Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The X-Files, Edward Beck and Bleak Montreal Weather

They are predicting nothing but snow showers for this month of March in Montreal. I can't bear it! Slightly above average temperatures, hovering at 0 Celcius, but not enough to melt the huge piles of snow from this past winter. (Yesterday they promised sun and temperatures around 3, good enough to melt snow, and today they've taken it all back. )

After watching Parade's End on HBO, I have decided I am in love with Benedict Cumberbatch which led me to look up his IMDB profile and I saw that he had been in a production of Small Island, which irked me greatly, as that novel is one of my favourites and somehow I missed the airing of this show on PBS a few years ago.

I went onto Netflix to see if they had it -my son had convinced us to subscribe to Netflix (what more media)by having us watch Sherlock.

I looked Netflix up on my computer as my husband had commandeered the big screen TV and I hate the Play Station thingy.

I didn't find Small Island (apparently the Canadian Netflix is a pale imitation of the US one content-wise, SURPRISE! Canadians getting screwed again) but I did find the X-Files and I thought, "Gee, it's been ages since I saw an X-Files," which, at one time, was a favourite show of mine.

I thought I might hunt down those classic episodes, like the one with the babies with tails and the insurance agent, Peter Boyle. (Does memory serve?)

I clicked on the icon and the pilot instantly started playing, which was fate, I guess, so I watched it. (It wasn't fate, I just didn't know how to access the other episodes.)

It's an interesting exercise to deconstruct the pilot of an iconic show. Usually television pilots are a bit clumsy - because, by definition, they have to set the premise of the show and introduce the main characters.

This X-Files pilot was no different, but it was undeniably very good and true to the production values that would become its signature.

What stood out to me, from this distant point of view, the acting. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were excellent, and right here at the beginning.

Some lines were cheesy (again, what do they call it, Exposition?)but these two very pretty actors made them sound very plausible and natural.

Maybe that's the directing. Anyway, I think I'll watch some more X-Files in my spare time, now that my son has found a way to allow me to watch TV on my laptop in bed. (I really don't like all the modern stuff that X-Files helped spawn, the serial killer shows, etc.)

(I have long forbidden a TV in our bedroom, out of principle but you can't fight progress. And I am still so far behind the trends.

In the 1990's, our family was one of the first in Canada to get online, in this case American Online. The week it arrived. It wasn't for the kids. (In those days mothers were very wary of the new technologies.) It was for me.

My husband said it would help my career as a writer. Not really true.

It was our present Governor General, if I recall, David Johnston, former President of McGill University, who wrote a book in the 1990's calling on all Canadian families to get online or their kids would be left behind, education-wise.... And see, he was right.

Now all Canadian youth can access all their favorite vampire-based serial killer shows on the iPods and iPads and cellphones while they play online poker and  hunt for a minimum wage job with their undergraduate degree.

 (An article today says that Canadians are no longer the world's leaders in Web Use. The US has passed us. Maybe that's because Canadians pay more for the web than any other country in the world. How did that happen, Mr. Johnston? How can super-expensive digital media access promote Canadian innovation?)

Oh, and I bought the DVD of Small Island off Amazon.co.uk to play on my 'British" computer. How quaint. A DVD. DVD's on Amazon.co.uk. cost far less than on  Amazon.ca... Another case of Canadians getting shafted.

Anyway, I do have work to do. But the weather. ICK!  No sun at all for a month. It's energy-sapping.

Yesterday, I did read over the minutes of the Montreal Council of Women and clipped this interesting bit, above.

It's 1914.  Carrie Derick, the President, gives a speech justifying the Montreal Suffrage Association joining the war effort like their British counterparts while condemning war and promoting suffragists as pacifists, BUT..... "This deplorable war was merely the outcome of he spirit which calls might right, which suffragists everywhere are combating."  In a few years she and her fellow executives would be pushing hard for conscription, calling it "compulsory national service"  while saying they weren't really for Borden's Conscription Bill. This ambiguous policy would get their new President, Dr. Ritchie England, in much hot water.

 And then the minutes mention two garden parties held in the summer, one on Mt. Pleasant, which would be in Upper Westmount (the very very rich area ) and one at Judge Trenholme's Rosemount Ave home, near Greene in Westmount.

This just speaks to the elitism of the Montreal Suffrage Association, which was not, by any means, a grassroots organization.

The Nicholson's socialized with a Trenholme... A Trenholme was the Mayor of Montreal West, I believe.

I also re-read the bit about the special suffrage insert in the Montreal Herald in 1913. It seems Carrie Derick was Editor in Chief and another member of the exec was the copy  editor. In other words, the Montreal Suffrage Association was in charge of the editorial of the special feature, which makes  this special feature nothing more than a giant advertisement (advertorial is the word) and not a genuine newspaper feature.

This is probably why Herald Editor Edward Beck, wanted money from them after it was was published...

The Herald Building today. In 1910 the Old Herald Building burnt down.