East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Jack the Lass

I’ve just watched the first episode of Gentleman Jack, a British/American mini-series based (I don’t know how loosely) on the diaries of Anne Lister, a very fascinating woman from the early days of the Industrial Revolution, and a person that had a colossal influence on the development of Britain in the first half of the 19th century.

As far as historical entertainment goes, the series seems to be just perfect, and the fact that it steals a page from Alfie, allowing the main character (interpreted by Suranne Jones) to break the fourth wall, is really fun.

There’s eight episodes in the series, and apparently a second season’s already been confirmed. Now I’ll have to look for a book on miss Lister, because I am absolutely enamored of her. Silly me.
Truly and highly recommended if you like history and smart television.

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Other People’s Pulps: The Adventures of the Seaspray

I’ll start the year with a chunk of personal nostalgia.

I mentioned already – ad nauseam – how my generation was brought up with a steady, solid, high quality diet of adventure… often, real life adventure.
I grew up with documentaries about the Apollo missions, about Thor Heyerdahl, about deep sea divers and explorers.
There was a lot of South Seas in my youth – mostly through the Folco Quilici documentaries, but also thanks to a TV series that hit the Italian screens in the early ’70s – when I was about six or seven years old.


It was an Australian serial, and it was called The Adventures of the Seaspray – but in Italy was presented as “A Sud dei Tropici” (South of the Tropics). Continue reading

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Born Free

Born_Free1When I was a kid, I used to watch a TV show called Born Free.
It featured Gary Collins and Diana Muldaur and it was based – I learned much later – on the books by Joy Adamson, an Austrian-born naturalist and writer who in Africa, together with her husband George Adamson, took in three orphaned lion cubs and kept on of them, a lioness called Elsa.
The series lasted only 13 episodes – and that sounds weird to me, because I seem to recall it lasted forever.

The show was everything a kid of about ten could want – it featured African landscapes, wild beasts and a mix of adventure and positive messages. It was environment-friendly, and green before there was a Green party. Now I’ve been told they don’t broadcast it anymore, here in Italy, because it is not politically correct enough, whatever that means. The sort of thing that makes me feel old1.

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