Saturday, 17 March 2018

Human League Travelogue.

I have off late I know not why..Well, actually I do. Found myself listening to The Human Leagues Travelogue and marveling about how long ago I first fell for its cool electronic charms. My mid teen brain was fried by the sounds coming out of my old mono speakers. It all sounded so cool and alien and futuristic yet it had a very English sound to it. The vocals and the strange other worldly lyrics that issued from my carpet bound speakers that seemed to tell me twice told tales of far away places with exotic names where they spent krugerrands instead of pounds, pennies and pence. Where things could be one micron long but weigh more than Saturn. Where you could ask telly genius, and action boffin,James Burke for help.
            I used to pour over this cover. This distant field of snow with a red sky and a sun setting, with straining huskies pulling an intrepid traveler. I used to wonder if they were traveling towards something or fleeing from something. There were small photos of the original line up and band members on the rear sleeve and lyrics too. more than I was used to seeing on an album sleeve or even the inner sleeve. They struck me as young professors or scientists who had learned to make music and I could not imagine them ever appearing on Top Of The Pops. They did off course, with a different line up. And I thought they looked like a Jim Steranko  drawing had come to life. particularly Phil Oakie who looked like Lady Hydra. The cover design for the album made for one of the best home made tee shirts I have ever owned. And I do not own many tee shirts...
             I'm a gentleman, I am..

Purple Is The New Black.

             If there was one person who would play The Game Of Thrones for real it has to be Missy, the renegade Time Lord. Surely none would play with a meaner streak than Missy, with wit and glee., Little Finger would be her Nardole. Cersie beware you are about to have your title as the biggest bitch in Westeros knocked off and kicked into a ditch (her title that is, not Cersie, although this is Game Of Thrones where cruelty clings like an unwanted cardigan.) This is off course non other than the chameleon-like Joanne Alexander getting in touch with her inner Master/Mistress who was kind enough to share these striking pics of the day she laid claim to the Iron Throne. On the same day I was up to my neck ironing shirts for work. Now a lot of people might say mine is a dull life but to those who might be off that opinion I say "I like to read about adventures rather than experiencing them." Just ask that poor Unit soldier standing next to Missy, armed to the teeth and trying not to look nervous. Who can blame him there is such a high mortality rate among Unit troops. The Red Jumper of British Sci-fi. (That is Joanne's sibling Graham who has aided and abetted on more than one alien incursion.)
             The Bitch is dead. Long live The Bitch.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Doddys No More.

                                               "To me This world is a wonderful place,
                                               And I'm the luckiest human in the whole
                                                                   human race,
                                                I've got no silver and I've got no gold,
                                                  But I've got happiness in my soul."
                                                          Ken Dodd. Happiness.


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Missy Chronicles.

"Know you Frenemy." what the blurb says on the cover. "Fenemy" being one of those hideous words that has crept into uncommon parlance like Russian mile a minute vines up a gable wall.  It is one of those words that have somehow pervaded the Whoniverse and no doubt will aserve as a harbringer of societal collapse. Not the best possible beginning to a book review I accept but it is entirely in keeping with the contrary and contradictory nature of the wicked Time Lady.
          Missy has proved ,for me, to be one of the best things about Peter Capaldi's time in The Tardis. that is probably all down to Michelle Gomez's performance in the role. She stole my heart, stuck a big hook through it and used it for shark bait. Speaking of stealing, she was also the most riveting thing about the recent two part finale, when it really should have been Mister Capaldi himself. Missy's inner conflict when staring into the face of the man she was and trying not to acknowledge the yearning despair in the eyes of The Doctor. It was, to co-opt a phrase, a master class performance.
             Yet I also have not forgot I was a bit disapointed when Missy' identity was actually revealed. I had hoped she would turn out to be Romanna. One of The Doctor's oldest and dearest and dearest friends, twisted and corrupted by the events of the Time War. Such was the potency of Michelle Gomez' in the role that I came around before too long. Mad, bad and dangerous to know, she was all this and more,Witty, brilliant and at times savagely and thoughtfully cruel.
               There are six stories here, written by some of the most talented voices in the extended Doctor Who universe. We begin with a story set shortly after her regeneration and end on board that huge Mondassian colony ship sticking out of the black hole. Each writer brings something fantastic to the table, all the while retaining streaks of dark humor that are Missy' signature tune. In these stories she does perhaps get away with levels of beastliness that may have proved too much for  transmission on Saturday night telly. But not so extreme that she no longer felt like the character we were getting to know so much better just as she died all alone.
               I will admit one of the stories stood out for me but I wont say which one. it is all so subjective anyway, we may all be looking at the same thing but not feeling the same way about it. I would not like to take away from such a fine collection wrapped up in such a fine cover (A lee Binding cover design. Effortlessly lovely.)
               Now how about a Michelle Gomez audio version....

