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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

60 Second Interview With Number 48

   Number 113 "So how do you see your character Number 48?"
    "Thanks for the trip dad!"
   "Yes, I'm sure drugs did come into it? But what did you do to have yourself brought to this point?"
   "All your's dad!"
   "Well thank you, but I'm not your dad."
   "The bright light, dad, got the sign."
    "Give it to me."
   "You owe your baby something my daddy."
   "You mean you were born of the Village?"
   "What gives?"
   "Well  you don't obviously! Do you know that your character will be seen to be symbolic of rebellious youth?"
    "I'm gone, gone away."
    "Yes, in the years to come, old ladies will be dressing up as you, you do realise that?"
    "I'm low."
   "Yes it's enough to make anyone weep. Why are you wearing your own clothes by the way?"
   "I'm hip."
   "You mean you're with it."
   "That's it."
   "But have you been with us?"
   "I feel a song coming on....."
   "Hip, hip, hooray!"   

A Favourite Scene in The Prisoner

   The Prisoner attempting to escape along the beach in a Village Taxi in 'Arrival.' Attacking the two Guardians, driving off, only the be confronted by the white membranic mass of the Village Guardian. It is a fine action sequence.
    It's just as well the sand is hard at certain times in the estuary, otherwise this scene could not have been filmed. Well the Mini-Moke is hardly an all terrain vehicle.
    But what has always puzzled me is, what is on the beach that the Mini-Moke hits, making it jolt, throwing the Prisoner out of the vehicle and onto the sand?

Be seeing you

Teabreak Teaser

    In your appreciation for 'The Prisoner,' how often do you watch the series, and by what media - Television, video tape, DVD or Internet?


Resign Oneself by david A. Stimpson {part4}


    “Good morning Number 6, I trust you spent an unpleasant night” said the voice of Number 100 “What are you doing lying there, get up on your feet man, you still can’t be asleep’.
Number 6 could hear the words but still did not move, he had been winded, every muscle ached and every bone in his body felt as though it was broken in two places!
    The image on the wall changed to the face of Number 100.
    “Come on Number 6, you can’t lie there all day you know, it will do you no good.”
    But Number 6 did not move, nor did he show any such signs of stirring.
    “Playing dead eh! If you think I am going to fall for this old trick you must think I have just fallen out of a Christmas tree!” began Number 100 “you want me to come in there to physically check if you are alive or simply playing dead. Well my money is on the latter, so you can lie there all day it’s all the same to me. Because I am going to wear you down Number 6, by the time I’m finished with you, you won’t know where you are or who you are, what day it is, the time of day or the day of the week. Soon your nerves will be shot to pieces and your body broken more times than I’ve had rides in a taxi. You’ll be carried out of here a quarter the man you once were, if you’re lucky.”
    “You’re not supposed to harm me, ask Number 2” muttered Number 6, from his prostrate position on the floor.
    “Ah you see you’re not dead at all!” said the smiling, self satisfied face of Number 100.
    Number 6 slowly sat up, it proved painful for him to do so. He wasn’t sure what had happened, or how they had done it. But his whole body ached from the fall that was for sure.
    “You have been through a lot during the past few hours, I’m sure you would like breakfast” offered 100, his face disappearing from the wall.
    A gap appeared at the base of the purple, blue, orange wall. Number 6 staggered over to where a tray appeared on the floor. Number 6 slowly sat down on the floor next to the tray, upon which was a cup of black coffee and a plate with a sliver cover and a plastic knife and fork. Lifting the cover of the plate Number 6 was confronted with the sight and aroma of eggs and bacon, not to mention fried bread, sausage and baked beans.
     The Prisoner ate a hearty breakfast.
    “I shall leave you to your breakfast in peace, we can resume this later” said the disembodied voice of Number 100.
    Number 22 had successfully descended the air conditioning duct, the welded joins gave him just enough of a foot and hand hold to ease his descent, but then he lost his footing and he fell the last six of seven feet, landing at the bottom with a heavy bump.
    At the bottom was a wire mesh grill, through which Number 22 could see a long corridor. With no one in sight he kicked out the grill to emerge into the corridor, then replacing the said grill looked both up and down the corridor wondering which way to go. The grey coloured corridor had a steel door at either end, so which ever way you faced, both ways looked the same.
    For Number 6 breakfast was over and he sat upon the floor dishevelled and unshaven, his body ached in places he never knew he had. But he had eaten a hearty breakfast as is the right of every condemned man. So now he sat waiting watching the changing colours of the wall, waiting to hear the dulcet tones of Number 100’s voice, to see his inanely grinning face. But the domed chamber remained eerily silent.
    What new game were they playing now? He had become strangely accustomed to the torturous routine, if not the pain. And now it seemed that they had taken that away from him, which in itself can become part of the same torture because then you never know when they are going to do something next. You just get used to there not being the pain suddenly fresh pain is administered, or a different mind game whichever is worst. Number 6 slowly stood up and stared up at the lights of the domed ceiling.
    “Its not going to work you know, whatever you do to me it not going to work” bellowed number 6, his voice echoing and re echoing round the chamber ‘what is it now, soften the Prisoner up with a hearty breakfast then give him the cold silent treatment. Well it won’t work, so you may as well stop trying!’
    Suddenly in the wall there came a chink of light some three of four feet from the base. Then out of the floor emerged a wedge… a ramp which rose up to meet the ever widening doors.
In the doorway at the top of the ramp a dark figure appeared and then walked down the ramp and across the floor towards him. The figure was well over six feet tall, like himself, with light brown hair and wearing a grey blazer with black piping.
    “You” was all Number 6 said, as Number 22 helped him across the floor, up the ramp and out through the open steel doors.
In the control room beyond two technicians slumped over their control consuls, and upon the floor lay the unconscious body of number 100.
    “Nerve gas, one squirt you’re paralysed, two squirts your dead” 22 explained
   “I know!” replied Number 6.
    It was the supervisor-Number 28 who now entered the office of Number2, he being the bearer of bad news and his the unenviable task of informing his superior.
   Number 2 leaned forward in his chair and removed his glasses.
    “What do you mean there was an assault on the Multiplex, by who? No one but us knew of its existence.”
    “The assault was apparently carried out by one man, armed with a nerve gas gun. One squirt you’re paralysed, two squirts your dead” the Supervisor explained.
    “Yes I know! Who, who carried out this daring assault and what about Number 6?”
    “Number 22 of Administration and former assistant of your predecessor. He got in and got Number 6 out” the supervisor reported, only too pleased not to have been involved with this latest blundered affair.
    “Where are they now?” simpered Number 2.
    “Number 100 and the two technicians are all at the hospital recovering from the effects of the nerve gas. Number 6 is having a medical after his ordeal, no doubt you will be pleased to learn that he seems to have suffered no permanent damage, a little heat exhaustion and some bruising, and no broken bones, he will be discharged later today. As for Number 22 he was apprehended by security at the hospital and is currently held in security awaiting your pleasure. He seems strangely resigned to his fate” said the supervisor.
    Just at that moment the blue ‘L’ shaped telephone on the desk began to bleep somewhat impatiently, the Supervisor reached over and picked it up.
    “Yes sir…… at once” was all he said before handing the telephone to his superior.
    Number 2 put on his glasses and nervously took the telephone offered to him.
    “Number 2 here” his lips pouted…….. “yes sir I do understand but if I can….” his lips pouted……….yes I know the importance you place on Number 6” his lips pouted……..I realise that I had no such instructions sir, I was only……… Yes sir I will you may depend upon it, I give you my word” Number 2 promised pouting his lips.
    Number 6 both battered and bruised was duly discharged from the hospital later that afternoon and with a free ride home.
    Alighting the taxi at the cobbled square Number 6 was about to mount the steps up to the green dome when his attention was suddenly drawn to the brass band walking up the road towards him playing the Radetski March dressed as they were in their usual colourful striped capes and straw boaters.
     Following slowly behind the brass band was a taxi towing behind it a black canopied trailer, inside of which was the Watchmaker’s coffin and bouquet of flowers, behind which walked Monique, her head bowed in solemn repose as village citizens followed behind wearing their regular village garb but holding aloft open black umbrellas. As the cortege passed by making its way along the road and through the first of two entrance arches Number 6 fell in walking at Monique’ side.
     Along the beach the cortege made its way towards the graveyard then everyone gathered around as the watchmakers coffin was slowly lowered into the grave dug in the sand.
When everyone had gone Monique and Number 6 stood alone at the graveside, his arm around her for comfort as tears welled in her eyes and flowed down her cheeks, weeping for her dear departed father and mis-guided political assassin.

