12 November, 2006

Whoops, (not a full) Eclipse

An email to the mailing list from Wed Aug 11, 1999 12:17 pm. A partial eclipse of the sun sends a nation into mild curiosity:

Standing in Golden Square, in London's Soho, all I heard was:

Woman [ refusing to even face the right way]: "Ooh, I'm frightened, will I go blind?"
Jim [sarcastically]: "Yes, cos you go blind all the time when there's complete sun, don't you!"

Boss: "Is that it now, can we go back in?"
Jim [ tiring]: "It's got about another ten minutes before it reaches maximum, but it's not going to go pitch-black"
Boss: "Oh, so it's not like a proper eclipse then? I'm going back in".

Meanwhile everyone is pissing round with pinhole cameras (or envelopes with *pen*-holes in).

To be honest, I thought it'd be darker too, but I still enjoyed it. And for those that wanted a "Day of the Triffids" experience, ther's forecasts of quite a nice meteor storm tonight if the sky's clear.

I seem to remember I stood there scorning everyone else's makeshift sun visors while viewing the thing through a pair of CDs.

I mean, *honestly*!

Soap and Flannel

This is a reworking of an email conversation I had on Mon Aug 2, 1999. I've not had a good night's sleep, so this suddenly seems important for some reason.

Here's a strange thing. In soapland, there's generally an unwritten rule that all soaps exist in a parallel world where they don't have the same programmes as we do. For obvious reasons, no-one in EastEnders ever sits down to watch Corrie and visa versa. Or do they? I've just discovered that in a Christmas episode of EastEnders, Wickie was once seen to mouth the words 'Coronation Street' during a game of charades. Blah! I can't stand the confusion! And there have been odd episodes of Corrie where front pages of newspapers carry EastEnders stories. When that happens, the director of the scene is usually taken out and shot.

In that old Liverpool soap Brookside, though they cleverly addressed this by having their own soap, the fictional Meadowcroft Park, they did also have Coronation Street. In an early episode, Damon Grant asked his dad a trivia question - 'What links Red Rum and Hilda Ogden off Coronation Street?' (The answer, by the way, was that they both turned the Blackpool lights on.) Also, Heather Haversham once passed Granada Studios in Manchester and pointed out that it was where they made Coronation Street.

Strangely enough though, Heather didn't even notice that her drug-taking second husband was the spitting image of Ken Barlow's brother David, who, like Nick Black, had a suitably tragic end for a soap character. She might have been too young to know though. After all, she never asked Edna Cross if she'd ever run a corner shop in Wetherfield.

Where this falls apart is the moment in 1990 when the horrific plane crash in Emmerdale was reported on the front page of a newspaper read by Brookside's Mick Johnson.

We'd best not think too much about the 2006 episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor alludes to 'Walford', and another where we see a version of EastEnders starring the ghost of 'Dirty Den' being thrown out the Queen Vic by Peggy Mitchell - considering four of the Doctor's previous incarnations spent a rather silly afternoon chasing the Rani around Albert Square in 1993.

Thanks to my old mate Steve Lyons though, I think I've found the ultimate soap reference. In an episode of Prisoner: Cell Block H (shown in the north-west in August, 1999, though I don't know when it was made), a character called Janice Grant picked up a magazine that boasted a cover feature about... Prisoner: Cell Block H.

That surely has to be that? Except I know that there's an entire 'six-degrees' thing that links characters from The X-Files to St Elsewhere and about six other shows in their own fictional world. But that's an entire other thing that I'm going nowhere near. Brookside did something similar with Hollyoaks, but then some of the Brookie actors ended up in Hollyoaks and visa versa, so... ulp! Nosebleed!!