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FIVE YEARS, STUCK ON MY EYES [300]

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  First logo (May-December 2016) Hello there. There is a question you often hear in interviews where the answer is always going to be “no.” “Did you think that when you started Leigh Spence is Dancing with the Gatekeepers on 30 th   May 2016, that you would still be doing it five years later?” “Yes, yes I did, I always knew that I could write articles about various aspects of popular culture, philosophy and the news, then deliver them weekly for that that entire time without a break. That outcome was baked in from the start.” Of course, I never planned it, but I’m glad it happened. I began this site to keep my mind working, learn more about different subjects, and build confidence in putting my name out there. I was inspired by the Three Minute Thesis competition, begun by the University of Queensland, which challenges PhD students to present their research in only three minutes, to an audience with no specialty in their subject. Trying to explain a complex subject in an engaging mann

BECAUSE I GET DELIRIOUS [299]

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I set out to choose a film at random from Netflix – knowing I needed to write something, I started watching “Delirious” within three minutes of arriving home from a walk. I didn’t expect to choose a film where the premise is based on the lead character being a writer, and the script coming from writers with careers rooted firmly in comedy. Lawrence J. Cohen & Fred Freeman wrote the disaster film parody “The Big Bus,” and the twin-swapping comedy “Start the Revolution Without Me,” but their career is founded on their work in television sitcoms like “Gilligan’s Island”, “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Bewitched.” “Delirious” stars John Candy as a soap opera writer, caught in a very high-concept Hollywood film-type situation: after hitting his head on his car boot lid, he wakes up inside his own creation. He wrote the show’s “bible,” setting out upcoming storylines, so he knows what will happen. He is secretly in love with the real-life star of the show, and is now in a position to do s

YES IT REALLY REALLY REALLY COULD HAPPEN [298]

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On Wednesday 12 th   May 2021, I had my first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For the record, it was the Pfizer one, but all currently in use have been deemed safe and effective. Naturally, I hope that everyone that is offered one will take it, for the long-term benefits of vaccination against a deadly disease sure do outweigh the couple of days of discomfort immediately following it. Think of it like taking a holiday, for that is when most people are likely to need some sort of injection – no-one wants to contract yellow fever on their two-week break in Thailand.   In taking a COVID-19 vaccine, the attitude I am taking is that I want a holiday from history: I want there to be a time when life calms down, we can breathe out, and we can enjoy a new normality for a while.    I picked up this term from “The 90s: A Holiday from History,” an episode of BBC Radio 4’s “Archive on 4” broadcast in 2017. Written and presented by Jonathan Freedland, the programme looks at how the 1990s is recalled as

IF I HAD A PHOTOGRAPH OF YOU [297]

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A man, concealing a film camera, meets a prostitute, and follows her inside. As she undresses, the man, through our view of his camera, advances on the girl, and the girl screams. The view cuts to a view of a film projector, playing what we have just seen on the screen, as the credits for the film we are watching, “Peeping Tom,” plays over them. The musical theme, on a piano, almost accompanies the silent film being played back before us. As the prostitute is advanced upon, the viewer stands up and, as our view is filled with the scream, the man sits back down again. Our view cuts back to the projector, and the caption, “Directed by Michael Powell.” “Peeping Tom” was released in 1960, and immediately invited comparisons with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” which was rele ased at the same time. However, while Hitchcock reaped the benefits of the new approach to his usual themes, Powell was perceived to have ventured so far into a more “sleazy” territory that it destroyed his career in the

I DON'T WANNA LOSE YOU [296]

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"Clockman" When I wrote about the forgotten television sitcom “The New Monkees” [https://www.dancingwiththegatekeepers.com/2019/09/many-short-lived-tv-shows-are-filed.html], the only video I could find of the show was an off-air home recording of the first episode from its only broadcast in 1987. While I had a good idea of what I was seeing, the soft picture of the VHS (or Betamax) recording provided only an impression of the original show. Since then, all thirteen episodes of the series have now been posted to YouTube, and while the picture quality has not improved, then I can hear it better. I came across this news after seeing the front page of the Lost Media Wiki, dedicated to the unearthing of “lost media,” a term that appears to mean something different to the internet than it does to myself.   While “The New Monkees” is a show not much remarked upon, and usually only as a failed reboot of a more popular show when a remark is made, I never thought it was lost. Yes, it w

FALLING, WE’RE FALLING, WE’RE FALLING [295]

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“French Kissin,” more often remembered as “French Kissin in the USA,” was the main single from Debbie Harry’s 1986 album “Rockbird,” made while the band Blondie was on hold. It was a success in the US, and Harry’s only top ten single in the UK.  However, while the song is good, it is not the main reason it is likely to be remembered these days, because the person that wrote it has become very successful in his own right: he had been a touring singer-songwriter for years before Harry recorded one of his songs, and he had since said his songs made sure he was kept out of the limelight, before he turned to writing scripts for television. Chuck Lorre’s first scripts were for animated shows, meaning that, as I grew up, I would have seen episodes he wrote of “Heathcliff & The Catillac Cats,” “Muppet Babies,” ”Fraggle Rock,” and “Beany and Cecil” – there are other shows, but I don’t think they reached the UK, or I don’t remember them at all. As these shows date from 1984 onwards, either L