Monday, 15 October 2012

The Nineties Blogfest Today

Today, is The Nineties Blogfest where I invite you to tell me your favourite things from the Nineties.

It's not too late to join in. Choose one thing from each year from 1990 to 1999, be it a Film, a TV show, a radio show, a particular episode of a TV or radio show, a piece of theatre, a book, a comic, a piece of artwork, something online or something else entirely, and then tell us what you love about it.

Here are some of my favourite things from the Nineties:

The Secret Of Monkey Island
Deep in the Caribbean, Guybrush Threepwood wants to be a pirate and sword fighting, buried treasure, The Fabulous Idol of Many Hands, cryptic voodoo, ghost pirates, barely navigable forests, overzealous salesmen, a weird tree stump, cannibals, barely navigable caverns and piranha poodles all conspire to get in his way. "If there's one type of piracy I don't like, it's a CONS-piracy".

The citizens (and denizens) of Mêlée Island make this game as solid and believable as it is funny and weird. This is the game that the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies wish they could be. I love this game and since it has recently been given a posh remastering now is just as good a time to give it a go.

- - - - -

The Fisher King
Terry Gilliam's attempt at a "simple" film is anything but. The Fisher King is a funny and touching modern Arthurian fairytale. The cast are brilliant and it is shot beautifully, but it also has a tragic honesty that raises it above the competition. The film asks important questions about the responsibilities of the media, post-traumatic stress disorder and the wooing of tattooed ladies.

I really love this film.

- - - - -

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
The first twelve Discworld novels are all wonderful, but as luck would have it number thirteen is an absolutely spectacular piece of work. It's a brilliant treatise on faith and organised religion that is both hilarious and intelligent regardless of your faith or indeed lack thereof. Less I'll believe it when I see it and more I'll see it when I believe it.

If ever I am asked to recommend a Discworld novel for first time or seasoned readers alike, Small Gods is it.

- - - - -

Red Dwarf VI
I waxed lyrical about the sixth season of Red Dwarf recently to celebrate the show's return. Maybe I've said enough, but just in case...

Red Dwarf was already a show firing on all cylinders, but the sixth series of the sitcom that shakes its sit up and succeeds masterfully much to the benefit of its com. The loss of the eponymous ship and a beloved regular character really invigorates the show. The new dynamic is cramped, claustrophobic and, crucially, forces the Boy from the Dwarf together. The search for Red Dwarf, the returning characters and the running gags, often lead the show's critics to call this series formulaic, but they ignore a vital factor when doing so. There is a formula at work here, but it's a fantastic formula. The cast are uniformly brilliant, the jokes are very funny and the science fiction is genuinely intelligent and thought-provoking.

- - - - -

Pulp: His 'N' Hers
The theme of feeling like an outsider runs through tales of domesticity and sexual alienation before apparently reaching the conclusion that you are better off an outsider than fitting in. I don't remember the first time that I heard 'Do You Remember The First Time?', but I do remember loving this album as soon as I heard it. Coming to it after Different Class, it seemed rawer and rougher around the edges. It's a spectacular blend of synth-pop and style. Tracks like 'Joyriders', 'Babies' and 'Happy Endings' just go to show a band waiting for the rest of us to catch up with them.

How 'Joyriders' failed to become an anthem, how the phrase 'Acrylic Afternoon' hasn't caught on and how this album lost out on the Mercury Music Prize to M People I'll never understand.

- - - - -

Pulp: Different Class
The true winner of the Blur versus Oasis debacle was neither of those bands, but instead Pulp claimed the Britpop crown. I had this album on cassette tape and indeed it was the first album that I ever bought and it remains one of the best that I ever bought.

Pulp's breakout album is twelve absolutely fantastic tracks all crammed full of wonderful observations about the human condition.

- - - - -

It would never have occurred to me reading Irvine Welsh's novel that it could be a film. The novel is a meandering series of vignettes with a shared group of characters and the genius of the film adaptation of Trainspotting is not in its faithfullness to the book, but instead in its wonderful inventiveness. It works like a strange homeopathic dilution that somehow focusses the material and makes it stronger. The Worst Toilet in Scotland, the Bond references and Dale Winton's game show are all great examples to the story.

The cast are fantastic, the soundtrack is fantastic and the assault on post-Braveheart Scottish identity is well meant. Danny Boyle, John Hodge and the cast achieved what seemed impossible and they've done it with style.

- - - - -

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, season one
Probably the greatest American TV drama series ever made starts here. In the first season, Buffy and her friends prevent two apocalypses and see off vampires, a witch, a praying mantis, some hyena-possessed teenagers, a demon on the internet, a demon on the stage, the nightmares of whole town and a murderous invisible girl alike. Although, that's not really what this show is about and the "high school is hell" metaphor is at its strongest here.

The cast are great, the writing superb and the set pieces border on the visceral. In the short term Season One set the tone for the rest of Buffy's run and the spinoff series Angel, but in the long run you can see its impact on practically everything ever made since.

The first eleven episodes of season two also aired in 1997 and took the show up to the brink of the game-changing Surprise and Innocence two-parter.

- - - - -

Pulp: This Is Hardcore
It was suggested to me that three albums by the same artist is cheating. Maybe so, but I don't care. Pulp made us wait three years for their sixth album and given the terrible music that dominated the charts in their absence it was a long three years indeed. My expectations were high and this album more than met them. Both lyrically and musically, the album is a masterpiece. The exploration of the themes of hitting the big time, living the high life and getting everything you ever wanted only to find out it wasn't worth having is nothing short of fantastic.

