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Saturday, 31 August 2013

10th Anniversary - The Prisoner Variations

    It is exactly ten years today, by both date and day, that the book launch of 'the Prisoner Variations took place. 29 short stories based on and around the 1960's television series 'the Prisoner.'
   The book launch took place over a day and a half in the Prisoner shop in Portmeirion, and was quite a remarkable experience. The lady serving in the Prisoner shop, said she knew very little about 'the Prisoner,' and was much relieved by having me with her in the shop. So much so that, when customers asked her questions, she referred them to me. Two ladies wanted to purchase episodes of 'the Prisoner,' but only ones that contained the most film footage of Portmeirion. So I was happy to advise them. So there I was, an author signing copies of my book, and working as a shop assistant in the Village at the same time. I have to say that I was thoroughly in my element, and loved every single minute of it.
    Some people said some very strange and mystifying things. For example, one woman told me that her husband was ill, and would be dreadfully disappointed for not having met me. She did not buy a copy of my book, but asked me to write a little message for him in her Portmeirion brochure, and would I sign it. One chap put a video of 'the Prisoner' on the table and asked me to sign that! Others asked me if I was in the Prisoner shop every weekend? One chap came in and fixed me with a stare and said I was younger than he had expected, then proceeded to ask me some very searching questions about what had been in McGoohan's mind, at various points in the series' production? I managed to answer his questions and he went away happy. At one point I saw a young Japanese woman looking at me intently through the throng in the shop, then I saw her speaking to another woman. I hasten to add that I was not dressed in a piped blazer, or in my 'Arrival' suit {exact to the one worn by Patrick McGoohan in the series} in fact I deliberately went out of my way not to dress in any form of Village attire, but dressed to look like what I am, a writer. So then the woman, who the Japanese woman had been speaking to, approached the table I was sitting at, busy signing copies of my book. She told me that her friend had just remarked how much like Patrick McGoohan I looked. And that was me just being me!
    Happenings such as this continued throughout the Saturday, much to the amusement of both 60f1 members and ex-members alike, who had come to Portmeirion especially for the book launch. One friend had driven to the Village in his Caterham Super 7, which was then parked in Battery Square opposite the Prisoner shop all that day, and featured in many photo shoots. One man came into the Prisoner shop asking is there was a Prisoner Convention that weekend, he was disappointed to learn that there was not. However, such was the feeling of happiness in the atmosphere, that it actually felt like there was a Convention taking place.
   Then on the Sunday, suddenly everything became clear, a couple came {quite literally} bounding into the Prisoner shop. They were absolutely beside themselves with excitement. They insisted on having their photograph taken with me, and started listing some of the various famous people they had met, including the Kennedy's. "And now" they said "we have met the man who wrote 'the Prisoner".........oh dear! sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. I hadn't the heart to burst their bubble., and tell them I was only 12 years old when it was first broadcast! So I steered the conversation away. But why so many people had also quite obviously thought this, I have no idea {perhaps they had not bothered to read the posters advertising the book launch outside the shop properly} but it is the only explanation for all the happenings on the Saturday.

Be seeing you

THEPRIS6NER

    Last night my wife and I watched the final episode of THEPRIS6NER 'Checkmate.' It was our eigth screening of the series, enjoyable as ever, and over just as quickly, what's more there are certain aspects of the episode that gave pause for fresh thought..
  The viewer could be forgiven for thinking that the above is the future face of the Village, as the events in the episode do give the impression that that is the case, because it is 313 in the Village who takes the sedative and hallucinogentic drugs in order to make her sleep and dream the Village. However313 was never physically in the Village. Like others of her kind, 313 was mentally brought to the Village {a broken person mentally} to be made better. 313 as a child was abused, forced to stand for long periods of time with a cardboard box on her head. 
   Yes it was M2 in the Village that Two gave the pills to, but it was Helen/M2 in New York was actually dreaming the Village. We do not see this, but it must have been Curtis who was giving Helen the pills in New York that kept his wife dreaming the Village, and this was mirrored in the Village as Two gives M2 the pills. So it must surely follow that Michael gave Sarah the pills in the church in New York. Sarah as in 313's other half, making Sarah {pictured below} the actual dreamer of the Village. I dread to think what kind of Village would be dreamt in the mind of Sarah!
    The new Two, the former Six, wondered if there was a way to build a better Village, a moral Village. Well I don't fancy his chances, not with the material he's got to work with. I for one would not wish to wake up in a Village created in the mind of Sarah! Nor can I see Sarah becoming a doctor in adult life as 313 is in the Village. Sarah is far too mentally unstable for that. I get the impression that M2 made 313 a doctor in the Village.
   The final scene, two people in the desert. The one dreaming of creating a better, moral Village. While the other sheds a tear. For whom does she weep? Herself because of the predicament she finds herself in? Well 313 has only herself to blame, it was either become a dreamer of the Village, or go back to being Sarah. Perhaps it is for the new Two she weeps, because she knows that he has a dream to make a better Village, yet knows that is impossible because of Sarah. Or does 313 weep for all those people who Michael will send to the Village, broken people to be made better in the Village, who will themselves suffer further in an impure Village created in Sarah's mind?
   In the mean time I dream of........................
   Be seeing you

Who's that on The Telephono?


    No.2 "Number Two here, I'm on red."
    No.26 "I'm on white."
    "That is the Labour Exchange?"
    "Yes indeed."
    "And you are the Manager?"
    "I have that honour."
    "Any jobs going?"
    "Jobs? But you are Number Two!"
    "Not for much longer, word is I'm on the way out!"
    "The election campaign not going well?"
    "It could be going better."
    "Number Six appears to be a runaway success, everyone appears to be voting for him."
    "Yes, I had not reckoned on his popularity!"
    "So you expect to find yourself in the job market."
    "What jobs have you got?
    "Well the cafe requires a new waiter."
    "After my position of Number Two, I'd find that too demeaning."
    "Do you know anything about horticulture?"
    "Not really."
    "Pity. There's a position for a gardener." 
    "Haven't you got anything with a better outlook, that gives a new opportunity, something that gives challenge to one's techinical abilty?"
    "Well............there is one position that gives clarity of view, something technical, that challenges hand and feet coordination. But it does require a license."
    A new day, and new beginnings!
    Pilot "Request to circle the Village, then land, I've a new arrival"   
    Supervisor-No.26  
    "Permission granted. There will be an ambulance standing by."
   "Roger, over and out."

