Sunday, 29 November 2015
Saturday, 28 November 2015
The book jacket designs are beautifully old school and the authors influences are literally worn on the sleeve of the volumes. They are old influences to be sure but the storytelling and dialogue are thoroughly modern.
There are many dark areas of this world which remain unexplored and perhaps we are all the better for this. The many antiquarian explorers in the pages of MR James stories who dig too deep who go too far. Jonathan Aycliffe seems determined to follow in their footsteps.
I for one will be cautiously watching where he goes.
Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind me.
Sunday, 22 November 2015
She faced the Raven last night and it extinguished her life. Blew it out in a black smoky cloud. What a dark moment. The darkest since the show returned in 2005. All the adventures this young woman shared with The Doctor. All the wonderful things they saw and did together and it ended on the rain slick cobbles of a dark street in London that exists slightly outside the world we know. Much like the fictional world The Doctor belongs to. I have never seen The Doctor so helpless so impotent in the face of an unrelenting gruesome fate. Some spark seemed to go out of him as his friends end drew near and I could not help but say "MY DOCTOR WOULD NEVER ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN."
And then I realised I said it to an empty room.
Saturday, 21 November 2015
The Doctor becomes a human being using a device that is pure magic science. A Prospero charm that allows him to alter his entire DNA as well as rewriting his memories from an ancient cosmic being to that of a little Scottish school teacher raised by a stern minister father in Aberdeen. He becomes that which is most alien to him; a one hearted ordinary man. In the television version Daved Tenant dazzled as both The Doctor and John Smith, playing both differently if both wearing the same face. In Paul Cornell's words Sylevester Mc Coy excels delivering two career best performances, if you follow my line of thought. In Paul Cornell's hands and under the direction of his story telling Sylvester delivers two very strong characterizations though both of a different nature retain the same face in the theatre of the minds eye. To the point where I believe this very talented writer could pursue a career in the FPI as a profiler such are the almost poetic observations with which he conjures up the ticks and winks that form a person. The lovely Benny is the companion here herself going through the traumatic aftermath of the loss of a loved one.It is Benny who originally bore the responsibility of care that Martha Jones inherited for the television adaption. Benny is a wonderful character in her own right with a history across different mediums that stretches back longer than most incarnations of The Doctor. This is another book in The Doctor Who History Collection and I had almost forgotten they are all reprints. Remembrances of a time when The Doctor was kept alive by virtue of the Virgin novels and the ever faithful ever excellent Doctor Who Monthly. In his forward to this novel Paul Cornell mentions how his proceeding book was the subject of scathing reviews and yet for the life of me I caqnnot remember which one it may have been. He is such a good writer it is hard to imagine any of his work being pooh-Pooed! Mind you some of the Doctor Who fans have exacting standards, impossibly Galifreyan standards.
This is no rose tinted vision of a vanished England. This is a hard tale of innocence progressing towards manhood and to some degree the same process moving in a backwards direction. It mirrors the contrariness of human nature and almost succeeds in dazzling us with its reflected visions of a bygone age. It is about cowardice and bravery and it is about war and peace.
Mostly though it is about human nature.
Mind you seeing the film Poltergeist at a formative age would also have a similar quality.
The main character mentions this at one point and utters a truth that almost puts a rope about her neck. Really just doing the work of cruel eyes which already have her in their sights.
Atmospheric and even educational to a degree (If you are considering ways of dispatching someone using the god given greens of the earth.) Beloved Poison is a gripping read which makes you care for the great unwashed in a surprising way.
Just finished a great book by Mark Gatiss called The Roundheads and I have long been a fan of his work in the many fields he works in and I always look forward to whatever it is he is up to. I especially loved his time with The League Of Gentlemen and the MR James biography he did for BBC Two. I wonder if he has ever been troubled by sleepless nights,I certainly think with this story he might inspire a few.
It is about time Reece Shearsmith appeared in Doctor Who. I remember watching him in A Field In England and thinking I was watching the next Doctor. He never has to raise his voice to unnerve and his comedic timing is excellent. There is just something Timelordy about him.
