Tuesday, August 27, 2013

THE WORLD'S END: The Golden Mile

[ 130911. See the UPDATED version of this post HERE—thanks! ]

Check out Edgar Wright's post of the signs from the twelve pubs of the Golden Mile. Currently he's asking for fans to comment on the post and leave theories of the significance of each of the pubs' names/signs. And thusly…


Only seen the film twice (so far!), so my memory of what goes down at which pub is not 100 percent. Also, I've got more than one idea regarding the significance of several of the pubs' names and signs so please excuse the (usual) blogorrhea. Also also, be warned, they are *spoiler*-ful…

All pub signs with blue paint spattered on them mark pubs where the gang dukes it out w bluebloods and get ink on their hands. So, that's THE CROSS HANDS, THE TWO HEADED DOG, THE BEEHIVE, and THE HOLE IN THE WALL.  =)

1. THE FIRST POST (click the pub name to see the sign in a new window).

An appropriate name for the first stop (an anagram of "post") on the Golden Mile.

A pun on "First!" comments/posts online.

An example of what the Network does to people: If they're not cooperative and useful, they're replaced by soulless Blanks and mulched as Empties. The post office was declared obsolete and ultimately turned into a Barbucks clone.


The old familiar… feeling? Meaning the effect that Sam has on Stephen when she appears.

"Familiar" as in inspiring deja vu, as it looks just like THE FIRST POST inside (Barbucks syndrome).

Would Basil be considered a familiar to the boys, as a cat to a witch? Or maybe just to Steven, as Gary maintains that he was closest to him. Also, later that night it's to Steven that Basil drops his shooting star and spacebook truth.


This is the only pub (and publican) that remembers Gary without any Blanking help—because he's been barred for life, the (in)famous cock.

(Can't remember if we saw what he did in 1990 that won him this (dis)honor.)

It's here that Gary downs the remains of three pints sitting on table outside the pub.


"Cross" as in "angry." This is where Gary punched the wall tile in the gents 23 years earlier and almost does so again.

This is where the gang first fights (and takes apart) the young Blanks, so there are "cross hands" on both sides. The opening grab-salvos between Gary and the young Blank leader are all about grabbing and blocking wrists and hands, like in the sign's visual.

A stretch—Peter encounters his childhood bully, who does not recognize him. The bully's hands might be considered cross hands as well.

Another stretch?—It's here that Andy, Stephen, Peter, and Oliver discover that Gary lied about his mother passing away, making them a crew of cross "hands" to Gary's obsessed captain Ahab.

The sign's image shows five clasped hands, reflecting the solidarity of the band (in spite of the King's lie) in the face of the cyberpunks attack in the gents. Can't be sure, but the checkerboard pattern background might reflect bathroom floor tiles.


Where they meet the Reverend Green and the two Newton Haven Blankolytes, humans who have gone along to get along w the Network (aka good companions).

The one comedie and four tragedie masks of the sign reflect the state of Gary and the Enablers—the unreasonably chipper King (and Jester) and his unhappy knights.

The masks could also reflect Gary's plan (the only one they've got) to act like they don't know what they know about Newton Haven and continue with the Golden Mile.

I'm not familiar with the English novel or the adapted play and films, but the internet tells me it's the title of those, which tells the story of three travelers who apparently save/join a band called The Dinky Doos.


This is where they lose Oliver/O-Man *Chamberlain* (aka the trusty servant) to the Network. (Funny how the first thing I thought when I saw grown-up O-Man w the earpiece was "Cyberman." =)

(This is the pub where they "lost" O-Man back in 1990.)


This is where they run into Sam again and she, Gary, and Stephen fight the twins, aka "the two headed dog." While both the twins' heads do get popped, the canine resemblance to the pub name (and image) is more about having four legs than two heads. Also makes for a wonderful line—"Get your feet off of her!"—and a crazy fun bit of foot-and-fisticuffs.

Question: can a two-headed dog look up? =)


The band encounters the youthanized Marmalade Sandwich at the Mermaid. They are the story's sirens of School Disco who attempt to lure our sailors to their Blanking doom.

The pub's name is kind of a contraction of "marmalade" (to "mermaid"), and the sign's image shows the Marmalade Sandwich in mermaid form.

