Friday, 27 May 2011

Six Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other

    That's what they say ins't it, six of one, half a dozen of the other......well it's all the same to me. It's no skin off my nose why the Prisoner resigned, or indeed what it was he resigned from. Although I've come to think that the Prisoners resignation was brought about by the events of Fall Out. After all, in the ending of Fall Out do we not see the beginning of Arrival. In my end is my beginning, as T.S. Elliot wrote.
    It matters not one whit which side runs the Village. It doesn't matter who No.1 is, because if you don't know by this time you never will.
    I have never worn a piped blazer as No.6 does, I've never once had the inclination to do so. And for what it is worth, I've never been to the Italianate Village of Portmeirion. Mine has been something of a purist appreciation of the Prisoner. I've never desired any of the trappings which comes with the series, the books, pens, photographs, posters, mugs etc. But I do have the Prisoner on video and DVD, and cd series soundtrack which I enjoy listening to very much.
    What's more I never allowed myself to join any Prisoner related group or society. Many people have felt the need to join and connect with like minded people, they are the fans. They go to meetings and the Prisoner convention at Portmeirion. Oh I like to keep myself appraised of what's going on in the Village of the Prisoner, the fandom world. Some fans feel the need to off burden themselves, to put their ideas on what the Prisoner is upon others. I suppose I've done much the same with my own column from time to time. Every fan the world over has his or her own take on what the Prisoner means to them, and they'd be right. Ask one thousand people what the Prisoner means, and you'd get one thousand different answers, and each one would be right. Who would we be to say otherwise?
    And then there are the this fans who go that one step too far. There used to be this chap, I've no idea of he is still a fan of the Prisoner these days, as it was a good few years ago now. But this chap always 'talked Prisoner!' By this I mean if you were unfortunate to have engaged in conversation with this chap, he would always reply to you using dialogue, quotes, and speech from the Prisoner! But if this chap could find no rersponse in 'Prisoner talk,' he would say That would be telling! I don't think even Johnny Prisoner has gone that far!
    Mentioning Johnny Prisoner, he once told me that when he used to attend Prisoner conventions, there used to be this woman who brought a Thunderbird puppet with her to the conventions, that of Alan Tracy! Why? Well because the head of the puppet of Alan Tracy of Thunderbirds was actually modelled on Derren Nessbit of the episode It's Your Funeral, perfectly true. It's the lip you see, Derren Nesbitt has the perfect Thunderbird puppet lower lip! Not extreme enough? Well that's as may be, but this woman treated the puppet as though it were a real person!!!!!!!! They are the extremes of Prisoner appreciation.
    Of course now there is the 2009 series of THEPRISONER to appreciate, the series I watched on television, then went out and purchased the DVD box set of the series just as soon as it was available. And of course there is the cd soundtrack of the 2009 series, well there would have been if it were not for the fact that the cd soundtrack of THEPRISONER was not deleted from the sales list long before the series premiered in the United Kingdom, long before the DVD box set of the series went on sale! So now the cd soundtrack is only available in America and Switzerland!! But neverthe less I was fortunate to obtain a copy of the cd soundtrack of the 2009 seris of THEPRISONER. And as far as this series goes, it is most definately one for the purist, as the merchandise connected to THEPRISONER is based in America. Merchandise available over the World wide web yes, but not for me.
    The fan base for the 2009 series is in the minority. As for the majority of fans of the original series of the Prisoner, well they don't know what they are missing. For myself, well I'm just happy to be breathing in, breathing out...........more Village!
I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Prisoner - A Novelisation

    The first novelisation of the Prisoner, and of the same title, was by the American writer Thomas M. Disch in 1969. Disch's novel is loosely based on the 1960's series, but not really that exceptional in my opinion. However, having said that, Disch's novel the Prisoner has been re-printed on numerous occasions over the decades, on both sides of the Atlantic, and on the European continent, namely translated into French.
   I recall David Stimpson telling me once, that when he was young, and after the 1976 screening of the Prisoner in Great Britain, he was left with nothing to remind him of the series, save for his memories. But then in his local library he came across a hardback copy of Thomas M. Disch's the Prisoner. Although not directly linked to the actual series, the book was the only link David had. And so after taking the book out of the library once, and having returned the book to the library, immediately took it out again! This is the front cover of that book, for those who have not seen it, of which there cannot be that many fan's of the Prisoner who haven't.
    Eventually the book was returned to the library, and remained there. Because then David found a copy of Disch's book in paperback, published by New English Library, as seen below.
What follows are other guises in which this novel has been published over the decades.

The original American publication in 1969.                                                                                                                                               Then re-printed in hardback in more recent years in America.
And for the 25th anniversary of the Prisoner, Boxtree re-printed the novel in Great Britain.

