dc: The Doctor looking out from Laurel & Hardy film (fez)

A couple of health problems which enforced some rest gave an opportunity to watch Series 13 in fairly short order. It generally feels like an organic continuation of the Doctor as we'd seen him in Series 12. Doctor Who continues its tradition of drawing inspiration from any sources it can lay its hands on, and often to very good effect. This series, there's more than a touch of Hammer, some Forbidden Planet, a hint of Westworld, an enormous dollop of Frankenstein, and it finishes with a mélange of Quatermass, The Thing, and an Avengers episode*. It also features the last appearances of U.N.I.T. for many years (oddly, in three out of six stories, though I never remember this series like that).

It's a lot of fun. Quality seems more even, on the whole, and if nothing is quite at the peak of Genesis, Pyramids is pretty close. Only the U.N.I.T. stuff feels a little out of place, out of time perhaps, and if there's a really weak story it is The Android Invasion; it really feels like well-trodden ground. Particularly odd is the way the Doctor enters the action in Seeds - almost as though he's his predecessor, basically stuck on Earth (and it's quite an odd continuity slip that the Tardis takes them “back” to Antarctica at the end when it didn't take them there in the first place). Tom Baker is fully inhabiting the role, which is no surprise, really. because he pretty much did that from Robot. Elisabeth Sladen is very settled in as Sarah and the two play off each other beautifully. Some of the guest cast do particularly well, notably Tony Beckley as the completley unhinged Harrison Chase, Sylvia Coleridge as the eccentric but sharp artist Amelia Ducat, and the lovely Michael Sheard as Laurence Scarman, tortured by what has happened to his brother and unable to accept it. As always, effects and sets could be the weak link (no one mention the Skarasen!), but the jungle set for Planet of Evil is exceptionally good, a beautifully atmospheric set.

What I always remember about watching Who back then was that it wasn't always good, there were disappointing stories or even episodes, but there was always the expectation, each week, that the next episode would be good. This season pretty much bears that up, even the poorer episodes are entertaining, and the Doctor and Sarah work very well together. As when it was broadcast, I finished looking forward to seeing the next series; unlike then, I'm slightly sad that Series 14 will (already!) be Philip Hinchlciffe's final as producer.

*The Man-Eater of Surrey Green

dc: The Doctor looking out from Laurel & Hardy film (Dr Who)

My leisurely rewatch of Doctor Who continues. I’ve enjoyed almost all of it so far; yes, each era has its lower points, but mostly they’re not too low. I’ve come to Series 12, and it’s basically fun, even if it has the (until then) worst Cybermen the series had seen. It has the advantage of a return to something very close to the formula of the original premise, of the wanderer in time and space, something very welcome after the heavily Earth-centric Pertwee years (for all that they were very enjoyable).

In fact, I remember liking that aspect of it at the time of first broadcast, liking it very much. I also remember, odd as it seems now, being very unsure of this new Doctor. It’s easy to forget just how popular Pertwee had been, and how tightly identified with the role. This new chap, “all teeth and curls,” was very different and his first episode presented him as very… eccentric. After that, though, he settled down a bit and it’s striking how quickly and smoothly Baker slipped into the role. By his second story, he’s inhabiting the part as though no one else has ever played it.

It hadn’t really struck me before, but Series 12 feels a lot like an encapsulation of the series’ history so far. It opens with a fairly standard (well, slightly sub-standard) UNIT story that could have featured Pertwee. The next two stories, featuring  survivors of humanity in the far future facing threats, are reminscent of Hartnell’s days; the setup of the two Nerva-based stories calls to mind the “base under threat” stories Troughton faced so frequently; and, of course, there are three returning enemies, especially the Daleks. I can see now just why I enjoyed the series so much back then, despite the relatively poor opening and closing stories and some breaks in continuity. I still smile at the memory of ending the series slightly unsure about this new guy.

I’ve seen some people complain about recent Doctors when they say something rude or unkind; that made me laugh out loud at the scene where Baker’s Doctor, lying on his back in the caverns of Voga, yells at the top of his voice, “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!” (Not the only time he was dismissive of or acerbic to Sullivan.) The interplay between the Doctor and his companions is very well handled all round, especially between him and Sarah Jane (who looks so young!).