On different albums 'The Fear', 'Dishes', 'Help The Aged', 'Seductive Barry', 'Sylvia', 'Glory Days' and 'The Day After The Revolution' would each be the stand out track, but together and with the title track being such an astonishing piece of work it raises the bar considerably.

- - - - -

Spaced, season one
The first sitcom of the twenty-first century arrives two years early as Spaced reinvents the genre. The characters are wonderful, but the rapid editing, pop-culture references, surreal moments and zombies make this series one that it's easy to see why so many have taken it to their hearts.

Tim and Daisy have extended their childhoods and never grown up. It's implied at times that they might be better off putting away childish things, but when I watched this on its first broadcast it was all I ever wanted in life and now many, many years later if I'm honest with myself, it still is.

- - - - -

Here are the details on how to take part:

• Leave your name and link on the linky below.

• Feel free to publicise the blogfest on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc and post the above image on your blog if you wish.

• On the 15th of October (that's tomorrow) post a favourite something for each year 1990-1999, and tell us what you love about each of them.

• Leave a comment here, so that we know that you have posted your efforts for all to see.

• Visit as many other participating bloggers as you can on the list below. Compare, contrast and comment on their choices.

Join Us....


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mine will go live in about seven hours. I picked more than one thing each year, but I kept it short!

M.J. Fifield said...

I too picked more than one thing for a few of the years.

And thank goodness you put Buffy on your list. Otherwise I wouldn't have seen anything on there. Well, I have seen the first couple episodes of Spaced.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

The Fisher King was from what I can remember... was a full circle of sadness, wrapped around the joy of being alive. Funny I didn't remember that this was a Terry Gilliam film.

Jeremy [Retro]
Oh No, Let's Go Crazy

Anonymous said...

I finally posted my list. (It was a crazy weekend). Not as succinct as yours, and oddly enough, no crossovers. Also, hell yes for Monkey Island and Spaced and Buffy.

Hart Johnson said...

D'oh! How could I have missed Buffy? Though I didn't actually watch it until a couple years ago (YAY Hulu and Netflix!) but I adore the series. You've got some movies and books here, too, that I should put on my list.

Anonymous said...

Great list. A lot of things I have never heard of. But, that Trainspotting scene should have made the most disturbing scene of 1996. Great movie, too.

Philip J Reed said...

So...I kind of need to see The Fisher King today, right? Like, stop delaying the inevitable?

Dave said...

Alex, nothing wrong with choosing more than one thing per year.

M.J. Fifield, sounds like you need to see the rest of Spaced...

The Fisher King was from what I can remember... was a full circle of sadness, wrapped around the joy of being alive. Funny I didn't remember that this was a Terry Gilliam film.

Joshua, no crossovers means plenty of recommendations.

Hart, Buffy is fantastic. 1999 was also the year that Angel launched and if you haven't you should see his struggles against the Wolf, the Ram and the...

sydneyaaliyah, thanks. I need to rewatch Trainspotting every so often to be reminded of just how good it is.

Phil, yep.

David P. King said...

If I had known about this sooner, I totally would have dedicated my post to this fest. Glad to make your acquaintance, David (hey, we have the same name - check that out!). :)

Stephsco said...

I also love Pulp, and I finally watched Spaced earlier this year. I laughed so much when he was fired from the comic shop over Phantom Menace; I didn't realize at the time when Phantom Menace came out just how bad it was (I know now) and how disappointing that must have been for the hardcore fanboys/fangirls. The paintball episode is epic.

I misunderstood the blogfest as being one year a day so I only wrote about 1990 today. I may consolidate the posts into a larger one. Hmmm...

Dave said...

There's still time, namesake...

Dave said...

Stephsco, let me know what you decide to do, but I'd carry on as you'd originally planned.

Budd said...

Spaced was excellent although I didn't see it until 10 years later. I thing I watched about half of the first season of Red Dwarf before I couldn't find it anymore. I need to go out and look for it. Thanks for signing up for the Scare Me! Blogfest.

Stephsco said...

Ah, Buffy! I forgot to comment on that. One of my favorite shows ever, it's so great on a rewatch.

Eliza Wynn said...

Buffy is also on my list!

Ellie Garratt said...

Red Dwarf. Smegging brilliant, and of course it's back on our screens.

I can't believe Spaced is that old. I feel older now. LOL.

Tony Laplume said...

Clearly I gonna have to check out Pulp.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Buffy was definitely a great show. Nice list, thanks for understanding my forgetfulness.

Dani said...

Buffy I love. The rest are all new to me so you have given me tons to research. Thanks for hosting such a fun a blogfest!

Deniz Bevan said...

Love Pulp and Trainspotting, and Red Dwarf!
I'm reading Good Omens at the moment. I'm scared. If I start on the rest of Terry Pratchett's books I'll be reading him all year!

Deniz Bevan said...

Oopsie! added myself again to the list!

Dave said...

Budd, if you liked the first half of Red Dwarf I then you'll probably enjoy the first six series. I'm looking forward to the Scare Me! Blogfest.

Stephsco, Buffy never gets old

Eliza, great minds think alike.

Ellie, I think that's the price of nostalgia.

Tony, clearly.

Sheena-kay, don't worry about it.

Dani,if you love Buffy thrn I think The Fisher King and Spaced will hit the spot as well.

Deniz, but if you enjoy them it'll be worth it.

Deniz again, don't worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Blogfest! I'm going to download Discworld today and check it out. So many people I know it and have recommended it.

Dave said...

Let me know how you get on, Stephen.