Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Buffy/Angel book collection post

Given my continuing collection of the S8 comics and the reissued volumes of the original comics, AND the lovely Chrissie getting me the shiny 2007 edition of Stafford's classic Bite Me!, well I thought I had better update my link post to my list of Buffy books...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Musing about Paddy McAloon

Coming at it via a hymnal post from Darren over at Iveresk Street Blog regarding Prefab Sprout and songwriter Paddy McAloon, I stumbled over SproutNet.

Prefab Sprout were one of the bands that Cloud and I bonded over early in our relationship. Cloud's brother once condemned them as 'wallpaper' but we vehemently decried that statement as we exchanged lyrics in our letters.

With a neat discography and lyrics section, plus lots more, it's lovely place to go to remind yourself of why the Sprouts remain wonderful.

Nu-Who guest stars

I'm playing a brief catch up here so next up are my thoughts on guest stars in Nu-Who.

If Bernard Cribbins counts as a guest star, then hell yeah he gets the nod. Three times over for being great.

Otherwise, Derek Jacobi, Lesley Sharpe, Jessica Hynes.

But does that really cover it?

There have been some lovely guest turns in the series: I loved River Song enough to want to see her re-appear in a story with her older (next) Doctor; Ann Reid was delicious as Mrs Finnegan; Simon Callow is perfectly camp as Dickens. I'd even praise Mark Gattis's turn as Professor Lazarus (though not the grotty CGI monster).

Again, too much to choose from...

Best (Three) Nu-Who episodes

Damn. I've spent all week chewing on this and I STILL can't do it.

Here's some thoughts on what works for me, my moods and my overall response.

For the love of downbeat:
Turn Left - bleak, and even bleaker in the light of what comes afterwards for Donna. And Bad Wolf.

For the tears:
Journey's End - oh come on, whatever faults it has - and I know there are many - the horror of what happens to Donna and Wilf's final scenes are just pure tear-fests
Father's Day - because damn it may be cheesy but it works
Doomsday - yes, I know some of you will think it's a contradiction to praise both JE and D in the same breath, but regardless of HandDoctor and the beach revisitation I still well up at the ending of Rose and the Doctor (even though the balance of the episode overall is skewed)

For the fan-girl in me:
Utopia - I refer you to the Squeeing...
School Reunion - Sarah Jane!!!
Time-Crash - grinning pretty much throughout

For the needing of daylight to watch them:
Blink - freaky blooming Moff.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances - freaky blooming Moff!
Midnight - don't you dare repeat my words

For the punching the air:
The Christmas Invasion - come on, when the Doctor comes out of the TARDIS, it was a great moment.
Tooth and Claw - for the Doctor putting on his glasses
The Family of Blood - "you really shouldn't have let me press all those buttons"

For the story-telling:
The Unquiet Dead - a gloriously put together spooky narrative
The Girl in the Fireplace - for with and tears and scares and love
Dalek - the best of the Nu-Who dalek tales

So what do I do now? I'm tempted to try and be even-handed. But I don't think it can work with just three to choose.

  • Human Nature/Family of Blood - because it makes me tingle beautifully

  • The Girl in the Fireplace - because you can't always get what you want (but the pay-off of the final shot just rounds this story so well)

  • Turn Left - because Donna just plays a blinder and although the Doctor is only in it briefly his playing of the scene when Donna edges towards saying who she saw is breathtaking.

Not original choices I grant you, but there you go.

Honourable mentions for: The Christmas Invasion, Utopia/Sound of Drums, Blink... oh and everything from Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead up until the white heaven saved ending... and... and... and...

Oh crap. I could come up with justification for almost any episode (fill in your own most unfavourite here no doubt).

I went to a wedding...

...over in Birmingham. The lovely Celeste and Andy got hitched in great style (and with mucho shimmying and shaking). It was simultaneously both a very conventional occasion - church, a big collection of guests (about 100), a fabulous frock,a slightly dodgy DJ whgo couldn't manage volume control - and quite unconventional - the bride snogged the groom a little pre-emptively, shimmied on the spot several times whilst at the front of the church, the bride and chief bridesmaid spoke along with more traditional speaking roles, and there was considerable amused gesturing of 'the power of rawk' sign. All in all a very good day was had by everyone who attended. The sun shone and the collective masses of American Studies in the east Midlands all safely survived (it would have been a virtual wipe-out otherwise with so many current and former department visitors there!)

