Saturday Morning Brain Drain [21/1/23]

Image via Amazon

What I Watched: The Rig, an eco-thriller with a science-supernatural plot. It stars a few familiar actors; Martin Compston of DS Steve Arnott/Line of Duty and awesome Scottish accent fame and Mark Donnar, who played Duncan Hunter in Shetland (the bad-decision dad).

Overall, an engaging watch with an open ending to lead into a second season. I found Owen Teale’s role as the angry Welsh guy to be over-written, and Emily Hampshire’s role as Rose Mason to be under-written, but in general the show was just spooky enough to keep my attention. Here’s what The Guardian says:

It’s hard these days to isolate your characters enough for high drama to play out. You have to rely on uncharged mobile phones, social media refuseniks or go big like The Terror or The North Water did and put your people in ye olde times and a ship and/or polar wasteland. The Rig (Prime Video) does it by putting the protagonists on a North Sea oil rig and having all the comms knocked out by an unknown but rapidly encroaching and possibly supernatural force. As Alwyn, the sage of the crew (Mark Bonnar – so still and unsettling an actor that he amounts almost to a supernatural force himself) puts it: “If you keep punching the Earth, it’s going to punch back.”

The Rig Season One Trailer

What I Read: I acquired Hidden in Snow (The Åre Murders Book 1) by Viveca Sten back in November, as an Amazon free first read, and finally got around to reading it. It is the book version of all the moody Scandinavian television that many of us enjoy. Here’s the blurb:

On the day Stockholm police officer Hanna Ahlander’s personal and professional lives crash, she takes refuge at her sister’s lodge in the Swedish ski resort paradise of Åre. But it’s a brief comfort. The entire village is shaken by the sudden vanishing of a local teenage girl. Hanna can’t help but investigate, and while searching for the missing person, she lands a job with the local police department. There she joins forces with Detective Inspector Daniel Lindskog, who has been tasked with finding the girl. Their only lead: a scarf in the snow.

It turns out that Sten is quite well-known for her previous ten-book series, The Sandhamn Murders. Set on Sandhamm Island in the Stockholm archipelago, the location almost functions as a character. I’m on book two, and not yet bored with it, even though it is a slower, more plodding read than I am used to. Here is her biography:

Swedish writer Viveca Sten has sold over six million copies of her enormously popular Sandhamn Murders series. In 2019, her tenth novel, the hugely successful I hemlighet begravd (Buried in secret), was published in Sweden and cemented her place as one of the country’s most popular authors. Her Sandhamn Murders novels continue to top the bestseller charts and have been made into a successful Swedish-language TV miniseries, which has been broadcast around the world to almost ninety million viewers.

What I Listened To: Benjamin Amaru – Happy Eyes; The Kooks – Connection; Kyle McEvoy – Practical Magic; and King Hannah – All Being Fine.

Thank you for playing Brain Drain! How are you, darling, dreamy DeadSplinterites? Dearest ones, are you slogging through the month with abandon?

About Elliecoo 459 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Watched:  Stir Crazy, the 1980 screwball comedy with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.  This was the very first R-rated film I’d ever seen, which is probably why I decided to watch it again after eleventy-billion years.  Our neighbors across the corn field (seriously) had a son and daughter who were not old enough to see the film, and neither were my brother and I–but for some reason, the mother decided to take all four of us to watch it.  As a 9-year old I was blown away by all the swearing and the nudity.  I thought to myself, “so, this is what it’s like to be a grown-up–you get to watch the really good movies!”  Anyway, 40-ish years on, the film didn’t stand up to my 9-year old self’s memory of it, but it is still pretty funny.  Fun fact:  it was directed by Sidney Poitier.

    Listened:  This week’s stop on the best engineered albums of all time brings us to Hello, I Must Be Going! by Phil Collins.  Released in 1982 and engineered by legendary Hugh Padham, this was Collins’ 2nd solo album.  Padham is the originator of the gated drum sound, which most people associate with Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”, but was actually first used on Peter Gabriel’s 3rd eponymously titled album.  As with most innovations, this was developed quite by accident, when Padham was listening to Phil Collins rehearsing in the studio during the Gabriel session.  The recording console used at the time, an SSL, uses a “listen mic” which is designed to listen to the whole room, but the sound is highly compressed.  Padham came up with the idea to run a highly compressed reverb signal through a gate with a short cutoff time, rather than the typical signal threshold.  This technique became the signature sound for a ton of 1980’s pop.  For this particular Collins album, the technique is most apparent on “Thru These Walls.”

    Like other solo Collins albums, this one has a big sound, which somehow manages not to be mushy.  The sound stage is discrete and clear.  There is a w-i-d-e frequency range on most of the tracks, with thumping low end, a clean mid-range and a crisp high end.  But, even on the more stripped down opening of “Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away” the piano and vocal still have great sound and balance without seeming like they’re lacking anything.

    I’m not generally a fan of Collins’ solo pop, but this album sounds so great that I just can’t help myself.


    • The story of the actor who played Grossberger in Stir Crazy is absolutely wild.

