Saturday, 31 August 2013

What Am I?

One of Patsy Collins' recent posts was about professionalism. She asked those of us who had been paid for our writing whether we considered ourselves professional writers. This got me thinking. Thanks, Patsy. As if I don't have enough to do with all the links you put up for competitions and other writing opportunities. Now I have to spend time thinking.

Where was I? Ah yes. I was thinking. Not just about being (or not being) a professional. But other stuff. Like am I working class or middle class? At sixty one am I old or still middle aged? Am I British or English? (Definitely not European). Do people think I'm a geek or just an enthusiast?

That last point got me worried. Well, not worried maybe. But puzzled. Surely we're all geeks in a way? We all have our skills and interests. There must be a fine line between nerdiness and just being an expert. Maybe it becomes geeky when you just can't resist showing off your knowledge to anyone within earshot. (Or blogshot?) Just like I did on my last blog post with those bits of trivia about The Lone Ranger.

The geek look was in vogue for a while with horn-rimmed glasses and braces becoming fashionable accessories. But it didn't last. More recently, the American sit-com Big Bang Theory (of which I'm a huge fan) has given a 21st century insight into the world of geeks. In any case, I think I prefer the term 'geek' to 'anorak'. The latter invokes images of train spotters. Not that I wish to alienate any railway enthusiasts.

So, to sum up: I'm a young-at-heart, English working class, semi-professional writer with geeky tendencies. Just to prove it – in my next post I'm going to bore you to death stir your interest with several facts about another legend. You have been warned, Patsy.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Who Was That Masked Man?

Just been to see the new Lone Ranger film. I knew it would only be a parody of the original tale and so didn't have any high hopes but, as a lifelong fan, I couldn't miss it. It was entertaining enough so no complaints and I have to admit that a tingle ran down my spine when he first rode onto the screen to The William Tell Overture. My 1958 Lone Ranger annual sits on the shelf above me as I type so I thought I'd share a few facts about the legend of the Masked Man.

It started off as a radio programme in 1933. The phrase 'Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!' was written into the script to indicate to the listeners that a riding sequence was about to follow.

The character of Tonto was introduced so that the Lone Ranger had an accomplice to talk to. This made it simpler to explain the plot to the audience.

Actor Clayton Moore played the main part when it hit the TV screen in 1949. Due to a contract dispute he was replaced by John Hart for one series but was soon reinstated.

Canadian Jay Silverheels who played Tonto was born Harold Smith on a Mohawk reservation. Being an outstanding athlete, his nickname, Silverheels, derived from his speed across the ground while playing lacrosse. He started out in films as an extra and stuntman but eventually was given acting parts alongside stars such as Humphrey Bogart and James Stewart.

The Lone Ranger's real name is John Reid. He was part of a posse of Texas Rangers who were ambushed by a band of outlaws. His five fellow riders were killed including the leader, his brother, Captain Daniel Reid. Tonto discovered the injured John Reid and nursed him back to health. They buried the dead men and dug a sixth empty grave to make it look like all six had perished.

He acquired his horse, Silver, when he rescued him from an enraged buffalo.

When the series ended Moore and Silverheels continued to make appearances in character but Clayton was forbidden by the studio to wear the iconic mask. He resorted to wearing dark glasses and joked that people changed the phrase 'Who was that masked man?' to 'Who was that glassed man?'

Moore died in 1999 and Silverheels in 1980.

PS  If you're a fan of Classic FM I understand that the definition of sophistication is the ability to listen to Rossini's overture without thinking of The Lone Ranger. That's me out then.