Saturday Morning Brain Drain [11/2/23]

What I Watched: Lockwood & Co., a fun supernatural alternate-London first-season series, which ended with a fine cliff-hanger. Based on the books of Jonathan Stroud, you can read the first chapter of the first book, The Screaming Staircase, there as well.

Of note, the series soundtrack is superior. It includes songs from Bauhaus, Siouxsie & The Banshees, BADBADNOTGOOD, The Cure, Joy Division, Phantogram, etc. – music from a certain era, of a certain genre.

From Netflix: In London, where the most gifted teenage ghost-hunters venture nightly into perilous combat with deadly spirits, amidst the many corporate, adult-run agencies, one stands alone: independent of any commercial imperative or adult supervision – a tiny startup, run by two teenage boys and a newly arrived, supremely psychically gifted girl, a renegade trio destined to unravel a mystery that will change the course of history: Lockwood & Co.

Trailer One

What I Read: I recently downloaded a bunch of independent-author free books; these infrequent extravaganzas make up for what they may lack in quality with massive quantities of freebies. Anyway, I ran into an enjoyable cozy series by the author Bruce Hammock, beginning with the prequel, Exercise is Murder:

It’s no accident… it’s murder. Found at the bottom of his exercise pool, police believe the death of Steve Smiley’s friend is an accident. Smiley doesn’t buy it. There are a lot of things a blind man can do, but solve a murder alone isn’t one of them. He needs a partner… one who knows their way around a crime scene. In walks Heather McBlythe. She can help him solve the crime, but can she keep him out of danger? Steve doesn’t have a choice. Without her someone will get away with murder. Armed with years of experience as a homicide detective and his new partner, Smiley sets out to find a killer. He knows he’s on the right trail when a bullet whizzes past his ear. Will Steve resurrect his life as a master crime solver, or will his sleuthing get them both killed? The suspense and action in the Smiley and McBlythe Mysteries will keep you turning the pages to find out whodunit! No foul language, sex scenes or graphic violence—just a great mystery waiting to be solved.

What I Listened To: What I Listened To: Parra for Cuva – Belle de Nuit; Yellow Days – Soul Smile; Leif Erikson – Question Time.

Thank you for playing Brain Drain! How are you, darling DeadSplinterites? Dearest ones, how are you faring in the year of the rabbit?

About Elliecoo 493 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Watched:  Waiting for the Barbarians.  A period piece about colonization and conscience.  It won a bunch of awards, but holy fucking shit is this a boring film.  For someone who really enjoys dialog-driven movies, I seem to have a penchant for finding absolutely the worst examples of the style.  I had to literally stand up to avoid falling asleep while watching it.

    Listened:  This week’s stop on the tour of the best engineered albums of all time brings us to Can’t Buy a Thrill by Steely Dan.  This is their debut album, released in 1972 and engineered by Roger Nichols, this is also the only album that didn’t feature Donald Fagen as the lead vocalist on all the tracks.  Fagen was very concerned about his ability to sing in front of a live audience, so instead they recruited David Palmer who sang lead on a couple of the album tracks, but sang everything at the concerts.  (After this album, the rest of the band and producer Gary Katz had convinced Fagen to assume lead vocals and Palmer was sent on his way to spend most of this rest of his career as a songwriter.  He also eventually sued the shit out of the band for non-payment of streaming royalties.)

    Now, this album–being their first–doesn’t carry the kind of production baggage that Aja did, and therefore isn’t quite at the sonic level of that particular icon, but damn did Nichols show what he could do with a band that hadn’t yet become one of the go-tos for the audiophile crowd.  Great sound staging, clean separation of instruments while still maintaining solid live chemistry, and very good frequency range on most tracks.


    • …not sure if it’d suit…but there’s a tom hardy film called “locke” that’s pretty much as dialogue-centric as possible since it’s just him driving at night fielding phonecalls…if better than that makes it sound

      …& tommy lee jones & samuel l jackson are in a film of what I assume was originally a play called “the sunset limited”…&…yes…it was a play…by cormac mccarthy…which is also pretty much just a dialogue between them

  2. I don’t think I watched really much of anything this week.

    I did rewatch Central Intelligence last night. Kevin Hart and The Rock have a great dynamic for those sorts of movies.

    It’s one of the few movies that feature the detail of “fat person who has a glow-up” that doesn’t annoy me. There’s a line where Kevin Hart’s character asks The Rock’s character how he changed so much, and The Rock says “I just did one thing. I worked out 6 hours a day every day for the last twenty years.”

  3. …been poking around in the netflix anime catalogue…kuromukuru was a pretty good giant-robot-mech-suit thing…with only a few strands of you-know-that’s-not-ok-right? stuff

    …& children of the whale was better than I expected

    …also…I mentioned the other week reading william macilvenney’s laidlaw trilogy & how ian rankin considered him an inspiration…macilvenney might have failed to get back to him about having rebus #2 dedicated to him but it seems the pair of them teamed up to produce a prequel called “the dark remains” about laidlaw’s first case…so I aim to check that out

    …along, most probably, with season 3 of picard…which I believe is kicking off this week?

  4. I watched the first three episodes of The Last of Us. I never played the game so I don’t know how faithful it is. The zombie apocalypse genre is pretty well saturated but this stands out for a couple of reasons. The zombie mutation is original and looks terrifying. The acting is top notch and Nick Offerman’s performance is incredible. I have a couple of gripes but given that the source material is a game I can understand why certain choices were made.