Nice to hear the Doctor quote a bit of Shakespeare without name dropping past association.
There is a touch of Prospero about Peter Capaldi.
I suppose it is because The Tardis is like a magic island in space.
Saturday, 14 November 2015
This is the third of the historical adventures I have read in this particular collection of Doctor Who books. These are three fabulous faces staring out from the spines of these books on my bookshelf. An always welcome sight. The first two I read had their dark moments but this one pushed things a bit further. Perhaps it was because in relative terms this book takes place in a period relatively familiar to the here and now that the events as they occur seem easier to identify with. Or perhaps it is my own working class upbringing in a working class area.
The fog of history parts to reveal a...fog.
A new musical form is born in this story. A Barber Shop Quartet and Rap Mix.
Unquestionably masculine harmonies and narcissistic self aggrandizing poems about how important the person expressing themselves are and how pointless every one else is.
The spirit of the age done in a retro-stylee.
Sunday, 8 November 2015
It is a very powerful piece of work and Wilfred Owen most have been something of a very special man. He died a week before the end of the war. The Great War as it was known then and now. Although history had a rather nasty lesson still to teach us regarding such a premature baptismal naming.There are now no survivors of that terrible war who may tell us in their own words what we very badly need to hear. The inexorable march of time has reduced their number to zero.
It is surely not hubris to try to speak for them or on their behalf or even to repeat the written form as laid down by those who lived it. The rights and wrongs of any conflict have so much power on their own it is hard at times to distinguish the loss. Perhaps that is what lay behind that powerful speech by The Doctor last night during the Zygon Inversion. His powerful denouncement of the refusal to seek compromise and the ignorance of the weight of responsibility that come with the decision to inflict suffering for its own sake.There is no cause more self defeating. War as a statement of what we are capable off, the hideous slouching terror shambling towards Jerusalem, the endless search for peace, the inversion of the best of us.Was it a coincidence this episode and the themes it invoked aired the night before today; Remembrance Sunday? Actually I do believe it was but in my confused little world I forget the whole world does not watch my favourite television show and a moment that makes me rise to my feet barely ripples on the shared cultural zeitgeist. Chances are though if you are reading this you might spend spend some time there yourself.
Just wanted to say hello.
(Do you think that this will become recognised as the moment in many people's minds that Peter Capaldi truly became The Doctor. I have read him say in interviews that at times he looks in the mirror and he does not see The Doctor looking back. Maybe the mirrors he has been using are broken..)
Saturday, 7 November 2015
Hello Josephine Day.
That raspy breathy way of speaking is just the perfect delivery for otherworldly threats. They must constantly have to modulate the way they rasp. There are after all only so many Fisherman's friends one can suck. Oh-er! I had hoped The Loch Ness Monster was going to put in an appearance. I have never forgot the sight of The Skarassen chasing The Doctor across the heather blanketed moor following the signal device in his pocket. I suppose with another episode of Zygon naughtiness to go. It is not too late to repeat that exciting adventure. Complex political analogies aside you cannot beat our hero being chased across a lonely Scottish moor by a fabled monster to up the thrill factor. Those orange skinned impersonators live on the lactic fluid of their specially engineered and swamp reared beasts. They milk them like giant prehistoric cows. It may sound disgusting but its no worse than a town centre full of stunned shoppers quaffing down slurpies composed of no matter found in nature. The milk of human blandness.
Lauren Beauke's The Shining Girls touched me on just such a level. Not just be engaging with the craft of storytelling which is totally in tune with the times you are living through. (Sensibility-wise not enduring a series of connected murders mind you.) The novel skips through decades down a bloody chronology locking the reader into the narrative in an uncomfortable fashion that by virtue of witnessing we feel almost complicit. It is a terrifying level of empathy created by a very talented writer. The time traveling killer in this book is a beast loose in amok time. One of the vilest creations I have ever found in print. Just as the young heroine is a luminous joy of a brave heart. I almost hesitate to use the word but as I put down my copy of The Shining Girls on the monday morning following the Saturday night I picked it up one word came to mind...
Sunday, 1 November 2015
This is the truth of us. The Doctor is just visiting.