keeps their catchups online for a long time, or else releases a DVD box set.

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One thing I wondered, though, is where the hell Rugby is? And Cricket… though there is an international competition going on at the moment. Mind you though, if you had Rugby you could make a case for American Football, which only the cheeseburger chuggers give a shit about, so they’d win it all the time. And if you had cricket, why not baseball, which only the cheeseburger chuggers and, er, sushi snackers(?) give a shit about, so they’d win it all the time.

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But didn’t Olympics used to have “exhibition sports”? One ‘unique’ to the host country that other nationalities were welcomed to try? Surely for Britain Rugby or Cricket would have been ideal! Or, if not those, how about a knockout tournament of rowing eights on the Oxford / Cambridge course? I can understand them having the ‘proper’ races on a ‘fairer’ rectangular lake, but ‘not serious’ races on the Thames would give millions upon millions of people a chance to watch at least one event for free (the course goes for bloody miles). And of course how more “London” can you get than constant racing on the Thames for the duration of the games? Terrible missed opportunity, that.

The Sawtry sex shop

For ages now, I’ve wanted to write an angry blog post calling for the opponents of the Pulse & Cocktails sex toy shop “in” Sawtry to: FUCK OFF BACK TO THE UKRAINE, YOU SUB-BORN UNDER SAVAGES. BUT, I then saw this article about it on the local paper’s website. Note the lack of one single comment in support of the protesters!

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And page 2:

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And page 3:

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Well done Cambridgeshire, you have genuinely surprised me! And I may just have to take a run over there myself. I wonder if they have a DVD of that one where this guy cums on Lil’ Miss Kitty’s face then his secretary licks it off?

I almost wish a sex shop would apply for permission to open up in my village. I’d immediately set up a petition in favour of it and see how many names I could get!