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  • Outlander

    Does anybody watch the "Outlander" series on TV ? It's based on a novel and is a bit of time travel and bit of history at the time of the '45 rising. (Reminds me of an early Doctor Who with Jamie MacCrimmon etc).

    Anyway, Wikipedia has this to say about part of the plot of the novel "Though Jamie is still a fugitive from the British army, he reclaims his position as Laird of Lallybroch until one of his tenants betrays him and he is taken to Wentworth Prison, where Captain Randall is stationed. Claire and the clansmen attempt a jail-break, but fail; and Claire is captured by Randall, who threatens to have her raped. Jamie offers himself in Claire's place....

    Does that mean that Jamie is going to become some redcoat's bee-atch ?

  • #2
    IMO the books are sh i te. I have tried to finish the first in the series, but have given up.....

    It's a bit of a bodice ripper, not my cuppa tea

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    • #3
      I do try to like programmes with a historical Scottish setting (esp the Highlands) but when I see names like a chieftain called Colum, I think "Aye aye here we go.......It's Irish but to them near enough !". Like Conor MacLeod in Highlander. Though I like actors like Gary Lewis, when I listen to these sort of serials or movies there's also the "Funny that - in the past everyone in the Highlands sounded like Glaswegians".

      I have liked TV serialised stories like "The Flight Of The Heron" by DK Broster and even the recent "Kidnapped" with Gregor Fisher and I much preferred Rob Roy to Braveheart etc.

      But they mostly all suffer from the same "how the hell do you wear a féileadh-mór / breacan an fhéilidh without having to hold onto a loose hangy bit with a brooch on the end?" There must be knowing historical buffs out there who can show an actor how to wear it and look like a figure in a 17th/18th Century painting ! Just even look at the Jacobite Osprey Men-At-Arms book or J. Telfer Dunbar's book on Highland Dress and you soon see how it's done ! Sorry, I'm getting a bit preachy !

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      • #4
        Did you ever see the 1994 film"Chasing The Deer" or the 1964 Peter Watkins docu-drama "Culloden" ?

        Apparently, a film about the '45, provisionally called "The Great Getaway" is being currently put together. It has a GBP 6.5m budget and so far they appear to have Peter Mullan and Brendan Gleeson. They're trying to get Kristen Stewart for Flo MacD. She should be able to bring some light-hearted jollity and witty retorts to an otherwise serious subject !

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        • #5
          The writer of that bodice ripper has admitted she had never been to Scotland before writing the first and probably more of the series nae wunner the names an ither hings ur aw wrang! Still, she's made a bonny amount o siller oan the back o nae initial knowledge

          DK Broster.... Haven't even thought about those novels since reading them at school.

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          • #6
            Tried to read, couldn't really 'get into' them. Watched the first episode, just to see what the hype was, decided I had better things to do with my time. (Housework comes to mind . . .)

            It all seems very outlandish to me, there are better things to read! And I insist on accuracy, especially if you are going to attempt to mess with things, this story couldn't produce anything like accuracy. I got the impression it was set where it was to lure an audience, (feeble) and presented as something unique, which it wasn't (again feeble).

            I have several friends who read with enjoyment, who awaited the TV show with panting bodices, (there again, if you must resort to a visual version of the story to appreciate it, then it must not have been much of a story . . .) So, all in all in my opinion, read something else, watch something else!


            Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

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            • #7
              Still, its good for Scotland's tourism.

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              • #8
                Aye. But at what cost?

                All those women, looking for a bonnie, braw heilander, bekilted and striding through the heather. Most of the badly written sh ite about menwho seem to bear Irish names... As if we are interchangeable

                Can fowk no bear tae read wur history?

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                • #9
                  There's a lot of re-invented TV series on telly these says (almost too numerous to mention), sexed up versions of folk-tales, re-writes of history and any otherwise bland topics the TV execs could dream up. I can't recall them all but one was about Henry VIII (looking slimmer and more handsome than he ever was in real life, even when young and with a fashionable stubble-beard) and then there's Da Vinci's Demons, featuring yep a young sexy, bare-chested and suitably stubble-bearded Leo DV sword-playing with the best of them.

                  Mind you, I do have a big soft spot for Supernatural, which doesn't take itself too seriously.

