Motörhead has a new album. It's called Motörizer. Only Motörhead can name an album after themselves like that and still be the pinnacle of bad-ass. They're also the only band whose new records sound exactly like the ones they put out 31 years ago, and make this a good thing. If anything, they actually sound nastier and heavier then they did back when "Ace of Spades" blew my mind during an episode of The Young Ones. Now, this is way more thinking about Motörhead's music than I typically do in a given day, week, or even year, but it brought up an interesting notion in my head. America is supposedly the birthplace of the Blues and, as far as traditional delta blues goes you'd be hard-pressed to dispute the claim. But for 40+ years the British have been the ones taking that 1-4-5 chord progression and making it hop, skip, and jump in ways that make you want to kick up your heels, throw a beer bottle and then dance, man...dance and engage in gymnastics in an old Midwestern barn.
Okay. The British and Kenny Loggins, but you get the point.
Speaking of things the British do well, I've been tempering my Wire* intake with healthy doses of Spaced and the re-boot (of a sorts) of Doctor Who. I'd only caught sporadic episodes of Spaced on BBC America, and never seemingly in the correct order. Which, admittedly, doesn't matter all that much, but I'm a stickler for that type of thing, so the recent Region 1 release of the entire series has been a blast. The Missus and I have most of Season 1 under our belts, and we're loving every geek-fueled second of it. We're also in agreement that, much as I want to be Tim, I'm definitely Brian. "Aggression. Fear. Pain."
Doctor Who, however, is a solo venture. I started Season 1 (or Season 27 if you're a die-hard) never having seen anything more than glimpses of the original series, and only a small understanding of the character and the style of the show. Holy Bejeezus. I think Doctor Who is a love/hate thing; I can't imagine anyone having the opinion of "eh, I can take it or leave it." Watching an episode never fails to make me smile - the charm is in it's complete awareness of being "in on the joke" and still finding space for sincerity and tenderness. I'm three episodes away from the end of Season 2/28 (yes, I know what's going to happen to Rose) and have the entire third season saved on DVR. David Tennet is a mad wonder, and mixes the spirit of earlier incarnations of the Doctor with a mad, beaming Douglas Adams vibe that's impossible to not like.
Honestly, I had no intention of making this a post about how great all things English/British/European are. But I'm also reading the debut novel by comic book legend Alan Moore, and that got me to thinking about how so many frickin' great comic book writers are from the Isles as well (and seem to sprout like mayflies in Scotland). Moore, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Garth Ennis...I could go on without even mentioning Neil Gaiman. Don't get me wrong, we have our heavy hitters too: Bryan K. Vaughn and Terry Moore spring readily to mind, and Ed Brubacher and Brian Michael Bendis do some great creator-owned work when not pumping out the quality for Marvel. And, if you can get past his recent rhetoric, Robert Kirkman has hands-down the two best monthly comics currently being published - The Walking Dead and Invincible. But for the wacky innovation, for ideas zapped right out of the Power Cosmic, I gotta hand it to those folks on the other side of the Atlantic.
Despite our lack of great rock and roll, our dearth of great science fiction television and our short supply of great comic writers, I still love the good ol' US of A. I stand proud every time I order a coffee instead of a cup of tea (even though I secretly enjoy a scone with it), I prefer my football be oval-shaped and played by enormous steroid-enhanced overpaid behemoths, and while we may not have had the greatest comedy troupe of all time in Monty Python, we had the second greatest with The Kids in the Hall**.
** as I was looking for a graphic to accompany the Kids in the Hall bit, I found a news item that the Canada Feature Film Fund has bestowed financing for a new Kids in the Hall movie, tentatively titled Death Comes to Town. Hooray!