Sunday, November 3, 2013

Morrissey On Lost In Space

One of the delights of Morrissey's Autobiography is his TV criticism. Precious novelists from the Iowa Writer's Workshop can write memoirs with titles like "When I Was Young I Read Books" but working class British kids either played in the street when it wasn't raining or watched TV when it was. All British kids watched the same shows because there were only 3 channels and the BBC and ITV repeated their programmes endlessly; no American I've ever met has heard of, say, Champion The Wonder Horse, but every Brit over a certain age, including Morrissey, has memories of rainy Saturday mornings watching dreary 50's fare like that. One of Morrissey's more entertaining spiels is about the much more familiar show, Lost in Space. I wasn't a huge fan of Lost in Space and when I watched it it was mostly because of Penny Robinson but for Morrissey the gratingly sane Robinsons
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                 















Pretty good, eh? And don't get him started on Captain Pugwash...  

24 comments:

Brendan O'Leary said...

I remember that guy. We never got a telly until I was about 18 but I watched it at other people's places.

I looked him up - Jonathan Harris, née Charasuchin .

One item that stands out is this:
"Harris taught drama and gave voice lessons to Chuck Norris".

John McFetridge said...

The show itself had no plans for the Dr. Smith character and no idea what to do with him - that was all the actor. Notice that he's billed as, "Special Guest Star," for the entire run of the show.

They even dropped his backstory about being part of some shadowy government organization out to sabotage the mission.

This book does look really good.

I think most of my opinions on American capitalism come from Gilligan's Island - that bastard Howell never wanted to help out and he would dump everyone else in a heartbeat if it would get him off the island.

Alan said...

Adrian,American T.V. for kids from its incipiency was cartoonish and banal.However John is right programs like Gilligan's Island helped create in me a latent distrust of plutocracy.Let it however not be said that good old American "Calvinism" was not drilled in early and hard with" Gunsmoke".I can not remember if Marshal Dillon ever kissed Miss Kity.The only real difference from today was that Bible thumping preachers were usually Elmer Gantry type rabble rousers.Best Alan

seana graham said...

Oh, yes, the excellent Dr. Smith. But he leaves out the robot, who was the other best character and without any lines.

You may not like this, but this is much better prose than the Patti Smith book. I'd read it.

seana graham said...

"Danger, danger, Will Robinson."

I was wrong about the robot being mute, of course.

adrian mckinty said...

Brendan

You wonder how Chuck Norris turned out the way he did with Bruce Lee and Jonathan Harris as mentors.

adrian mckinty said...

Alan

I remember how we all used to despise those TV preachers and thing them arch hypocrites but not apparently they have an air of legitimacy in some quarters.

adrian mckinty said...

John

Its an excellent book so far. Its the opposite of the Steven Tyler memoir in every way: i.e. well observed, funny, strange, and interesting.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Well I havent finished the Morrissey yet and both the Guardian and Slate hint that it all goes wrong near the end...so I'll reserve judgement until then. But is definitely up there with Hersh and Smith.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

And I will say that unlike many of these memoirs the stuff that happens before he becomes famous is fascinating...

For example: becoming a childhood extra on Coronation Street, getting to know Nico when she was living in Manchester, befriending the New York Dolls, getting turned down for a job at a Target store in Denver (?!) etc.

seana graham said...

Sounds a bit like the madcap adventures of Sheiler.

I don't care if it turns out well in the end. I just like the way he writes.

I shouldn't have said it was better prose than Smith's,just more interesting to me. Hers was fine.

seana graham said...

Of course, if you told me he'd been an extra on Eastenders, I would have ordered it already.

Anne said...

Brilliant stuff - revival of the northern working-class writer?

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Hey Corrie ain't bad.

Incidentally he loves Patti Smith. His big role models seem to have been Patti Smith, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. You would have thought Bowie and Marc Bolan or I would have anyway but not so much...

adrian mckinty said...

Anne

The book is excellent so far. He was being terribly cheeky by insisting that this was published by Penguin Classics but the truth is it that he and PC have nothing to be embarrassed about.

Sheiler said...

Well the comment about the lack of tv stations made me go back to the speech given by Benny Andersson at the induction of Abba in the Rock Hall of Fame. You have to slog through Frida's speech first (the best voice ever but she's usually so guarded she never has much to say) but benny basically talks about how having only one radio station in Sweden in the 50s meant limited exposure to music and how that influenced his music with Abba.

And then think back to Frida being the child of a Nazi soldier/impregnator. Her mother was humiliated in Norway after the war and then died - and her grandmother took her to Sweden to try and get away from the stigma. And it kind of makes sense about the music being so deperately bright and sweet with swaths of melancholy.

I'm her biggest fan but if she were to write anything I think I'd have to swear to myself not to read it for fear of experiencing huge disappointment. Unless she were to hire me to help her ghost write it, that is.

But I'm definitely reading Morrissey's bio, especially since you've given him two posts!

Also my uncle told me he'd seen Steven Tyler in Whole Foods down on the south shore (MA) and said he (my uncle) saw Tyler flit about in various aisles and not so much point or say anything but to rely on movement of his scarf and hair to indicate to his assistant when he wanted something, which the assistant would then pick up and put in the cart. I guess nonverbal Tyler is a clean Tyler.

Oh wait, here's Benny's speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jFQLItqFhg

Anne said...

The excerpt you have quoted is very reminiscent of David Foster Wallace's writing, so I am not surprised Peguin went along with the classics tag. This will solve a few Christmas present problems for me. (You should be getting commission!)

John McFetridge said...

"You would have thought Bowie and Marc Bolan or I would have anyway but not so much..."

I don't know, Bowie seems to have the ability to sort of flit over everything without getting too involved. In some ways he seems like the Zelig of the music business (and I like Bowie). Who knows where Bolan would have gone.

seana graham said...

Nothing against Coronation Street--I just have never seen it. My involvement with Eastenders, on the other hand, is long and complex.

adrian mckinty said...

Anne

It is a little DFWish although a bit more focused.

adrian mckinty said...

John

There's an entertaining bit where a young Morrissey sees Bolan at a train station and shyly asks for his autograph. Bolan comes over all camp and says "ooh I dont think so..." but Morrissey isn't offended at all.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Have to say I've lost contact with both those shows...

seana graham said...

We now literally have a friend sending our little corner of fandom tapes from Minnesota, where they are still broadcasting it. They are many years behind, though, as has always been the case here. If it was up to me, this strange network would never have come to pass, but luckily, it is not.

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