Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Mid Winter Mid Summer Nights Dream.

If you find yourself struggling or indifferent to an enchanted frame of mind and possibly wish to open an envelope mailed from the land of Faerie then you could do worse than to give this old BBC adaption of the Shakespeare play a view. Or a couple. Or a thrice. Sometimes it takes a while for these things to percolate past our reserves of modernity to the forgotten pagan inside. The one who believes in magic and all the possible others. it is such a strikingly beautiful adaption that looks and sounds ethereal. one to light a fire in the heart of ones imagination, the seat of dreams. I found a copy that some one had donated to an Oxfam book store near me and it has charmed me no end. I have been glamoured by Shakespeare.
           This version has the most amazing cast. Almost every part played by a familiar old face that are so good at what they do they make it seem so natural and easy.  There is Helen Merren as a beautiful but equally other worldly and imperious Titania. See Phil Daniels as a punk street urchin Puck who seems filled with a boundless energy yet also slyly natural. And what a joy to see Brian Glover as Bottom. That Dead-pan delivery in the dourest of northern tones whose transformation generates a magical smile despite the fact you know its a coming. The whole production has an wonderful dark wintery night production feel to it. As though it ticks every box that made the BBC a creative force to be reckoned with the world over. It is a joy and it is a keeper.
             "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Whats On Your Mind, Worzel?

Was browsing through an old Worzel Gummidge annual (from 1981 published by Grandreams.) and I came across this rather poignant photograph of himself having a right old rumination in his turnipy old head. Found it strangely moving. Could not help but wonder what could be going through the mind of the brilliant and magical Jon Pertwee. Something tells me it was probably something other than " A nice cup of tea and a slice of cake..."

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

What Rodger Knows.

Say hello to another genius creation by Ken Reid. Rodger The Dodger. Another comic book creation who's name entered the shared cultural zeitgeist of generations of readers of British comics as a description for someone who would never do anything they could get someone to do for them instead. Playful and ingenious and wise as an old owl who likes to trick and deceive people. He has been sitting gathering dust in my old home for years now but Roger was never a fellow to let dust settle. Not when he could quite easily and craftily trick someone into dusting on his behalf.
             Oh that Rodger. He was incorrigible.

Radio Times Bitter Sweet Festive Treat.

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Its a cliche I know. Just imagine Dean Martin is saying it and you could almost believe it. What a cover. Peter Capaldi really shows us the soul of The Doctor when he looks directly at us. I am going to miss him so much. When David Tennant emotionally breathed " I don't want to go" I remember thinking " I don't want you to go either but you decided to go..". it was a haunting and truthful performance and I always believed the weight and implications of his decision to go really hit him in that moment. I could be wrong. David Tennant is such a great actor he could make me believe anything. But not since the glory days of Tom Baker has an actor in the role said so much when saying so little as the lovely Peter Capaldi.
            Twice Upon A Time airs on Christmas Day.
            How is it possible to look forward so much to something you know is going wring a tear? Its possible ,I suppose, thanks to the man who put the Who back into Doctor Who.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


Comic of the week of the week for me was this amazing new release of the Faceache collection by the truly genius Ken Reid. Faceache was a boy, named Ricky Rubberneck (Faceache is almost an improvement,)who could contort, twist and scrunge his face into all manner of shapes and sizes. Actually that barely does credit to the sheer elasticity of contortion his strange ability lent him. Although to begin with it was mostly his face he would contort he quite quickly advanced into total body alchemy and could evolve in a heart beat into the weirdest of beings or creatures and the brilliant Ken Reid had the unrestrained imagination and pencil to deliver such extraordinary flights of fancy. Faceache was and remains very funny and inventive and wholly original. He was so loved and enjoyed by people of all ages that the name of the strip became a by word for impossibly grungy faces and down beat scowling expressions. As with so many great British comic strips there are huge amounts of class based humorous situations that resonate across the years in the tradition of many television comedians such as Les Dawson or Spike Milligan. There is a superb Northern bleakness hovering over proceeding like the smoke of some Dark Satanic Mill.
           Ken Reid was also responsible for other great comic book favourites of mine; Rodger the dodger and Jonah. What a great thing it would be to see similar collections using these these two great and much missed heroes of yester-year. I suppose it will depend on the success of this volume but hopefully it will happen. This world needs its funny characters more than ever.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Return Of An Old Favourite.

Well, The Curator did say The Doctor might revisit a few old faces and By Jove he seems he was right. At least for one small scene they have recorded for the imminent release of Shada on dvd. I am not sure of the context or how this Doctor fits into the story, beyond a knowing wink and that marvelous smile that speaks volumes across the ages
            Never thought I would see that old face in that old console room.
            I don't know about you but its done me a power of good.

Carrionite Curse.

The Doctor finds himself in what by anyone's standards is the very epitome of the quaint Olde Englishe Towne which finds itself beset by a plague of witches. It has a fantastic Hammer Horror quality to it and this incarnation of The Doctor is one which is so well matched to this particular set of fiends. The Carrionites, who appeared in the outstanding historical the Shakespeare Code, have so much potential story wise, as with a clever twist they come bearing all the trappings of a medieval nightmare with grotesque appetites and abilities. There was a fantastic Hammer Horror movie in the sixties called The Witches. about a very troubled teacher played by Joan Fontaine who takes up a position in a charming and apparently safe old English school. Only she discovers that when she scratches beneath the surface there be witches. Its all maypoles and tea with The vicar right up to the moment they start burning witches. This great Big finish story has that quality, not unlike an EF Benson story.Great stuff.
             Double, double toil and trouble,
             Fire burn and cauldron Bubble...