©  David A. Stimpson

{Published in four parts on July 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st}

The Therapy Zone

Just How Much Does The Prisoner Know?
About the village that is!

    Well he certainly knows something. He told the new Number 2 in ‘Arrival’ that he is on our side. He knew that Number 9 had been assigned to him, in the same way she had been assigned to Cobb.
    Number 6 was aware that mass reprisals would be carried out against innocent citizens if the assassination/execution took place in ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ And he knew about Degree Absolute ‘Once Upon A Time’ that it is a recognised method used in psychoanalysis, the patient must come to trust his doctor totally. That sometimes they change places!
   Okay, the Prisoner knows less than I first thought about the village. But even then he knows more than most!

The Prisoner Has Been Likened To That Of A Proverbial Onion.
    This in respect that once you peel off one layer, there is another layer beneath, and another beneath that and so on and so forth. And to get to the core of the matter, layer after layer has to be peeled away to arrive at any kind of understanding.

A Matter Of Opinion
   It was one comment made in 1976; "That there is always the possibility that the entire series means nothing at all and that it caused a great stir and lots of explanations, while all along it was merely nonsense."
   Well I certainly hope not, otherwise I've just been wasting my time, and possibly making it all up as I go along! And if that's been the case, well there's still the tremendous entertainment value of the Prisoner.

What do YOU think?

Be seeing you

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pictorial Prisoner

  The Village Administration is most adept at adapting posters for their own use. Pictured on the left is a poster from 'A Change of Mind,' and on the right a first World War poster featuring General Kitchener. The first taking inspiration from the latter, for should that be former?.


Thought For The Day

    It could seem strange to the television viewer, that Number 6 once seen to have a future in the Village in 'Dance of the Dead,' yet by the time of 'A Change of Mind' the Village Administration deemed it necessary to put Number 6 through the ordeal of 'Instant Social Conversion,' in effect the dislocation of the agressive frontal lobes, a luecotomy in fact. But of course Number 6 didn't know he had a future with them, but Number 6 didn't know that, did he? In any case the threat of 'Instant Socail Conversion' was not carried out. And that future Number 2 spoke of in 'Dnace of the Dead,' did Number 1 tell her that, and was that future the future shown to the former Number 6 in the crystal ball during 'Fall Out, a future, he rejects by letting it slip through his fingers to shatter on the floor, that of a Prisoner?