BCNU

Thought For The day

    Being a prisoner in the Village is one thing, but when it comes to the Professor and Madam Professor, they are never seen out and about the Village. They appear to spend all of their time in their home {not sure where the house is positioned in the Village}. Even Madam Professor’s art seminars are held in the garden of their home. The only time the Professor appears to leave his house is when he’s busy working in the General’s office, or that time after he’s hidden his tape recorder containing the message about the General must be destroyed, and that Speedlearn is an abomination being, then found running away from the Village along the beach to be fetched back to the Village by a number of citizens.
   It strikes me, that although the Professor and his wife went to the Village of their own free will, they appear to be under continued house arrest. They are unable to leave the confines of their home to interact with other citizens of the Village. At least Madam Professor does get to interact with art students at her seminars, while her husband has only No.2 and the doctor who administers therapy to the Professor, in order to keep him working on his lectures.
   Madam Professor told No.6 that she and her husband were perfectly happy, when it is perfectly clear that she is far from happy. Perhaps like Nadia Rakovsky, Madam Professor didn’t think it would be like that! At least for people like No.6, there is a certain freedom within the prisoner. But what freedom is there for the Professor and his wife?

Be seeing you

Prismatic Reflection

    So the former No.6 vindicated the right of the individual to be individual, and yet previous to this, the Village Administration frowned upon anyone showing individual tendencies. The cult of the individual, it’s not allowed. No.6 is an individual and individuals are always trying. But what is it to be an individual? What makes an individual stand out from the crowd, to stand out in society?
    An individual is someone who acts differently. Thinks differently, behaves differently, and may dress differently to others around him or her. An individual is not someone who runs with the hounds, as he’s more likely to be the fox, or her, the vixen. And yet society is made of such individuals, free thinking people like you and I.
    In the Village the cult of the individual is frowned upon, it is not acceptable to think for oneself. The Village is uniform, there is no room for independent style of dress, or is there? The
Butler is allowed to wear his cape inside out, this could be deemed as an act of the individual who is trying to look different, to stand out in the crowd. He would do anyway, seeing as he is the only dwarf in the Village. And also No.240, she too is permitted to wear her cape inside out, and in that she displays individualistic tendencies, or does she? There is of course another way of looking at it. It might simply be that No.240 and the Butler simply do not wish to look stupid wearing a garishly colourful striped cape!
    Mrs Butterworth, or if you prefer Number Two. She is wearing a dress in the Village, her numbered badge pinned upon her dress. But we could forgive her for that, as in all likely hood, Mrs Butterworth has only recently arrived in the Village, and has not had time to take on the more uniformal dress of the Village. And yet she’s had time to bake a cake!
   Nadia arrives in the Village wearing a navy blue cardigan and skirt, her own clothes obviously. Later as No.8, she wears a pink jersey and pink slacks. They do not appear to be relative to the usual Village attire, and so could easily be her own clothes. Furthermore, there is the Professor and Madam Professor who also wear their own clothes in the Village. This of course is possibly one of the privileges they enjoy for having come to the Village of their own free will. And yet, the Professor and his wife are never seen out and about the Village. They appear to spend most of their time in their home {not sure where the house is positioned in the Village}. Even Madam Professor’s art seminars are held in the garden of their home. The only time the Professor appears t leave his house is when he’s busy working in the General’s office, or that time he’s found running away from the Village along the beach.
    Number Eighty-six is under the illusion that she is higher than Number Two, is that why she wears her own dress? And I do mean the actress Angela Browne’s very own dress that she wore in other
ITC television series.
    In ’Dance of the Dead,’ the Prisoner was allowed to wear his own clothes, and that was after he’d been told they had been burnt! And then again in ‘Fall Out,‘ it was suggested to Number Six that he might feel happier as himself. But Number Six wasn’t the only one to be wearing his own clothes, this also applied to Number Forty-eight! Others in the Village also worn their own clothes, such as the two Colonels and Fotheringay, but then they were not really citizens of the Village. But clothes alone do not maketh the individual, yet they do make you stand out, as the former No.2 stood out when he was back in London, still dressed in Village attire. Except that time during the election in the Village, remember? Number Two didn’t dress as other Chairmen of the Village. Instead of the usual plain, dark, double breasted, he wore a dove grey jacket with cuffs at the end of the sleeves, rather unusual I thought. And at the same time, was the new Number Two in ’Arrival’ challenging convention by wearing a piped blazer?
    Individualism, it can be demonstrated in many ways, not simply by the use of free thinking, that’s what the Rook-Number Fifty-three did that time on the human chessboard, much good that did him. And in any case the King had already castled with the King’s Rook, so the move was in invalid one anyway!
   I myself enjoy demonstrating individual tendencies, for example, sometimes when I wear a tie I wear it without a knot. What I mean is, I tie the tie as usual, but I don’t put the large tongue of the tie though the knot, the knot is behind the large tongue. No don’t laugh, I learned to do that when I was in the fifth year at school, and I think it looks dashed smart, what’s more it’s different. No-one else I know ties a tie like it. Sometimes I go about the town wearing a top hat and frock coat, or my arrival suit jacket and black jeans, such is my demonstration of individualism. The only trouble with that, there comes a time when people fail to notice, they get used to seeing a man going about town wearing a top hat. So much so that two or three others are now seen to be going about town wearing top hats. Perhaps we should form a society, the one rule being the wearing of a top hat! But all joking apart, where is my individualism now? It would seem that my nature to dress differently to others will have to evolve if I and to regain my so called individualism.
    But I digress, there is little room for the demonstration of individualism through Village attire. Mind you it must have raised some eyebrows when No.6 started to go about the Village in a cream blazer with black piping. And he seemed to have taken to wearing his badge, that must have turned a few heads. After all he’d never been known to wear his badge before.
    I used to live in a Village. I used to wear my No.6 badge with pride. But it was frowned upon, other villagers didn’t understand. Wearing that badge made me stand out, it made me an individual. Oh it wasn’t always the No.6 badge, quite often it was a badge with a black background, white penny farthing, and no number. I have a whole box full of Prisoner based badges, it’s been a long time since……..well I don’t wear them much any more, only when occasion demands. You see it’s not the wearing or not wearing the badge that matters, that‘s not important. It’s what’s inside, the Six inside, the you inside………..the me inside, that makes us individuals.

