Saturday, September 17, 2016
Adding it all to the list
Every day I have somebody telling me I should be watching some TV show or reading some book or comic, because it’s brilliant and will make my life better and it’s a goddamn crime I haven’t got around to it yet. But there isn’t time for everything, so like everybody else, I say I’ll add it to the list of things I’m planning to get to soon.
It’s not a metaphor. It’s an actual list of books, movies, TV and comics I want to get stuck into next, once I’ve finished watching and reading the things I’m currently on. It’s usually got a dozen items on it. And this is it, as it stands right now.
1. Read Nightmare Movies
I’ve read Kim Newman’s typically encyclopedic book about modern horror films half a dozen times since I first found a fading copy in the Dunedin library in the early nineties, and I even have three different versions of the thing, from three different publishers. But I’ve only got through the most recent 600-page behemoth, published in 2009, the one time, soon after it came out, and I'm keen to get through it again.
Newman's film writing is always concise, knowledgeable and witty as hell, so it'll take me less than a week to get through it, even though it’s fucking massive. Although, I’ve already got the first couple of chapters, and I keep getting distracted to see if some of the obscure shit he is talking about is on YouTube, so I can add it to the bottom of this list.
And a lot of it is! Weird, barely professional Euro-horror from the seventies is dead easy to find now, and in far better quality than the 10-generation video dub I would have killed for 20 years ago. What a world.
2. Watch the latest season of Ray Donovan
I always like the bit where Ray, after hours and hours and hours of trying to be reasonable, cracks when they threaten his family and kills every motherfucker in his way.
I also love it whenever Terry gets a rare happy moment, and the whole world shines.
3. Get through all these bloody library books.
I somehow got more than 40 hardcovers and trade paperbacks out from the library at once. There’s the usual catch-up with things like the latest Wolverine and Batman and Spider-Man comics, but all those Secret Wars spin-offs that Marvel put out have all been dumped on the shelves at once.
They’re actually fairly addictive, because they’re all only four or five issues long, and are pretty simple little stories, with some lovely art. I have no idea how it all ties together, and I spend way too long wondering how pop culture works in this patchwork world, or how many versions of the same character there on this same planet, but it’s best not to think about it too hard.
It'll probably only take me a bit longer to get through giant book Drawn and Quarterly put out to celebrate their 25th anniversary, which I also just got from the library, but it promises to be way more rewarding.
4. Read BPRD. All of it.
I wanted to burn through every issue of BPRD I had before Hell On Earth wraps up, (and to get the taste of all those weightless Secret Wars comics out of my mouth), but that's a huge goddamn pile. And I gotta include all the side-things like the 1940s issues, or the Frankenstein or Sledgehammer 44, and if I'm doing that, I might as well get through the Hellboy as well, and suddenly it's a massive goddamn pile.
It's all so beautiful, but it comes in such huge portions.
5. Watch Hap and Leonard
I had no idea this was even a thing until it popped up on the TV a few weeks ago, and I’ve never seen any reviews or anything, and I’m sure there are much, much better shows I could be watching soon, but shitfire, Joe R Lansdale's work is always all right by me.
6. Catch up with the movies on the magic box under the telly
There are a couple of dozen movies on the DVR there - recent movies I haven't seen yet like the latest Paranormal Activity, Black Mass, the three latest dumb Will Ferrall comedies, and things I'm watching again, like all six original Star Trek movies, The Martian and Creed.
I know none of these films I’m seeing for the first time are particularly great, which is why it’s taken so long to get to them, but how the hell am I ever going to be able to sneer at them if I haven’t actually seen them?
7. Do a prog slog
I really need to give the last decade of 2000ad a good re-read through, and firm up some opinions on some of the comic's recent serials, but it's still like 500 comics to get through.
That’s only 16,000 pages or so.
And I thought BPRD was bad….
8. Watch all that shit that people tell me will be good for me, like Mr Robot or Stranger Things or The Night Off…, but there are loads of contrary opinions and I don’t know where to start, or whether I should even bother starting, and there is something new every day and SO MUCH good stuff.
This part of the list is a large one, and the one that is constantly growing as more and more people tell me what I should be watching.
There is a whole sublist of these shows, but it’s like a hundred programmes long. We’re getting into the realm of ‘might not actually get around to’ on the list now.
9. Watch all the Doctor Whos
I was making great progress on a rewatch of every single Doctor Who episode recently starting with the Hartnell, and then I got bogged down in some of the horrifically unwatchable reconstructed episodes. I’ve been stuck on episode four of The Ice Warriors since March.
So when one of the local TV stations started playing all the modern episodes, with a new episode every day, I cheated and started watching them again instead.
Maybe by the time I get back to the old stuff, they will have done more of the animated reconstructions, like the shiny new Power of the Daleks release, but it's not like anybody is going to be in a rush to one for something like the Space Pirates.
10. Read all the Ellroy books again
I read Perfida, the latest Ellroy doorstop, last year. It's the start of a whole new series of books by the razor-sharp author, but ties into the other series he's done, in quite significant ways.
But I haven't read the early books in his LA Quartet for years now, so I didn't get most of the references or in-jokes. Might be worth going through the whole series again, and if I'm going to do that, it's worth giving the American Tabloid series a go again, and wonder why they still haven't made a TV show out of it.
11. Read old Empires
When there is absolutely nothing else at hand to read in the house, I read old Empire movie magazines.
I’ve got just about every issue, and I’ve been trawling through them on and off for months now, and even though I skim most of the breathless preview articles for films we all now are shit, I’m still only up to the late nineties. At this rate, I should be caught up to the current issues by around 2022.
12. All the music in the world
I just want to listen to all the music in the world, in every genre and with every artist, and figure out what I’m missing. That shouldn’t be too hard.
13. All that horror that Kim Newman was talking about
I mean, I know it will probably be an interesting thing to watch, it’s not like I’m actually in a rush to see Lèvres de Sang, you know?