Caught On Camera

   Number 118, the artist who paints Number 6's portrait in 'It's Your Funeral' is decribed as being an eccentric, seeing as how Number 6's portrait turns out to be an abstract of the subject. Number 6 himself could be described as having eccentric tendencies, by the way he daily climbs the Bell Tower. The Admiral and his chum are certainly displaying eccentic tendencies by playing with their plastic boats, or is that second childishness? But caught on camera here, are two certain eccentrics, that have a dinghy in the 'Free Sea' of the pool and fountain. I mean the water in the pool is what, three inches deep? Where do they think they are, Henley boating regatta? Or is this part of some cunning plan? Perhaps they are quietly carrying out a practise session for an escape plan, and simply giving the appearence of two eccentrics. What I want to know is, where did they get that dinghy from?

I'll be seeing you

Resign Oneself by David A. Stimpson {part 3}


    At the hospital Monique had called to visit her father, but was shocked to hear that her father’s condition had not improved, in fact if anything it had worsened.
    “We do not expect him to last the night” the doctor told her.
   Monique sat quietly at her father’s bed side, gently holding his hand as tears streamed down her cheeks. Having already lost her mother a few years ago she now had to somehow prepare herself for the loss of her father, any thoughts of Number 6 washed away with her tears.
    At the old people’s home the retired Number 2 sat thinking in the comfort of the mirror room. His thoughts concerned the events of the previous day, of the actions of Number 2 together with the words spoken by Number 50 only that very afternoon.
    And so it was that the retired Number 2 looked at himself in one of the elaborately framed mirrors, what he saw was the reflection of a tired old man who was of no further possible use to anyone.
    It was as he looked upon his reflection in the mirror that the retired Number 2 considered a change of heart, so much so that he called for a telephone to be brought to him, this to the denial of the superintendent and to the argumentative powers of the retired Number 2.
    Being handed the ‘L’ shaped telephone, the retired Number 2 asked the operator to put him through to administration.
    “Administration….. I wish to speak with Number 22.”
    “What is your Number sir?” asked a female voice.
    “I am the recently retired Number 2, Number 22 was my one time assistant and I wish to speak with him on urgent business” he told her in an air of authority.
    “I’m sorry sir but…….”
    “I don’t want sorry, It is extremely important that I speak with Number 22 it is most important, in fact it is a matter of life or death. Now if you would connect me please” the retired Number 2 argued.
    “Whose life or death?” asked the female voice.
    “That is of no consequence to you, please permit me to speak with Number 22.”
    “I’m not sure I can sir, what official position do you hold, are you connected with administration sir?”
    The retired Number 2 was getting a little annoyed at this red tape, especially when he considered all the improvements he had made to the Village facilities.
    “I was Number 2 the chairman of the Village, I have worked for the good of the Village and it’s community, does that count for nothing?”
    “When did your term of office end sir?”
    “It was only yesterday, surely you remember the Appreciation Day ceremony?”
    “Please hold the line.”
   The retired Number 2 was left listening to some nondescript Musak!
    “Number 22 here, what can I do for you?”
    “Listen very carefully, you recognise my voice do you not?”
    “Yes sir, how are you enjoying your retirement?” asked Number 22 politely.
    “It could be worse I suppose, but I have resigned myself to it and so it must be endured. However I wish to do one more act of service. If you have any regard left for me from our time working together you will do one last thing for me.”
    “You shouldn’t be calling me here like this, it’s bound to cause trouble and someone is bound to be listening to our conversation” retorted Number 22 nervously.
    “You never struck me to be the nervous type, and if they are listening then both our fates are sealed and in so being you have absolutely nothing to lose” returned the retired Number 2, who could be most persuasive at times.
    There was silence from the other end of the line, the retired Number 2 continued.
    “I know that you did not approve of the plan to have me assassinated, executed or murdered, I am also aware that there was nothing you could do.”
    “Number 2 I……..”
    “There is no need to try and explain, besides there is no time. Where have they taken Number 6 and what are they doing to him?” asked the retired Number 2.
    “Number 6, why are you asking about him, he is nothing but trouble and he will still cause trouble for you if he can. Don’t get involved, Number 6 would bring the whole village down if he could” replied 22 sarcastically.
    “I owe him a debt, the whole Village owes him a debt for his actions yesterday, now do you know where he is?” asked the retired Number 2, who would not listen to the warning made by his former colleague.
    “Well a man in your position should find it a simple task to find out. Perhaps they have him at the hospital” suggested the retired Number 2.
    “I cannot, I am not in the position that I was yesterday, its impossible for me” Number 22 argued.
    “Do this for thing for me and you will not hear from me again” pleaded his former colleague.
    Number 22 finally relented “I shall do what I can.”
    In the domed chamber of the multiplex Number 6 was beginning to suffer from the increase in temperature, he had taken off his piped blazer and was now sitting crossed legged in the centre of the floor. But he did not sit there for very long as the floor was becoming just a little too hot to bear.
    “What’s the matter Number 6, getting too hot for you?” observed 100 “well I assure you that if you can’t sit down upon the floor now, in a very few minutes you wont be able to stand either!”
   The heated floor which was at first uncomfortable, was quickly becoming hot and unbearable, so much so that it was beginning to make standing difficult. Number 6 could feel the heat through the soles of his deck shoes and could only bear his feet upon the floor for only a short length of time, this making him hop on one foot and then the other.
    “Ah I see that you now know how a cat on a hot tin roof feels like number 6, a living hell isn’t it?’ said the voice of Number 100.
    Suddenly the walls burned with fire, the orange and red flames licking up towards the blazing domed ceiling. Within minutes the heat became so intense and the floor so unbearable to stand upon, thus causing Number 6 hop ever faster from one foot to the other giving the impression that he was carrying out some frantic dance or other but all the time he scanned the chamber, this look for some kind of foot or hand hold somewhere so that he could get his feet clear of the floor.
    But there was nowhere to get a hand or foot hold along any of the flame burning wall, and even if there was the wall would only prove to be as hot as the floor.
    Number 6 hopped and hopped ever more frantically from one foot to the other whilst at the same time picking up his blazer and then after folding it, placing it upon the floor for added insulation, but it was not enough, not by any means.
    “You’re looking a little tired Number 6, I just wonder how much longer you can keep up that strange dance routine of yours, you look rather comical from where I’m sitting” chuckled 100’s voice “you do know of course that sooner or later you are bound to get so tired that you will just collapse from either sheer exhaustion if of course heat exhaustion doesn’t get you first. Now let me end this torment for you, just tell me what I want to know and it will all be over for you.”
    That’s what I am afraid of!” barked Number 6.
    “Don’t tell me that your secret is worth dying for, no secret is worth that much Number 6. Look at the base of the wall just to your left” said 100’s voice.
    Number 6 looked down at the floor and there at the base of the wall was a tall glass of water. Hopping over Number 6 placed both feet on the floor and picked up the glass and instantly dropped it, the glass smashing on the floor the water spilling everywhere.
    “Ouch, I bet that was hot almost at boiling point I would say. Just think what will happen when your blood does begin to boil, that time cannot be far off, you had better tell me quickly number 6 before its too late” Number 100 urged his prisoner.