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

Sometimes You Simply........
.......... Have to accept things as they are, and others you have to ignore!
   Like the way the pigeon, in ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ was shot down by the Beam. It was being tracked on radar which means it was flying away from the village and at some distance. Then the Beam was activated and the pigeon fell from the sky. But where did it fall? It could have been in the woods, anywhere along the estuary, even somewhere on the far side of the estuary, even in the sea! But search teams easily found the said pigeon which carried No.6's message.... "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake Bakers man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can." Mind you the control room personnel did have a radar fix on the pigeon, so the area in which the pigeon came down was known. But a bird that size would be easy to miss in the woods or dense undergrowth.
   Then again in Hammer Into Anvil, No.6 hears the scream of No.73 coming from the hospital. This when No.6 is out walking past the old people's home, the hospital is nowhere near the old people's home!
    And when it comes to No.6's search by aircraft during Many Happy Returns, an area of some 75,000 square miles to search for the location of a small village. Of course we have no idea, nor is there any indication of how long the search has been going on, but the village is found in double quick time, for the viewers benefit and the time limit of 50 minutes no doubt. But in reality, it's a wonder that No.6 is not still out there somewhere, searching for the village today!
   And again during ‘Many Happy Returns,’ what about refuelling of the Gloster Meteor jet at Gibraltar? Surely the pilot and navigator got out of the aircraft for refreshment and the toilet. And if they did, why was the fact that the R.A.F Group Captain was not the pilot of the aircraft, discovered By No.6?
    Such things in ‘the Prisoner’ as you see them on the television screen simply have to accept as they are, otherwise it can spoil the viewing pleasure of the enigma that is the Prisoner.

That Village Guardian
    In The Schizoid Man that white membranic village guardian is given a name Rover, indeed Rover does act like a guard dog in the way it patrols the village and surrounding area, and more often than it works like a sheep dog in the way it herds escaping citizens back to the village. But I wonder if R.O.V.E.R would have had any meaning to its name? Retriever Of Villager Escaping Resident perhaps, or Roving Overseer Village Effluxing Rotundity. Blimey that's a mouthful, talk about making it up as you go along!
   Of course there's no evidence at all that there should be any meaning in  Rovers name. But ROVER to me, is suggestive, and much more than simply a retrieving guard dog. Visually the white membranic Village guardian is the most iconic visualisation the Prisoner could have.

No.6 Takes An Active Role Within The Community.
    "The community must live, so too must No.6."
    One can be a rebel, a non-conformist, refuse to settle down  and join in. Not to accept the village, be a lone-wolf that belongs to the wilderness for as long as you like. But at the end of the day even 'unmutuals' are forced to become part of the community. And so it is with No.6, as he involved himself, not directly with the community during ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ as he became the avenging angel for the deceased No.73 who threw herself out of the hospital window. And in this we discover where No.6's sympathies lie, a question asked by the new No.2 of ‘Arrival’ with citizens of the community, protecting them in fact, as he did in ‘It’s Your Funeral’ by preventing the death of the retiring No.2 and thereby stopping any possibility of mass reprisals taken against the community. And with any damsel in distress, as in the case of Nadia in ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ who No.6 saw to be in distress, although of course she wasn't. Then there was Monique in ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ And of course Cathy, the saloon girl in Living In Harmony.
    So No.6 rejects the Village, he refuses to settle down, to join in. But this 'lone-wolf' does accept the provisions and services which the village administration provides for its citizens. Its health and welfare, the credit he enjoys in order to pay for those little luxuries he enjoys, note book, pen and pencil. Records, copies of The Tally Ho, the occasional cuckoo clock! Not to mention cups of coffee at the cafe and down on the lawn of the old people's home!
   No.6 may not accept the Village, but he certainly takes advantage of it's amenities which the administration provides within the village boundaries!
    There is an omitted scene at the end of Hammer Into Anvil where No.6 is seen visiting No.73's grave. this provokes the question asked of No.6 by No.2 in ‘Once Upon A Time’ "Why do you care?"

Be seeing you

Friday, 30 August 2013

Quote For The Day

   "He's an individual and they are always trying"
                                                    {No.2 speaking about No.6 - Dance of the Dead}

    Socrates - "The man who invented the question - and therefore individualism, too, as only an individual can ask a question."

BCNU 
                                                      

A favourite Scene In The Prisoner

  I suppose this is a bit of a "Caught On Camera" moment. It is a short scene as scenes go in 'the Prisoner,' and dispite what you see in the pictures, they are taken from 'The Chimes of Big Ben.' The short scene occurs in the episode after Number 6 has had breakfast, he is seen walking towards the Bandstand.
  Clearly as Number 6 approaches the Bandstand Number 8 the white Queen can be seen following Number 6, as the enlarged section shows.
    And again here, Number 8 seen over Number 6's left shoulder {as we look at the picture}.
   
   It would seem that a short piece of film was required, possibly as a "filler" scene, which was quite obviously taken from 'Checkmate.' it's just a pity that the film editor didn't observe that Rosalie Crutchley is in the background! And that is why I like this short scene. I shouldn't think for one moment that Rosalie Crutchley knew that she appeared in two episodes of 'the Prisoner!'

Be seeing you 

Exhibition of Arts and Crafts

         The Bell Tower


BcNu

Number 6 - As A Friend?

