Wednesday, September 11, 2013


May the Force be with you wankers!

This is an update of a previous post, which I submitted as a comment about the signs from the twelve pubs of the Golden Mile at EdgarWrightHere a while back. Alas, after an aborted attempt to edit it, the comment has apparently been lost in the limbo of awaiting-moderation. I wrote that post sometime after my second screening of the film and have since seen it a third time and confirmed that I misremembered a couple of events as happening in pubs they did not in fact happen in.

Oh! Sorry, sorry. —and confirmed that I misremembered a couple of events as happening in pubs in which in fact they did not happen. Sorry. Thanks.

So, consider this updated rambling *SPOILER*-ful blogorrhea my Final Answer.

Y'know, until I see it again. =)

[ 130913. For some crazy talk that relates some elements/events of the Golden Mile to images from the tarot, check this out. ]

Now, let's get this antique on the roadshow!


After a third screening of the film, I've confirmed that I wrongly placed Basil at the Old Familiar and Trevor and the Shifty Twins at the Good Companions. D'oh! But hey, remember, to err is human, so… Errr…


First, a "rule" that applies to all the pub signs: any with blue paint spattered on them mark pubs where the gang dukes it out w the blue-blooded Simulants. 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.

The story of The First Post is 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 original post office was declared obsolete, replaced with a pub, and ultimately turned into a Barbucks (the "Starbucking" of pubs) clone.

The sign's image depicts a crossroads, a fair metaphor for the so-called mid-life of one's 40s.

The post has three signs, marking the three paths, perhaps signifying that of the original five Musketeers who begin this journey, only three will survive, just as Gary suggests at the start of their evening.


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

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


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. Pretty awesome that the sign's rooster is actually wearing a coat. I wonder if it's got a Sisters Of Mercy tattoo on its breast?

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

This is where the band see Basil, who is unresponsive to their greetings. It's outside of this pub that Gary downs the remains of three pints sitting on a table. A disturbing sign of his dedication to the Golden Mile. To my eyes a conspicuously edited/lingering scene, even as a heavy accent or bold styling on Gary's addiction issues.


"Cross" as in "angry." This is where Gary punched the wall tile in the gents 23 years earlier and almost does so again. He catches himself when he sees that same dent in the tile. IS it the same dent? Is it a trace of another young Gary making his way down the Mile some year since? Collateral damage from a now-Empty, resisting his Blankening?

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, as depicted on the sign.

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.

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

The while the pub's name describes the hands as angry, the pub's sign 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. The checkerboard pattern background certainly evokes bathroom tile.


The expressions of 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, while the fact that they are masks demonstrates that they are sticking to Gary's plan and pretending to have a good time getting on with the Golden Mile.

A reference to the Priestley novel? Of which I personally know nothing, alas. I'm unfamiliar 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 the gang loses Oliver *Chamberlain* (aka the trusty servant) to the Network. You can hear the hand dryer still running when Blank O emerges from the Gents. (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 also where they meet the Reverend Green and the two Newton Haven Blankolytes, humans who have gone along to get along w the Network. Sadly, it's when the reverend tries to illuminate Gary and the Enablers that he's called upon by his supervisor to join the Blank ranks, turning him into/replacing him with a true "trusty servant."

I think that the servant in the sign resembles *both* O-man and the good Rev to some degree, and the faded figures behind him represent the Shifty Twins.

And the word "Servant" does jive nicely with the pub debate over the use of the word "robot," as it is derived from "robotnik" which means "slave," and neither the robo-sapiens, nor their human collaborators (the Rev Tyres and War Bastard and friend), would consider themselves slaves.


This is where the fellas run into Sam again and she, Gary, and Stephen fight the twins, aka "the two headed dog." Their synchronized creepy twin behavior demonstrates their connection to the pub name, and while both the twins' heads do get popped, after a bit of hip and shoulder replacement, the canine resemblance to the pub sign is more about having four legs than two heads. Also makes for the 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 probably has an online degree in cryptozoology.

A stretch?—Does that golden pearl in the Strawberry mermaid's hand look just a bit like golden ring?


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 Simulant replacements and human sympathizers. He basically asks them to join the beehive.

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 Andy goes all "Clobberin' Time" on the smashy smashy eggmen. The Blanks swarm the pub, providing the most beautiful big screen hooliganism ever witnessed. =)

(This is the pub where Andy Hulked out in 1990. Also the last pub that they drank at back then.)

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

When they find the Network's drones to be unbeatable and inexhaustible, the gang escapes by going to the Smokehouse. Smoke is used by beekeepers to keep bees docile while they harvest the honey (ale =).

Crazy talk stretch—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 (after Andy knocks him out) and decides to keep on with the Golden Mile, demonstrating how far gone he is, where his/the King's head is at, concussed as it may be (from beatings both self-inflicted and not).

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 here in 1990.


Stephen smashes the Beast thru the wall of this pub in an attempt to save Andy and Gary. Gary and Andy make their exits from this pub thru a hole smashed in a window.

Perhaps the pub name foretells of Andy's next encounter with the Strawberry of the Marmalade Sandwich. Specifically, with the wall of her robot tummy.

A stretch—After exiting the pub, Gary and Andy manage to evade the entire town's Blanked forces. They relatively easily punch a hole in the Network's defense, like when you run the ball in one of those old handheld electronic football (U.S. =) games from Radio Shack. A hole 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, leaving us literally to our own devices and catastrophically returning the world to the dark ages (goodbye to the likes of Ampera and Droid).

