Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Monster That Devoured Cardiff

Lovely picture of Bob Denver as Maynard G. Krebs from www.bobdenver.com
Maynard G. Krebs (the ‘G’ stands for Walter) is a long-time hero of mine. As the astray-leading best friend of clean-cut TV teen Dobie Gillis, Maynard was the mutant gene that carried with it the hope of derailing corporate America’s wiener wagon. The mere mention of the word ‘work’ would send the goateed geezer into a catatonic trance. He probably had the first known panic attack at having to conceptualise ‘career’.

He was not without vision and motivation though. In fact he was always hatching a scheme to create the world’s largest ball made of tin foil or rubber bands. The very thought of it reminds me that household items used to have some value. Cutlery was for life once. We used to have to bring home the foil that our soggy tomato sandwiches were wrapped in so it could be washed off and reused. My grandmother collected rubber bands in a jar. She wasn’t an ambitious woman and I don’t imagine she ever dreamed of fashioning them into a ball but there was a time when you actually had to pay for rubber bands. These days, if you want one, you just look on the floor. Oh there’s one now. It’s ironic that uses for rubber bands have diminished just as the supply seems to be peaking – on my floor anyway.
 
When Dobie and Maynard had nothing better to do, which was very often, they went to the movies and the film they were most likely to be seeing was called The Monster that Devoured Cleveland. Last night I braced myself for the double-headed finale of Torchwood. I lost interest in this Dr Who spin-off as it immediately, well, span off and heat-sought it’s way up the backside of its terminal tosser of a star. John ‘Barrow Boy’ Barrowman spent the entire series moping about in a maelstrom of time-warped confusion while the rest of the cast got on with shagging any alien that came within arm's length of their blue stun pencil, regardless of the century they found themselves in.
 
Encouraged by one's beloved Guardian's assurances of a late rally, I tuned in. Would Captain Jack Harkness, the Air Force great-coat-clad decrier of domestic fun and frolic, finally remember that he was in a TV show about saving Cardiff from perpetual off-world threats after enticing them with hot sex? It’s fair to say that very few people care that much about Cardiff and this became apparent early on as the cast managed to waylay themselves in the Second World War – always a favourite distraction for directionless series. There followed more diversionary activity as the players judged that the best plan would be to assassinate each other in the wake of a fast-closing Godzilla (played by Charlotte Church). Don’t anyone panic now!
 
'Difficult as it may be to isolate a particular aspect of this series that stands out in terms of its sheer pointlessness, the moment for me came when Barrow Boy indulged himself in a cringingly passionless, utterly gratuitous snog with the hapless yank whose name and hollow core he would later steal. Yuuchhh. I get the impression that Barrow Boy has been skulking around the set all season whinging ‘I’m a gay. I want an onscreen kiss with a man. And it would be even better if he’s actually me’ Barrow Boy seems to be having himself a very long eighties moment in which he imagines that crass sexual-identifying is still socially acceptable. 

Get over yourself child.
 
The night was charmingly resuscitated by The South Bank Show featuring Damien Hirst. I love this guy. He’s like the monster that devoured Maynard G. Krebs, rubber bands and all. It’s an inspiration to me that there are humans that have total self-awareness without any apparent self-consciousness. It makes me wish I could be born again. I’ve always longed to be part of a collaborative team or ‘school’ in the Leonardo sense. Hirst reminds me that there is a point to ideas and that is heartening.
 
Ms Baroque has tagged me to list seven (??) successes for 2006. I’m lost for words (imagine!). I don’t really do success. I’d like to but it’s a bit late to start now if you see what I mean. Neither do I do ‘deferred success’ which sounds like the language of a failing comprehensive to me. I specialise in dismal failures. It would be rather nice to do spectacular ones that result in notoriety. You could spin that into a warped form of success and perhaps fashion it into a new series of Torchwood.
 
I can’t pass on the tag either as I don’t actually know any successful people and if I did I would obviously be sucking up to them right now instead of sitting here trying to remember what’s in the fridge. I’m not one of those half-full people who spends their time turning clouds inside out either so I won’t be giving myself any gold stars for managing to get out of bed, even though I achieved that twice last week. I won’t be bragging that I finally baked a decent batch of scones or bought a strip light for the bathroom when I eventually ran out of candles or took my old printer cartridge down to irritable Argun at the stationery shop to be recycled. And I will definitely not be bigging myself up because I finished one of the two major pieces of work I’ve been toiling over all year. In the words of Maynard G. Krebs, ' Like, what?' 
 
I have to stop now. I’m getting all misty. Wishing you a happy and successful new year, yeah?


8 comments:

Ms Baroque said...

Well, I'm glad you're back, anyhow - and thanks for the picture of Bob Denver, he always cheers me up.

Maybe I'll do an elegantly dressed Gilligan or something.

Reading the Signs said...

Yeah! And good to see you back. So you don't subscribe to the "You Can Heal Your Life" way of thinking? Me, I'd rather have dismal failure any day.

(andie btw)

THE PERIODIC ENGLISHMAN said...

God, you write well.

Happy (oh, come on) New Year.

Kind regards etc

That's so pants said...

Capital idea Ms B. I'm a fan of Gilligan but I still think Maynard was Bob's finest creation.

Andie - You have your own blog now. Brilliant - I'll be there directly.

Mr PE - you're a pussy cat really.

Ms Melancholy said...

What I love about you, Ms Pants, is that you can come back after what feels like an eternity of mince-pie eating (for me, that is, as I obviously have no idea what you have been up to..)and not even mention the C-word. You are most droll, and I very much appreciate it. Glad to see you back x

That's so pants said...

Hi Ms Melancholy. Good to be back - Happy New Year to you too

Dave Hill said...

Hello! I was worrying that you weren't coming back! Did you see the Sara-Jane Adventure?

That's so pants said...

Hi Dave. I know - I should have put 'inclusive' after 1 January. What is this Sara-Jane Adventure? I googled it of course, so I could pretend I knew what you were talking about, but I only got three responses none of which was Wikipedia so I couldn't be arsed to wade through all the cyber static. If you return, do let me know what it is.