Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Undue Influence of...EastEnders on My Life

It's 1988 or 1989 and one of the local PBS stations is airing EastEnders.  I was still heavily influenced by the music of the UK at the time, so I was pretty much into its pop culture.  So, Merchant/Ivory films, Withnail & I, Hope & Glory, and Wish You Were Here were all touchstones for me.  So much so that I think the 2009 version of me would want to kick the ass of the 1988 version of me, but that's probably true for everybody.  I really didn't pay that much attention to the show, but in the background in the bar, I'd hear some cool music every now and again.

The iconic intro. with the overview of the London and the Thames inspired a series of paintings I've done over the years of maps of cities, akin to silhouettes.  I always struggled with the conceptual side, as I never finalized the symbolic meaning system of the colours and backgrounds for the entire series.  I found that most cities are easy to identify as silhouettes, but some are tougher.  Baltimore springs to mind.  I never sketched out Toronto for this, but I'm realizing how the much I like the æsthetics of the old, almost sensual curves of the harbour "islands," evident in this old 1812 "Plan of York" map::

The filled-in port lands takes away from the geographic elegance of the shoreline, but what can you do.  Here's a link to satellite images of Toronto, including a shot of the harbour iced over.

OK, so it's one thing to say the title sequence gave me ideas, I also have to admit I find the theme song catchy.  A few years ago, I sent this around to friends::

If you go to 4:36, you can hear Big Audio Dynamite's sample of the last seven notes of the theme.  I never put them together, but I felt immediately relieved that there was a crossover between BAD & EastEnders for some reason.

So, given we're reminiscing yet again about twenty years ago, here's one of my favourite videos from the spring of that year::

I find the Emma Peel homage to be hilarious.

Back to EastEnders, I think it's shown on BBC Canada.  I just checked and it looks like it's on weekdays at noon in Toronto on Rogers.  Given my track record with this show, part of me is afraid to watch it, as I might start to like it.  I'd like to say that soap operas aren't my "genre," but let's face some facts here.  The Trailer Park Boys is nothing but a mocumentary soap opera.  Am I right?  Clattenburg's a genius.  He crossed the soap gender barrier, in my opinion.

I have no idea if it's popular in Canada, but it interested me that Coronation Street was such a hit.  I was at the CBC store in downtown Toronto and Coronation Street was heavily featured.

Twitterversion::  Just realizing the #BBC soap, #EastEnders, may be much more significant in my life than previously believed. Disturbing. @Prof_K

Song::  Grace - Lloyd Cole And The Commotions "I was walking down by the River Thames/I decided that I should throw me in/Because you broke my heart and you made me weep/In the name of your sensitivity"

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