I’m looking forward to rewatching Series 13 now.

dc: Me, in a pub.  (RetroCam)
Hope everyone has been enjoying whichever midwinter festival they celebrate, even if it's just the chance to not work and slob out in front of the TV. I ended with with more in the way of presents than I expected, including something I wanted but wouldn't have bought for myself, and four Doctor Who DVDs (Colony in Space, Day of the Daleks, The Sun Makers, and The Two Doctors). That's not a bad haul. Oh, and not forgetting the M*A*S*H box set and Castle S3... It's nice to be able to slob out in front of TV without being dependent on the vagaries of the broadcasters. The special edition of Day of the Daleks is pretty well done, by the way.

Cooking dinner yesterday for mother and me went basically OK — it was the first time I'd used that oven, so its idiosyncracies were an unknown quantity. The roast was 80% perfect despite that. Mother's quite tired, but she seemed to enjoy it, and she did have a good appetite. I suspect I will be spending New Year with mother, too.
dc: The Doctor looking out from Laurel & Hardy film (fez)
It's difficult enough getting back into the rhythm of regularly updating without dropped internet connections and Dreamwidth eating a (complete!) entry. This is the third attempt at updating since Eastercon... fingers crossed.

Anyway, I went to Eastercon — Illustrious, held at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole (or some arrangement of those words) by the NEC. If you want the one-line summary, I can't beat Dave Langford's: a pleasant weekend in a painfully pricy venue.

The long version. )
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
I'm just posting this to confirm that I aten't dead, just very, very tired and struggling a bit at most things. Trying to build up some strength for a brief jaunt south at the start of June, which I am really looking forward to. I think it would help if I could get back to a normal sleep rhythm. In the meantime, I'm catching up with some things like: watching piles of DVDs, Ashes to Ashes, Doctor Who (was enjoying it until the last couple of episodes, which I found quite tedious), and getting back into a bit of reading. Still not back to normal, and still at times getting caught out by thinking "That's my father" when the phone rings. I am concerned, a little, about my mother's concentration and memory, and slightly thrown by the way she's deferring to me a lot of the time, even about stuff that I think is wholly her business and her choice. Weird.

That's it really. Nothing to see here...
dc: (Doctor)
Unexpectedly, one of the highlights of the weekend was Doctor Who )
dc: (Doctor)
Either I am a bit better, or this is the morning patch of lucidity and wellness before the symptoms of 'flu re-emerge. Waiting to see... (I had such a patch yesterday morning, which I hope was useful, I managed to do a little web site stuff which might be of help to [livejournal.com profile] cobrabay — but, then again, might not, of course.) If this is not just a momentary glimpse of well-being at the start of the day (and the fact that I did not wake up until after nine suggests it might be exactly that), there are things I need to do. We shall see.

I watched Doctor Who last night. I enjoyed it. I mean — Daleks! )

Back to reality... the impending elections. Who to vote for? (You can take it for granted that IngSoc Labour will not be getting my vote. Nor will Dave’s boys.) Not going to vote for the LibDems, not given the way they drop all their principles at the prospect of getting into the administration. SNP would be the obvious choice, but those numpties have gone and taken Souter’s cash, so that makes me very disinclined to give them my vote. That leaves the Greens, who might well have got one of my votes anyway (I am not sure of the point of them getting the first vote, though), and the two antagonistic Socialist parties. Plus, in this area, an independent, a surgeon standing in opposition to the local NHS plans to shut (most of) the Victoria and shift all acute care south of the river to the Southern. I do think that plan is not well thought-out, but I am not at all sure this guy’s alternative (a big new hospital at Cowglen) is any better. Cowglen is not the most easy of places to get to; the Victoria, on the other hand, is very accessible by bus and train. It does seem to me that it is in a pretty good location for a hospital. The other thing which gives me pause is that his election leaflet makes a point of stating that he is a Christian and his Christian values underpin everything he does. Nothing against Christians as Christians, but someone effectively saying Vote for me because I am a Christian? — hmm.

(Then there is the loony fringe, of course: the BNP, whose vile pamphlet came through the door yesterday, UKIP no doubt, the Scottish Christian Party, and the nine-percenter’s party. I wonder if Pat Lally is still alive and/or going to be standing again? I would not necessarily assume death would hold him back.)

OK. Still not sure how I am today. I think a wee walk with a friend should give me an idea how I am doing. Nothing strenuous...

