Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Day After The Day Of The Doctor.

Gallifrey Falls No More,Elizabeth The First,John Hurt,The Zygons,Kate Stewart and Unit,David Tennant and Billie Piper,Peter Capaldi's Eyes,Matt Smith and Three Tardis',fifty years of time travelers,some familiar faces that never get old and off course the Curator himself Tom Baker...
                Holy Smoke!
                It has been a long and winding road and now we know that road goes on forever.
                Special thanks to The Prince of Coalisland Connor for the Who Celebration photo.(A Thank You for clearing up a misunderstanding involving his fiance and a Zygon...well,it could happen to anyone...).

Thursday, 21 November 2013

November 23rd 2013 To November 23rd 2063.

November the twenty third in the year of our lord twenty thirteen. The Day of the doctor. It is his universe we just live in it. Actually that is nowhere near the truth of it. The Doctor does not need to own the universe, for him it is enough to just see it. With us as his ever changing companions, we lucky few who get to see it with him. In the very coolest of company, our Hero with A Thousand Faces. There we go, taking in the unknown and unseen wonders of space and time then off we go again never ever sticking around to clear up the mess his presence generally leaves behind. Some friends may well run away when the bullies have us cornered.
              The Doctor never will.
              On the greyest days of my life I have peered through the dirty windowpane of reality at the threatening vague blur of real life and secretly longed for the familiar wheezing and groaning signature sound of The Tardis materialising OH DOCTOR TAKE ME AWAY FROM ALL THIS GREY. I wait and I wait for him to really arrive.
               The Doctor never will.
                Yet there is something so reassuringly solid and dependable in the truthful blue of that wooden space craft. The most fabulous time and space ship ever created.Bigger on the inside. Smaller on the outside. However you wish to describe it. It is the ultimate half empty glass that is always half full. A magic blue box. A box of delights. With its faulty chameleon circuit that I hope no one ever repairs.
                 The Doctor never will.
                  November the 23rd 1963 signaled the birth of my two best friends. One is my pal Fergie and the other is every bodies pal The Doctor. (One came into the world a screaming bloody mess on a cold night fifty years ago in The Mater Hospital. The other appeared almost unnoticed on television because on the same night a world away the president of America was assassinated. Guess who Fergie was named after.) One is a very real human being and the other is an almost certainly fictional character. So off course Fergie has always taken second place to my favorite alien. That is where my broken brain comes in.
                  So happy birthday to both of you in this very special 50TH Anniversary year.
                  I have been very lucky to have known the two of you. The thirteen of you. My Heroes With A Thousand faces.
                  Sorry old chum I know you will understand this and accept the tragic truth of it because I know you are not threatened by a thousand year old super genius who will outlive us both. I know that you will forgive this weakness on my part.
                  The Doctor always will.
                   On a cold and dark 23rd of November 1963 the BBC switched on a  light that has shone so brightly for half a century...
                   Mark that;Half a Century.
                   You better get ready because the next fifty years should be even better.
                    The story never ends.
                    See you back here in fifty.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Web Of Friends.

Just look at this superb illustration. A page plucked from the notebook of the famous stellar cartographer Donby Galloway, who is at present completing an update on an earlier entry on The Ood Homeworld somewhere in the vicinity of The Sensorite Sense-sphere for the newest edition of the best selling Donby's Galaxies. It is a hand drawn copy, done by Donby himself, of a fresco found on the wall of a long abandoned temple on the now uninhabited planet of Vortis. It is believed to be a visual representation of one of the original natives called a Menoptra. Donby Galloway is a researcher who's achievements within the field of space exploration and stellar cartography have never been..
              Actually it is just a lovely drawing of a Menoptra by my good friend Mark. Up until now it has only been seen by my eyes but it is so lovely I decided to share it in this week of weeks.
              And dedicate it to the memory of Bill Strutton and John Wood who between them produced for Target books the second Doctor Who novelization I ever read;Doctor Who and the Zarbi(The Web Planet). An endearingly sixties English vision of an alien world. It actually begins with Ian Chesterton putting on his old school tie, quite literally.
               A little book I still have and even after all these years still has the power to fill me with a sense of joy and wonder at the sight,touch and even smell.
               And to think some people believe time travel to be impossible.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

An Unexpected Regeneration.

