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February 2019



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life on mars

TV Watch: Steve McQueen, knitwear pin up

Steve McQueen and The Beatles made an unlikely connection between two BBC4 programmes I’ve watched this week: Knitting’s Golden Age and Neil Brand’s series Sound of Cinema.

I was disappointed by the knitting programme. The films were good, especially the old black and white shots of women knitting Fair Isle patterns at astonishing speed while herding sheep at the same time. It was the voice over which was the problem; I felt it had a slightly mocking tone throughout which was at odds with the seriousness of the knitters. As for the old patterns, I seem to have most of them! The Beatles appeared because they popularized black polo neck (roll neck, according to the prog.) sweaters which everyone then wanted.


Polo necks were cool, as shown by the fact that cool people wore them, like Steve McQueen in Bullit.


I confess I still think black polo necks are pretty cool, also Cuban heels. Blue, not so much. I couldn’t agree with the programme makers that knitwear went out completely in the 1980s and 90s.


This oversized sweater by Nicole Farhi is from that era, as is this BikBok cardigan.


The Beatles turned up again in Sound of Cinema, illustrating the innovative use of pop music in films; in their case, using their own songs in A Hard Day’s Night (still one of my favourite films) instead of employing a composer. We also had a brief glimpse of Adam Faith in Beat Girl, Yay! I’ve yet to see that film. Then there was Steve McQueen, in his blue polo neck, epitomizing cool to the soundtrack of Bullit. I’m enjoying this film series very much but there should have been a health warning before yesterday’s episode. Viewers of New Tricks this week were warned that it contained ‘upsetting’ scenes. What? It was nothing at all, you see worse things on the news every day of the week. No warning, though, that Sound of Cinema would include scenes from films by Quentin Tarentino. I had to look away; I could never watch anything of his.


I used to have a lovely, black McQueen-esque polo sweater. No idea where it is now though, which is a shame!
Buy another one!
The knitting programme brought out my inner Ed Reardon in parts. Those bloomin' Professors and Doctors of the Bl&&din' Obvious!

I liked the Susan Crawford bit, and seeing the POW jumpers. I was watching on iPlayer, and missed Kaffe Fassett, I believe. I might have to search that bit out, as I like Kaffe very much.
Not just me, then!

The POW sweaters were great, the V&A has some wonderful things. Kaffe talked about how knitting was all about colour for him, rather than the clothes. Then he showed one of his beautiful but unwearable garments.

Knitting programme

I still have that programme to watch, so I'm sorry it doesn't sound great! :( Have I told you I saw the Beatles, live, in 1964? :D And I could never watch any of QA's either. He looks like a very strange man...

Re: Knitting programme

Don't let me put you off the programme, there's plenty of interest in it.

Beatles envy! I've never seen them live.

And Illya Kuryakin, of course.

Gosh do you really still have that jumper with the birds on? *ducks*
Of course!

Yes I do, Miss. I rediscovered it earlier this summer when it was chilly and decided it was still wearable.
It's great, and I love the BikBok name!
Wearing it right now, very disgruntled that we were promised good weather at the weekend and it's been a day of unrelieved gloom.
Gosh, perhaps I was cool as I wore a black polo neck sweater. Maybe not so cool is that I teamed it with a grey Beatles pencil skirt (a beetle on the mock pocket) and Beatles tights (beetle seams) and red patent sling backs. I thought I looked the bees knees but I was only about 14 :)

I love Quentin Tarantino's work, especially his role in From Dusk Till Dawn and his Kill Bill films :)
Gosh, really? Beatles tights? Obviously what the trendy 14-Y-Os were wearing!

You must be much tougher than I am; I can't take that level of violence.
I was the third member of a trio of friends and the donkey amongst thoroughbreds so I was always trying to keep up with trends and was always just a tad behind them :) I think in the long run I ended up with the preferable life and family :)

I don't concentrate so much on the violence as the huge amount of humour :)
Ha ha! The hare and the tortoise.
hard Day's Night is still one of my favourite films too.