    “If anything happens to me it will be all over for you!” yelled Number 6, hopping continually around the floor beneath the flames of the domed ceiling, and surrounded by the flames of the burning wall. If this is hell, then he had arrived!
    Then instantly the flames were extinguished leaving Number 6 in complete and total darkness. The floor beneath his feet began to cool until at last the exhausted Number 6 could finally sit down a rest perhaps even to sleep, if his thirst would let him. And that is when he felt the object next to him, sitting up he reached out into the pitch blackness, feeling for the object which he had kicked with his foot.
    The floor was wet….. water, water! In the darkness Number 6 felt the steel rim of a tray and upon the tray a jug of water and a plastic cup. Ignoring the cup Number 6 drank deeply from the jug and poured the remainder over his head, he had never once felt anything so good. He had been in many scrapes but from this one he could see no escape, at least he knew from his bluff that no permanent harm must come to him, that would probably be his one and only saving grace, unless of course he abandoned his principles and gave them what they wanted. But surely it hadn’t come to that just yet, had it?
    Elsewhere in the village, citizens were settling themselves down for the night.
At her home of the Watchmaker’s shop a maid was busy in the kitchen preparing Monique’s nightly cup of hot chocolate. For possibly the first time during her life in the village she would be glad of the brew to help her sleep, for her father’s death had hit her hard and she had been in perpetual tears from that moment, she wept not only for her father but also for herself, for now Monique was all alone in the village and there was no way of knowing what would become of her.
    Having retired herself to bed the maid carried her cup of hot chocolate through into the bedroom and stood watching as Monique drank her night cap.
    “Goodnight miss” said the maid “sleep well.”
    “Goodnight” Monique replied, in the full knowledge that she would.
    Number 2 was working late in his office reading the report given to him by Number 100, this in regard to his progress made so far and the subject of Number 6.
    To the very astute Number 2, he couldn’t see where any such progress had been made and put this to Number 100 in no uncertain terms.
    “You are completely sure that the methods you are employing will produce the required result, because so far you have failed to make any progress of any kind!” said Number 2 looking up from the open file on his lap and removing his glasses.
    “I’ve never had a failure yet, and I won’t with Number 6” 100 returned with confidence.
    Number 2 put on his glasses and leaned forward out of his chair.
    “Yes well you will forgive my natural scepticism, but the events in which you were involved with yesterday were hardly a blistering success were they and I have to say that I do not share your own self belief and confidence” returned Number 2.
    “You can hardly blame me for yesterday’s failure. My indoctrination of the watchmaker was one hundred percent effective. If anything the blame should rest with you, or whoever it was who made the selection of Number 6. Because from the moment the choice was made to use number 6, the whole plan division Q was doomed to failure!” barked “Number 100 in his own defence.
    At that point the steel doors opened and the dwarf butler stood at the top of the ramp.
    “That will be all for tonight, Number 100 is just leaving” said Number 2.
   Number 100 turned in his annoyance and marched up the ramp and out through the open steel doors, the butler bowed and followed suit, the steel doors slamming shut behind him.
    The following day would be both sad and painful for both Monique and Number 6. Sad for Monique, painful for Number 6.
    As for Number 100 he would return to his work with both renewed vigour and zeal, while Number 22 a tall young man with light brown hair, dressed in a grey blazer with black piping, grey trousers and olive green polo neck jersey was beginning his discreet enquiries in official circles regarding Number 6.
    In Administration he could find nothing in recent documentation and his visit to the hospital had proved fruitless. Then just as Number 22 was making his way along the street to the Town Hall, he saw the pink blazered figure of Number 100 a few yards ahead. So having no other lead to follow at this time, number 22 decided to follow, at a very discreet distance.
    Number 100 was looking forward to the day’s work which laid ahead of him, so he did not notice the grey blazered figure of number 22 following him along the street and then along the path leading deep into the woods.
    Number 22 kept his distance but with Number 100 within his sights all the time, well for most of it anyway. The path they took lead through the Mangrove walk and deeper into the woods than Number 22 had been before. Then down passed tall bamboo and down the path into a sub tropical part of the woods and to an outcrop of rocks behind which Number 100 disappeared.
    Hurrying Number 22 followed in 100’s footsteps, and behind the rocks found a steel door set into the rock face. There was no apparent way to open the door, no concealed handle or button with which to operate the door and it would not give way to his trying to push it this way and that.
    Walking through the undergrowth and bushes Number 22 found the large wooden structure of the top of an air conditioning vent. Removing the wire mesh grill Number 22 climbed up onto the wooden structure and first looked down into the deep metal shaft of the air conditioning duct, before lowering himself down into and which he slowly descended, thereby gaining entry to the well camouflaged ‘Multiplex’.
    Inside the pitch black chamber, Number 6 was sat crossed legged upon the floor unable to see his hand in front of him, yet his eyes had become used to the pitch blackness, as he had the isolation and the absolute deafening silence ringing in his ears he had become accustomed to it all and still managed to sleep a little, he had the darkness to thank for that. But there was something else, during his time in the domed chamber he had become accustomed to its dimensions and so felt quite safe and strangely at ease with his surroundings, even when sat here in the pitch blackness as it closed about him as though keeping him prisoner to the very place where he sat.
    But one can remain in any one position for only so long and so it was with Number 6, as he began to grow stiff, his legs getting cramp.
    So Number 6 began to stir, outstretching his arms at first and then his legs and rubbing them to try and alleviate the cramp. He stood up and stretched his whole body, he bent down touching his toes, he performed a couple of simple exercises. And then took four paces forward and walked straight into the wall!
    Number 6 could not make this out because when the flames had been extinguished he had been standing in the very centre of the floor and had sat down there, the circumference of the wall was a good twenty five feet in all directions. So how was it that he walked into the wall after taking only four paces? Surely he couldn’t have made such a simple mistake as that, but it was enough, enough to rattle his confidence and for him to take greater care.
    So it was that as Number 6 stood with his back to the wall he decided to pace it out across the floor of the dome, this to restore his rattled confidence, after all he knew that it was fifty feet between himself and the far wall, this much he did know and more, between himself and the far wall there was a floor of complete emptiness, save for the tray and jug.
    So number 6 boldly began to count out aloud his paces “1 2 3 4 5 6...... argh!”
    Number 6 had taken but half a dozen steps when he let out a scream of surprise as the floor beneath his feet suddenly opened up and he began to plummet downwards feet first into the black abyss below.
    The blackness of the abyss somehow absorbed his screams as Number 6 fell further into it, and then plummeting through a hole in the dome ceiling, his fall broken by the sudden impact with the floor, where Number 6 lay prostrate for how long he did not know. But he was unable to move and it proved too painful for him when he tried.
    Suddenly there was light, bright light from the domed ceiling, the wall had reverted back to their ever changing colours of orange, purple and blue.
    Number 6 still lay there upon the floor, still too painful to try and move.