All afternoon at work I had listened to a gannet like gabble of excited gossip regarding a Doctor Who Webisode the BBC had posted on-line. Social networking being what it is the chances of avoiding spoilers are not good but against all the odds I managed to get through the day and early evening without the surprises it contained being ruined(mind you; I grew up in a house without a phone and I own neither a mobile communication device of any description or a laptop,so I am practically Edwardian). All I knew was that this was a prequel to the Doctor Who Anniversary Episode The Day Of The Doctor which is to be transmitted Saturday next. So the day passed at a painfully slow snails pace as the hours ticked down to locking up. Emails came through at work asking if I had watched it. Regulars who knew me phoned the store where I work to ask breathlessly had I sat down to see it and all avoided the bane of our age; Spoilers. Thank you to all for that. I tried tactfully to explain the notion of delayed gratification, holding off a a pleasure in order to appreciate the climax all the more. And the fact that I would not be able to relax and properly enjoy it until I had completed my days duties.
            Then one of my colleagues ,Connor, announced how much he was looking forward to the close of the working day so that we could sit down together and watch this wee treat which had fallen into our collective Whovian laps. Once I had completed said duties. This joyful announcement threw me and I felt compelled to make a weird confession. You see I have never watched an episode of Doctor Who in the company of another human being since its big return in 2005. Truth be told I am easily distracted and not great company. Yet there was no way for me to just burst the bubble of his very genuine enthusiasm. So come the end of the day I had resigned myself to brave the company of another and catch up with this mysterious little short and whatever could be achieved in six minutes and forty nine seconds..
              ..which is to say a little miracle. It is that good.
             Out went the lights and on went the show.I almost fell out of my chair when I heard Paul Mc Gann's voice.NOT THE DOCTOR YOU WERE EXPECTING indeed.What followed was just sheer Whovanna. One of my favorite moments since the big return in 2005. The Doctor I had hoped for following the television movie in all his wounded glory. Young, powerful and every inch the Galifreyan Renegade. This is the character I see when I listen to his wonderful adventures on Big Finish productions. Again and again pounding on the anvil of genius and he even name checked his lovely companions(Although he did travel with Mary Shelley for a short but fantastic time and she so deserved to be remembered) before bursting in a blaze of light; heroically sacrificing himself once more on the alter of the needs of others. This ranks amongst the absolute highlights of the series for me and all the more welcome for not having seen it coming.
               The Doctor is my Hero of a Thousand Faces.
               And it turned out to be a pleasure to watch it in the company of a friend who also liked it, oohing and aahing in all the right places. The pair of us beaming and even a little teary by the end.
                Thank you my friend. It was a pleasure to share this moment with you.
                Way back in the nineties I caught my first glimpse of Paul McGann in character. I still have that picture as you can see. Just look at this haunting character study of an immensely talented young actor at the height of his powers, lost in thought, about to become lost in space and time. I still remember a feeling in the pit of my stomach. When I thought about all the new stories ahead for my dear old friend with a brand new face. They came in forms I would never have predicted; in books comics and audio adventures. A broad canvas that stretches as far as my imagination will allow, now all rounded in a sleep, the many threads and loose ends entangled in a spell cast by  some Prospero that will keep me in stitches for some time to come..
                  I never wanted to stop traveling with this incarnation of The Doctor. His time and travels with Big Finish are amongst the most ambitious and exciting moments produced by this wonderful company of artisans. They more than full filled the promise in that character study below. Wish I could credit whoever took this inspired informal but dazzling photograph. They will certainly always have my thanks.
                  With this new end it starts all over again.
                  PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The First Question?