   You can count the number of friendships No.6 cultivates in the Village on one hand. Nadia during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ was the first, or rather second if you count No.9 of ‘Arrival.’ She supplied No.6 with the electro pass, but cannot really be counted as a friend to No.6. So Nadia was the first friend, but then what about No.2, there was certainly a rapport between the two, friendly banter and all that. Which of course was rekindled during their time together in the embryo room of ‘Once Upon A Time,’ as No.2 was actually beginning to like No.6. And he did introduce No.6 to his new neighbour No.8, and she I think became close to No.6, as a friend, but possibly it could have been more than that. Well that's the feeling I get from her attitude she shows towards No.6. There's a warmth in her, especially when they are sealed inside that crate together!
   No.6 had other friends, such a 'A' and 'B' of the episode ‘A B and C,’ although such friendships as these had been cultivated outside the village and long before his abduction. No.24-Alison in ‘The Schizoid Man’ could have been a friend. Certainly they looked friendly towards one another. But of course we don't know, and can never know, just how this friendship between No.6 and Alison began to blossom, more on the part of Alison or No.6. A mutual friendship, based on a "mental link" or one purposely cultivated by Alison which in turn the idea originating at the door of No.2's office! At the beginning it might just have been another assignment, but at the end, unlike Nadia, Alison was ashamed of what she did, and wanted No.6 to know that given a second chance she wouldn't do it again! I suppose as well as not being able to say just when this friendship began to develop between Alison and No.6, we cannot say just how this "mental link" between them came about. As we observe No.6 helping Alison with her "mind reading" in his cottage, the "mental link" appears to be real enough. unlike the "stacked cards" during No.6's attempt to prove that he is No.6, there is no way that the cards used by No.6 in his cottage that evening could possibly be stacked against him in the same way as they were in No.2's office that time.
   So it would appear that there was something more than friendship between Alison and No.6. Which could, I suppose, be said of No.6 and the little watchmakers daughter No.51-Monique of ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ At first they had been brought together by the manipulation of No.2, in the assassination plot against No.2. But was this a friendship in the true sense, or was Monique simply using No.6 in order to save her father from a fate worse than a fate worse than death? Perhaps they were using each other for their own ends. Monique and No.6 certainly seemed at times to enjoy each others company over a cup of coffee on frequent occasions.
    Cathy, the saloon girl of the Sliver Dollar Saloon in the Wild West town of Harmony, she was another to get close to the man with no name and a cosy little friendship was quietly developing between the pair. But of course almost anything and everything which occurred during the episode of ‘Living In Harmony’ was false. But even so, No.22 who played Cathy in No.8's "role playing game" had wished it had been real, and told No.6 so as she lay dying in his arms.
   The trouble with trying to build friendships in the village, you can never quite find the friends who you can really trust and rely upon, not the Prisoners anyway. It could be different for those who arrived in the village of their own free will, the warders for example. And those citizens who work in and behind the scenes of the village. People who maintain both it and its services. After all, you couldn't have an installation like the village where even those who work for it have no trust in one another, could you now?
    No, No.6 enjoys associations and acquaintances in the Village. And for him it will not get much better than that. How No.6 reacts to those who betray him, like Alison-No.24, who remain in the village, is not known. But perhaps he won't be so hard on the girl. After all she was only carrying out No.2's instructions!

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

It Is A Question Of Choice
Is the illage real or merely a dream?
    Well you pays your money and takes your choice, as they say. I suppose the village can be both, and open to any number of interpretations on various levels.
   On the surface the village is quite the holiday camp and possibly a utopia for some, I wouldn't mind a fortnights leave there! Yet for others, those who refuse to give the information inside their heads, the village is a nightmare, and possibly one mans dream, one man's nightmare world from which No.6 is finding it difficult to wake from.
   But can such a dream really be sustained for any real length of time? Is it possible for so much to be in the mind of one man? To know everything which goes on in the village, even when No.6 is nowhere in the room, such as the time of the Educational Board meeting in The General. And how could No.6 possibly know for example, the conversation between No.2 and No.9 in No.2's office in the Green Dome during 'Arrival,' he can't!
    If the Village is all in the mind, then No.6 must be mad!
   For me, the village is actual, it exists in solid form for its action and adventure, and from which there is no escape. Built by who knows, its location known, and run by which side, is also known. the village is as real in the mind as it is in substance. Because in substance we are able to watch the Prisoner being put through his trial, and afterwards it remains in the mind for as long as we don't forget, but to keep the village in mind! So really its both, and without any trace of the allegorical!

It has been asked
    Is there an airfield on the Island which houses the Village?
    Wrong on both counts, the Village is not on an Island!

    In The Schizoid Man, why does Curtis, when in the guise and persona of No.6, actually wear his Penny Farthing badge? Because it is widely known that No.6 never wears his numbered badge.
    Well perhaps it’s a case of Curtis liking the canopied Penny Farthing logo - I know I do!

   Why doesn’t the Butler wear a numbered badge?
    This could be due to his unquestioning obedience, and service to each new master who comes along. Others you will recall do not wear numbered badges, such as the Professor and Madam Professor of ‘The General,’ who have certain special privileges, and of course No.6, oh and the doctor in the hospital who gives No.6 his medical in Arrival.

If only!
    One could get a close-up look at the passport given to sir in ‘Fall Out,’ or indeed the Prisoner’s passport in Arrival, then one would see the Prisoner’s name. Well that according to the thinking of one particular fan of the Prisoner.
   Well that’s as maybe, but it doesn’t work that way. Because that passport belonged to one of the production crew, I forget his name. It wasn’t even McGoohan’s own passport!

Be seeing you

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Pictorial Prisoner

   The Professor's latest lecture, the projectionist asks Number Two if it has been cleared by the board. To which Number Two responds "It will be, prepare to transmit."
   It would appear that to the question of the education experiment known as Speedlearn, Number Two is answerable to the Board, and not Number One or some other superior Number Two reports to on the telephone. The Board being made up by a number of Top Hat Administration officials. But even then it seems that Number Two is jumping the gun slightly, as this latest lecture has not yet been approved by the Board. But Number Two, with the help of Number Twelve of Administration, hopes to persuade the members of the Board to give their approval. 
   Number One {or other superior Number Two reports to} is obviously concerned with how the Speedlearn experiment is progressing, as Number Two did report to a superior on the matter in hand, accusing his superior of treating the most important human experiemnt ever to be conducted like a military exercise!

Be seeing you 

Thought For The Day

   Just imagine, the Prisoner has survived 25 five days at sea on an open raft. He's been attacked by supposed gun runners. Washed up on the beach at Beachy Head, he scrambles up a chalky cliff face where there has been recent cliff erosion. He dodges a police road block, looking for an escaped convict. He leaps out the back of a Luton Van into the road of on-coming traffic {he could have been run over} and upon retuning home he knocks on the front door of his house!
   The Prisoner has no key to his house, so he knocks on the front door. This begs the question, who did the Prisoner think would be there to open the front door? The Butler perhaps, or Janet maybe! Why would the Prisoner knock on his own front door in the first place? Well, because he had no key with which to let himself into his house! Which in turn brings me back to my original question, who did the Prisoner think would be in his house to open the door? 