      He was an MIT grad with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering who was also an excellent opera singer — he sang in both Stir Crazy and The Running Man. He was also an excellent amateur wrestler who was an alternate for the US Olympic team. But then he made the transition to bad guy in movies before he died.

    • I wonder if other DeadSplinterites remember their first R-rated movie? IIRC, mine was Blazing Saddles. It was on a first date, and I was mortified by the farting section.

      • Mine was Animal House.  My sister took me to see it & I decided that a good time to ask why everybody laughed at the part where the cake float said “eat me” during Thanksgiving dinner.  My parents were not too happy with my older sister.

      • Many moons ago, I was watching the Tony awards show with my mother-in-law.  My in-laws are huge theater people.  At any rate, this was during the year when the Broadway version of The Producers was kicking ass and taking names.  At one point, after they’d won yet another award, I turned to my mother-in-law and said to her that the next adaptation that Mel Brooks should do is Blazing Saddles.

        She laughed and laughed and laughed.  Then she said, “you can’t do Blazing Saddles on Broadway.”

        I asked why not.

        She said, “you can’t do the Bean Scene on Broadway.”

        I said, “If they can do a musical where the main song is Springtime for Hitler, they can do the Bean Scene.”

        Of course, she was right and I was wrong.  The next adaptation was Young Frankenstein.  An old school chum of my wife’s was cast as Frau Blucher.

      • The aforementioned Saturn 3.

        Lots of gore and plenty of scenes of shirtless Chin Dimple, uh, Kirk Douglas plus the brief shot of Farah Fawcett’s boobs.

        On cable TV? Well it was Humanoids From The Deep. A horrible movie about mutated trout that kill and rape. I still eat trout though.

        Kinda put me off the cachet of R rated movies.

  2. Watched Devotion on Paramount+.  It is a box office bomb, but it is actually a good movie. It stars Johnathon Major as Jesse Brown, the first African American US Naval aviator and Glenn Powell (the Iceman clone from Top Gun Maverick…. who I guess is a talented actor as he plays a decent human and not the maximum douche he played in Top Gun Mavericking) as Thomas Hudner. The flying visuals (mixed CGI with real planes) is pretty good.

    I know the story having read it in (unpaid ad for) my friend’s (Thomas Cleaver) published work “Holding The Line” about the Naval Air Ops during the Korean War.

  3. I finished the second season of Reservation Dogs. I’d been saving it because it’s going to be a while before it’s back — I read not until August.

    It’s absolutely great. The acting and writing are wonderful and the construction of the show is as good as anything on TV — the character interactions are all for mutiple good purposes, and the storylines are all developed in really smart ways.

  4. I watched The Banshees of Inisherin and loved it. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are great together, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan are fantastic in their supporting roles. It’s funny, sad, and beautiful.

    I read Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, a retelling of David Copperfield set in  Lee County, Virginia beginning in the 1990s. Like the original it addresses structural poverty and its impact on children. Kingsolver is a passionate advocate for rural America, Appalachia in particular which she has described in interviews as an internal colony exploited for timber, coal, tobacco, and eventually as grist for the opioid mill. I agree with a lot of what she has to say and I liked this book. My one criticism would be that she skirts around the racism of Appalachians. While the main character is himself Melungeon and gets a little taunting for his mixed heritage there is very little discussion of race other than disapproval for a mixed marriage. It’s unrealistic to me that in spite of the lack of POC in the town that racism wouldn’t exist and be openly expressed. And being victims doesn’t give a group of people a pass for oppressing other marginalized people. And because racism was fostered by the powers exploiting Appalachians as tool to manipulate them I think she missed an opportunity to show how they came to be that way and the damage it’s done. Like Kingsolver I hate the way Appalachians are usually represented in the media, stupid, dirty, the butt of the joke. But you have to show even the ugly parts. Still would recommend.

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to today’s Brain Drain tunes yet but I will. I listened to Every Loser, the new Iggy Pop. I posted the single Frenzy on here before and said to skip it. I haven’t changed my mind. Maybe it’s just me but I’m not interested in anyone’s penis boasting

    ”I’ve got a dick and two balls, and that’s more than you all”

    Maybe it’s supposed to be funny but I think it’s lazy and dull.
    The LP isn’t terrible, the music is pretty good, has a fun 80s vibe. But the lyrics aren’t great. I think the second track is the best.

    Strung Out Johnny


  5. …so the flick that successfully didn’t tick off any of my family the other day was “see how they run” on disney+

    …it’s a slightly-meta whodunit that involves the cast of the mousetrap, a gloriously put-upon sam rockwell as the real detective & saoirse ronan as an underappreciated low-ranking sidekick & it’s probably worth it just for the pair of them?

  6. Started watching Hunters Season 1.  I am assuming others have already watched it & reported on here but I am enjoying it so far.  It is a little slow at times like all these series but still keeps me interested.

    Still reading David Sedaris “Me Talk Pretty One Day” which is pretty funny but I don’t sit down and read enough to get through it yet.

    Listening to:  Israel Vibration

    • I’ve not watched either season of Hunters yet, although Amazon seems to think that I should do so. I consider it, and then, well, meh, Nazis. Please report back here when you have finished the season!

Leave a Reply