I do not know the answer to that but I have off late gave some thought to answering another question which has surely crossed the mind of any long term fan of the television series Doctor who;Who On Earth Is Tom Baker? And like the first question perhaps it is best left unanswered. Why take the Baker out of Baker anymore than the Who out of Who. Except to the rational mind it might occur that one is a fictional character whilst the other is a Liverpudlian actor of infinite charm. Tom baker's biography Who On Earth Is Tom Baker attempts to answer that very question and what a bitter sweet series of possible answers are given to this Galifreyan riddle. It is a wonderful book. One of the most honest and rewarding autobiographys I have ever read. It is really quite unlike any other I have ever read and I suspect it will always remain so. No one else would ever be so tough on themselves. If you are so inclined treat yourself to a copy of Tom baker reading his own book. It is laugh out loud funny in places and completely heartbreaking in others. The writer so reveals himself to be utterly human after all. Not an alien at all. Mister Baker's editors must have had a few eye popping moments the first time they read through the original text. It is a joy and you will love him all the more when you get to the end and the darkly playful coda that draws a conclusion to the book.
               Found this old comic strip from back in the day. From an old Shiver and Shake annual(there is no credit for the writer or artist or I would mention them accordingly). This was from a time when you only had to pop on a floppy old hat and a long scarf and everyone in the world knew who you were pretending to be. Such was the cultural impact of Tom Baker's Doctor in the UK. An almost instant cultural icon. I had a go myself with a mix of old clothes our neighbours were kind enough to donate to the Coney kids jumble. Such was the genorosity of the times and the random nature of second hand clothes. I did not have a sonic screwdriver but I did have an old cake whisk which I liberated from a bin in Etna Drive alleyway. I never even had to mimic the sound of the sonic in action, the whisk turn key on the side did that. I never opened a door with it but I did diffuse a Silurian Viral Bomb in the grounds of the old egg factory.
                Saved the world I did.
                As an adult human being it is not something I indulge in much. I do believe I have quite lost the knack of it. Although I am still quite a dab hand with a whisk.
                Its all in the wrist action you know.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Bloody Musical.

Was feeling a little down in the dumps the other night(post Halloween blues.) so I put on Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street to cheer myself up and it worked a bloody treat. One of the great Burton/Depp collaborations, I wish more people would give it a shot. Johnny has never looked better; so haunted and heart broken( although I will always have a soft spot for his Mad Hatter. I am convinced that Top Hat of his was a Tardis which had a functioning chameleon circuit.) And although it does not exactly have a happy ending Sweeney does get his revenge on those who wronged him;in sprays of arterial blood inbetween seventies Bowie Impersonations. Helena Bonham Carter makes a great Mrs Lovett The Human Pie maker. She just about gets the best exit in a musical ever. It is eye-poppingly gruesome.
               Enthused; I dug out a few other bits and pieces related to the dark tale of Sweeney Todd. My house is a bit like Steptoe and Sons. You just never know what you are going to find. I was not even aware I was so keen on the story of The Demon Barber and its various incarnations. Amongst some other bits and pieces I found a dvd copy of the stage play, with Angela Lansbury(yep, Old Jessica Fletcher herself). To me Landsbury will forever be The truly sweet and truly doomed tragic figure Sybil Vane in the film The Picture Of Dorian Gray. I also found a version of Todds tale starring Freddie Francis in a totally bonkers Hogarthian nightmare version for a seventies horror show Mystery And Imagination. Each version dipped in blood and its own originality. Bringing something different to the table to be served with gravy.
                I even found a replica cut throat razor blade as the one used in Depp's version which I store in a drawstring red satin pouch. What gentleman does not carry one of those?
                Now all I need is someone who trusts me enough to give them a really close shave.
                And to think my favorite musical as a child was Oliver. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!There is just something about the cobble streets of Olde Englande that lends itself to musical fantasy. Maybe it is time I finished my Jack The Ripper musical The Scarlet Fandango.
                Wonder if Ryan Kwanten can sing and dance.
                 He can walk on his hands.
                 Which is pretty close.
                 OH FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Olivers Back.

Here is a doodle I did to celebrate the return of the most perfectly formed back on television; none other than Stephen Amell on Arrow!Season two has just started and will no doubt hit the spot.Let us see Ryan Kwanten As Barry Allen The Flash.Please.Or as Hal Jordan The Green Lantern.Oh yeah that would be good. Or as Ralph Dibney The Eloganted Man. Oh boy he would be all bendy and pliable and stretchy. Or as J'on J'onnz the Martian Manhunter, Seven feet tall,Green and Australian. Oh Christmas!