Tag Archives: Cabin Pressure

The Life of Captain Reilly

20 Jun

One of the joys of the eBook revolution is the sheer volume of new books now available.

Recently I came across a short Kindle book titled “The Life of Captain Reilly” by J. T. O’Neil which purports to be a novel about an English airline captain.

This is probably one of the funniest books I have ever read.  The book follows one day in the life of Captain Reilly as he and his First Officer, Dan, fly an Airbus from Gatwick to Malaga and back.

Interspersed with flight details are wonderful details and explanations of aerodynamics, air craft procedures, and a little aviation history.  These explanations had me nearly hysterical with laughter in many places.  I totally lost it when O’Neil referred to an Airbus as a ’70 tonne Reliant Robin’.  Pity I was on the tram at the time.  Oh well, at least I got lots of space when everyone moved away from me.

J. T. O’Neil has a wonderfully worldly weary style, acidic sense of humour, and a fine line in sarcasm.

O’Neil also has some serious point to make on the devaluation of pilot’s skills and abilities by airlines.  The way both pilots and cabin crew are treated is disgusting. Enough so that I will NEVER fly on a low cost airline.  Money before people is not an ethos I subscribe too.

Cabin Pressure fans will know what I mean when I say this is the sort of book Douglas Richardson would write if the character was so inclined.

What we really need is an audio book version of “The Life of Captain Reilly” read by Roger Allam.  That would be perfect.

I would heartily recommend “The Life of Captain Reilly” to all Cabin Pressure fans (cheese trays get a mention), all aviation geeks, and to anyone with a sense of humour.

I look forward to reading O’Neil’s other books “The Life of Captain Reilly 2 – Descent” and “From Russia with Stuff”.

New Adventures of a Fan Fiction Writer

19 Jun

Regular readers of my blog (thank you all) will remember my earlier blog post https://margysmusings.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-scary-adventures-of-a-fan-fiction-writer/ where I swore I would never write fan fiction again.

Well, never say never, as the old saying goes.

I am back writing fan fiction.  Mostly Sherlock fan fiction at the moment, but I will admit to having a Cabin Pressure plot bunny grazing by the side of the runway.

I have joined a fan fiction site and all future fiction will be published there. 

I still have no intention of ever writing my NCIS Mavericks AU fiction ever again.  I’m afraid I was too badly scared to even contemplate that course.

My future fics will be core characters with occasional original characters, where necessary.  But no long term original characters and no long term series.  I just can’t cope with that.

Thanks to everyone who gave me such wonderful support during the stalker shit storm.  You rock my world.

Should you be interested in reading my fan fiction you can find me at: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/4797350/MargyW

Cabin Pressure – Season 1 – Cremona

22 May

Settled down last night to continue my appreciation of Cabin Pressure by listening to the third episode of season 1 – “Cremona”.

Wasn’t expecting the joys of listening to Benedict Cumberbatch sing Sinatra, even if it was only a brief snatch of the song “Come Fly With Me”.  Benedict needs to sing more often.  He has a beautiful singing voice.

The premise of “Cremona” is that MJN are flying a movie star, one Hester Macauley to Cremona to make a film.  Of course it’s a given that Arthur is a fan of hers.  He fanboys all over the place.  Martin isn’t any better.  He’s smitten.  And he has the best line. Martin: Please, call me Madam – MARTIN.

John Finnemore has been very clever with this episode.  It is extremely funny.  As in roll off the couch and onto the floor funny.  It is also very sharply observant on the subject of actors and their fans. 

Hester Macauley is not a nice person who treats her fans with scorn.  While her fans may be a little weird, they do seem pretty harmless, well, Arthur is one of them after all.  Arthur is a lot of things, but dangerous isn’t one of them.

I particularly liked Carolyn’s comments on the subject, after Hester has ripped into Arthur:

Carolyn: I apologize, madam, but . . . Can I congratulate you on the hard-line manner in which you dealt with the menace?
Hester:  What?
Carolyn: Oh, it’s just that so many people, faced with someone shyly telling them they liked their work, would simply have smiled and said “Thank you” but not you. You let the bastard have it with both barrels! Well done, you!

And well done, John Finnemore!

Don’t want to give too much more away if you haven’t listened to “Cremona” yet, but I have to say that the episode also provides the finest display of manipulative genius by Douglas Richardson I have heard so far.

Mixed nuts anyone?