Footnote: What if Martha had not been there to open the front door, she might have been out shopping for example. The Prisoner would then have had to break in!

Be seeing you

Village Life!

    Professor "Please don't disturb me, I'm writing my letter of resignation!"
    Doctor "I don't think you should say that!"
    "Why not?"
   "To call him that is one thing, but the other is a physical impossibility!"
   Nurse "That's a double negative just there, and a split infinative on the next paragraph!"
   "Look who's writing this letter of resignation?"

BCNU

So Much Caution In A Man Like

    No.6 seems so wrong. But the village is prepared to handle No.6 with care, because he has a future with them. Doctors are reluctant to try unproven or dangerous drugs on No.6, as in the case of the doctors-No.14 and 86 of ‘A B and C’ and ‘A Change of Mind’ respectably. The new No.2 of Arrival states that the subject is proving exceptionally difficult, but in view of his importance no extreme measures are to be used yet. The conversation between No.2 and his assistant No.14 during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben:’
No.14 "There are methods which we haven't used yet."
No.2 "I want him with a whole heart, body and soul."
No.14 "He'll crack."
No.2 " Perhaps, one tiny piece at time. I don't want a man of fragments.
No.14 "He doesn't even bend a little."
No.2" That's why he'll break."
    During the election period of ‘Free For All,’ No.2 is careful to remind his subordinates not to damage the tissue! And at the beginning of ‘Dance of the Dead’ No.2 orders the doctor-No.40 to "Get that man back to the hospital" referring to Dutton of course, not No.6, who the doctor thought was about to talk. But No.2 doesn't believe it. No.6 would have died first! The good doctor would have made No.6 talk, or so he ways "Everyman has his breaking point." Another doctor was obsessed with No.6's breaking point.... oh yes, the doctor in ‘Checkmate,’ No.22. But this almost elfin like No.2 of ‘Dance of the Dead’ doesn't want No.6 broken, she sees No.6 as having a future with the village and must be 'won over.'
   Back to the doctor-No.22, she like her male counterpart would see harm done to No.6, to curve his aggressive tendencies, by performing a Leucotomy, to knock out the aggressive centres of the brain. But No.2 soon puts a stop to any such ideas the doctor might hold, as being too risky "No, he's far too valuable to us." So No.6 is not only seen to have a future with the Village, he is also have a value to them. And the fact that the operation known as Instant Social Conversion was not actually carried out on No.6 is suggestive wouldn't you say?
   But despite such caution being demonstrated against No.6, there are times when the information inside the subjects head, the reason behind his resignation, outweighs the risks. Well that's what No.2 of ‘A B and C’ thought, and if he gets it wrong, well he'll worry about that later! What is it Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra wrote in Don Quixote? Oh yes, "Hay mas al en el aldea que se suena" - "There is more harm in the village than is dreamt." The various doctors who No.6 encounters might have little or no regard for him, his value, or possible future with the village. And the same can be said of a handful of No.2's. "The man's as strong as a bull!" No.2 bellowed to No.86 during A Change of Mind, this at urging her to use another dose of the tranquilliser Mytol on the subject. Whether dangerous or not to the patient!
   And was it not a risk for the village in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ to use No.6 in such a way, where is the caution here? Was it really so important for them to find Seltzman? If the experiment had gone pear-shaped, and they had lost No.6 - there would have been hell to pay! And of ‘Living In Harmony’ the use of hallucinatory drugs against No.6, which had the effect of tripping No.6 out back to the American Wild West. Again, No.2, or rather No.8 in this case, has no regard for caution against No.6. His method has always worked, and would have worked if No.2 had not developed the crisis too soon! They've all got an excuse, haven't they, those who fail but not necessarily have to pay the price.

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

Don’t Worry Number 6. You’ll Be Cured
"I’ll see to it" says No.2 "No more nightmares. If you have so much as a bad dream, you will come whimpering to tell it to me. Whimpering!"
   So No.2 sees No.6 as in need of being cured, but what of. I mean No.6 isn’t ill is he? Perhaps it’s to do with No.6’s supposed persecution complex amounting to mania - paranoid delusions of grandeur. Well, we’re all guilty of delusions of grandeur from time to time, aren’t we?
   Such is No.6’s defiance of the village, that he can make the act of simply putting on his dressing gown seem a gesture of defiance. And No.6 isn’t afraid of putting on weight, in having given up sugar on the advice of his doctor 3 months ago. And not of being reduced either, as he drops three lumps of sugar with great deliberation into his cup of tea.
   But fear ye not. There’s a cure for al this, and No.2 will see to it!

The Subtlety Of Number 2
   During the episode of ‘Dance of the Dead,’ No.2 demonstrates her subtlety, by releasing the Village Guardian on the evening No.6 made it out of his cottage and out into the night. Subtle in the way No.2 uses the Village Guardian to test No.6, who puts himself to the test against the Village guardian in a race along the beach. A race which No.6 has no chance of winning, and Rover runs No.6 to his knees on the sand.

The Electro Pass
   It synchronises with the alarm-system and lets you though. It also tells the time, but the date is not 19th of March, Patrick McGoohan's birthday, as some fans used to once think. as filming did not commence until the September of 1966. So the 19th of September would be favourite.