The next reincarnation of Disch's novel, was in this Prisoner Omnibus published by Carlton Books, which also contains The Prisoner Who Is Number Two by David McDaniel, and The Prisoner - A Day In The Life by Hank Steine, and in my opinion the third novel is by far the best of the three, and McDaniel's the most outrageous! This Prisoner Omnibus was never a good seller. In fact withn a matter of months, I came across two large piles of this book in a discount book store, for the lowly price of 99 pence!                                                                                                              
Penguin Books next published the book, which I found to be something of a curious decision, when you consider the fact that Disch's Prisoner based novel has never been a best seller. And it makes it even worse when someone has written an excellent manuscript based on the Prisoner, and written in the style of the original series, which publishers reject time and time again. But who are perfectly prepared to re-print Prisoner based novels like this time and time again.
Again it was Penguin Books who reprinted Disch's novel just in time for the 2009 premier of THEPRISONER in Great Britain, and only a matter of weeks after their previous re-printing of the novel! This reprint even has a picture of Ian McKellen as Two on the front cover, why, when Disch's novel has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2009 series of THEPRISONER!
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 6 May 2011


     I'm sitting here in my study, and playing on the cd player is the soundtrack to
. It's not everyone who can appreciate the music of this series, in fact there are many fans of the original series who cannot find any appreciation for the actual 2009 series, because it's perhaps too subtle than the soundtrack of the original series, which I also very much appreciate. I gained the cd from Switzerland, well it was either there, or America, as the soundtrack was not sold here in the United Kingdom.For some reason, the soundtrack was removed from the sales lists, long before the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER received it's premier here. No-one seemed to want to give the soundtrack a chance! Anyway, I can appreciate it, even if no-one else can, and that is all that matters.
    At the end of the series, Six is quietly saying to himself, that perhaps there is a way, to make a better Village. In the former Two's Village, everyone's favourite food was presented in a wrap, and that was because M2's favourite food was in a wrap. If I were to create the Village in my subconscious, perhaps everyone would smoke a pipe, because I like to smoke a pipe.
    I was reading J.P's piece of blog from yesterday, in which he said that the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER has revitalised his appreciation for the Prisoner, which was on the wane. That's something strange for Johnny Prisoner to admit to. For myself, I find   quite refreshing. It has a certain something which I cannot deny. There's soemehing dark and menacing in the way Two eats a cherry cake at the end of Arrival. Two projects an image of a kindly old man, who is loved by the citizens of the Village. A kindly old man who asks a schoolgirl-1,100 to pay him a visit at his residence Palais Two. Two discovered that 1,100 had been spying on him, but he held no grudge towards 1,100, save for the fact that he would have to send 1,100 to the Threapy Zone for treatment. But there was no rush, 1,100 could finish her ice cream first, said Two, projecting his image of being a kindly old man - but who didn't give 1,100 time to finish her ice cream before 'they' came for her, and took 1,100 away in a black Bedford van, leaving 1,100's ice cream cone lying in the sand. A black Bedford van, dark and menacing. Village transport is not what it once was. White Mini-Mokes with candy striped canopies.
    There are those who are taken to the Village, and those who are born of the Village. There are citizens who dream of another life, of another place, and like Six wish to go to the 'Other' place. But only those who are brought to the Village can go to the 'other place,' because those like Two and M2's son-11-12, do not physically exist, being born of the Village. For people born of the Village, Village is best for them. Yet for 11-12, the Village is no longer enough!
    Those who are brought to the Village, choose life, as they busy themselves making a new home. But Six chooses death, and if only Six has the faith to take that leap of faith...........................Sorry, I was just lighting my pipe.........because in the Village death is, as it was indicated in the original series, is an escape! The first person we see suffer a Village death, although we do not realise it at the time, is the old man, 93, who the Prisoner helps in the first episode of THEPRIS6NER, somewhere, out there, in the desert.
   The old man 93, wore an old style of Village piped blazer. I have seen no-one else in the new Village to wear such a jacket. Indeed 93 is the former No.6 of the original series, if not exact, then a representation of the former No.6 who dies, suffers a Village death, to return to the 'other' place, and that of his former life. The only question, indeed mystery, is to which former life did 93 return? In 93's apartment, the Prisoner, now Six, finds a sketch drawn by 93. It is of St. Stephen's Tower of the Houses of Parliament in London. St. Stephens Tower which houses the bell of Big Ben, which would suggest that 93 was returned to his former life in London. A waitress at the Solar Cafe 554, also had a sketch, drawn from a recurring dream she had been having. 554's sketch was of the Statue of Liberty. When 554 was seen to be getting too close to Six, Two had 554 killed in an explosion which tore the Solar Cafe to pieces, in which 544 died, suffering a Village death and was returned to her 'other' life in New York. If that is the case with 93, who was wearing an old style of black blazer with off-white piping, that suggests to me that when 93 died a Village death, that he did not return to his 'other' life in London, but to that of the former Village of the original series!
    Many people the world over enjoy watching television soap operas. In the Village they have a Village soap opera about life in the Village - it's called Wonkers, and what's more it's also a novelisation, published by Village Books.
    There are those like Six who want to escape the Village. But there is no escape, because there is nothing to escape from! Then on the other hand, there are those citizens like 313 who do not want to escape, having no desire to return to her 'other' life, where she was abused as a child. Made to stand still with a cardboard box on her head by her father. And in that, we discover why 313 was brought to the Village, why she was a broken person in need of making better. While on the other hand, Six was brought to the Village because he resigned his job from Summakor. And why did he resign? Because he found out what it was he was doing for Summakor, and his own involvement with the Village before his abduction there..........................
I'm Piet Hein