                  My fave comedy series now is Black-ish, with Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross (Diana Ross's daughter) and Laurence Fishburne. It's about a middle-class family, a black advertising manager (Dre), with a doctor wife, two teens and two pre-teens and his cynical Dad and overbearing mother. It's basically about Dre trying to infuse (even force some interest in) black culture, historical struggle and heritage into his modern children who are not remotely interested and continued efforts he makes to make them aware. He even tries at one stage (too successfully) to get his teenage nerd son over the school bullying by teaching him to respond verbally with "The Dozens" (roasting - "Yo mama" etc). In one episode, he describes slavery beautifully to his child's white teacher's version of American history as "Oh - you mean that period of non-consensual gardening ?"

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                  • #10
                    Well, I’ve watched the episodes right up to Claire’s rescue from the clutches of evil redcoat Jack Randall.

                    Polwarth, you were right – Outlander is a lot of shyte (to use ye olde version of ye worde).

                    Voyeuristic close-to-the-edge-soft-porn dressed up (the only thing to get dressed rather than undressed) as Scottish history. It seems to me that Outlander is trying to compete with Game of Moans in the “seeing how many nude romp scenes we can get by the TV standards watchdogs” challenge.

                    Frankly – and I never thought I’d say this – I felt uncomfortable at the ‘Fraser and his mistress-then-wife going at it’ scenes from the depths of Knockinboots Castle. I fast forwarded at these bits. I couldn’t imagine anything more off-putting that having to watch Fraser, aka Geordie Gingernuts, re-enacting scenes of Sheamus from WWE Raw. If I had switched the telly on at that time to watch Outlander, I would have taken it as video-blog scenes of Scottish rugby fans enjoying themselves after a Cardiff disco.

                    So that covers at least half of the series content.

                    So, the historical part. The turmoil in a clan in the lead-up to the ‘45. The MacKenzie chief (Gary Lewis), disabled by rickets (and boomerangs for prosthetic legs) and unable to lead the clan for good or bad in person (but does now have decent period-style hair instead of his customary Foreign Legion boule-a-zero). He doesn’t want to commit the clan to the adventure as it got badly burnt in the ’15 and is angry when his brother uses a routine tax-gathering expedition among the Chief’s tenants as a chance to raise funds for the Jacobites, as it may bring down Glencoe-sized retribution on his head.

                    His brother does have Foreign Legion aspirations however and has longer hair on his face than on his shaved head. That’s okay – some chiefs and gentlemen shaved their heads and wore wigs (some only when they had to). But this chap never wears a wig. Nice to see one of my favourite Scottish actors, Bill Paterson, as the chief’s accountant and legal consultant. I don’t know that it is so nice however to see “Nitro” from “Mean Machine” as a leading henchman. I keep expecting him to put on crazy eyes, spit out enough slavers to cause a tsunami and shout “BOOM” ! Now why can’t he do that to the redcoats ?

                    So (sorry – boring), to my main gripe. The way they’re dressed. There is enough historic data and research out there to “get it right” for no extra cost. The real appearance of highlanders is staring people in the face in books and museums. For a start, the woollen knitted Highland bonnet. Dark blue, blue, grey, with or without a small toorie, often with an interwoven ribbon to tighten the cap. Look at paintings (eg Lord George Murray, Laird of Grant’s champion, Laird of Grant’s piper, David Morier’s scene of Culloden, plates from the 1742 “A Representation of Cloathing” of the British Army) all show Highlanders wearing their Highland bonnets full and flat on their heads, akin to the “Jocks” with their khaki Tam O’ Shanters in the 1960’s or a “doolander” bunnit. Evidence and descriptions don’t show it worn like a WW2 beret pulled over to the right. Oh – and plant badges ? I understood that plant badges were worn as clan recognition in the days before clan tartans. But this may be an overstatement. Maybe they didn’t bother in their own turf, only when going “abroad”.

                    It must have been so boring living in the Outlander world. They all look like Presbyterian preachers ! From what I’ve read and seen, by the early-mid 1700’s, compared to earlier, tartan had become a veritable blaze of colour. Reds, blues, greens etc were all popular, with yellow, purple etc all in there too. Gentlemen often wore tartan jackets and waistcoats. So why does Outlander have them wearing the “Depressed 1744 Winter Collection from House of Fraser (of Lovat)" ? So boring and non-descript. Was Outlander's costume designer a goth or an emo ?