To be Continued………………….

©  David A. Stimpson

{Part One Posted on July 28th - part Two posted on July 29th.}

The Therapy Zone

The Prisoner can be taken on several levels.

    On the surface it is a spy thriller, a continuance of McGoohan's previous television series ‘Danger Man,’ depending on your perspective of the series, but in any case he appears to be something of a confidential agent who resigns from a position of the highest secrecy. He is abducted to the village in order to have the reason for his resignation extracted, and where he will remain for as long as he lives.
   Mystery surrounds the Village. Can we really be so sure as to which side runs the village, that ‘the Prisoner’ was not about to defect, or indeed the location of the village. It has been stated that this surface level of understanding is difficult to take too literary, for many of the gadgets and methods employed by the village are too fantastic for normal belief, but yet I wonder. Leucotomies have been employed, and there are numerous methods employed to extract information from any such individual. And such methods of torture, manipulation and trickery have been employed through the centuries and by organisations around the world, and still are today.
    Although ‘the Prisoner’ is not technically science fiction, the white membranic mass of the Village Guardian-Rover does have a science fiction quality about it. Having independent thought, able to change its size, its as well underwater as it is on land, and seems to need no sustenance to maintain its existence.
    There is social comment, taking ‘the Prisoner’ to another level. It makes the viewer think of his or her environment, well it didn't have that effect upon me at the time, to ask questions and not simply accept things as they are. This is 'thinking man's' television.
   The Village represents the society we lived in at the time, and the society of today, perhaps, ‘the Prisoner’. and its social comment are more relevant today than they were 45 years ago. Number 6 is an individual trying to survive in a society of numbers. Desperately fighting to maintain both his identity and individuality, which in society today there are those who would like to take both our identity and individuality away from us, with Number 2 representing all forms of authority within society.
    There is room to question, to theorise and interpret ‘the Prisoner,’ and this has been down on several levels over the past decades. And things are not taken at face value by many of the fans of ‘the Prisoner,’ yet at times they can look for the most complicated reason for something, when a far simpler explanation would do as well, if not better.
    The Village can be two things, an actual place where people who know too much or too little are taken, to have the knowledge in their heads protected or extracted, either that or the village is all in the mind and that could lead to a mental breakdown for anyone!
    And entertainment is another level upon which ‘the Prisoner’ can be enjoyed. To simply watch each episode without thought or care, only for its pure entertainment value, which is reason enough to watch such a series which 45 years ago was ahead of its time, but has not dated today. Such is the seemingly timeless quality of ‘the Prisoner.’
   You see you can get as much or as little out of ‘the Prisoner’ as you want. But to get something out you first have to put something in. But remember, the Prisoner is there also to be enjoyed, and this should not be forgotten when you are busy theorising. It should be fun and stimulating, and that's how I find the Prisoner.

