Saturday, 29 April 2017

He Is The Law In These Here Parts.

                 The pen might well be truly mightier than the sword but it is nothing next to a Lawgiver.

Puppy Dog Eyes.

Captain America comes to the rescue of cavaliers In Need (CIN) on the streets of Belfast. It is a great shot and a reminder why everybody looks up and trusts Captain America. He will always do the right thing. Red Skulls and Cosmic Cubes notwithstanding....

Dylan Thomas The Followers.

Look what my chum Mark Mc Keown the Antrim Animator found in one of his book finding expeditions in darkest Belfast. Its a spooky wee tale, well told and beautifully illustrated by artist Meg Stevens. It is a totally immersive experience thanks to the successful marriage of words and imagery. Its a wet windy winter night when two lost boys take a dander into night.They are following a stranger which is really what every reader does I suppose when they sit down to read the words of another.


This new book by Paul Cornell has one great soundtrack. It is not often I get to say that about a book. Yet it really does, it is one of the components which really helps this book beyond your average read about a supernatural revenge scenario set in your average eighties hellhole of a school.Paul Cornell has written some of the very best original fiction about Doctor Who it has been my pleasure to read.
Especially the adaption of his novel Love And War from the McCoy era of the show.A full on high church adaption by Big Finish that just about delivers on every level and which is one of the best Doctor Who stories in any medium.which technically I listened to that rather than read it, it being an audio drama but I did get to read it shortly after it was published in another century.Er, that is not as long ago as it sounds.
              I was under the impression, for some reason I cannot remember now, that I was about to read a fantasy novel that would have something in common or at the very least be atmospherically similar to the stories I remember from my own school age, particularly television series like Children Of The Stones, The Changes or one of Alan Garners mystical tales. it turned out, however, more James Herbert than Herbert g Wells. It has between its covers some terrifying scenarios that quite easily could have played out in some urban nightmare of a school disco, feral places that they were. school bullies really can be the stuff of nightmares, engendering memories that can haunt and last a lifetime.
I say this as someone who was dangled out a school window above a killer drop supported only by an untrustworthy grip on my skinny wee ankles. The only thing stopping me from a fast track to Valhalla, or Elysium or some other fictional waiting room before eternity.
              The school disco and the music referenced is just right on the money for the period ( a bit odd to remember any days of ones life as a "period." Remembrance of days past and all that.) i could not help but wonder if the young Paul Cornell kept lists of the British charts. Actually this book left me wondering about a whole lot of things.
                It is not a story for the fainthearted.
                Very few realistic school stories are.


The Hound Of Love.

Look what skilled movie antiquarian Maurice Pinky turned up. A double it was too. Can you have too much of a good thing. My Hero as Holmes. One of the first things he did after Doctor Who. Wish he had picked a story with more actual Holmes in it. Still, I have fond memories of this version and wish all involved had got to do more. I am not sure given the chance Mr Baker would have done more. He is so unpredictable it would have been like trying to catch Gallifreyan lightning in a bottle.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Ten Minutes That Can Last A Lifetime.

Had the pleasure of meeting the writer Jonathan Fisher this week. He had read my piece on his book Ten Minutes On Mars and was kind enough about my boobie-babble which I thought was generous of him.Listening to me can feel like ten minutes being buffeted and torn apart by the planetary forces running rampant in the giant storm raging on Jupiter.
                  Or something like that.

Douglas Wilmer's Holmes.

Was gifted this complete collection of Douglas Wilmer's turn as The Great Detective. It was one I had never seen as much as an episode of before and this was really worth the wait. I men really worth it. I am more familiar with the second series when the legendary Peter Cushing took over the main lead even though not all the episodes he recorded still exist.Even from disc one when one of my favourite Holmes stories is given a most lavish treatment with stunning location filming in stark black and white I knew this was a real treat. It also has a damn fine turn by Patrick Troughton in one of his many one-off character roles as well so it was gravy all round. Not every episode of these lovingly recreated Doyle adaptions have survived but an attempt has been made to finish a couple with linking narration by Wilmer himself.
               Mister Wilmer's Holmes is a most endearing Holmes.Even though he is quick to smile in a way that Conan Doyle would never have intended. I treat different actor's interpretations of Holmes in the same way I approach different versions of the Doctor in that every version is one of a character I admire and trust to the integrity of the performer. I was reminded of the warmth and wisdom displayed by Christopher Plumber as Sherlock Holmes. in the seventies classic movie Murder By Decree. Again, it was not a performance that portrays Holmes as a human calculator and some die-hard Holmes fans have been known to get a bit sniffy but in the context of the various productions they work.
                The game is afoot and what a pleasure it is to follow in his footsteps from foggy old Baker street to the wind swept Cornish coast.All in glorious black and white. Crime never looked better.