Here's a couple of shots of me - me wearing stripes was a compulsory request from the bride:

And here is one of me and Cloud:

Friday, July 25, 2008


Ooh, Norm, I really should check this BookMooch thing out shouldn't I?

Ballboy at the Bodega Social, Nottingham Wednesday 23 July 2008

With a small but appreciative audience, this was a cosier affair encounter with Ballboy than our previous visits (where they packed out the larger Rescue Rooms venue). Their last album release had been a slight disappointment compared to the heights they had previously surmounted, but as George rightly notes they are truly back on form.

Supported by local geezer and girl gang The Jamjars (whose 'highlight' was their final song - "Jammy Bastards!"), on such a hot night it was hard to muster much enthusiasm before the main act arrived on stage. But Gordon was in cheery mood and the long time away wasn't reflected in the live performance. Gordon quickly got into a banter about their circuitous journey into the centre of Nottingham - their relief at hitting Brian Clough Way (which actually runs near our house!) to let them know they truly were coming into the right city [cue praise unbounded for the great man from Gordon and an anecdote about Cloughy 'randomly' kicking Steve Bruce on the ankle whilst Bruce was taking a piss in a urinal: "what's that for?!" said Bruce; "for all them times you did the same to my Nigel"].

Poor Rachel who sells their merchandise was definitely the target for torment that night - "well done if you've already bought your stuff, be nice to Rachel 'cos she usually gets completely pissed by the end of the gig - I'd definitely check your change!". She giggles cheerfully from the back [and yes, we had already picked up our in advance CD of the new album - I worked on the ships.

Throughout the gig there was a regular shout of "Play the Sash!" which Gordon dealt with in good grace and humour ["you're persistent, I'll give you that!", finally succumbing and getting grateful handshakes at the end of the song from the two guys who had beleaguered him through the set. It could have been nasty: as it was, the band were in good enough cheer to cope and it made the night charming.

Set list
Absent Friends
Songs for Kylie
I've got pictures of you in your underwear...
Something is going to happen soon
Godzilla Vs The Island of Manhattan with you and I somewhere inbetween
Swim for Health
I don't have time to stand here with you fighting about the size of my dick
Avant garde music
A relatively famous victory
The Sash My Father Wore
Leave the earth behind you and take a walk into the sunshine...
Donald in the Bushes with a bag of Glue

Catch them if you can, and definitely get the album.

Cross posted to Music is our Hot, Hot Sex.

Mercury thoughts

Anna tasked has recently updated us on her busy life and mentioned the Mercury nominations.


Adele - 19
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
Burial - Untrue
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
Estelle - Shine
Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
Neon Neon - Stainless Style
Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement

Okay, let me honest here. I only actually have one of these albums (thank you George by the way!). However, I do know of enough of the artists to be able at least to mutter general thoughts.

Adele - well, urm... no, sorry. Not really doing it for me.
British Sea Power - Stifles slight yawn.
Burial - Better. I have several bits by Burial and they're never less than interesting.
Elbow - I know Swiss Toni is a bit of a rave for these guys, and I passed up the 'chance' to see them at Summer Sundae in the past. I've always felt a bit underwhelmed by them, but have to acknowledge that the regular airings of their performance at Glastonbury of "One Day Like This" has made me reconsider.
Estelle - Saw her live supporting the majesterial (if sometimes overblown) Philly band The Roots. She was okay, but I wouldn't rave.
Laura Marling - The standout of this gang in that I know and love this album. Gorgeous, glorious voice and beautiful album. Buy it and love it. She's also way cute.
Neon Neon - Like what I hear and it does feature Boom Bip and Mr Super Furry so, ya know, good.
Portico Quartet - Passed me by, though by what I have read more recently they may be worth a listen.
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - Heard a lot about her and really should have caught her live by now. May get chance to rectify this at Summer Sundae this year.
Radiohead - Not really played it much. Okay, but not a highlight of their career.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Wasn't this out for ever ago? Okay enough but perhaps not the classic it has been promo-ed to be.
The Last Shadow Puppets - Alex Turner may not be (as The Guardian tried to proclaim) one of the greatest ever songwriters, but he does have a good turn of phrase and this is a fine side-project.

