Monday, 24 December 2018

A Very Merry Berry.

               Whether you have been naughty or nice I do hope Santa Claus leaves this under your Christmas Tree, the new album by the Byronically talented Mr Matt Berry. In fact I am quite sure we will all get what we deserve this Christmas. And everone deserves a little Matt Berry in their lives.

Jimmy Olsen Mobster's Moll.

Check this out, just about my favourite Jimmy Olsen story. When bold Jimmy goes undercover in a mobsters gang, back in the days when being an investigative reporter meant taking such risks with organised crime. And what risks he takes for the mobster falls for his charms.He even tries to kiss Jimmy and the young reporter cleverly tells him to close his eyes, pulls a live monkey between him and the amorous gangster, who plants a loving sucker on the bewildered chimp. Its like something straight out of Serpico...
            And people think comics only became capable of dealing with adult themes in the mid eighties. Harumph, now you can tell people different.

Up On The Roof.

                                                      Just another day in time and space.

Bernard Cribbins.

                       "Ninety is just another number.I am gently going down the slope..." so says national treasure Bernard Cribbins in an interview in The Times(Wednesday 28th November) regarding his age. Such is the familiarity of his voice you can hear him say it in your head as you read it. Famously the storyteller and voice for all The Wombles its a voice that feels as affable as the human tones are able to sound. Engaging and joyful and seemingly ageless he is the favoured uncle for generations.
Who could forget his turn as hapless copper Tom Campbell in the second Dr Who movie with Peter Cushing in the lead or his other turn as Job, Proffessor Holly's butler/orderly in the wonderful Hammer production of She, the H Rider Haggard classic about an undying and cruel queen of a hidden kingdom. He radiates a trustworthy down to earth capability in both movies, turning side kick roles into standout roles. And he is full on hysterically funny in the classic carry On spying. They missed a trick when they did not cast him as M in the new series of very serious Bond movies with Daniel Craig as the big bad Bond. When he drags up as an exotic dancing girl in order to retieve secret plans from an agent of STENCH it is just side splitting( not in the Cronenberg sense, mind you.) He is truly a man for all seasons. A gifted performer who has seen and done so much and weathered the passing decades with charm and humour.
                 Bernard Cribbins has made humour and conversation a super power. Saving the world a little every time he makes some one smile.

Tick Tock , Tick Tock.

Amanda Alloway gifted me this beautiful picture of Madame De Pompadour herself. Amanda has dazzled us, and scared us a little too, with her unnerving Clockwork Droid costume and this was a just a lovely wee treat. Not so much The Girl In The Fireplace as The Girl on The Bookcase.

Basil Sings!

Found this absolutely beautiful book on one of my book hunting trips. I say "book hunting" but it is more of a random dander where occasionally good things show up. And I came up trumps this time. It is just one very special wee book, very beautiful indeed, laid out like an old school songbook with the most stunningly detailed illustrations. It is like a programme for a music hall review, like The Good Old Days Of Yore.
            I was kind of hoping Basil did a version of God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols. Basil could channel Lydon if he so choose. Or Holidays In The Sun. Just the thought of Basil going over the Berlin Wall. Mind you we live in an era when the Berlin wall does not have the same cultural it no longer exists, I suppose.
            Boom! Boom!

Combat Magicks.

                                                " We had to meet the enemy a mile away,
                                                 Thunder in the air and the sky turned grey."
                                                                Eddie Tenpole, Tenpole Tudor,
                                                                The Swords Of a Thousand Men.
Its The Doctor in a war story, off sorts. Fighting alongside, of all allies, Attila The Hun. They say war makes for strange bedfellows and Doctor Who has never been short of those. The year is 451 AD and the Gaul The Doctor and her chums find themselves in is nothing like the one Asterix and Obelix inhabited. Its a dangerous and very smelly place. Allies become enemies and vice versa in this quite epic tale by Steve Cole that rounds of the trilogy of books published by the BBC that celebrates the first season of Jodie Whitakers tenancy of The tardis.
              Steve Cole absolutely channels the characters and this is amazing given that he surely had not seen a scene while he wrote this, probably working from a "show bible". It would have made a stand out episode and I do not think it is too much of a stretch to consider it one.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A House Of Ghosts.

Just finished this fantastic supernatural period thriller by W.C. Ryan. I finished it in the early hours of a very wintery December night. It was as though nature conspired to provide the perfect aural accompaniment  to read such a book. I would describe what I was reading as Fowles war meets The Sixth Sense, and hope that was a suitable tempting sound bite for someone considering trying it. The writer has delivered a real page turner with strong realistic characters in a situation that pulls you in and on. The story has a measured quality that allows the mystery to build in a Christie like fashion before a final chapter full of revelations.
             The two main characters are that most interesting of characters, flawed heroes despite themselves. One can see the dead and another has seen quite enough dead. Even created a few.
              It is gripping atmospheric stuff. Pull up a chair, join hands, do not break the circle.
              The dead are getting ready to speak.

Radio Times Casting The Runes.

Oh yes. its that time of year again. When The Doctor gets the cover of the Radio Times and we count down the day to our special Christmas Day treat. Only this year..
            Well there is not going to be one. The stand alone yuletide gift has been relocated to New Years Day. It is not gone, just moved. New Doc, New Day, I suppose. I am a little disapointed at the shift, although it is by no means the worst thing that could happen. It seems like such a small thing to the rest of the "real" world but every one of the Doctor Who specials have meant so much to me. Every one yeilding joy and special treasures on a day that always feels like a curates egg of mixed emotions. Family gatherings on this mid winter day can feel like a minefield with no truly safe roots past explosive emotional outbursts (Well, I am speaking as one who grew up in a Catholic household and every one elses Christmas experience might well be like a Tesco advertisment. Although they always look like what a Westworlds android might imagine a human christmas to be.)
            I always found the Christmas specials to resonate with delightful Whoish goodwill. Watching them was never like an FA Cup final or some sporting event that requires Mexican waves, air pumping or screaming at the telly, just great tales illuminating the bleak midwinter.
             Thirteen years was a great run. Not many television shows could have sustained that but like so many trends Doctor Who went whistling by, ploughing its own field.
             And its welcome any day of the year....

19 To A Dozen.

Blimey! In the absence of a doctor Who special on the big day here perhaps is something to stir the cockles of a Whovians heart, and remind them that they are in fact loved. Ahem.
             Which is not to say the fact there is no Christmas special this year should suggest such a thing. in fact if the the scenes involving the Two doctors on the WW1 battlefield last year proved to be the last  I can think of no nobler place to leave off...It was so heart breaking, so on the money,so joyful in the face of cruelty and madness so Whoish, Well, job done ladies and gentlemen.
                In the meantime what an opportunity to revisit Peter Davison,s fantastic first season. Like The Tardis these days, The Doctor travels with three chums. Each very different but all bent on adventure and discovery. And boy do they find it. This series was so new, so different following seven years of Tom Baker striding across all of space and time ( It was unthinkable to have anyone else fly The Tardis.) you have to appreciate the courage and inventiveness on display, the enthusiasm dripping off their sleeves. Fantastic days...Time Crash away!

Radio Times Magic.

...You know, in some alternative reality this actually was published. Its not real off course, some very clever person knocked it out and for me knocked it out of the park. Fantastic, an absolute magical piece of television that forever affected the way the way I saw the world (And to a degree how the world saw me.). As a boy I never pretended to be as others, was not into football and fighting, trod my own path, but I never felt alone. Had some of the best mates anyone could hope to have and they all laughed at my devotion to this time travelling weirdo in his blue box. And they still do.