The Zendazoid Man
    Shave him and he’d look like No.6!
   Well allegedly a favourite film of Patrick McGoohan’s at the time of the Prisoner was The Prisoner of Zenda - starring Stewart Granger in the roles of Rudolf Rassendyll and King Rufolf V, who are not only cousins, but the very image of each other, just as Curtis-No.12 and No.6 in The Schizoid Man. Each also has a moustache - Rassedyll and No.12, as a way of telling the two apart.
    In the film The Prisoenr of Zenda, the soon to be crowned Rudolf V, is both drugged and kidnapped, and Rudlof Rassendyll is recruited to impersonate his cousin, and attend the Coronation in his cousins stead. This to stop the crown from being usurped by the brother of Rudolf the V. There is even a character named in the film, I forget his name, who knows Rudolf the V intimately and so keeps his eye on him throughout the Coronation. The named character has a glass eye and it is his glass eye which he uses to watch the newly crowned King. Leo McKern has a glass eye - the left one!
   So both the episode The Schizoid Man and The Prisoner of Zenda are likewise linked by the use of identical look-a-likes. Well what if we carried this idea forward to ‘Fall Out.’ No.6 who has now become known as Sir, is about to go through an Inauguration ceremony. Swap the word Inauguration for Coronation, and you could have the President and members of the Assembly attempting to usurp the "throne" upon which Sir now sits, by using a look-a-like for No.1, and to place him permanently upon the throne. There is even a man present at Sir’s pending Coronation who has a glass eye, his right eye - No.2 with which he gives No.1 a stare!
   I find it fascinating as to what can be done with the Prisoner, placing different interpretations on aspects of the series, by what is there already. Don’t you?

Be seeing you

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Thought For The Day

    It has been suggested that the Prisoner-No.6 is the only person to go through the series unchanged. Unchanged in number, and unchanged both physically and in character. The Prisoner known as Number 6 was the same man at the end of his ordeal as he was at the beginning. I found myself agreeing, and yet really can someone endure the ordeal Number 6 did without being changed in some way?
   When the Prisoner eventually returns to his home in London in 'Mnay Happy Returns', he is unsure, uncertain. When confronted by Martha on the doorstep of his own home he is polite, and allows the front door to be closed in his face. Is this the man who resigned in such dramatic fashion? The old Number 6 would have brushed Martha aside as he entered his own house. The former Prisoner would never have taken it so calmly to find someone else living in his home, especially with six months still to run on the lease.
   I should imagine, that after the trickery of the Village's Administration during 'The Chimes of Big Ben,' Number 6 couldn't be sure he had actually escaped in 'Many Happy Returns.' He may have arrived back in London, but in 'Living In Harmony' the Prisoner thought he was in an American frontier town. And when the Priosner stood in his study, so identical are they, that he could have been in his house in London, or his home in the Village. And all the rest simply played out in his mind!

Be seeing you

Tebreak Teaser

    What is the parallel between 'The Prisoner' and 'the American television series 'Mission Impossible?'

BCsl

Exhibition of Arts and Crafts

Portrait of Patrick McGoohan


BcNu

By Hook Or By Crook

     From the opening dialogue between No.2 and No.6 during the opening sequence, we are given to just how determined the villages administration is to gain the information which is inside No.6's head. and by hook or by crook they'll get it.
    But did the Villages administration really make the most of their opportunities to gain the reason behind No.6's resignation? Why didn't they simply put him into solitary confinement to get what they want and be done with it? And if they are as determined as they first appear to be, there are truth drugs, scapolomine for one. And it is a singular fact is it not, that after the episode of The Schizoid Man the village administration appeared to lose interest in No.6's reason for resigning from his job. Probably the reason is that for 6 episodes No.2 was busy dealing with other administrative details, whilst at the same time fending off No.6 from poking his nose in where it had no business!
   There are only three episodes later on in the series which deals with the reason behind No.6's resignation, ‘A Change of Mind,’ ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ which was really the most serious attempt to extract the reason for No.6's resignation. And of course we were told, or perhaps you were not listening. No.2 was, and he still wasn't satisfied!
   6 attempts out of 17 in which attempts were made to extract the required information from No.6. Not very many were there? Perhaps No.6's resignation was merely a ploy with which to have the Prisoner abducted to the village, as they saw him to have a future with them. Or perhaps it was the case that it was the village from which No.6 resigned, being a previous No.2 maybe, or Number 1 trying to wash his hands of the entire affair!

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

Die 6 Die, Die, Die!
     These are the words spoken by No.6 to No.2 in the Embryo Room of ‘Once Upon A Time.’ But why speak them to No.2 as he lay, possibly dying? Well they had changed places hadn't they?
"Die 6, die, die!" and perhaps the man standing over No.2 as he appeared to be dying, wanted to be rid of No.6 once and for all.

Once Upon A time
    There was once, a man - a man of steel, a man with staunch principles who resigned his job but would not tell the reasons behind his resignation - hang on a minute. The Prisoner seemed to have plenty to say to that balding, bespectacled man sat behind the desk  in that office as he handed in his letter of resignation. Why doesn't the village authorities speak to that man? Or did they, and if they did, I wonder what it was he had to say? They might even care to take a look at that resignation letter!

Sometimes the Prisoner Is Straightforward
And other times It doesn't make much sense at all!
    ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ is one such episode which doesn't make sense at all. For a start Seltzman's so called reversal process is an unnecessary to the plot, but which in itself is the plot behind the episode!
   Sir Charles Portland doesn't seem to know where the Prisoner is, he hasn't sent him on a mission of any kind, and doesn't seem to be aware of the Prisoner's resignation! Janet Portland doesn't know either, and doesn't know if her father Sir Charles is telling her the truth or not! when he says that he doesn't know where her fiancĂ© is.
   The Village is in possession of the Seltzman machine, but doesn't know where Seltzman is, so how did the village authorities get their hands on the machine in the first place, or at least the plans to build a machine of their own?
   Are both sides looking for Seltzman, or three if you count the Village as being an installation in its own right, if neither side runs it, or two if the village is run by one side or the other.
    The Colonel cannot be working for Sir Charles Portland, otherwise Sir Charles would have recognised him, so which side or department is the Colonel working for?
    Which side is Sir Charles working for, does he know of the village? If he does, then only one side is looking for Seltzman!
   None of the episode ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ makes much sense, in fact it's all a bit of a mish-mash with almost as many questions to be answered in this episode as there are in the whole series!

A Worst Moment In The Prisoner
Nigel Stocks Performance in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.’ Originally an actor was called for the role of the Colonel, someone of the same stature as Patrick McGoohan. Someone with the ability to act the role and character of the Prisoner, in the same style of McGoohan. Because even though it is Nigel Stock as the Colonel who we see on the screen, the actions are those of The Prisoner-No.6. So why then Nigel Stock -it beats me! A far better choice, in my opinion, would have been McGoohan’s stunt double Frank Maher in the role of the Colonel.