[*Maybe I should stop watching Casino Royale...]
dc: (Doctor)
The throat thing seems to be easing (but it hasn't gone). Unfortunately, the sinusitis it triggered (helped by the con hotel's aircon and the smoking section smack in the middle of the lobby) isn't. Not much, anyway. The bit of irrigation with warm water I managed yesterday helped, and I can at least focus with both eyes now, but it remains not good.

Not good... Which makes me think of Doctor Who. I wish someone would buy RTD a dictionary which included the word logic. I saw some of Doctor Who Confidential, and I can't help thinking that a lot of the problem with the new series was summed up by the attitude of the bloke who referred to all the science fiction nonsense going on around the characters. I did make a quiet Eeep! when I saw Spoilery, if you care... )

Anyway, things to do today! Including getting the T-shirt ordered for [livejournal.com profile] sharikkamur (tried to do that last week, but the shop was shut when I got there; it does seem to keep irregular hours). Plus, some artwork to look at. If I can stop coughing, anyway.
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
I am coming to the conclusion that this throat is not simply the effects of much talking at Eastercon coming about ten days after an URTI; I think I caught another URTI at Chester. It is mild, but bloody annoying, grumbling away in my nasopharynx. It is a beautiful day, but I know what I need to do is stay in and rest. Bum.

So I am mentally fuzzy, and a little woozy, so not all that productive today. I did manage to get out in the past couple of days to spend time with [livejournal.com profile] banhe, [livejournal.com profile] sheonamcc and [livejournal.com profile] ambersrequiem, which helped recharge my batteries a bit. Trout on Thursday was good, but I did despoon a lot at about half nine. What a pain.

What I need to do in the next day or so is actually go through the addresses I got at Eastercon and organise them. I suppose I should really wait until I can be sure I can focus on the text...

One programme item at Contemplation, of course, was the screening of Doctor Who. It was not the pile of steaming ordure which the first episode was, so it was very well received. But I watched it again last night on BBC4 and... it really was not very good, was it?* (I actually almost feel asleep during it.) I would almost rather watch The Gunfighters again... Actually, strike that almost. *sigh*

If only that were the worst thing on television last night. A new series of Have I Got News For You started last night, and I watched that... and wished I had not, because what immediately preceded it? An election broadcast by the BNP. Where is an emoticon for jaw hitting floor when you need one?

As you might expect, the actual words they delivered were very carefully chosen so as not to frighten the horses. (They are not, unfortunately, so mentally challenged as the NF were.) But the imagery...! At one point, behind the talking head, there was a graphic of shuffling, slope-shouldered, zomboid silhouettes and the text immigrants everywhere.... OMFG! I am trying to work out if there is any chance of this bunch getting a representative into Holyrood, but my head is not clear enough. There are places like Ibrox to take into account. How many votes does it need for one of these twunts to get in on the Glasgow list?

Also WRT the elections... I was not pleased to learn from [livejournal.com profile] banhe the other afternoon (yes, I have not been keeping up with all the news, either!) that the SNP have taken Souter's money. *head in hands*

At least we have the options of Greens and a local independent here.

Gah. I am going to have to go and take some medication, I think. In the meantime, here is a wee meme I have picked up via [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage and [livejournal.com profile] sharikkamur. How this works is: you go to IMDB and pick 10 of your favourite films. Pick 3 plot keywords from each and see if people can guess what they are. Here are my ten films for you to guess (no cheating by looking them up!):

1: Messiah, Payphone, Negative Footage [2001: A Space Odyssey, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] blue_condition]
2: Ice Age, Throat Slitting, Title Spoken By Character
3: Catholic Church, Neo-Nazi, Condom
4: Rain, Paranoia, Ocean
5: Anti-Conformity, Peace, Mud [Woodstock, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] blue_condition]
6: Satire, Redhead, Military
7: No Opening Credits, Unspoken Love, Sword Fight [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] soon_lee]
8: Hitler, Nazi, Swedish Sex Bomb [The Producers, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage]
9: Air Base, Decoder, Torpedo
10: Very Little Dialogue, Character Name In Title, Firework

I have tried to pick keywords which are not the obvious for most of them, although in two of the more obscure I have taken one obvious keyword at least; one film is from this century, most are more than 20 years old. Three of the films are in languages other than English. One is in English and another language.

