Small Screen Surfin'
Created | Updated Aug 12, 2004
The Coldsore Column is back! For those who don't know - if you didn't want to know I'm
telling you anyway - Small Screen Surfin' was missing from the Post's regular roster last
week which was different as usually there is some HPB influence somewhere in the Post articles
when SSS takes a break be it Tale of the Cape or Meet Mr. Inquisistor
Ms. Greebo assures me that she missed SSS last week. Having been aiming a shotgun or something
. Even stranger was prehaps that the last edition of
SSS1 was possibly the
most successful be it just a five minute read with many horrible spelling mistakes and links to bad
So as revenge this intro is longer than usual as I'm telling you why SSS was missing last
Anyone reading the British tabloids lately may have heard about how a video game,
Manhunt, was claimed to be responsible for the murder of a 14 year-old by his 17 year-old
friend. Thus GAME and Dixons banned it from their respective shops. This prompted
me to write a rant on how ridiculous it was to blame games, films and TV for violent acts, but
thought better of it since I didn't want to give these notions anymore publicity and by the time I
changed my mind it was too late to prepare any other articles. Yes, despite the fact that my
articles look like a ten minute rush job2.
Boy, am I glad I left the murder thing alone. Two weeks on and it's revealed that the
motive for the killing was robbery as the game belonged to the murdered party. Police
mentioned this in the beginning but the tabloids 'forgot' to mention it. This revalation was of course
too late to stop the banning, Amazon removing any talking about it and putting this game back on
the top 40 chart at number 14. I'm glad I didn't waste my time.
So.... back to the norm...
Has anyone noticed that all the Monty Python do something else? 3 John Cleese, actor - Terry
Gilliam, director - Terry Jones, historiographer - Graham Chapman, decomposer - Eric Idle,
singer...And Michael Palin as traveller which is what we'll glimpse at a bit this week regarding his
five documentaries in chronological order.
- Around the World in 80 Days (1989) Arguably the best of the five in which
Palin tries to follow (the fictional) Phileas Fogg's trek by circumnavigating the globe within 80
days, starting and ending at the London Reform Club using any means of transport except by air. As
I already stated, it's probably the best namely because Palin has to be around the globe
within a time limit unlike his later exploits. Then again he doesn't have the time to go into detail
about places when he needs to catch a train etc. It was his first and as such his style was fresh and
has never been duplicated by anyone else to give a right balance of knowledge and humour. Quite
frankly if you don't like Michael Palin you're weird!
- Pole to Pole (1992) North Pole to South by the most direct route over the most
land. Essentially more of the same without the pressure to get it done within a time limit, a point
which is partially less intriquing for the series.
I've always thought that essentially Palin's first two 'adventures' could run for many series just by
going in a different direction from where he starts and go in a straight line. This is of course
ignoring agressive nations and the largeness of the Pacific. Straight down the middle of the Pacific
wouldn't be very interesting apart from the occasional island.
The only thing which bothered me about this series was that Antarctica was said to be international
ground but that didn't stop there being an American base closest to the pole and an American flag
NEXT to the pole.
- Full Circle (1997) Speaking the Pacific... 15,000 miles through 18 countries
around the Pacific rim. Has anyone actually thought how boring it would be to travel the Atlantic
rim? Apart from the fact it doesn't even have a rim the idea of going through England, Ireland,
Iceland, Canada, East USA, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, the rest of Africa...
Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, England.... they all basically drift into the same style along the ocean
edge. England, Ireland, Canada and the USA aren't that different. Neither's a lot of West Africa.
Good thing Palin went with the Pacific! At least the places there are of different climate:
temperate; hot; freezing cold.
- Hemingway Adventure (1999) First series I saw with traveller Palin as he
follows the places that Ernest Hemingway went throughout his life. Basically a travel show that
documents the unconventional Hemingway. Thing is this series is funnier than the rest. Full
Circle seemed lacking in humour but in HA Palin flirts with his past, dressing up as Mr.
Gumby from Monty Python during a blatant sketch as the cameraman etc. try to find out who Palin
has disguised himself as when he's not disguised as Hemingway. 'Oh that must be him in the
Michael Palin mask!' 'That's not a Michael Palin mask!' All in all designed, I think, to not make
a pessamistic programme about someone who enjoyed bull fights, game hunting and keeping poeple
out of his retreat.
- Sahara (2002) This didn't work for me. Palin travels across the largest desert
in the world... right... I'm not sure what didn't work - the unimaginative title, the lack of Palin
humour, the endless yellow hue of the TV screen with sand upon sand and on stone. I'll have to watch
it again because at the time I think I had some kind of desert overload.
- Himalaya (?) It's in production so it's probably out next year and I'm looking
forward to this more than Sahara namely because mountains sound better than desert, I prefer
winter to summer and white/black should be easier on the eye than yellow! Oh and I know less
about the Himalaya than the Sahara. Should be good.
For more information about Mr. Palin's adventures check out his Palin's Travels web site.
And now the Small Screen Supplement!
As the music links seem to be a popular, we might as well continue the trend by my trawling of
the Net uncovering semi-relevant theme tunes4. So here's Around the World with Willy Fogg5. Shown by the Beeb in 1981 it was a cartoon animal version of the Jules Verne
book: Around the World in 80 Days that then got shown regularly throughout the 90s
usually in that Summer School Holidays slot.
Finally, just to be cruel, there's a song found that was missed from the last SSS'
anti-social themes... the title song from that wonderful 1980s classic (ugh) The Never Ending
Story6 (Ah-ah ah-ah ah-aah).
Yes the main singer is a man(Limahl).
everyone knows that but it's a lead in so shaddup!4Note that neither myself, the Post
team, h2g2 or BBCi are responsible due to corrupted downloads or other website
content.5Warning - Downloads straight
away.6Warning - Downloads straight away.