That's my thoughts!

If Mark Riley has anything to say about it, I think he'd like Elbow to get it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I thought of EineKleineRob last night as I listened to Ruth Padel talk about violas

Brilliant. Coming home from seeing Ballboy last night (of which more later!) we had Radio 3 on in the car -- yes, we are the sort of people who go see pop music and come home to random classical, world, jazz and conversation radio.

We caught a wonderful piece by Ruth Padel talking about her experience of the viola. And I couldn't help but think of lovely EineKleineRob.

Hope he caught it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things I may/should blog about -- and mostly wanted to already!

Yikes: you go off-radar for a short while and the world moves on a-pace! In case people think I have forgotten to respond, apologies.

  • An album per year: hat-tip to Phil for reminding me of this music meme

  • The best Nu-Who episodes (scroll to meme) - choose just THREE: holy heck, that's tight. Ah well, MediumRob knows that such strictures are good for forcing us to choose

  • The best guest actors in Nu-Who - again, choose just THREE: ouch, how recurring can a character be before they're not a 'guest' anymore? This originates at ToobWorld, but I found it on MediumRob.

And much more catching up. This may be difficult if I go out tomorrow to a gig as planned (if I can stay upright). Need more hours in days. More sleep. And more fun.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Krazy week! The good, the VERY good and the less good

Hi folks, remember me? I used to blog here (still do really but sorry for the absence).

Had a GREAT start to the week visiting my lovely friend Chrissie - nattering till my voice got lower, slumber party chatting, watching This Year's Love and the S4 DW finale and lots of nice food. Brilliant! Then it was back to work after two days off.


Oh well, not long till I get some time away.

Then yesterday I had a very interesting day at the OU for a mini-conference on practice based writing where I got to meet some very interesting people and had a nice drive down there with a colleague.

I'll try and get back into blogging soon: sorry for the invisibility here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paddy Considine - Q&A event at Nottingham Broadway cinema Friday 11 July 2008

Cloud does have a tendency to come up with some diamond last minute events. Out of the blue he gets in touch Friday and offers up the prospect of an event at the local independent art house cinema: Nottingham Broadway.

A Q&A with Paddy Considine and a screening of Dead Man's Shoes (bloody fantastic British film directed by Shane Meadows first seen by us in the company of lovely George up in Aberdeen).


We had a nice tea at the Broadway's own cafe and then piled upstairs to the Screen 1. Amazingly, it wasn't sold out (something which Paddy himself addressed when first welcoming us: "They told me it was sold out: fucking liars! There's loads of empty seats!")*

We had a screening of Dog Altogether Paddy's BAFTA award winning directorial short-film debut**: a very dark but rather compelling narrative starring the wonderful Peter Mullan and Olivia Coleman. We then had a clip-show of several of Paddy's best known films (which unfortunately had to be restarted after the first attempt was woefully out of sound synchronisation). Then it was the main event. James Mottram interviewing Paddy Considine about film making and his life so far.

Considine is wonderfully articulate and witty - swears profusely - and comes over as someone who couldn't lie convincingly if his life depended on it. He's not best known for doing a lot of interviews and I think the audience appreciated that we were getting a rare chance to hear him talk so candidly. He talked about Dog Altogether and its drawing on Considine's own violent father's experiences. He talked about doing mainstream films (specifically Cinderella Man - with Russell Crowe - and The Bourne Ultimatum) and didn't diss the entire experience. Indeed, he was really charming about Cinderella Man for its lovely entertainment value ("even though I'm only in it five minutes") not least for the thrill he got whilst doing boxing practice before takes and getting tips from Mohammad Ali's trainer... And Considine was also excitable talking about getting his (brief) role in the Bourne film ("it's Paul Greengrass! It's a Bourne film! You get a really explosive scene! We're going to pay you 20p!").

