Equality is the thing

“Equality,’ said Steerpike,’ is the thing. It is the only true and central premise from which constructive ideas can radiate freely and be operated without prejudice. Absolute equality of status. Equality of wealth. Equality of power.”

— Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan

This week’s Monday Meme was a tricky one for me, since it involved something I rarely do: watching TV. I think just about the only TV series I’ve kept a weather eye on lately has been Hannibal, and even then I only watched the first series. I’m woefully behind on it, as well as several other series that I keep meaning to watch.

Meme instructions: Take a picture in Second Life inspired by any television series. You can dress up your avatar or have decor that is similar. Don’t forget to leave a link to your image in the comments of this post and also share it in the Blog Memes Flickr Group.

Having exercised my brain to think of a TV character I wanted to portray, I could only come up with one (somewhat obvious) one: the delightfully wicked Steerpike, from Mervyn Peake’s incredible Gormenghast series of novels, which was adapted by the BBC back in 2000 and had an absolutely, gob-smackingly stellar cast of British acting talent; one of the best I’ve seen for any TV drama. How’s this for a list of names? — Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Christopher Lee, Celia Imrie, Stephen Fry, Ian Richardson, Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, Windsor Davies, Zoë Wanamaker, June Brown, Warren Mitchell—it’s like a Who’s Who of acting chops in the UK over the past 60 years.

Steerpike was played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (a favourite actor of mine ever since his turn as Brian Slade in Velvet Goldmine) and he brought that despicable kitchen boy-turned-royal advisor to life perfectly and chillingly. So this is my tribute to him.

“Glorious,” said Steerpike, “is a dictionary word. We are all imprisoned by the dictionary. We choose out of that vast, paper-walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect. In dead and shackled language, my dears, you are glorious, but oh, to give vent to brand new sounds that might convince you of what I really think of you, as you sit there in your purple splendour, side by side! But no, it is impossible. Life is too fleet for onomatopoeia. Dead words defy me. I can make no sound, dear ladies, that is apt.”

“You could try,” said Clarice. “We aren’t busy.” She smoothed the shining fabric of her dress with her long, lifeless fingers.

“Impossible,” replied the youth, rubbing his chin. “Quite impossible. Only believe in my admiration for your beauty that will one day be recognized by the whole castle. Meanwhile, preserve all dignity and silent power in your twin bosoms.”

Steerpike was, of course, alive with ideas and projects. These two half-witted women were a gift. That they should be the sisters of Lord Sepulchrave was of tremendous strategic value. They would prove an advance on the Prunesquallors, if not intellectually at any rate socially, and that at the moment was what mattered. And in any case, the lower the mentality of his employers the more scope for his own projects.

“I’m as mad as mad can be. Watch me get your whole family! I’m as mad as mad can be. And you two and me make three…”

“Don’t be frightened, My Lord. It is only a boy from the kitchens…”

Studio shot:

Credits

Tunic: Stitched – Martin (black) [ adele.bumblefoot ]

Pants: Dragansvarg – Leather Pants Black (type 1, for boots) [ karigan.ducatillon ]

Boots: Hoorenbeek – Riding Boots (black) [ limer.fredriksson ]

Hair: Maitreya – Lotte (kala jeera) [ onyx.leshelle ]

Skin: KOOQLA – The Knight of the Rose (silver) [ rocketta.haven ]

Eyes: IKON – Sovereign Eyes (grey) [ ikon.innovia ]

Poses

Momomuller [ momomura.zehetbauer ]

Agapee [ argnit.igaly ]

(pda) – no longer available

Location: Forgotten City

4 thoughts on “Equality is the thing

  1. Great blog, enjoyed reading about Gormenghast. Your avi seems made to be Steerpike, maybe he was in your mind back when you created him.

    • Thank you :-)

      He wasn’t consciously in my mind, but perhaps he was subconsciously. In actual fact, I simply bought a shape whose face I really liked, and I’ve edited that shape over the years (the face, though, I haven’t touched). The original ad looked nothing like JRM as Steerpike, although I can’t find the screenshot that I took of it when I first bought it.

  2. OH MY GOSH I love the way you really made Steerpike come to life in SL. I’ve always loved the books and I loved the TV show when it was made on the BBC. It’s such a great adaptation of a brilliant story. Such a great choice!

    • Thank you so much! He was such a great character, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers brought him to life so beautifully. I adored that BBC adaptation; it was so decayed and dark, and it captured the atmosphere of the books to perfection. And the cast, oh my god! Warren Mitchell as Barquentine, and June Brown as Nanny Slagg! I never looked at Alf Garnett and Dot Cotton the same way again ;-) I haven’t watched it in a long time (in fact, I think my copy of it is on VHS video) so I might have to hunt down a DVD copy, or check Netflix to see if it’s on there.

      As an aside: I’m very surprised this meme hasn’t been inundated with responses. Given past history (eg: the movie poster meme) I’d have thought people would love this one, and there would be at least a couple of Daenerys Targaryens, a Hannibal or two, a Daryl (or Carol!), and suchlike. I know it’s only Tuesday, but I really thought this one would take off. Despite Linden Lab’s IP rules–especially the mesh upload tutorial you have to complete before being able to upload any mesh–doing a search for “Daenerys Targaryen” actually returns a lot of search results, and I should imagine other search terms do as well.

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