Space Precinct.As Above So Below..

Crikey..Someones been mucking about with the artificial gravity controls. Here are writer Chris Thompson and artist Connor Flanagan as seen from the interior of their Space Precinct Reloaded launch signing. We so rarely get to see what a comic page sees.
            You know, I think I finally understand what Neo meant when he said "There is no spoon."

Doctor Who and The Krikkitmen.

All these years later and Douglas Adams is still managing to rearrange the contents of the Doctor Who toy box.  in his own inimitable way, with James Goss as well, off course. No, seriously, it is 1978 all over again, so to speak. Just before Christmas last we were treated to the shapely return of Shada in as near to complete form it is ever likely to get in this universe.
             James Goss has on more than one occasion proved that he is the expert medium in channeling the the wit and charm and imagination of our lost genius Mister Adams. With his amazing adaptions of City Of Death and The Pirate Planet. Novelizations of long ago tales minus the little Target logo on their spines. Mind you, as good as most of those novelizations were, they never felt as fun and entertaining as the treats Mister Goss has laid before our Who hungry eyes. And he has only just gone and done it again. Delivering an absolute gem for anyone with wit enough to buy it for their collections.
              Back in the day I did not immediately warm to the Time Lady who was so brazen as to take the place of my beloved Leela and by the time I had she regenerated. To me Mary Tamm seemed all f Scott Fitzgerald High Society and Lalla Ward was all Lewis Carroll Winter Tide Ball. Both classy, both sophisticated, and a bit snooty for my Bohemian hero. Yet each of them proved themselves endearingly warm and witty and gracious foils to their nutty companion, following this penniless genius chum to some of the most dangerous places in space and time. The text is full of the most endearing insights into why The Doctor and Romanna do the things they do but all without taking the Who out of Doctor Who. It never makes the cardinal mistake of diminishing things by explaining them away. And I should recognise a "cardinal mistake" as I was raised a Catholic. I know what a cardinal is and I am never done making mistakes. Besides, Big Finish have allowed through their stories to blossom wonderfully in ways they never had the opportunity to do on screen, just listen to The Auntie Matter , the story which kicked off the one season of stories Mary Tamm did for Big Finish, and immediately find yourself converted to the audio medium.
              And just when you think you have reached the end of the book, all too soon, James Goss share appendex x 3 with us. The third of which rewards the reader with a window onto a path not taken. Bringing back to life an old friend for one brief but delightful chapter.
              There is a lovely scene in Shada during which The Doctor pins a medal on a brightly beaming Romanna, right on her pinafore. a reward and a recognition of her sheer Romannaness. Now I am not sure if James Goss would ever be inclined to wear a pinafore but should he ever care to I would gladly pin a medal on him. For demonstrating his sheer Gossness time and again. Giving me some lovely books to read and allowing me to spend time with some old chums I never thought to see again.
               James Goss I salute you.
               That mild pricking sensation you may be experiencing is just me pinning a medal on you. Time and circumstance may some day force you to sell that medal down Cash Converters but never forget the reason why you were given it in the first place.
                For daring do and diddling don't. So to speak.

Devil Doll.

A wicked Svengali (there are never any benign ones.) uses his mesmeric skills to trap the soul of his assistant in the body of a wooden ventriloquist doll, which he uses in his hugely successful act but which he also locks in a cage when not on stage. Tormenting the poor fellow, constantly humiliating him and telling him how useless and ugly he is. He is quite a piece of work, even as wicked Svengali go. He locks it in a cage because it is actually mobile. It goes for when late night danders and murders with bread knives. It is quite terrifying. The producers must have dressed a skinny wee kid in the body of the doll, Hugo, but it is so unnerving and supernatural to see it quietly padding about that I felt myself checking behind the sofa for a ghastly little visitor.
              I have an old ventriloquist doll in one of my upper rooms. He sits flumped atop a pile of old vinyl like a guardian on vigil for times past. He is called Charlie and he lost a hand some time in the past. Somewhere there is a tiny little hand crawling its way back to the body it was lost from..
               This is an old British horror movie made in 1964.  It is a story told in a world of adults , smokey bar rooms and concert venues. Whatever special effects that are within the movie are off a practicle kind. All done in front of the cameras with nothing added afterwards. It has at times an almost squalid quality mostly projected in the mean spirited and selfish demands of the Svengali. His imperative is whatever he wants whatever the cost to others for he has himself another doll in need of a host to drive it.
              The Devil is not in the doll. The Devil is in the wretched details.