When the event was thrown open to the floor, one girl sat by the wall on the front row at the far side of the cinema was eagerly in with the first question: "Where did the title 'Dog Altogether' come from?" Turns out it was a phrase from his dad to describe when things are altogether fucked up (his uncle in a willful turn of phrase would himself say such things were 'cat'). There was another question from someone questioning and asking for advice from a creative perspective [there were a lot of these which got a tad self-absorbed really]. And then...

Well, you know me. I hate a silence. I put my hand up. Cue approaching guy with mike for me (stop laughing at the back - I know I could have managed without it but these were mostly people who didn't know me: they don't need to know I can't be heard in outer-space...***)

There was a bit of a fuddle waiting for the mike to get down the row to me, in which time Paddy 'complained' about them keeping 'a young lady waiting'. Neil later joked Considine may need glasses. Charming, dear boy. [And to think I'm taking him to see Catherine Tate on stage...]

Anyway, once the mike arrived I asked him about whether he had taken the chance to talk to Peter Mullan much about his experience of directorial debuts. Now this was my way of tapping into a bit of cross-referencing. Mullan's first feature film was Orphans: see, it all comes together... All good. There were more questions - pretty much all of them having some 'I'm a writer', 'I'm a photographer' (Considine studied photography), 'I'm a writer' variety - before they asked for a final question. Two hands went up almost simultaneously. And one of them was the girl who had had the first question. Mottram was keen to give another voice a chance but Paddy let her go and she dashed up to the stage and got him to sign her ticket for him ("What's yer name luv?" "Natalie") before running back to her mates clearly pleased as punch at the action. A final question after all that delight - and Considine was just brilliant in cheering her on - was always going to be an anti-climax, especially when it turned into another 'I'm a...' question.

Having said that, the heartfelt response that he offered on how to deal with using personal experience as the basis of writing ("if you're a writer, you write; you just have to put it out there and believe in it") was full of determination. The crowd were elated to vigorously applaud the end of the event.

At which point, as we all stood to stretch our legs - and then exit to allow them to take down the filming lights and mikes etc - I spotted a familiar face: a former PhD colleague who it turned out had heard and recognised my voice in the Q&A bit! It was lovely to see her however briefly.

When we headed back for the film screening, Paddy made a brief reappearance - again thanking us sincerely for for turning out and the reception we had given. He also have a tip about seeing him in Nottingham and Derby: "I don't mind you coming up and saying hi or anything, but can you not quote bits from this film at me when I'm with ma kids!" (He went on to quote a couple of choice moves and lines which would freak anyone out, let alone a couple of kids!)

The film of course was brilliant and it was awesome to see it on a big screen. Considine turns in a terrific performance. My favourite bit is when, confronted by hard man Sonny - played by Gary Stretch, Considine is asked "You're not afraid of me are you?" and Considine's laugh in response sums up his own character's position. He SO does not give a fuck. It is chilling and despairing. It's basically a revenge western but set in the East Midlands. Make of that what you will. But though not for the faint-hearted, it is an incredible performance in an amazing British film.

A great night!

* Though it wasn't sold out, given it was out of term time for the unis there weren't that many empty seats in the end...

** The event was co-hosted by BAFTA and EM Media (which runs out of the Broadway Media Centre and is also involved in Shane Meadows' films)

*** Doctor, no need for you to be lonely in the TARDIS sweetie, especially if you're off to meet David Morrissey. I will happily take on the task of keeping you company...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Behind the Sofa's annual 20 questions

The Behind the Sofa gang may not be to everyone's taste but whether you loved or loathed the finale of S4 NuWho you will probably find a well expressed opinion there to echo your own. Be warned that despite yourself you will probably chuckle at things but that's partly why I love it.

Now, get you over there and answer their 20 questions on the fourth season of NuWho and enjoy reading the list of responses.

I think we can safely say Bernard Cribbins gets the hands down easiest won award of the lot with best guest star.