There are two cathartic revelations of a personal worlds' ends…
1. 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.
2. And below ground, when the Network offers Gary an eternally youthful existence (what he's been living/dreaming of in his head for decades), he rejects it by popping the top of his frightfully cute younger (Blank) self.

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

13. THE RISING SUN. (Not the actual image, does anyone know how any of the names/images would line up w Tarot?)

This pub name calls back to the morning of June 23, 1990, that blissful sunrise of the first day of the rest of Gary King's life. It also refers to a new day, and thusly, a new start, specifically for Gary King, freedom fighting leader of his Blank knights, who chooses to challenge the haters in just the way Andy did at one time—by ordering water in a bar full of drunken hooligans done up in war paint.

Now, *here's* a bit of crazy. What if "sun" is a pun on "son?" (See STAR TREK TOS =) The Gary we see leading his band of Blanks into the pub might be a bit spryer, a bit more baby-faced than the 40-something Gary we've watched up til then, donchathink? Remember Gary's story about Karen Edgarton (Eggerton? Edgar-ton?) back in the Old Familiar? And his toast: To children—wherever they may be! What if this is long lost Gary, Jr.? Found by his newly sober father and inspired to take up his post-Network cause, the quest for freedom and Blank equality? So, the rising son…

Yeah, just crazy talk. =)

Still, "son" does work with the rebirth angle. Gary King, Blank freedom fighter, as the son of Gary King, the monumental drunken cock-up. Y'know, from a certain point of view. =)


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

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 John Carpenter's 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. Also to CABIN IN THE WOODS.

I like to think that the events of THE WORLD'S END take place during those of CABIN, and that Newton Haven is the Facility's Avalonian outpost—designed to appease a different giant god or gods, perhaps of industry and technology. And just as the cabin site, it fails hard that night. Let's see. In this case, the Facility would want to honor a contract with a higher power that involves an exchange of human subservience and/or sacrifice for the gifts of technology, connectivity, perhaps even electricity itself. The ritual would be inherently British—the quest (as a pub crawl). The archetypal participants as well—check the surnames of Gary and the Enablers (a little more on that next). Success would have the drunken, beaten, despairing humans accept the Network's invitation, giving them continued license to bring order and advance technology on the planet. Failure would have them reject the Network's offer, leaving humanity to its own primitive devices.

Love that Gary evokes The Three Musketeers and King Arthur and his knights when rallying his band of misadventurers. You've gotta remember, with these guys (Wright and Pegg) apparent castoff remarks like these, as colorfully true to their characters as they are, will also serve another purpose in a Cornetto film, just as the pub signs and names, they're part of the map to the movie. In SHAUN Ed telegraphs exactly what will happen in the film when he attempts to rally Shaun to get over Liz with a short crawl. In HOT FUZZ, Nicholas's exchanges with his fellow Sandford officers all play out as actual action later in the film. When Gary makes a mess of literary history by bringing up the five musketeers, he ends the discussion by realizing that Dumas would've done well to start with five, cuz then he could lose two of them and still end with three! And King Arthur, well, I'm not up on my Pendragons, but let's see… A quest for a golden chalice (check out how the twelfth pint at The World's End is presented, waiting for the King)? A king who loses his lady love to his most devoted knight? Hey! A stretch and a bit of a combo, but a king who might have sired a child who attempts to replace him? And hey hey! Skip to the end and who do we see wielding an actual sword and leading his knights into battle for another chalice, right? Well, a pint, actually, and of rain.

I had this flash to a possible BRAZILlian MAZES AND MONSTERS ending/framework to the film. That somewhere along the evening, Gary's mind cracks as his reality-denying self keeps getting bombarded by reality checks from interactions with his friends and the present day Newton Haven. His memory selection fails. It would be the moment when the young Blank grabs his arm in the Gents. This is the start of the fantasy—more believable to him than the truth—that explains why no one remembers the one and only Gary King!

He is on his fourth pint by then after all.

Love that Gary's introduction to the young Blank deja TV'd me to SPACED. Y'know, the male telepathy/oregano episode—"Are you havin' a good night?"

Maybe it's a UK thing? Or maybe it's a pub/bar thing? I have little to no experience in either sector, but I just do *not* cotton to conversation and interaction with strangers in the gents. Can anyone out there provide anecdotal or authoritative evidence on such interactions as the norm?

You don't see this in SHAUN, but the surnames of the characters in FUZZ reflect something of their nature and/or role in town. The same goes for THE WORLD'S END, as the King's court is composed of a Prince, a Knight(ley), a Chamberlain (two, including Sam), and a Page. Also, in the course of their adventures, they encounter a Reverend Green and a Shepherd.

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?

Coming back to the pub names and signs…

The image of the royal post box in The First Post sign wants to have more to it. I wonder if I'm missing some native UK significance. In a broad sense, as a mailbox, it is a node in a network on a global scale, just as Newton Haven has become for the Network-assimilated Earth. And as the Earth is meant to become for the galactic Network. Hrmm… That's not bad.

I'd really like for "familiar" from the name of the second pub to take on the witchy meaning as well as the "well known" one. Hrmm… Perhaps Sam IS the familiar in the movie's story's framework? That's not bad, either. I mean, she does come in and save our hapless heroes in the end, as an archetypal trusted sidekick would? I like it, but maybe a stretch. Foo.

And I also still feel like there should be more to the significance of 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.

Maybe the hole in the robot's tummy made by Andy's fist? =)

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

Keep on keepin on~

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