And now, here is exactly the same thing done for TV programmes:

A: Character Name In Title, Time Travel [Play For Today: The Flipside of Dominick
, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
B: Conspiracy, Demolished Town, Sequel
C: Sex, Student, Hospital
D: Midget, Conversion, Heathen
E: Religious Differences, Pursuit, Morality [Battlestar Galactica, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage]
F: Hit And Run, Hospital, Police [Life On Mars, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
G: Famous Opening Theme, Corridor, Ethics [Doctor Who, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
H: War Room, Scandal, Election
I: Cult Favorite, Interracial Relationship, Famous Score [Star Trek, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble]
J: Cult Favorite, Surreal, Ensemble Cast

This list contains three American programmes, all the rest are British; there are two comedy series; seven are classifiable as SF. None of them are obscure (there were obscure ones I was tempted to use, but not having more than one keyword made that difficult ;o) ).

[*All right, that was an understatement. There is a very happy goat in the corner...]
dc: (Doctor)
So. Tomorrow it is time to decamp for points south, and Eastercon. I have been having a quick look at the programme, groaning at having to be up and sentient at some ungodly hour on Sunday (11am!), but generally thinking that it looks like a damn good programme. It certainly has one of the classic features of a good Eastercon programme, namely that whenever I see an item I really want to see, it coincides with another one I really want to see (or have to be at). Contemplation is looking good, and I think Chris and Fran and their team have done an excellent job in getting an Eastercon together so quickly. I am hopeful that this will be a good one.

I hope that someone will go to The Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism at 20:00 on Friday and tell us all about it here afterwards, since having volunteered someone for another panel on at the same time I kind of feel I should be there to lend moral support. I shall avoid referring to the Eastercon Better Not Mentioned, honest. I also would have liked to hear the talk on Web 2.0, but have to be elsewhere at the same time.  Yep, this might be a good one.

I am slightly.... No, a bit more than slightly concerned about my spoons. Various things have contributed to my spoons being depleted in recent months, and also to my not getting the opportunity to adequately refresh them. I am probably at the level I would have liked to be around Sunday at the moment, which is not brilliant. I may be able to run on adrenaline (I can do bursts, of up to a week if necessary, if I don’t really stop and I am driven by necessity or having a good time, but it demands payback afterwards). Probably with caffeine. I might be able to build in enough rest time to see me through without that. We shall see; if anyone comes across me and I seem antisocial (apparently not listening or focussed, monosyllabic replies), then it is spoons that are the problem.

One of my concerns about spoons is that it might limit the amount I can do, in terms of helping out. (Because as well as being a good thing to do, it is fun.). Let's hope not.

According to the final (I am not saying a word...) Contemplation programme, it is still not certain that Doctor Who shall be shown on the Saturday. Know what? I don’t really care. I am baffled that the same time which gave us most of Eccleston’s series and something like The Girl In The Fireplace can also give us drivel (being polite, here!) like, oh, Fear Her, and the guff about Rose which inundated the last series... and Saturday’s episode. (And, to focus on a completely unimportant bit of trivial detail, could they not have found someone who could show Freema Agyeman how to use a stethoscope the right way round?)

Just wondering, too, if I was the only person who heard the continuity announcer heralding the start of the third series of Doctor Who and thought something along the lines of Mumble mumble mumble feckin’ 29th!

Life On Mars... It has just occurred to me to check what has happened to the DVD release date, since that was supposed to be next week, but that was before sodding football screwed the screening of the current. Yep, it has been pushed back to April 16th. Interesting that last night there was no end-of-episode preview of next week. A good episode... though I may have nightmares about Gene Hunt, Diana Dors and a bottle of chip oil for some time to come... hopefully sans the Tufty costume, at least.

By the way, Satellite 1 shall have a presence at Contemplation (all the Politburo, I think, unless something unexpected happens). At Eastercon you can sign up for Satellite 1 at the current rate of £15; prices rise when Contemplation is over.

Incidentally, there is a group picture of the Politburo on the web site. Interesting how stern most of us look; I was certain I was smiling, too...

While I have been writing this, a worrying tickle has set in in my throat. Oh, for fuck’s sake! That’s all I need, another URTI... Fingers crossed it comes to nothing.

Two things

Dec. 6th, 2006 10:11 pm
dc: (Doctor)
1. For those who want to see it, Doctor Who shall be shown on BBC1 at 7pm on Christmas Day. I know this because [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks posted the link to the yuletide schedules. Cheered me up no end. Not because of the programmes, which I have not really looked at, but because... Well, put it this way: would you think How many hours are there in a day? was a trick question? Go look at the schedules...