Maureen Carter: Book Reviews for Baby Love, Hard Time and Bad Press

As mentioned in this year's Lowdham summary, we once again met up with the Creme de la Crime bookstand - and once more with Maureen Carter.

Last year, Cloud and I had ventured to purchase Carter's first two Bev Morriss novels: Working Girls and Dead Old. Both were smart and entertaining, well structured and convincing in their portrayals of Birmingham life and times and of human nature. She has a wicked ear for detail in vocal expression and interior dialogue, most especially - but not exclusively - for her lead character, Morriss.

I had hoped then to get to the two other Carter books of Morriss stories soon after Lowdham 07 - but circumstances, yadda, yadda. Therefore I was excited to get back to be able to pick up more of her work this year - and delighted to find preview copies of Carter's new Morriss novel. With my self-imposed online absence it was a great way to distract myself!

Baby Love
There's a dark streak running through Carter's novels: dark locations, dark violence, dark humour. Yet they are always handled with such deftness that you never feel you are watching something quite as voyeuristically nasty as Wire in the Blood [which, on a different note, I actually think is far better than it is often criticised as being]. Characters frequently have carefully constructed back histories that come through piece by piece. Carter doesn't shy from making people 'nasty pieces of work' but she does fine line sketches for even the most potentially unsympathetic figures. It's hard not to feel deep empathy for the situations in which the three generations of Maxine, Natalie and Zoe Beck find themselves - and what may become of them next (not just as the narrative progresses but at its end as well).

The Morriss we started off with in Working Girls - all mouth and human insight, both quick and painfully slow to act on and deal with emotional issues - changes in subtle degrees as the novels progress. Dimensions that make sense in the context of the narratives, as well as being coherant and logical to the character themselves, are added as we go through each book. By the end of Dead Old, Morriss's swift ability to put her foot into her mouth has become physical ('boot in head' if you like): and although this made perfect sense with the events of Dead Old, the consequences for both Morriss and those around her bleed through to its follow-up Baby Love.

What is interesting for the novels as a series is how Carter manages to create such vibrant characters regardless of how much we are meant to like them. Powell, who in the first two novels is pretty much uniformly an ass - misogynistic and full of self-importance (though nevertheless sadly believable for all that) - doesn't lose these characteristics as the novels develop. But creepingly we become more aware of his life outside and what drives him. There is a nice moment at the end of Baby Love where Powell takes hold of Morriss and - for the first time in the three novels to date does not use a dismissive epithet or insult along with her surname but simply calls her Bev [it's not a romantic moment either - Carter doesn't do anything as simplistic as turning former antagonists into lovers]. As a minor criticism, personally, I would have preferred the remark to just be left as written, without the need to comment on this being a shift, with simply a context description of the setting to finish the chapter - but that's me and maybe says more about leaving some things for the reader/viewer to recall and contextualise or ponder on.* Nevertheless, recommended reading as are they all.

Hard Time
If Baby Love saw Bev Morriss distanced from her mother and especially her grandmother, Hard Time sees her increasingly distant from someone who had grown physically close to her in the first two novels - and instead the admiration/love that many readers recognised from the start of the series comes to the fore in its place. For me, this worked well as a move. It was also good to see the 'Guv' come increasingly to the fore in the overall crime narrative, and either I just haven't read enough crime fiction or Carter is great at throwing curveballs into the stories because whilst she will often dangle the carrot of one 'solved' element to the reader from around the mid-point of the novel to smart readers, she invariably manages to withold a crucial realisation until the denouement. Everyone has/or has had a hard time in this novel: no one comes out well. Politically, personally - the characters are suffering and then suffering some more.

Bad Press
One character whom I haven't made much of before is Frankie - best friend to Bev. Her importance is key as the friend who puts up with it all, dishes it out and will still carry you home and hold the hair out your mouth when you throw up. She pushes when Bev needs it, engineers when she needs it, takes not crap and will still manage to cook a beautiful meal. Bev isn't so much of a great friend, but she knows enough to recognise she has a good one in Frankie. Bev is more vulnerable than ever throughout this novel - and the ending makes for an interesting working and personal set of prospects in any next book. But despite this additional vulnerability, Bev keeps digging herself into holes; tellingly though by now they are ones that often involve protecting others rather than opening her mouth to change feet. Again, there's longer histories at stake in the crime narrative than just what seems to be at the surface and Carter brings them to vivid enactment.

