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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sliders ("Eggheads", 1995)

Sliders was a derivative and formulaic American sci-fi series that began with promise but quickly ran out of ideas. Essentially a pumped-up version of Quantum Leap (the characters 'slid' though parallel universes rather than through time), it had none of the charm and humanity of its predecessor. In the first and second series, it tried to juggle the tropes of alternative history and alternative social norms, but often dropped the ball. In the third series, a militaristic race of primates called Kromaggs (favourite food: human eyes) were introduced to provide a story arc, to help it compete with the likes of The X Files. Philip K. Dick it wasn't.

In an early episode, sandwiched between a world where the summer of love never ended and the inevitable episode in which sex-roles were reversed, the four characters slide into a world where intellectuals are treated like sports stars. Instead of singing about their sexual exploits and shooting people, this world's rappers promoted libraries.

The song's quite good. Makes you wonder why there isn't more hip-hop about libraries. True to form our world's rappers prefer to mention library sex (Ludacris, "What's your fantasy"), or rhyme about libraries in a song about machine-guns (Wu-Tang Clan, "Uzi"). At least NaS ("Family") advises his "thugs in the prison yard... to hit the law library" and Canibus ("RIP iz alive") seems to want to substitute pimping for book-stamping: "When I'm 30 years old, I'ma quit ryhmin, collect my own catalogue and open up a library". And the Working Class Army, a questionable rap collective from my home town of Dublin, filmed some of the video for their "Products of the Environment" in Ballymun, (or perhaps Blanchardstown?) Public Library.

2 comments:

  1. I have to confess to following this quite avidly as a teenager! I had a bit of a crush on the lead (Quinn?). Am I right in thinking that the man who plays the dwarf in the LOTR movies was in it too?! I must have missed the library episode."Get outta my face while I'm reading my Keats"?!?!?! Brilliant.

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  2. The silence is golden
    To books I am beholden
    I know I'm bad,
    'Cuz of the knowledge that I'm holdin'!

    Great poetry. And yes, John Rhys-Davies plays the professor in this, and plays Gimli in The Lord of the Rings. But he's best in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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