Cabin Pressure – Season 1 – CD 1

30 Apr

My season 1 “Cabin Pressure” CDs arrived yesterday.  I’d been waiting for these since I first heard about the series. 

I curled up with great anticipation to listen to the first CD with the episodes “Abu Dhabi” and “Boston” on it.  Within moments I was nearly hysterical with laughter.

“Cabin Pressure” is brilliantly written by John Finnemore, who also plays the sweetly simple steward, Arthur.

The true jewels of the show are Benedict Cumberbatch as Captain Martin Crieff and Roger Allam as First Officer Douglas Richardson.  Martin is rather sweet, scared, obstinate, and way out of his depth.  Douglas is older, devious, conniving and sarcastic. 

The combination of Benedict and Roger is pure comedic gold.  The complimentary blending of Benedict’s voice and Douglas’ also gives a wonderful edge.  Both men have perfect radio voices.  Warm, deep, smooth, sexy, with the ability to demonstrate massive emotional ranges.

“Abu Dhabi” delighted me.  Poor Martin making a command decision and getting roasted for it by MJN Air’s owner, Caroline.  Caroline treats all her staff as though they are six years old.  Though given her pilots’ penchant for playing games like “Simon Says” on the flight deck you can certainly understand why she does so. 

Douglas saves the day (and the freezing cat in the hold) in “Abu Dhabi”.

“Boston” gave up one of the the best lines I have ever heard, when a passenger bullying Martin refers to his “Fisher Price When-I-Grow-Up-I-Want-To-Be-A-Pilot uniform”.   Every time I travel on a plane from now on, I can see myself snickering at every terribly young looking pilot I see.

Of course, only Martin could manage to be arrested by the TSA over a pair of nose hair clippers.

I have become a devoted fan of “Cabin Pressure” after listening to only two episodes.  I will have to listen to them again and again.  Mostly because I missed so much because I was laughing.  Not light laughter.  The sort of laughter that has you curled in a ball, no noise coming out because all air has been squeezed out of your lungs and you can’t draw any more in, and stomach muscles aching from the strain.  The very best sort of laughter.



Video Killed the Radio Star…Or Perhaps Not.

23 Apr

Early in my interest in Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch I came across a photo of Benedict in pilot’s uniform. This piqued my interest.  A little wandering around the net elicited the information that he was in a BBC radio show called “Cabin Pressure”.

This discovery delighted me.  I love BBC radio comedies and dramas.  When I was growing up there was a radio network in New Zealand, National Radio, that played light classical music, specialised radio shows such as The Night Sky (astronomy) and a huge selection of BBC comedies.

Sunday night’s were the best.  That was the night that National Radio really cut loose with about 2 or 3 hours of classic British humor.  From an early age I was acquainted with “Round the Horne” (I adored Julian and Sandy), “The Goon Show”, “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again,” “The Men from the Ministry” and “The Navy Lark”.

There is something about radio comedy that television just can’t touch.  It’s the way it lets the imagination slip free and play.  It has to be clever.  Prat falls don’t work on radio.  Sound effects and your imagination do.  Bangings, rumblings and explosions followed by a pause, then an acid comment along the lines of “Did you have to have beans for lunch?” sets the imagination running wild.  Not to mention sending the funny bone into overdrive. 

Radio comedy scripts have to be more carefully crafted than television.  You can’t see the actor, so a pointed look or eye roll doesn’t work.  The actor has to use his voice to maximum advantage.  This is one of the reasons I loved “The Navy Lark” so much. Wonderfully talented actors like Jon Pertwee, Leslie Phillips and Ronnie Barker gave so much to make that show work. 

The scripts were also so very memorable.  Lines from episodes of “The Navy Lark” will still slip out from time to time in the right circumstances.  Watching a directionally challenged driver trying to park will usually elicit an acid comment of “Left hand down a bit!”

“The Goon Show” too has left my vocabulary peppered with phrases.  Someone acting the idiot will often receive a silky “You silly, twisted boy.”  Darkly muttered comments of “There’s a lot of it about” tend to wander through any discussion on politics.  And an occasional “Owwwww” for no reason at all.

Now there is “Cabin Pressure”.  I have ordered the first season on CD.  Am waiting with less than my usual patience for them to be delivered.

I am breathless with anticipation over an entire radio series with Benedict’s distinctively delicious voice the main attraction.  I am also sure that “Cabin Pressure” will be adding its own unique twist to my vocabulary in short order.

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