                    Then we have the ‘never-gets-old’ debate about lumpy-kilts ! We’ve seen them all – from Braveheart, Highlander, Rob Roy and this. How to wear a double width length of tartan cloth and look like the bee’s knees rather than its grey bottom ! I think we know the routine by now, but however the lower pleated part is individually achieved, it’s the upper half that bamboozles. It seems all so simple and straightforward in the portraits and historic descriptions, but how to get it on a real person. It is possible. I’ve seen really dedicated (and presumably not short of a few bob for their hobby passion) Jacobite period re-enactors do it just as I imagined from the sources and looking very dashing and smart and not lumpy at all. Then you get the renaissance-fair brigade and the new-age “make it up as you go and swear it’s right” re-enactors who don their lumpiness with pride. These are the types who appear in tv series and movies. All that spare hanging bundles and lengths of cloth they don’t know what to do with ! Fraser from Outlander has made his fashion statement with the “trail it behind you like a wedding train” look. It did exist though, I’ll give him that. It appeared in a mid-18th Century print of the Black Watch.

                    But on horseback ? From what I understood, travel on horses (ie big ponies) was the preserve of the chief / chieftain and their entourage of staff and favoured clan gentlemen. The clan rank and file couldn't afford ponies and it was an upper ranks thing. Being that bit more cultured, they wore tartan trews while mounted, not any form of kilt. The trews could be in various forms including tartan equivalents of 18th Century knee breeches and hose, to form-fitting “onesies” hose from waist to toe – cut on the cross (diagonal) to afford a bit more stretch in the cloth. Sporrans would still be worn, dirks etc and a wrap around shoulder plaid for warmth. But in Outlander et all, they think Highland chiefs were not only hard-men but savages, unconcernedly showing off their family bagpipes to all and sundry while rubbing their bare (and who knows how clean ?) backsides against their long-suffering pony’s back. Maybe ponies were nicknamed "Highlanders' loo roll ?"

                    Then there’s the redcoats. There we go, curly, skimpy tricornes again ! Where’s the proper-sized stiffened tricornes with broad white tape edging and black Hanoverian cockade ? Real redcoats had enough room inside the upturned sides of their tricornes to store a clay pipe and even an apple ! Some of the cavalry in Outlander had something like it, but why did the infantry have such crappy hats ? As for crap – the uniforms – ho hum and shrug shoulders ! After all, they’re only redcoats and don’t have to look good. Maybe they could borrow cast-offs from the movie “Hawkeye” whose uniforms were much better and the 1751 reg uniforms were still close enough to the 45 style.

                    But in the end I have learned one valuable lesson – in the olden Highlands, everybody spoke with Glasgow accents and, to quote Outlander, told each other to “bile their heids”.

                    But despite all, I’m quietly okay that it keeps Scotland in the World’s public consciousness, even if flawed !

                    Will I watch the next episode ?

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                    • #11
                      TELT YE

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                      • #12
                        You put men in kilts on horse back and the panting bodices can watch and drool, HOPING to catch a glimpse, then when said boy is bouncing along on the back of a trained pony with never an ouchie face, Panting Bodice can imagine a wondrous, indestructible goodie hidden below, or that he's a brave strong manly man, who can take all types of torturous pain on his, well, you know whats.

                        I maintain, house work holds more appeal!

                        And is it is good for tourism? Or selling books.


                        Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

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                        • #13
                          Both this and Reign are two of the worst shows I have seen!
                          Yer Maw!!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Diverting slightly, has anyone here read books by Lillian Beckwith ? It was a name which flashed through my mind only yesterday. Back in the '60's, she seemed to be popular in parts of Scotland. An English lady, she wrote humorously about her day to day crofting life in the Highlands (I think somewhere in the Hebrides).

                            Though Highland folk I knew thought her books amusing, some of them also were unhappy as they thought she belittled them, while promoting herself as the brains of the community and without whom, they couldn't function properly.

                            I do recall one of her stories though about a local man who was considered to be simple and a soft target for passing tourists. One day, a tourist couple (I forget either English or American) wishing to bait him in a conversation saw their chance and said "So, how many of us are here right now ?" (obviously the answer was three). The "daftie" replied "100". The couple looked at each other, laughed at his answer and patronisingly asked "100 ? How do you get that ?". The local answered "Well there's me - that's one - and then you - two nothings !"

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