Be seeing you

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Prismatic Reflection

    Is 'the Prisoner' a work of art? Well the Village is certainly colourful, the Village buildings, the citizens who wear brightly coloured clothes, wearing colourful striped capes and twirling colourful umbrellas. And certainly colour gives the viewer new impact, and it seems to add a new dimension to 'the Prisoner.' But a work of art? Me thinks that's going a step too far to describe 'the Prisoner.'
    I prefer to think of the series as escapism. Over the years 'the Prisoner' and his Village have been a place to escape to, if ony through the media of television and my imagination of course. And the actual Village itself Portmeirion, a place to escape to for a week or two, to be able to follow in the Prisoner's footsteps. But why the Prisoner? Why not go there as the Rook, the Shopkeeper, or cafe waiter? Because they are not exciting characters perhaps. I have known many fans of 'the Prisoner' go to Portmeirion wearing Village attire. In Kosho outfit, or as a Court Jester and Queen Elizabeth the first. Or as Number 48 who represents rebellious youth, but why would two well matured women want to dress up as Number 48? For a start they are the wrong sex, and for another there's the rebellious youth aspect of the character, at 60 they could hardly be descibed as being youthful!
   And there are many who have gone as the Prisoner himself, even thinking they have captured the character of the Prisoner. Well they did give it a good try, but there has only been one person to get into the very character of the Prisoner, and that of Patrick McGoohan I suppose, seeing as much of the Prisoner's character is that of McGoohan himself, and that is me. Mind you I had one huge advantage over the others, I looked liked the Prisoner, having been taken for Patrick McGoohan at 'Prisoner' Conventions. After one particular performace, a scene from 'It's Your Funeral' when Monique had come to wake the Prisoner up in his cottage, one long time fan said to me "You are the Prisoner!" and believe me that was one hell of a compliment. Mind you not everyone was in favoiur of my efforts, but that was generally from people who complained about everything and never did anything themselves, or lacked the aptitude to play the role of the Prisoner-Number 6. Blowing my own trumpet? Well yes, but at least I've a trumpet to blow!
   However those days for the need to escape are far behind me, and today I am beginning to look a bit like another of McGoohan's characters, that of Steinmetz from Columbo's 'Identity Crisis,' when I brush my hair back that is.
    On October 6th I begin a screening of 'the Prisoner,' this to celebrate the 45th anaversary of the series. Come to think about it, that will be the first screening of an episode for me this year. I can recall a time when I would watch the series a couple of times a year, and some individual episodes in between time. But not a day goes by when I do not think of 'the Prisoner,' as I am doing as I type these words, so the Prisoner is never far from my thoughts. Is that a good thing, or bad? It's not my only interest, far from it. But over the years 'the Prisoner' has been a large part of my life, and has grown to be in more recent years. Someone once said of me "You've done more for 'the Prisoner' than Patrick McGoohan ever did," a compliment indeed, which is nice.

I'll be seeing you

Teabreak Teaser

   What do the readers think happened to Number 2 that day after Appreciation Day?


Arts And Crafts

     This I gave the title of "Why don't you resign?"