This is also where Basil reappears to educate Steven on the truth behind Newton Haven since the June 22, 1990 shooting star. Basil, the conspiracy nut and truth-is-out-there believer who is steeped in cryptozoology.

Does that golden pearl in the Strawberry mermaid's hand look just a bit like golden ring? One that might have been plucked from the mermaid's belly button…?


Cool teacher Guy Shepherd has a sit-down w the gang to explain the "merger" offered by the Network, basically a worry-free hive mind existence for replaced Blanks and sympathizers. During this discussion, Andy smashingly reveals Oliver to be a Blank, which leads to the full-on brawl with the Newton Haven drones en masse, when Knightley goes all "Andy smash puny robots!"

(This is the pub where Andy Hulked out in 1990.)

Funny, a hive must have its queen (hrm… didn't spot anyone in drag), but there's no place for a King! =)

The gang escapes the Network's drones by going to the Smokehouse. Smoke is used by beekeepers to keep bees docile while they go for the honey (ale =).

Could the inclusion of this pub be an environmentally conscious callout/connection between the mysterious plight of honey bees and the end of the world?


This is where Gary recovers consciousness and decides to keep on with the Golden Mile, demonstrating how far gone he is, where his/the King's head is at.

The King of the sign bears an uncanny resemblance to Gary. =)

Another interpretation: this is where Gary's head (or perhaps "playhead"?) has been for the last 20-some years, paused just before this pub, as Gary and his court quit the crawl before making it to this pub in 1990.


Stephen smashes the Beast thru the wall of this pub in an attempt to save Andy and Gary.

Also, Gary and Andy manage to evade the town's Blanked forces (not without some blueblooded violence of course, but still, relatively unscathed). They take advantage of the hole in the Network's defense, but one that leads/herds them directly to…


The name and the sign say it all. It's here, or rather beneath here, that Gary, Andy, and Steven's drunken case for humanity's freedom-loving incorrigibility sends the Network packing back to Legoland, catastrophically returning the world to the dark ages.

There are two cathartic revelations of a more personal scale as well. Before the end of everyone's world, at the climax of their fight on the ground floor of the pub, Andy discovers that Gary has attempted to end his world by suicide. And below ground, when the Network offers Gary a youthful Blank existence, he rejects it by destroying his younger eggheaded self.

The image of the burning world is a pretty close match for what happens when the Network pulls up its technological stakes (including Ampera?) and unfriends the Earth.


Not everything these guys do is a reference, but my brain is wired for cinema and story pattern recognition/connection. Faultily, perhaps, but wired nevertheless…

The Andy v. Gary fight at the World's End totally gave me deja movie for the Dante v. Randal fight in Kevin Smith's CLERKS. The energy more than the choreography, I should think. =)

And below the World's End, the underground complex and confrontation, along with both Guy Sheperd's and the Network's pitch to Gary and the boys had me thinking of THEY LIVE, with a spacebook twist. And the case made by Gary King of the humans and his Prince and Knight, along with the verdict and sentence took me back to the end of ESCAPE FROM L.A. =)

Love that this brand of alien invasion is described as a merger, an old school body snatchers-type execution on the ground with a new school social network framework/philosophy. An alien species or culture doesn't physically arrive to impose itself on us, but instead lures us into joining them from afar with the promise of new apps and upgrades.

Love that once the Blanks are unplugged from the Network they reboot as individuals. I imagine that's what it's like to quit the facebooks, eh?

I feel like there should be more to The Hole In The Wall. The hole in the Network's defense is pretty frickin thin, and the literal hole in the wall made by the Beast seems, well, literal. Maybe I've forgotten something else that happens there.

O well! Guess I'll just have to see it again! Drat! =)

Keep on keepin on~

1 comment:

cabinboy said...

Can anyone tell me with decent certainty in which pub did King Gary and his knights encounter the Reverend Green?

I'm 99% certain that O-Man gets Blanked in the gents in the sixth pub, The Trusty Servant. And I thought that that didn't happen until AFTER they encountered the good rev, and the rev is the first person they asked/trusted to ask about the Fauxbots they fought in The Cross Hands, so I figured they must've met him in The Good Companions (before Trusty Servant and after Cross Hands).

BUT, maybe the rest of the gang encountered the rev *while* O-Man was in the gents?

My memory is so perforated. : P

Stupid brain… Brain and brain! What is brain?!