    I read In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. It’s a non fiction telling of the Essex maritime disaster, the whaling shipwreck that inspired Moby Dick. There are graphic descriptions of whale hunting that are bit hard to read but it’s a fascinating story. My daughter just told me it was made into a movie so now I need to track that down.

    Listening to The Old Gods of Appalachia. I fell behind over the holidays and am catching up now.

    • oh dangit…that reminded me…for the last 2 weeks ive been forgetting to mention

      currently playing hi-fi rush

      i needed something colourful and not to serious i could just pick up for a wee while here and there

      and this game delivers….silly fun with a kick ass soundtrack

      (its also fairly challenging to me but thats mostly coz im real rusty on the gaming front after several years of not wanting to play games courtesy of the battlefield incident)

    • I read that Philbrick book a couple years ago at the insistence of a friend. I had no interest in the subject matter, really, but was blown away by the story in the end.

  5. i watched lou on netflix

    its a fair decent action/thriller flick with a female lead who is kind of an asshole instead of a male lead thats kind of an asshole

    its also one of those serious ones…instead of my usual stop thinking reality and start thinking playstation fare

    i cant leave a trailer for it as like all to many trailers nowadays it gives away most of the plot points

    i also re watched planet terror…. which i mostly remember as an intentionally schlocky and occasionally disgusting but oddly hilarious in places movie

    (warning trailer may not be suitable for @elliecoo ‘s)

    and…it kinda still is those things…. but goddamn do you end up looking at the whole thing differently after seeing harvey weinstein in the opening credits nowadays….

    still reading the library at mount char @hannibal… close to the end now… but i’ll refrain from going into it till ive actually finished it as its wrongfooted me a couple times now…you werent kidding about it being a little bit violent

    and listening to this sickeningly sweet little throwback to the fifties thats been in the charts for a wee while over here

    its hard not to like the song

    • …is lou the one with alison janney (known to many as “CJ from the west wing”)?

      …because that would be one of things I meant to mention whichever week it was I watched it but couldn’t bring to mind when saturday rolled around…as I recall there was a plot reveal in the latter stages that seemed like gilding the lily & I wondered if tweaking the script to do without it might have turned out a better movie…but in the main I thought it was pretty good?

  6. We subscribed to BritBox recently (finally) so I have been watching:

    Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (from the 90s, starring Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances and the guy who was in X-Men Origins:Wolverine and Lord of the Rings and who for a while was dating Evangeline Lilly) and

    McDonald & Dodds.

    I can foresee that this is going to be like allowing a teenager to have a TikTok account.

    While scrolling around getting to know BritBox (so, so many Agatha Christie-derived TV shows) I discovered that Fawlty Towers only ran for two seasons and that each season was only six episodes, and each episode was only 30 minutes. So you could consume the entire thing over the course of six hours. That seems impossible but apparently it’s true. Basil Fawlty is based on a true character. In the early 1970s the Monty Python crew checked into a hotel in Torquay and the manager was basically Basil Fawlty. The rest of the crew checked out after one night but John Cleese stayed on and British TV sitcom history was made.

      • Yes, I heard about this remake. It’s going to be set in the Caribbean, which is convenient for John Cleese because like many a Brit before him he is living the tax exile’s life as a resident of the tiny island/former British possession of Nevis, population 11,000.

        It will certainly not be shown on the BBC (unless it is, in a cynical move by both parties) because they’ve been feuding with each other for decades. If it ever sees the light of day I’ll watch it if I can remember it exists, but I’m prepared to be disappointed. It seems like it’s going to be mostly a vehicle to give one of John Cleese’s once-wayward daughters something to do.

    • …fawlty towers having so few episodes is a shock to everyone, I think…it was such a big deal & got repeated enough that it seemed natural to assume it had to have run for ages

      …sadly…despite previously saying going back to that well would be a mistake that would diminish the original…cleese is apparently going to make some more…with his daughter helping write…minus connie booth…who was probably most of what actually made it great…let alone prunella scales or andrew sachs or any of the others from the original

      …just john…struggling to make sense of the modern world…with quite possibly all of the flair demonstrated by…john cleese on twitter

      …so…that kinda sucks

      …michael palin & eric idle seemed to manage to get old & not become the sort of person they would have poked fun at on monty python’s flying circus…or at least not in ways they weren’t already poking fun at themselves back then…why cleese had to become such a disappointment is beyond me…but it’s more than a little tragic

      • There is speculation that when he divorced his second wife, Barbara Trentham, in 1990, the award to her against him (12 million pounds) drove him mad. It certainly drove him back to touring to raise the cash.

  7. I watched That 90’s Show.  It is worth it if you were a fan of That 70’s Show & you can get past the super annoying laugh track.  Red Foreman is my spirit animal so I had to do it.  I don’t think you could get away with the shit they do on network TV, underage drinking & drug use, but pretty accurate to what the 90’s were about.

    I’m listening to The Dils


    • I almost gave up after the Pilot which wasn’t that good.

      After that the show got better. The cameos from the original cast weren’t that good except Leo. I thought Fez was the annoying/clingy/needy Fez of the later (terrible seasons.) I didn’t mind the character of Hyde in the original but screw Danny Masterson who was the elephant in the room and wouldn’t have fit in this show anyway.

      Red Foreman is my dad (without the sense of humor/wit.) He called me “Donkey” instead of Dumbass.

  8. This just in: I’m currently watching Cunk on Earth on Netflix, which is phenomenal. A Borat-like, very dim British documentary presenter named Philomena Cunk (comedian Diane Morgan) interviews real experts in their fields and produces the kind of low-brow junk that is found on The History Channel and innumerable YouTube channels. Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation this is not.

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