Be seeing you

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Pictorial Prisoner

    I used to think that the Village Guardian was something alien to our world. That thought having been brought about by this image. To my mind it looks as though the Village Guardian is in some alien environment which to 'it' is home. It looked to me to be on some other planet, might be on the Moon. Because as the Village Guardian shrinks, it appears to do so into a crater!

BCNU

Caught On Camera!


    Patrick McGoohan, looking thoughtful. Perhaps about the day's shooting of the Prisoner. Possibly he has it in for someone, and he or she will soon bear the full brunt of his wrath! Probably mulling things over, wondering where all this is leading!

BCNU

Exhibition of Arts and Crafts

    Portrait of Patrick McGoohan


BcNu

Very Much A Common Practice

    There seems to be something in common between the Colonel and No.2-Chairman of the Village, in that the character changes with each appearance of the Colonel. First during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben, a Colonel who is a direct superior to the Prisoner. But he is an objectionable’ and obnoxious character, who does not suffer fools gladly, and is very sceptical of his ex-colleague who he sees as having gone over to the other side, and has now returned to carry on the good work! That's big of the Colonel, seeing as it is he who has been seconded to the village!
    Then another Colonel, to who No.6 has gone running to in ‘Many Happy Returns,’ who is rather sceptical of his ex-colleagues report. That is until No.6's story begins to check out right. From Beachy Head, to the Gypsy camp, the Police road block, and Mrs. Butterworth's Statement. Then the Colonel begins to put in motion plans for No.6 to find the location of the Village. But as he and Thorpe stand watching on as No.6 takes off from the Aerodrome, it is the last he sees of his ex-colleague "He's an old, old friend who never gives up!"
   In ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ the Colonel is again brought to the village by the highest authority. Although the Colonel doesn't look at all comfortable at having been seconded to the village, he is gratified, and would like to know his duties as soon as possible, either in being keen to serve or to get it over with as soon as possible!
   Finally there is Colonel Hawke-Englishe who in the episode ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ is on the trail of a mad Professor Schnipps, who has built a rocket with intent to destroy London. We don't get the chance to meet with this particular Colonel, as he is blown to bits at the wicket by an exploding cricket ball, just one run short of his century!
   Interesting to note, that the Colonel not only has his office job, but also takes up a position in the field of operations, with or with or without a standard disguise. Putting his life on the line, just as agents like John Drake and James Bond. But in two cases here in episodes of the Prisoner, going into the field as they did, on the trail of Seltzman and Professor Schnipps, it cost them both their lives.
   Somehow I feel it is improbable that the position of Colonel would change so frequently during the 15 months of the Prisoner's absence. But its possible I suppose, given the latter rate of the Colonel's mortality!

I'll be seeing you.

The Thereapy Zone

    In the episode ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ No.6 approaches the young woman in the kiosk in order to place an ad in the personal column of the next issue of The Tally Ho.
"Y mas mal in aldea que se suena"
"That's nine words Sir. That will be 22 units in all."
Nine words? Surely No.6 was over charged, as there are only eight words!

Checkmate - A Point Of Originality
    Originally the episode of’ Checkmate’ ended at the point when the Butler placed the white Queens pawn back on the chessboard, that there were no slamming bars at the end!

A Close Relationship
    Relationships are not really supposed to exist in the village, no names are used there. Well that's all 'they' know. Because close relationships can be built up, as indeed one was between No.6 and Nadia-No.8. And although Nadia never used No.6's Christian name, he certainly called Nadia by hers on many an occasion. So to Alison-No.24 in The Schizoid Man when he was helping Alison with her mind reading act, in readiness for the Village Festival that time.
   Yet there was one young woman with whom No.6 became close, if only for the sake of her father, No.51-Monique of Its Your Funeral. although in actual fact No.6 did not once use Monique's Christian name!
   So would you allow yourself to become close to No.6? I suppose it would all depend on what you had to offer him, and he you. After all, the only reason No.6 got close to Nadia was to gain certain information  - the location of the village. Alison wanted No.6's help with her mind reading act, and Monique, well she needed No.6's help to stop her father against himself, and from carrying out something rather stupid, the assassination of No.2!

Many Happy Returns
  It has often been thought, in the past, that when No.6 wakes up in the village during the episode of ‘Many Happy Returns,’ that the whole Village was deserted because everyone had left the village, and this being the case, why didn't the citizens leave the village in the same way during the evacuation of the village in ‘Fall Out?’
   Well that's an easy one. Simply because in ‘Many Happy Returns’ the Village had not been abandoned by it's citizens. The citizens who were actually living in the village had probably been given an extra large sleeping drug in their night cap, as in No.6's night cap of previous episodes, and allowed to sleep on. This would also be the same upon No.6's return to the Village, as to why no-one was about on that day. Anyone actually working in the Village, maintaining services and the like, were kept well out of sight during No.6's building of his raft, and escape, and likewise upon his return.
    How could you evacuate the village during ‘Many Happy Returns,’ just to bring the people back after No.6 had put to sea aboard his sea-going raft? I mean where would they go, the citizens, just to then be brought back again. To then repeat the exercise in readiness for No.6's return to the village. And don't forget, soon after his return there were citizens and a taxi in the central Piazza.

Be seeing you upon my many happy returns.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Living In Harmony


  "You're gonna help me clean up your town!" are the words of the stranger, The Man With No Name when Jim approaches the Sheriff in the Jailhouse. Well how many Westerns have we heard that line in? How many American frontier towns have relied upon a single stranger, as in the case of the towns people of Harmony, have hired a gunslinger to clean up their town? Films like ‘High Plains Drifter,’ ‘Pale Rider,’ ‘Invitation To A Gunfighter,’ ‘The Seven Samurai,’ ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ ‘High Noon’ and other such films. Films in which the towns people haven't the guts to face their oppressors, who depend on the help of others to “clean” up their town. Sometimes you have to stand up for the things you believe in. To stand up and be counted, even at the cost of your own life, as many in the past have done. But sometimes with the help of others. Is that why The Man With No Name handed in his sheriff’s badge in the first place? That he had become tired with putting his life on the line each and everyday, against any murdering gunslinger who comes into town!

