Monday, 14 July 2014

Old Baldy and Draping the St George on the Enterprise


Here at SKoST, we like to be concise. We also like to be punctual, factual, comical and slightly unique. So let me start off by apologising - to you our readers, to our reputation but especially to Sir Patrick Stewart.

We have been remiss in our duties. We debate our common interest, deliver our appraising or scathing remarks like a self-professed food critic or music mogul. Yet I find my proverbial tail between my legs to think we have completely missed such an important event - the Shakespearian actor's birthday! Like a champagne critic ordering up a 1988 Vintage Krug Brut by asking "I'll have the Lambrini". Paux Pas? We're way beyond it.

So in celebration, we'll quite happily break out the patriotism and gloat for having home-grown talent leading a series one of science-fiction's most popular TV shows...

A Yorkshireman, a countryman, a British classically trained actor in a sci-fi show??? Not since you Americans considered peanut-butter and jelly an amicable combination has there been such a juxtaposition. From delving into Sir Patrick's bio, the man himself recognised the oddity, refusing to unpack for six weeks, expecting to be on the next flight back to the land of hope and glory! Twenty-seven years later, we can look back on his contribution. Yes, in the first season of The Next Generation, I often believe I can sense the unease in his character and acting. I'm trying to convey a feeling I've never been able to shake in his first season - it's just a personal belief he was unsure of quite what he was doing there.

Years later however, we see him launch into such a tirade against the Borg, it would have left Shakespeare himself in awe! "This far; NO FURTHER!!! And I, will make them pay for what they've done!!" If you imagine someone who risks losing everything to an entity as brutal, cold and efficient as the Borg, you have been tortured and abused by them, they have threatened your home, your loved ones, everything you hold dear. All of that accumulating into one chance at revenge. I'd say this film housed his best dramatisation of these events, truly his best performance.

Besides the first season of The Next Generation, I don't think I'm alone here, I honestly feel Nemesis was far from his (and the rest of the cast's) best performance. There was a tired look about them, as if they had done one too many encores? I would love to get a personal account from him on what went on behind the scenes. Was that the case? Or perhaps it was the plot, or the director, or the general conditions? I wouldn't be surprised to find he's been asked this, ad nausea. Oh, and the Argo scene? Clearly Sir Patrick's idea for his love of cars I'm guessing!

Before this, there was high praise for sticking up for the little guy in Insurrection. I'm not going to go into each individual piece by him. Merely as a point of speculation, I've often believed Sir Patrick's performance and possibly his involvement as associate producer, were directly or indirectly as a result of his deep-seated humanitarian beliefs.
Too much praise? You may think so, I don't. I could digress into all aspects of his life, his achievements, beliefs, awards and honours, but this would be nothing more than what can be read up on Wikipedia, IMDB and so on. In addition, there are far too many events and years to cover - more than a single article could cover. What I'd REALLY love to do, is sit down with the man himself, let my wife grill him first over his love of Dr Who and Red Dwarf, then she would likely beg him to introduce her to Brian Blessed and then she would chat endlessly about Monty Python. By his next birthday, she may allow me 60 seconds to interview the poor man and get his thoughts! Imagine that... 60 second memoirs!

So, if anyone does happen to know where he is, his whereabouts, his schedule, when he'll next be in Scholar Green - Staffordshire, or if he entertains Skype? Please could you let him know I'm willing to battle his brains against the walnut I have in the space between my ears. If he really wants to feel at home, I actually drink Earl Grey. No, you didn't get me on it, my Grandma (bless her) did.

From a fellow countryman, I say happy birthday! Eat, drink and be merry! And in the spirit of our forefathers... Jolly good show old chap!

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