Resign Oneself by David A. Stimpson {part 2}


    “Yes well that’s what I was afraid of, alright I’ll leave it in your capable hands” said Number 2, dismissing 100 with a wave of his glasses.
    At the old people’s home the now retired Number 2 sat quietly in a chair upon the lawn. He watched his fellow residents about him, the Admiral who constantly sat at his table, his chess set at the ready as he waited for an opponent.
    Then there was the eccentric artist who was painting some unfortunate citizens portrait, which more often than not would turn out as some abstract painting. And the elderly woman being pushed in her wheelchair, her whole face covered in a red tinted visor, how had he come to be amongst these people?
    A waiter dressed in a white coat and black trousers walked across the lawn in the direction of the retired number 2’s table carrying a tea tray.
    “No I don’t want any tea” he growled.
The waiter turned and began to walk away.
    “Oh I’m sorry, put it down if you must.”
   The waiter stopped and turning, placed the tray upon the table and then walked away.
    “You seem a little grumpy today” said Number 100 taking the vacant chair.
    “What do you want, can’t you people leave me in peace?’ grumbled the retired Number 2.
    “Shall I be mother?” asked 100 picking up the brown tea pot and pouring out its liquid into two equally brown cups.
The retired Number 2 closed his tired eyes against the man sitting opposite.
    “Milk and sugar?” asked 100.
    The retired Number 2 remained silent and Number 100 sat drinking his tea in patient silence. In the end the retired Number 2 relented “Why have you come here?”
    “To ask you a question” returned 100, placing his cup upon its saucer.
    “Only one, you surprise me.”
    “Yesterday” began number 100 “you held the means of your escape and subsequent freedom firmly in your own hands this of course was all thanks to Number 6. But then as you were being whisked away, the helicopter suddenly and quite inexplicably turned back to the Village. What we want to know is what happened aboard the helicopter? Who gave the order?”
    “You mean my successor the Number 2 wants to know, I bet that came something of a shock to him, yes I bet he wants to know. So he sent one of his lackeys to ask the all important questions did he?”
    Number 100 glared at this old man, resenting the phrase ‘lackey’ used against him. But biting his tongue reminded himself why he was here, after all he would be up for retirement one day!
    The retired Number 2 sat drinking his tea and paying his guest little or no attention. But it was plain that this emissary sent by Number 2 would not go away without that for which he came. Indeed if he didn’t, he would surely return tomorrow. A sudden wry smile came over his face and he placed his cup down, having decided to give this emissary what he wanted and it amused him to do so.
    “It was I who gave the pilot the order to return to the village.”
Number 100 couldn’t believe his ears, he hadn’t expected this old man to give in quite so easily. But then perhaps he was playing a game of his own here, he had to be sure.
    “You gave the order, I find that difficult to believe.”
    “You would. Perhaps you and my successor would prefer some kind of conspiracy against me or that perhaps some higher authority had intervened due to his failure. Sorry to have to disappoint you, but the fact of the matter is, as I have already told you, it was I who gave the order.”
    “Why, when you could have gone anywhere you chose?”
    “I would have thought that you…..  no perhaps under the circumstances you don’t, you see we never fail” returned the retired Number 2.
    “You still believe that, after the events of yesterday?” asked Number 100
    “That was not my failure. They would have got me eventually, they would have found me wherever I was. Now I have resigned myself to the fact that here is the safest place for me. Now that you have been told go away and don’t bother me” snapped the retired Number 2, closing his tired eyes.
    It was as Number 100 was walking up the hill from the old people’s home that he was accosted by Monique-Number 50, the Watchmaker’s daughter coming down the road towards him.
    “Where is he?”
    “Who?” retorted 100, taken aback by this sudden and unwarranted assault.
    “Number 6, I’ve been to his cottage and he’s not there, and he hasn’t been seen about the village since late this morning” Monique informed him sternly.
    “What’s that to do with me?”
    “You ask that after the events of yesterday?” retorted Monique sternly.
Number 100 smiled and stepped to one side to pass her, but Monique was made of sterner stuff and persisted with her intervention.
One or two passers by gave them a curious glance which made number 100 feel uncomfortable.
    “Look I don’t know exactly what it is you want, but I have a very important meeting to attend, so if you will excuse me” 100 again trying to pass.
    “What have you done with him?”
    “Honestly I haven’t done anything with your Number 6, you know what he’s like. Have you tried the gymnasium?” 100 suggested.
Monique could see that she was wasting her time and finally stepped to one side.
    “Be seeing you” 100 saluted going on his way.
   As Number 100 made his way up the hill, the disheartened Monique made her way slowly down to the old people’s home where she took a seat at a vacant table and ordered a cup of coffee from one of the waiters.
    As Monique sat glancing about the lawn a familiar face appeared amongst the residents. There sat at a nearby table only a few feet away was the familiar figure of Number 2, a silvered haired man dressed in a plain black blazer, grey polo neck sweater and grey flannel trousers.
Seeing him seemed to raise Monique’s spirits. Here was a man who really owed a debt to Number 6 after all he had done for him only yesterday, surely he would not fail him, but having been retired would he be in a position to help?
    Rising from her seat Monique walked over to Number 2’s table and sat down in the vacant seat opposite him.
    ‘Excuse me’ said Monique nervously.
    “Did I say you could sit down, why don’t you people just leave me in peace?” growled the retired Number 2.
    “I think you are the only person to whom I can turn to” Monique replied.
    The retired Number 2 slowly opened his eyes to see the young woman sitting opposite him.   
    She had a sad looking face, she looked as if she had been crying, but he wasn’t certain.
    “Why am I the only person which you seem to think you can turn to?”
    “Because of who you were, you are probably the only person who can help me” retorted Monique quietly.
    “As you see I am no longer that person and am no longer in a position to help anyone. I have been gracefully retired and will spend the remainder of my days here…. amongst the residents of the old people’s home!” returned the sad toned voice of the retired Number 2.
    The waiter then came over to the table carrying a tray, Monique smiled gently at him as he placed the cup of hot coffee before her. Then bowing slightly he turned to attend another table. 
Monique added milk and sugar to her coffee.
    “You mean you will not help someone who only yesterday saved you from certain death!”
    “You are talking about Number 6, I can assure you that he did not put himself out for the good of my health. As long as what was going to happen to me, didn’t happen here in the village, then he couldn’t care less’ he growled.
    “He saved innocent people from being punished for something with which they had nothing to do, but for which they were going to be blamed. The citizens owe Number 6 a debt, but they have no idea of what was going to happen to them. If you will not help, then perhaps someone should tell them what their beloved leaders had in store for them.”
    “Keep your voice down, someone will over hear” urged the retired Number 2.