A TV series anyone? or at least one-off dramas?

So that's my lot: you've now been fully briefed in pretty unspoilered terms about all the Carter/Morriss novels to date. Buy them, borrow them from your library, but above all read them. They're great little page-turners and Morriss and co are a wonderfully vivid set of characters.

Asides: I also had a little smile when I reached page 197 where there is an exchange about "cravings" and the line "Does David Tennant count?" is raised. The conversation concludes with "Great family. Good mates. What more does a girl want?" - to which the wry reply is "Doctor Who?"... I chuckled so much when I was reading this in the run up to Saturday's episode!

* It rather reminds me of the scene in Crash (the Best Picture Oscar winner that pissed so many people off) where we are gratuitously flashed a scene of the bullets being replaced by blanks. I understand why it was there to make things clearer about the significance and meaning of the scene but the emotional resonance - for me - was somewhat undercut by the explicitness of the sequence.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Just reviewed some comments here and...

... was delighted to find that I had eventually found the perfect way to rid myself of Duffman. After being inflicted by his witterings for far too long I was delighted that his presence had left my end of the blogosphere. He may have popped back but apparently all I had to do to get rid of him was to rabbit on about Dr Who!

Rather makes me feel all those bile-driven declarations to "Fuck off" were a bit of a waste of time: the answer was far more simple! Result!

Journey's End --- RTD begins his stage left exit and the mobs form their hanging parties: A S4 Doctor Finale Review


Having been in self-imposed exile for over a week, I had missed the reviews of "The Stolen Earth" and all the intervening speculation. Now I'm out of my cage and I'm doing just fine... well, I'm gonna try and do a review that puts my take(s) on these two recent episodes - and most especially the finale "Journey's End" in words.

Warning: neither review will be for the faint-hearted and you may want to read just the one that chimes most with your take on what we got out of this S4 finale. Just saying.

Rational review
Written with head and history and expectation in mind, this review will comment on what did happen and what could/should have happened.

Wouldn't it just have been the most brilliant bit of stage-managed lies and deceit and switch-er-ooing to have given us an actual regeneration? A new doctor when all the news and interviews and leaked Xmas photos from the last few months had been to confirm continuity for the specials? I hadn't expected the dalek shot at the Doctor at the end of "The Stolen Earth" so although my gut screamed "No!" it would have been just incredible to have pulled such a manoeuvre on the audience. Of course, in this wild and leaky cauldron world of speculation via every medium - there was a reason it was murder on my psyche last week - we probably all knew at heart they (RTD actually) wouldn't do it. For shame. I wasn't ready for a new Doctor, but a new Doctor really would have shaken things up. Did resolving it in less than 10 seconds piss people off? Mightily and verily it was so. Mind, then again how many times did seeming death cliff-hangers get resolved in 10 secs of a new episode in classic days? Pretty much weekly. Everything changes yet nothing changes...

The HandDoctor
WHAT?! WHAT?! He's angry and post-Time War genocidal but he'll make a good substitute for Rose because although he's pre-Rose angry he's also full of the memories and feelings that the Doctor - the real Doctor? - has/had for her? How does that work out? On which topic...

Going back to the beach
Owh. If dealing with the Daleks with quite some time to go before the end of the episode wasn't pissing off enough geeks, then taking the emotional heartbreak of Bad Wolf Bay and giving Rose HandDoctor has also seemingly managed to piss off a lot of the Rose/Doctor fans. Gotta hand it to RTD: he's an equal opportunities 'piss people off' guy.

Build up a character from at best ambivalent reaction to possibly one of the best companions ever - and certainly brilliant within these 4 series. Then take it all away from her. Worse, deny her a glorious death holding on to all that she had gained and become. Criminal and heart-breaking. This series needs death.

