Deep Space Nine: s06 e10 – The Magnificent Ferengi

The man’s a star

Lads, it’s Quark.

Only it’s not just Quark, it’s Rom and Nog, and Moogie, and ex-Liquidator Brunt, and two semi-new ones in Leck and Gaila, with one previous appearance behind them each. In short, it’s Ferengi after Ferengi after Ferengi, as far as the eye can see, and you know what that means to me. I do try to approach each new episode with an open mind, but this one has been shut so long, the hinges have rusted in place.

Basically, the Dominion capture Moogie and Grand Nagus Zek wants Quark to get her back. It was going to be Zek himself but Wallace Shawn wasn’t available. In compensation for that, we do have Iggy Pop playing the part of the Vorta Yelgrun, and stealing the show with his crooked grin and the unavoidable aura of dementia underlining the character’s physical stillness. He was brilliant, the test of it was crap.

It’s difficult to watch a ‘comedy’ episode when you don’t find the characters funny at all. Basically, Quark assembles a team of Ferengi to rescue Moogie. They’re useless at the rough stuff, so instead Quark negotiates a prisoner-trade for the Vorta Keevan (see s06 e02), to take place on Empok Nor, the lop-sided DS9 look-alike station (the name of which is curiously never mentioned in the episode).

They do a deal over the handover, which is jeopardised when Rom accidentally reveals that Quark is cheating everybody else, claiming Zek’s reward to be twenty bars of latinum when it’s really fifty. In the resulting uproar, Gaila tries to shoot Quark but kills Keevan. However, Nog manages to Frankenstein him long enough for the trade to take place, the two Jem’Hadar guards to be killed and Yelgrun taken prisoner.

And for Quark and Rom to feel good about themselves, since it is now obligatory for any episode in which Quark appears in any degree of substance for him to behave in a more un-Ferengi-like manner, to show he has depths. I won’t comment further.

No, sorry to anyone who loved this, or loves Quark, for me it was just a waste of bloody time, amplified by such things as padding out the exposition by having Quark and Rom crawling along ducts, or engaging in endless running down corridors on Empok Nor, presumably to keep the episode from running short. This was the worst episode since the last Quark-centric one and it’ll be the worst episode until the next Quark-centric one, and can I go now, please?

The Infinite Jukebox: Iggy Pop and Deborah Harry’s ‘Well, Did You Evah?’

Sometimes, as they grow older, rockers choose to opt for respectability. They cut back on the guitars and call up the strings, they mute their holler into something approximating a croon, and they record albums of ‘standards’. Rod Stewart, I am looking at you, or I would be if you weren’t conspicuously taller than me, and don’t live in Stockport either.

However you want to describe it, it’s a hell of a betrayal. After making the music of their life, after being as aggressive, raucous and exciting as their times have driven them to be, they want suddenly to sing the songs their parents enjoyed, they want to ‘prove’ that they can sing, really ‘sing’, the way they were never supposed to when they did the things of their life.

If you click on the video below, for its first minute it will take you back to old Hollywood. It will show you crowds gathering for the premiere of High Society, a musical starring such old style singers as Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Two musical giants, two absolutely mammoth singers, and one actress who… well, let’s say she was blonde and fit.

And there’s footage of Cole Porter, the composer, one of the giants of the great era of American musical songwriting.

And there’s a clip from the film, of Sinatra and Crosby trading lines in a relaxed, gentle, easy-going performance of Porter’s ‘Well, Did You Evah!’ (actually, an existing song, adapted for the film and thrown in at the last minute when someone realised that they would otherwise have to go without a duet).

Which is all very well until along come Iggy and Debbie, aging rockers in 1990 (when they were 43 and 45 respectively), and the remainder of the video is this poor, unsuspecting, innocent song, a song of an earlier era, being bloodily beaten to death with disdainfully ironic vocals from a pair who cannot conceal their contempt for a song that lacks any connection to any world real to you or me.

It’s silly, acidic, pounding, aggressive, full of asides and sneers and laughter. If my mother had lived to hear it, she would have covered her ears and begged me to switch it off. If my father had lived to hear it, he would have bellowed at me to switch it off even before Ms Harry sings the opening line. Yet it’s a glorious, irreverent, explosive version of the song, and a minor work of genius that deserves to be played every hour, on the hour, as a reminder that some people take themselves far too bloody seriously. Mr Stewart, I am once again looking (upwards) at you.

Start the weekend here!