Delusions Of Morality.

Empire magazine have released this stunning subscribers only edition to celebrate all things alien. In space no one can see you go green. With envy...

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Radio Timely.

                                  Off course there is nothing which says you know Who is back
                                                            better than a Radio Times cover.
                                                                 And its about time too.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Masque Of Improbabilty.

(From my sketchbook.) The Doctor and Romana find themselves at a masked ball in Venice. K9 is out rumbling around the cobbled streets of the old quarter. Its like Dont Look Now only squeakier.

The Eternal Battle.

They were aiming for the Lake District, to visit a pencil museum,and you have to hear The Doctor articulate his interest in the history of the pencil, but they overshoot somewhat and find themselves, The Doctor, Romana and K9, on a muddy War World where Sontarans and humans find themselves engaged in an endless war,or Eternal battle as stated. boy, I really mangled this opening sentence, its all over the place but imagine me saying it at speed and it will fall into place.
             Dan Starkey , Strax the Sontaran butler, does the vocal duties for Field Marshall Lenk and Sargent Major Stem. Which is acutally quite a plausible thing given that the Sontarans are a clone race which would suggest that they all pretty much look and sound the same. As always the Sontarans spend quite a lot , if not all, of their time trying to kill their enemies as horribly and violently as they can or else they are looking forward to dying as horribly or as violently as they can. This preoccupation of theirs could get old very quickly(actually the average lifespan for a Sontaran is six years, not awfully long.They are the fruit flies of clone races.Although I would strongly suggest never saying this directly to one of them.They are gong to try killing you anyway but why bother encouraging them to get inventive.) and it could sound wearisome if the action and dialogue were not delivered with an eye, and an ear, for spirited aplomb. Their monotone verbal predictability makes me believe that Strax would have travelled well with Tom's Doctor. But then I would say that. I used to play a little game upon discovering interesting new characters measuring their suitability as travelling companions for Tom's Doctor. The game was called; "They would have travelled well with Tom's Doctor."
               Mind you, I have never heard anyone I know say this out loud so I suppose it never made it beyond the waiting room next to my cerebal cortex.
                It is the second story into Season six of this run and it is a completely different turn from#6.1. This is one of my favourite aspects of following the Doctor on his travels. You can turn up almost anywhere and any time.
                Lalla Ward's incarnation of Romana has been afforded such a rich and strong new lease of life in her time with Big Finish across its ranges. The classy aristocrat  Romana sounds so lofty next to the verbal blimpisms of the Sontarans endless thirst for violence which baffles her. And Tom sounds so re-energised on this one.
                Which is amazing given that he is a hundred year old Liverpudlian.

The Casebook Of Victor Frankenstein.

 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has off late being haunting my fore-brain. No doubt brought on by the passing of the wonderful artist Bernie Wrightson. His adaption of her book was high church arch goth with all its terrifying humanity. In Bernie Wigthson's Frankenstein there are echoes of Gustav Dore's Paradise Lost and also Taylor Coleridge's Ryhme Of The Ancient Mariner. They are referenced and alluded to in Peter Ackroyd's biography of the fictional scientist whose surname has become a by-word for bad and dangerous science. The Casebook Of Victor Frankenstein tells the story of the formative years in this mad and bad young scientists life, a Young Frankenstein if you will.he reanimates the departed in a hand made electric soup and draws forth from who knows where something best left alone, its pretty horrible in an even handed well mannered way.
                This is also the most accessible of Peter Ackroyd books I have read in some time. It is probably looked askew upon for that reason in more literary circles. I suspect as much as I managed to read a review of it in one of the on-line book review sections of a self-regarding newspaper where they were a bit sniffy. A Tesco value pickle in the hors d'oeuvre? Oh vicar you jest!