2. Pagans in Glasgow: tomorrow night is the Glasgow City Centre moot. Because of the pissing around from the previous venue (the accursed Blackfriars), we took the precaution of making this a purely social moot, and anyone from the other moots in the city is welcome to come and join us for a bit of social chit-chat before the Yule insanity gets really going.
dc: (Doctor)
Well, I can’t say surprised is a good description of how I felt about Doctor Who, since it worked out pretty much as I thought it would after I saw last week’s teaser: if the teaser featured the Cybermen so prominently, there really could be only one big surprise, and that was hinted at by the extermination effect. All the way through, I was impatient for the void ship to open and reveal the Daleks. Not a surprise, then, but bloody good fun. I was enjoying it to much to be sure I wasn’t dreaming it, but that was the Black Dalek back again, wasn’t it?

Good to have some old-fashioned Who again.

On other matters, I wasn’t too surprised with how the England-Portugal match turned out. I thought Portugal would win, but struggle a bit without some of their best players. I did think the commentators who seemed to be looking forward to penalties as England’s best option were a little insane. England win against Portugal on penalties? Not a chance.

I see Ukraine didn’t put up much of a show against Italy (I missed the match), which is a pity. And now I go to watch the match I have been eager to see for the past few days: Brasil-Italy; and I really don’t want either to lose. Both, at their best play beautiful. I think I’m edging to hoping France wins (I would like to see Zidane get another crack at a final), but I think Brazil will win.
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Exterminate All Heathens!)
The other night, I made a reference to the Battle of Santiago because I walked in, switched on TV and there were Portugal and Holland squaring up to each other, Figo sticking the head in one of the Dutch players, stuff like that.

Well, I just walked in again, having had a long, hot bath (one of only two things which reliably relieves the muscle pain), just in time to see the BBC show some footage of that Chile-Italy match. In fact, they showed more footage than I had previously seen. Sanchez’s slug — as Coleman said, a perfect hook — which felled one of the Italian players, that I had seen. I had never seen the sequel, a few minutes later, when the victim took his revenge and was sent off. As bad as the blood was at times on Saturday, it was nothing to the events in Santiago in 1962, when at one point police (or the army, it was difficult to tell) went on to the pitch, and when ultimately the match was abandoned. As the referee headed for his changing room, the players were still trying to knock lumps off each other.

Anyway, while simmering in the bath, I was thinking about Saturday’s Who. (It is less stressful than thinking about my parents, who are driving me up the wall. Neither of them seem to pay adequate attention to their health, and will they listen...?) It was so bad; I am still a little taken aback that such a pathetic episode got made. (Well, made now; in the mid-Eighties, it would very likely have seemed at worst average.) Also, I am a little worried at the commissioning of an episode like this and what it might mean for the future of the series.

The big problem was that the unfolding of the story was handled so simplistically, with no suspense whatever. Kids are going missing... little girl is drawing them... the drawings are moving... so the kids are trapped in the drawings — and all of that was before the titles! Doctor & Rose turn up, find out kids are missing, see the little girl... Oooh, it must be something to do with her. The Doctor says the mother is frightened, which was just as well, since the actress wasn’t going to tip us off about that. Oh, bugger this, it isn’t worth going on.

I am not entirely sure that I would not rather watch “The Gunfighters” — or even, maybe, “Mark of the Rani.” I would sooner see “Fear Her” than “Time and the Rani” or “The Happiness Patrol,” but if you have to resort to comparisons with unmitigatedly dire offerings like those, there is not a lot to be said in favour of an episode. Damn it, some of The Tomorrow People was better than this!

Ah, well, it is only a TV show. ;o)
dc: (Doctor)
There was excitement, tension, action, and joy at excellent performances. What a pity I am not talking about Doctor Who. What a load of shite! (And I feel I am being kind, at that.)

On the other hand, the Argentina-Mexico match was much better than I had expected, because Mexico went out there and did their best to win rather than try to hold tight against Argentina. Their tactics meant that Argentina could not properly get into their preferred rhythm for a while, but as the game went on in was clear which side was the superior. In extra time, Argentina got the winning goal, and it was another beautiful example of stunning expertise delivered with little time for thought.