Everything else
All those characters! Many of them given so little to do! Who's looking after the Tyler baby? Is Pete a househusband? What was Mickey's reasoning again for deciding which world to be in? Was it really worth giving K-9 5 seconds of airtime? What the hell is up with RTD writing Martha? If there are 6 EasterHouse keys and they only needed 3 to make it work, how come no one else was brought in to get it going once Martha was zapped onto the Crucible?

And breathe.

Irrational review
Written from the heart, this review will be full of squee and excitement about what did happen and how much it played with expectations and fears.

I'm shallow. The dalek shot last week was SO unexpected for me, and the subsequent regeneration ending was so traumatic for me (and Em) that although I know and understand that the Doctor regenerates - hell, I've seen several in my time when they were broadcast let alone since on the DVDs -I have to say this. I wasn't ready. I just wasn't yet ready. I thought I would be; that I should be. But in truth I wasn't ready to let go of that pretty face, the expressive eyes, that verve. [As an aside I was just talking to Helen Lisette who confessed that her first thought at the end of last weeks episode was EXACTLY mine. "I thought I would be, that I was ready. And I was shocked with myself at how much I really really wasn't ready to let go."] I would have happily written "The Doctor is dead: Long Live the Doctor" and meant it with all sincerity because that is what Doctor Who is all about - change. But was I ready? Nope. I was the child, I was Em: she wept uncontrollably at the thought of the Doctor changing --- her Doctor --- and inside I was too. For narrative-sake it would have made more sense. Yet, I think I had actually partially convinced myself that despite all evidence to the contrary there really WAS going to be a new Doctor and I had been hoodwinked and had my heart broken. So was I relieved and cheered to see the Doctor regenerate as himself? Yeah. Even though the less than 10 secs it took to resolve that cliffhanger couldn't help but rile me. *sigh* My speculative thoughts were, I think, a better resolution... (1)

The HandDoctor
Wasn't expecting that!!! Nor the sight of a bare-chested - hell, NAKED - Doctor in the TARDIS! Oh my. And being wizz-banging and angry and making the blue suit understandable (and probably now gone unless the TARDIS wardrobe room has a spare): very entertaining!

Going back to the beach
She got her Doctor - sortof. She got the words, whispered (though I wonder what else he could have said instead?). And she got her kiss. Job done for those who want resolution. Happiness of a sort, and I can understand that compromise from all parties completely.

Build up a character from at best ambivalent reaction to possibly one of the best companions ever - and certainly brilliant within these 4 series. Then take it all away from her. Worse, deny her a glorious death holding on to all that she had gained and become. Criminal and heart-breaking. Would I have been happier with a death? For narrative sake, probably. Was condemning her to not knowing, and her family knowing, much worse? Probably. Yes, almost certainly. That was truly cruel. I am so torn about how to respond to what they did to Donna - the series has always had elements of emotional horror and cruelty and it seems odd to feel that death would have been less cruel. It also seems odd to try and think of death as fairer or better - but I think it may just have been more satisfying, albeit far FAR less cruel.

Everything else
Crossover gone mad! Mickey and Jackie back! With big guns! Mickey being heroic! Martha being sweet! German daleks! Jack's response to the two doctors and DoctorDonna! Family echoes for Gwen! Sarah Jane facing off Davros (did I not mention how brilliant Davros was?)! Squee with added squee!

And breathe.

Look, I am wise enough to understand that plenty of you hated it. And I get that, I do. But although I can write the 'rational review', at heart I don't believe in it. I feel that responses will probably be thus: amongst standard viewers probably 50:50 satisfied/unsatisfied; amongst fans probably overwhelmingly unhappy; amongst under 12s probably overwhelmingly happy. And last night watching and today talking - at last! - I loved it. I was thrilled and excited and giggling and I just did not care.

So I'm going with the last of these groups. Criticise all you want. I know you will. But my heart is back in its rightful place and I can begin to find stability again.

(1) Last week Cloud said he would regenerate as himself. I speculated that with the 1 second shift within the Medusa Cascade that would be crucial to the Doctor being able to regenerate as himself. It wasn't but I'm convinced that long-term that 1 second shift may prove central to a plot development (and hell we know who that will involve).

