Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Avengers: November Five (?the Fifth)

My last couple of posts featuring Avengers episodes with Mrs Gale well I'm the blogosphere so here's another one.
I realised that I have rather avoided writing about this episodes, and there are two reasons. The first is that the title is all wrong. What is clearly written November Five, but we don't say that, we say November the 5th, which is of course a monumental day in British history and particularly in the history of Parliament.
Remember remember the 5th of November,
Gunpowder fire and plot.
I don't know whether this date would be pronounced November 5 in American English, but I don't think this season was exported to the States, so even if it was that wouldn't be a reason for the transatlantic usage.
The other reason I have rather avoided it has been amplified by my reading round the episodes on the internet before starting to write. It is that I personally find politics intensely dreary.
I'm not the worst off as far as that goes with this episode though, and reading round it on the internet have realised that our parliamentary system is almost completely opaque to everyone else. So let me let you into a secret: We don't understand our politics or law either.
Suffice to say that Dyter is standing as one of the members of Parliament. Of the 2 house. He is standing for the House of Commons, because he is a commoner and not a Lord. Any citizen can stand for the House of Commons, to represent one of the 260 constituencies. You don't even have to have the backing of one of the political parties. If you can find 10 residents of the constituency to nominate you, and the sum of £500 which is Returned if you get over 10% of the vote anyway, you can stand for Parliament. That is why steed can sneak Cathy in, and also why he offers to pay her deposit because she obviously will have to pull out. Older readers may remember Screaming Lord Sutch, who must have lost thousands and thousands of pounds in deposits getting people to stand for Parliament who were never going to get many votes.
In fact the politics is one of this episodes major downfalls, it tends to make it turgid and over talkative, well as incomprehensible to non British viewers. There is an excellent review summarising the political and class matters covered in this episode here.
The other shortcoming of this episode is the plot, which is overly complicated, involving sea about a gym, a warhead, and an election! If you don't watch carefully it is very easy to get these confused. Additionally if you are not aware of the class differences referenced by accent and political party, subtle layers of meaning pass you by.
The absolute highpoint for me is the point at which Mrs Gale announces that she is going to for the seat. Of course she is wearing all leather to make this announcement, and that is an outfit that would be considered kinky for the role even now!
But what made me want to write about this episodes in the first place that I was looking at Mrs gales flat while I was watching the last episodes I reviewed, and thinking how uncomfortable it is. There is a post about the flat here. I have not watched Through the previous episodes to get screen captures off the previous flat she lives in, and strangely there don't seem to be any on the internet, but I seem to remember she lived in a rather ordinary flat with floral wallpaper and the only difficulty she had was finding space for all her heads! What is the height of modernity. Unfortunately that also means it is harsh, and the only apparently comfortable seat in the place is which hangs from the ceiling. It's always pictured it in shades of grey or blue, being intended of course only for black and white photography, but I'm delighted to see from the color pictures included on the disc, that it was actually orange, although that may have made it even less restful! Personally I prefer all of Steed's flats, the first for preference.
Incidentally I find the gym in this episodes to be very visually effective, since it looks more like a dry ski slope than anything else.

4 comments:

Mike Doran said...

Chicago Calling (hello again!):
Since you asked, here's how we do dates in the USA.

Today is the ninth day of the month of August, in the Year of Our Lord 2018.

In casual speech, we'd say August 9th, 2018 (no article).
If we're being snooty, some might say the 9th of August, but that's not so common.
Written out, the standard form would be August 9, 2018.
But some people like the military form - date/month/year - thus 9 August 2018 (no comma).
Or if you're in a hurry, 9/8/18.
Or if you're in a non-military hurry, 8/9/18.
Also, there are variants on whether you say Two Thousand Eighteen or Twenty Eighteen.
You pays your money and you takes your choice.
And that's why we're proud to be Americans!
(But the 1900's were sure a lot easier …)

My feelings about USA politics are similar to yours about the British variety.
That said, I wonder if you've heard about John Cleese's appearance last week on Stephen Colbert's CBS Late Show.
Colbert asked Cleese why he hadn't yet been knighted, and Cleese told of how his work with the Liberal Democrats had earned him the offer of either a CBE - or a life peerage.
I think you might find the whole story on YouTube if you look for it.
Speaking as a Yank, I find it amusing that in GB, the Liberal Democrats are the centrist party (here in the States, our Right Wing uses the words "liberal Democrat" as a kind of compound profanity … but that's another story).

So, John - looking at anything American lately?

Mitchell Hadley said...

You're right, John - over here in the States we'd pronounce it "November fifth" or "the fifth of November" as well. I remember writing about this episode for the TV Party! website a few years ago, as an episode that deals with three things that combined for a grim moment in American history: a politician, a man with a rifle, and the month of November. By the way, I actually enjoy watching British General Election returns on TV - C-SPAN usually carries the BBC feed on election night.

John said...

Yes! Rowan and Martin's Laugh in... I may post about it but I'm not sure what I wanted to say.
I'd forgotten about the 9/8/18 or 8/9/18 thing and am more confused than ever since nobody seems to say November Five...

John said...

That's Kennedy isn't it - I hadn't realised it was in November.
Our politicians do have the one redeeming factor of being human. Do you watch Prime Minister's Questions?