(Meanwhile, I have not seen much of the Portugal-Holland match, but on the basis of the couple of minutes I have seen, they seem to be trying to work themselves up into a re-enactment of the infamous Battle of Santiago.)

But Who... What were they on when they commissioned that story? It was not so much that it was derivative, much of Who could be described like that, some of the best of it too; it was that it was really not well done, not at any level. If you want a story of psychological tension, you need to take some time to build it up, not simply present a situation and have the Doctor say that the mother is scared. If you want to have an evil child, you need to have an actress who can actually make you believe that she is (possessed by) evil, and the one last night simply could not. (The less said about the silly deep voice, the better.) If you are going to use a fairly unoriginal idea like people being trapped in drawings, you need to do something interesting, or at least fun with it.

Still, the trailer for next week looked interesting... )

Ah! Antici.....pation!

New Who

Apr. 5th, 2006 12:04 pm
dc: (Doctor)
I have been keeping calm about The Imminence of Who. Just over a week to go. Enjoying seeing “The Green Death” again, though. Allowing for the ropey effects (which was as much a reflection of the available technology as the budget), it stands up pretty well. I keep seeing little touches that remind me of Tennant, not just in the Doctor but also in Prof. Jones (who is very like the Doctor). Also fun seeing something from 1973 where ecology is a central concern: Prof. Jones’s little community gets its power partly from windmills, and the problems the Doctor and UNIT face are directly the result of pollution. One point which seems a little strange now: Jones is working on a food replacement for meat, to feed the world, so he is developing a fungus-based meat substitute. Quorn, anybody?

Next week, another classic story, Genesis of the Daleks, is released on DVD. It was excellent as a story, a true classic, but I always have mixed feelings about it since it did mark the real beginning of the decline of the Daleks’ portrayal. Until “Dalek”, of course.

But I saw a trailer last night. Ooooh...

Not calm now.

Full of anticip......
dc: (Doctor)
The Hugo Awards nominations have been announced. Here are the nominations in three of the categories:

Best Novel

Learning the World – Ken MacLeod
A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin
Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
Accelerando – Charles Stross
Spin – Robert Charles Wilson

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Batman Begins
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Battlestar Galactica: “Pegasus”
Doctor Who: “Dalek”
Doctor Who: “The Empty Child” & “The Doctor Dances”
Doctor Who: “Father’s Day”
Jack-Jack Attack
Lucas Back in Anger
Prix Victor Hugo Awards Ceremony (Opening Speech and Framing Sequences).

Some thoughts... )
dc: (Doctor)

We have no water. Sinuses are pulsing again. I’ve done some necessary work, but now I’m just waiting for the hammering from next door (where I think they are repairing the damage done by the fuckwits who formerly lived there) to die down enough for me to watch “The Daleks” — yes, I got “The Beginning” box set yesterday. (Actually, it’s cheaper from Play).

[Just went to see what the postman had stuck through the door — our Hugo nomination forms have arrived — and discovered the water supply is back, although I think the mains pressure is down a bit.]

So, to pass some time, I thought I would do this “I’ve got this, you haven’t” meme that’s going around; I pinched it from [livejournal.com profile] progmeister. I’ve put in links to the editions I have, where possible; there might be newer/cheaper ones available of some of these. Here goes:

Name a CD you own that you think no-one else on your friends list does:
Tricky. It seems to me the most likely option would be one of these three:

Probably the least likely one someone would have would be the Nils Petter Molvaer disc, with the Havergal Brian a close second.

Name a book you own that you think no-one else on your friends list does:
At first I thought of Dee Goong an by Robert H. van Gulik (well, translated by him), or possibly Coffin, Scarcely Used by Colin Watson. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to someone who had even heard of that, despite its having been adapted for TV in the 70s, with Anton Rodgers as Inspector Purbright and Christopher Timothy as Sgt. Love — pace the IMDB, which doesn’t include Coffin in the episode listing for Murder Most English: A Flaxborough Chronicle. I’m staggered that Watson’s books are out of print. If you have never stumbled on them, they are detective novels, but unusual ones, full of sharp humour, all set in or around Flaxborough, which one character describes as: “A high-spirited town. Like Gomorrah.”

However, this one is a book that no more than one or two people who might conceivably read my LJ let alone be on my friends list will have: Mongolian Shamanism by Purev Otgony & Purvee Gurbadaryn (ISBN 99929-0-239-6 — which will be no help at all in trying to find it!).

