We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

What do you want?
Whose side are you on?
That would be telling. We want information… information… information.
You won’t get it.
By hook or by crook, we will.

– The Prisoner (intro written by George Markstein, as far as we know)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zalndXdxriI&w=420&h=315]


15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • My earliest telly memories are of The Prisoner… well that and The Magic Roundabout (I was a Zebedee enthusiast and often said “BOING!” at random intervals) 😛 … but I am sure Prisoner primed me for a lifetime of distrusting the state and a morbid fear of giant beach balls.

  • Mary Contrary

    Timeless. Sadly.

  • JohnK

    They could save a lot of ink on the latest Snoopers’ Charter by just using this as the text of the Bill, it comes to much the same thing.

  • Bruce Hoult

    I remember sometimes being allowed to stay up late to watch The Prisoner when it first (?) screened in NZ.

    Unfortunately I don’t know when that was. I turned five during the original UK broadcasts, which is a bit too young. And we didn’t have TV in our house then anyway. I expect that, as usual at that time, it was shown in NZ a couple of years later.

  • Rob Fisher

    I first heard this on the intro to the Iron Maiden song. I don’t know if there is a pattern of late 80s / early 90s heavy metal being particularly anti-statist but that could have primed me, perhaps.

  • mojo

    So, about that referendum…

    Any sign of it? Ballots being printed, that sort of thing?

    Unsurprisingly, The Gruaniad is agin it.

  • RAB

    I was 15 when the Prisoner first aired. My dad had been a big fan of Danger man, the precursor to the Prisoner, so we settled down to watch the first episode with great anticipation. Pretty soon dad was scratching his head in bewilderment. Patrick McGoohan had decided to do something completely different, as a certain comedy team of the time was wont to say, and dad didn’t understand a word of it. All us kids got it instantly though, and counted the days till the next episode. One of the finest TV series ever made.

    I have been to Portmeirion too. Every fan should. It is magical.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Ah, memories. My friends and I used to say “Be seeing you..” with the appropriate hand gesture. It was like a Lodge greeting, or something.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Also, I wanted that car, but had to settle for an MGB.

  • An excellent series with, sadly, a very inadequate resolution – as is too often the case. I always feel cheated when a mysterious situation is not adequately justified in the ending.

    I thought they made a great mistake not deriving the “OK who’s doing it and what’s it all about” resolution from the original inspiration of the series, which was someone (I can’t recall if it was Patrick McG or one of the writers or producers) reading about an actual MI6 installation – somewhat less sinister of course – that existed towards the end of WWII. During the course of the war, SOE, MI6 and sub-agencies recruited all sorts of non-UK-nationals in the fight against Hitler, and these people often had their own politics which, for a time, aligned with HMG’s. As the war wound down, sometimes this alignment dissolved – or was feared likely to dissolve – and so Mi6 created a place to put people (not UK citizens, so not, in those good old days, so well provided with ‘rights’ against arbitrary detention, etc.) who knew too much about UK spy modus operandi or networks or whatever and whose loyalty to the organisation was now suspect. There their political doubts could be assessed, and ideally resolved, or else they were kept till their specific knowledge was out-of-date.

    With some ingenuity, this could have provided the Village with an origin. An imaginary history of how it then gradually evolved into a self-serving entity would have provided a better basis for writing a rational resolution episode rather than the grandly vague one (titled ‘fall out’ IIRC) that they provided. I’ve heard Patrick McG admit that he’d postponed the issue of how to resolve it, assuming jhe’d think of something. Up against a deadline in series 2 and with no useful suggestions from writers, he cobbled something together for the last two episodes (their supposed writer was a nom de plume of Patrick McG).

  • Eric

    Lava lamps everywhere. That’s some kind of human rights violation.

  • Eric

    their supposed writer was a nom de plume of Patrick McG

    He wrote three of the episodes, including the last two, under the name “Paddy Fitz” – from his own first name and his mother’s maiden name Fitzpatrick. He also directed under the name “Joseph Serf”.

    I can believe they had trouble figuring out how to end it. The premise is pretty limiting.

  • I’ll second RAB on Portmeirion. A truly bizarre place. And Perry I saw no giant beach balls so you should be OK.

  • As to lava lamps…


    Sometimes the crime is self-punishing.