Be seeing you

Thought For The day

    "Do we know where Seltzman is?" Well lets get it right for a start shall we, it's "Saltzman" not "Seltzman." 
   The handwriting is said to be that of Patrick McGoohan, although it looks as though the Colonel {Nigel Stock} wrote the address down in the diary. It can be clearly seen that it is Saltzman, and not Seltzman. I have also checked with the copy of the original script I have for 'Face Unknown' {Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling}. so why is it that every book thus far published on 'the Prisoner' has it as Seltzman? Oh I'm as guilty as the next fan, as I have also made that error, but no longer!

Be seeing you

Blueprint!

    Why blueprint? Well it's print on blue paper! But either way, someone's been messing about. Someone with too much time on their hands, now I wonder who that was?

BCNU

The Village Is A Mirror To Both sides

    At the time of the Prisoner there was both the East and West, locked together in a "Cold War." The democratic West, and the Communist East behind the Iron Curtain, and of course Communist China behind their "Bamboo Curtain."
   I have always believed, as indeed I still believe, that the village is run by the British, but not necessarily on British home soil. However there is a case for the village being in the hands of the Eastern block - Communist Russia - the U.S.S.R. Well there is no democracy in the village, No.2 of ‘Dance of the Dead’ admitted as much. It’s administration is effective, but it has no opposition. "An irritation we’ve dispensed with. Even at best, free democracy is remarkably inefficient."
   So the village is not free, there being no democracy, and if in the hands of the other side, then that makes the likes of the Colonel, in whatever guise, Fotheringay and Cobb traitors. Having gone over to the other side! And at the same time makes the Colonel in ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ right, in the fact that his ex-colleague has just returned from the other side, well supposedly so. Of course the Prisoner hadn’t, but if he had, the Colonel would have been right!
   Communist Russia, well what about Communist China, or even North Korea, could they figure in the equation? After all  as the Chinese No.202, of the social groups in A Change of Mind puts it, "There can be no mitigation. We all have a social obligation to stand together," an attitude of Communist China’s I should say. You see there has been a complaint placed against No.42, who does not contest the validity of the complaint. But there can be no exceptions! No.42 says she is a poet, and that she was composing when she failed to hear No.10’s greeting. "Neglect of social principles" as the Chinese No.202 puts it, again reflecting attitudes to the Communist State.
   No.6 sees poetry as having a social value, and No.6’s intentions are seen to be obvious. No.6 is trying to divide the two young men in the argument of the social group. In stopping the two young men helping the unfortunate girl-No.42, who accuses No.6 of trying to undermine her rehabilitation, in disrupting her social progress, which in it’s self is strange talk for a poet!
   In managing to disrupt the social group, the members of the social group then turn on No.6 "Reactionary!" "Rebel!" "Disharmonious!" "Reactionary, rebel, disharmonious!" And so No.6 becomes an outcast within the community of the village. But wait a moment, No.6 greets No.64 on his way from the Town Hall before the meeting of the social group. So was No.64 acting in an Unmutaul manner to No.6! Certainly being posted as being Unmutal smacks of Communist China at the time, because if you didn’t toe the line, say the wrong thing, read the wrong book, sooner or later you are denounced by someone or other, someone of the party, to a Committee somewhere! Just as No.2 was denounced at the end by No.86 as being Unmutual!

BCNU - Comrade Chairman.

The Therapy Zone

6 Private Is Anything But!
    The door might be electronically activated by No.6 as he approaches the door to leave or enter, but as home security it is left somewhat wanting! It seems that anyone can enter 6 Private at any time. From doctors and nurses, to medical orderly’s, security guards to come and take him away! Not to mention No.2, the white Queen-No.8 even came calling one evening to make No.6's night-cap instead of No.6's personal maid that one time. And that time when No.12 during the Mardi Gras of ‘The General,’ No.12 gained entry to carry out that piece of sabotage with the light bulb, a piece of wire across the contacts! Then are times when No.6 doesn't always answer the door, as pointed out by the Supervisor-No.28 during Its Your Funeral, but then he doesn't have to does he? People come in and go very much as they please! the only time there is full security lock down is at night, then even No.6 can't get out, well save for that time during the night of ‘Dance of the Dead,’ as the French door was left unlocked! And that's something else, there are no keys used in the village at any time, doors are locked electronically. The only keys we ever see in the Prisoner is the one No.6 won at the Roulette table, together with Engadine's key seen in ‘A B and C.’ Plus the key to the Prisoners house in ‘Fall Out.’
   So there's no privacy in theVvillage, and if you have nothing to hide there's nothing to worry about is there? Unless of course you have a radio set tucked away some place!

The Words Of Resignation
    A number of years ago it was wondered by certain fans of ‘the Prisoner’ whether or not it was possible to lip-read what the Prisoner says as he hands in his letter of resignation.
   By careful study, using repeated playback and slow motion on a video player, this is the result of one such experiment.
    "Right, you and me are through! I resign." And then the camera cuts to the letter of resignation. This is said very quickly and probably loudly.

   It seems that only the first few words are clear, as that is the result of this experiment. Not worth bothering with really, but then back in those days anything like this did prove to be of the finest interest.

A Worst Moment In The Prisoner
    When the helicopter takes off outside the Recreation Hall in the episode ‘The Schizoid Man,’ it's painted black and has no floats fitted. But once airborne we see a shot of the regular village helicopter, painted turquoise and fitted with floats. Yet when the helicopter lands again outside the Recreation Hall, returning No.6 to the village after his short flight, the helicopter has reverted back to being painted black and without fitted floats!

It’s Not All Allegorical And Enigmatic
  Sometimes It's Quite Straightforward really.
    As with the episode ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ A plot to assassinate/execute the retiring No.2 who has just returned to the village from a spell of leave. His execution, at the word from No.1, and organised by heir presumptive and interim No.2, with the co-operation of No.100 who has indoctrinated the little watchmaker-No.51 to carry out the actual assassination of No.2.
   No.6's involvement is brought about by using No.50-Monique as a dupe for her fathers sake to make No.6 become involved, and No.6 as a dupe because without his credibility the plan might not work. But "plan Division Q," the execution of No.2, is unsuccessful because of No.6's involvement with the plan. and so Its Your Funeral is probably the most straightforward of all the episodes. Quite allegorically free, apart from the bit where No.6's involvement is required. You would think that they would have known better than to actually voluntarily get No.6 involved. Haven't learnt much, have they?

Be seeing you