    “You’re afraid?” asked Monique.
    “Yes for you, because no one will believe you, they will not be allowed to believe you and you will cause trouble only for yourself. As for Number 6 I am sure that wherever he is, he is beyond help. Now please go away and leave me alone” the retired Number 2 pleaded, putting a tired hand to his troubled brow.
    Monique rose from her chair and looked at the sad and pathetic figure still sat at the table.
    “A man once in a position of power, but who is now without a friend in the world how sad.     
    Number 6 gave you a chance and you threw it away, I don’t know why he bothered!’
The retired Number 2 watched as Monique walked across the lawn towards the road leading back up into the village, before closing his eyes and settling himself down for a quiet sleep.
    In the office of the Green Dome Number 100 stood before his superior the Number 2 as he gave him his latest report on his retired predecessor.
    “He didn’t give you any trouble?”
    “No he offered the answer quite freely then told me to go away and not bother him” returned 100.
    “And you say it was on the order of my predecessor that the pilot turned helicopter back to the village?”
    “Yes Number 2, he firmly believes that we never fail and that they would got him eventually, that they would have found him wherever he was.”
    “Yes, well we would” retorted Number 2.
    “And he now believes that here is the safest place for him to be” Number 100 added.
    “Yes well he would.”
    “There’s something else Number 2.”
    “Concerning my predecessor?” asked Number 2 taking off his glasses.
    “No, the Watchmakers daughter” returned 100.
    “What about her?”
    “I was returning from my interview with the retired Number 2, when Number 50 accosted me in the street and questioned me about our friend.”
    “Friend……. oh you mean Number 6’ returned Number 2 putting on his glasses “how is he by the way?”
    “Quite uncomfortable the last time I saw him Number 2.”
    Number 2 sat back in his chair with a contented look upon his face “Good.”
    “What about the “Watchmaker’s daughter, she could cause trouble.”
    “Don’t worry about Number 50, the doctors tell me that her father will not recover. That should give his daughter something other to worry about than Number 6!”
    The temperature within the domed chamber had dropped considerably, in fact its wall, floor and ceiling twinkled with frost.
    Number 6 huddled and shivered at the base of the wall, his piped blazer drawn about him in a desperate bid to keep warm in the sub zero conditions.
    “They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, no doubt you wouldn’t agree with that, oh well can’t blame you I suppose. No doubt I should feel the same if I were in your shoes” returned the voice of Number 100 to the chamber.
    Number 6 struggled to his feet, the collar of his blazer turned up and his hands plunged deep into his pockets as he began to walk the circumference of the floor.
    “What nothing to say for yourself Number 6, that’s not like you at all.”
    “You’ve got me here’ shivered Number 6 ‘now what do you want, if it’s simple revenge why don’t you just go ahead and get it over with, instead of making a great meal of it. Or are you like so many before you, who always take great pleasure in drawing things out?” he bellowed.
    “I think I much preferred you when you had nothing to say for yourself. I say are you cold, you look cold I’ll see what I can do about that for you. In the meantime seeing that you are here, and many would say that was reason enough, perhaps you would condescend to answer me one simple question……. Why did you resign?”
    “Not that old one again. Many have sought the answer to that one and failed. Why doesn’t Number 2 come here and ask for himself, or has he left you to do his dirty work?” yelled Number 6, his voice echoing and re echoing around the chamber.
    “Number 2 has left the matter of the so far unanswered question entirely in my hands” returned Number 100’s voice.
    “Then more fool him, I would have thought he would have known better by now” barked Number 6, still pacing the floor.
    Slowly the chamber began to warm, the frost melted off the walls, ceiling and floor. The wall came alive with the smiling face of Number 100 and for Number 6 there was no place to hide, no place to look away to except at the floor or ceiling.
    “I have your file here and according to that you resigned because for a very long time……..,why for a very long time Number 6, why, why, why did you resign? Because for a very long time……… what were you going to say before the chimes struck ? Why because for a very long time……..what were you going to say before the chimes struck eight o’clock, what were you going to tell the Colonel? Why, why did you resign?” boomed 100’s voice.
    The face of Number 6 was set in a grimaced look of determination as he continued to pace the floor. It was getting warmer in fact it was getting pretty hot indeed.
    “Has the thermostat become stuck, or is it getting warm in here? Perhaps you should call electrics” quipped Number 6 to the face all around the chamber wall.
    “No I don’t think so, it’s quite comfortable where we are, but thank you for your concern” retorted Number 100, who knew perfectly well the temperature within the domed chamber.
    “Alright, let me out of here, you’ve had you fun, played your little game. You can’t hold me here!” barked Number 6 sternly.
    “Funny, I thought that was precisely what we were doing. Unless of course you know a way out of here that we don’t. Oh please feel free to try and find the door, the last inmate sent himself clear round the bend trying to do just that. We didn’t have to do anything, he did it all himself. Go on Number 6, we could do with some entertainment. Oh by the way I do hope you are feeling a little warmer, I’m having the heat turned up just for you.”
    Get Number 2!’ Number 6 bellowed.
    There came a moment’s silence, then….. “You wanted to see “Number 2, very well” announced Number 100.
    And suddenly the image on the chamber wall changed to that of a well dressed man in a double breasted black blazer, he being the first Number 2 he encountered here in the Village.
    “The information inside your head is priceless, I don’t think you realise what a valuable property you have become. You had a brilliant career, your record is impeccable, they want to know why you suddenly left.”
    Then the image on the wall changed again, this to another Number 2 wearing a piped blazer and sitting in his black spherical chair.
    “The subject shows great enthusiasm for his work, he is utterly loyal. Is this a man who suddenly walks out?”
    “I didn’t walk out….. I resigned!” barked Number 6 loudly from the chamber floor at the image on the wall.
    “Another change of image, this time to a Number 2 who at first seemed to sympathise with Number 6. “Now all this nonsense about why you resigned, if people can’t chuck up a job things have come to a pretty pass.”
    But then…..“I believe he was going to sell out, I want to know what he had to sell and to whom he was going to sell it!”
     Yet another change came upon the wall, to a stern looking woman dressed in a maid’s uniform, to which was pinned a white rosette with the black numeral 2.
    “Will you never learn, this is only the beginning, we have many ways and means but we do not wish to damage you permanently, are you ready to talk?”
    The wall reverted back to the face of Number 100
    “Well are you ready to talk?”
    The Prisoner remained as stubborn, defiant and resolute as ever he was, sitting crossed legged and staring down at the floor.
    “I’ll leave you for a while, so that you may reconsider your position. Not getting too warm for you in there is it? After all as Number 2 said……. “this is only the beginning!”

To be continued…………..

© David A. Stimpson