I've gotten into some very lengthy speculations and comments in the comments box when I perhaps should have done a separate post or two...!

And breathe.....

Well, it's 2am and I've just finished watching the finale!

"What finale?" you ask...?

Well, where the hell have you lot been all week?

Down the same off-line hole as me?!

So, I survived the hen night. I was compelled to wear a pink sash declaring the group of us. I at first rebelled, quite vehemently, till with pursed lips and a clear indication this was under extreme sufferance, I allowed them to put it over me. It could have been worse: some parties were decked out in Hawaiian skirt outfits (note: I suspect these were plastic and extremely flammable. I tried to steer well away from the ones smoking fags outside...) The comedy club experience was (only marginally) redeemed by a less funny turn by James Dowdswell who Cloud and I had seen at summer sundae two years ago (he was funnier there, not having to play to the beered up posses of stag and hen groups). Otherwise it was - in the words of the bride to be herself - "quite the most offensive minutes I have had to sit through ever". Well, yes. Unfunny, excruciatingly crass, swearing for its own sake, misogynistic, racist... like the 1980s revolution in comedy had never bloody happened.

Still, I did dance to Tainted Love at the post-'comedy' disco. And then on 12 midnight ran for a taxi home. It was nice to be out with everyone - and it was lovely to be amongst people who all love our friend so much -- but it wasn't what I would ever want. Why do people do things because it's 'what you do'?


Still here?

Then if you want to be spoilered about the latest finale you will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm not even gonna try to write a review yet. Suffice to say, talk about having your cake and eating it! Jack's remark - and if you watched you will know which one - caused me to laugh loud and hard at the fanfics it will no doubt spur.

*sigh* there was sadness, and it was very RTD in its typical OTT way, but it was much better than I could have hoped for and well worth running from the ball to come and see.

Oh yeah, and I did have to stick my fingers in my ears at least twice during the hen night - there had been some video/sky+ recordings set for both attendees and offspring. I hope that they were happy with what they got. Apparently, the lovely Em cheered loud enough with brother Chuck to "wake the dead" (or at least echo across the country!) - so I'm glad someone was happy!

As for me, I'm satisfied. It's been a hellish week on the back of this. I'll be with you all over the next few days catching up!


Friday, July 04, 2008

This week I have been mostly...

--- avoiding any mention of Doctor Who anywhere. This has proved hard going and has not been easy on anyone I know. My psyche has been battered this week - apologies to all on the sharp end.

--- reading Creme de la Crime novels: I've belted through all three outstanding Maureen Carter books and will be reviewing those in due course. I've also galloped through another of this fine publishers' texts 'If it Bleeds' and am working my way through their Australia-set 'A Certain Malice'. May do reviews on those if I get chance.

--- dealing with workstuff: it's what is known as our 'quiet-time' since most of the undergraduates are back home or working through the summer. Hmm. That only really works if you don't still have lots to do! Regular checks on our record system also keep reminding me I have the largest caseload of students and I'm still stuck in stats land trying to wrangle Access and SPSS data into a report that doesn't go on for 20 pages. Brevity was never one of my strong points. The phrase "skip to the end" comes to mind!

--- trying to deal with the prospect of social interaction. I'm not the most capable attendee of parties and social events at the best of time: in the run up to this Doctor Who finale I'm fucking lousy and working hard at gearing myself up to be what I want to be (cheery, supportive and having a good time). If someone brings out an L-plate I suggest I may not be responsible for my actions. I may have to focus on the dancing that will happen after 11pm and pray that I get at least one tune that I feel able to dance to without having to send my credibility a long-distance postcard.

--- planning for more building work. Birds got in our roof space so we need to sort that out and it would be sensible to have (at least part of) the roof space then boarded so we can use it for storage. We also need chimbleys sorting out so whilst we have this in place, some pointing would be good. Old houses eh: doncha luv em?!

Anyway, on the upside not long to go now. This time tomorrow most of you will already know what has happened in the world of DW; I will have around 3-4 more hours to wait... See you on the other side!