Name a movie you own on DVD/VHS/whatever that you think no-one else on your friends list does:
I was going to say Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (silent films are generally a good bet for something like this) — but then I actually thought about who was on my friends list, and it isn’t out of the question that, say, [livejournal.com profile] highstone, who also has an interest in German cinema of the 20s, might have it. Not many people I know have even seen The 13th Warrior, but given the subject matter, it’s entirely possible that someone on my friends list might have it. I’d say Into The Night, which hardly anyone seems to have heard of despite its being a John Landis film starring Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer, with David Bowie as a hit man and B.B. King on the soundtrack, and despite its well-publicised cinema release in the mid-80s; but I feel that might be cheating, as it’s only available on Region 1. [Actually, I have just discovered that isn’t true any more, it was sneaked out on R2 at some point. So maybe I would go for it, after all.]

For a random group of people, I’d be on safe ground with some of my SF stuff, but someone on my friends list might well have Solaris, Stalker, Destination Moon, Neverwhere, and so on. Perhaps... OK, one of these three: the disc with both Les Visiteurs and Les Visiteurs 2 on it (if you saw the American version of Les Visiteurs, Just Visiting, and thought it was not very good, the original is vastly superior), Le Dîner de Cons, or 101 Reykjavík. I’d say, on balance, the latter.

Name a place that you have visited that you think no-one else on your friends list has been:
The Kuwaiti desert.

Name a piece of technology or any sort of tool you own that you think no-one else on your friends list has:
On the shelf behind me I have an auroscope and an ophthalmoscope. Not sure if they still work. I would not be too surprised if someone did have one of those.

So... they have stopped hammering next door, but now a pneumatic drill is thumping away outside. Grrr.

Time to find the headphones and head for Skaro.

dc: (Doctor)
Doing some random browsing the other day, I stumbled across a site which has every Radio Times Doctor Who cover — plus the David Tennant Casanova cover with the interestingly placed words “Doctor Who”, something I did actually notice at the time, because it got me thinking how good it would be if Tennant had got the part, not Eccleston. This was before the series was broadcast; Eccleston’s stunning performance won me over immediately. I thought it was just wishful thinking then, and now I wonder if this was a cunning hint of what was to come.

These covers take me back. The first three are from Hartnell’s time, the second three from Troughton’s. The final one of these I thought was a photo from “Fury From The Deep”, but that RT cover was a month or two before that story was broadcast — the story being broadcast at the time was “Enemy Of The World”. I still think the photo was from “Fury”, though, it would have been at least partially finished by then. (“Enemy” was not quite as good as “Fury” — but, then, not much was.)

The bad news about those first six covers — all of which (“Marco Polo”, “The Dalek Invasion Of Earth”, “The Web Planet”, “Power Of The Daleks”, “Tomb Of The Cybermen” and “Fury From The Deep”) were excellent (there are those who say “Marco Polo” was the best Doctor Who ever) — is that three of those stories no longer exist (there are one or two clips from “Power Of The Daleks” and “Fury From The Deep”, but nothing at all from “Marco Polo”); the good news is that the other three are all available on BBC DVD. The stories have been superbly restored, too — it is like watching the original video transmission (except that we would never have had such a good picture on the televisions of the time).

What is striking about these covers is that there were none at all during Tom Baker’s time as the Doctor. I had forgotten that, and in retrospect it is surprising that such a popular Doctor (both then and now), some of whose stories were among the best in the programme’s history, should not have had one cover during his tenure.

It’s not so long since I would have been looking at these covers — well, the ones from before the 1980s, anyway — and thinking how good Doctor Who once was, and what a pity it had gone down the drain... Now I’m thinking how lucky we are to have it back, as good as it ever was, but made with 21st Century production values (it has a budget!), and actually promoted as its flagship programme by the BBC. I keep remembering the Hartnell and Troughton days when I watch the Eccleston series — which I have been doing, as I got the box set at Yule — it really does have the flavour of the original series, and that sense that anything can happen.

Waiting, now, with bated breath for the return of Tennant’s Doctor in a couple of months and the release of the Hartnell DVD set at the end of this month.

dc: Me, in a pub.  (Glasgow police box)
It’s difficult to tell from the subtle hint on the BBC Doctor Who page, but I think the series just might have been sold to America.

(You really need a sound card for this one... If you’re at work, wait till you get home to check it out.)

January 2016

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