Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Terrance Dicks.

So sorry to hear about Terrance Dicks passing away. it is so genuinely sad to think that this wonderful man who made such a significant contribution to Doctor Who and its evolution into the beloved institution it has become, is no longer with us. He entered that world at a time of great change and some of those very changes he spearheaded himself, turning startling and imagination expanding ideas into treasured canon. and if I sound a bit goofy there i cannot help it. The man deserves all the respect and affection he earned over the years. The established history and lore of Doctor who owes so much to him one could not help but feel respect,and even a bit of awe, at the creations and talent he brought to the table. From introducing the Timelord race to The Master and way beyond. It all seems so long ago and far away it is perhaps difficult to appreciate the casuality of his inspiration. He made it all seem so easy and even that so much of that lore had already been there, lurking beneath the surface, unspoken and unseen. It is that spirit of invention and innovation that is such a component of the ongoing and unfolding text of The Not Quite Last Of The Timelords. And when reinvention and innovation are required how handy it was to have him on hand..
             Nothing accidental about that. It was all hard work and determination to deliver clever and inspired scripts full of memorable characters and situations, events that push The Doctor and his companions to be the best they can be.Terrance Dicks was part of a wonderful team of creative folk, in front off, behind and on top of the cameras, during an era when the BBC put entertaining its viewers above all else. Able to strike the balance between entertaining and subtlely informing, celebrating the human family.
             Looking around my shambles of a home I can think of no other writer I have more books written by than Terrance Dicks, all those Doctor Who novelizations, years of them. Except perhaps Agatha Christie. Between them they fill shelves. Its Harry Halls all over.
             There are many, many such book collections all over the world. In a pre-video, pre-pre DVD era, or the pre-pre-pre Bluray era it was the only way to experience the classic adventures of Doctor Who. All transcribed for us by a man who understood why we loved it so much and who never failed to deliver, his words playing out vividly , and budgetlessly, in the theaters of our minds.I was fortunate enough to meet him and he signed my doctor Who Monster Book vol#2.. When I was a boy, living in the attic of my folks old home, that book was my Tardis and through its pages I travelled through all of time and space with him as my guide.
              Hurrah for Terrance Dicks and everything he shared with us.

London Perambulator.

You might and have been tempted by me talking about Scarp to try the book for yourself. And you should, you really should.There is also this great documentary, which I mentioned in my loose ensemble of verbal perambulations whilst talking about Scarp, on Youtube which would serve as a wonderful introduction to the world view and fluid philosophy of Nick Papadimitrio. He is a very interesting fellow with a great mind and a wonderful turn of phrase. his wordy descriptions bloom into vivid life in the fertile soil of the garden of the mind, er..so to speak. Some familiar voices and faces pop up in this documentary; Russell Brand and Will Self. one speaks like some saucy Victorian lady of the night and the other speaks like will Self. Both display obvious affection and respect for this long distance walker. I felt something similar. He reminded me of my favourite Time Lord. Made me consider what The Doctor's life might be like if he did not have the Tardis  to travel in. It would be all Shanks Mere and creaky knees.
           There is poetry to this man's perambulations, in the classic sense of the word. You can hear the echo of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the ghostly speculations of Thomas De Quincey all mixed up with the home spun hard won wisdom of a Jack Hargreaves. He has walked down some very windy roads, has this man. It is quite moving in places and a constant reminder of the fragility of the human condition, how hard some lives are are and the lengthy paths one must forge along for self determination or even in the search of something bigger than ourselves to look up to and to long to be part off.
            In most cases, sadly, that is just the human family,as this old world of ours can make one feel disconnected and spinning wildly free. To be untethered in a world where almost everything else is anchored in conventionality is not for the faint hearted.
            But it is also where most of this world's magic is to be found.
            Have a look for this documentary on Youtube. It is directed by John Rogers, who also has a huge archive off his own. Self narrated travelogues of roads less taken. They are filmed as he walks and talks with subtle editting that allows those journeys to feel inclusive to the listener, to the viewer. It is just you and him walking past a tiny stream or into a wooded glen where if you are very quiet and very lucky you might see a hare at play as twilight falls.

Never The Bride.

Came across this Paul Magrs 9Published by Headline) during one of my recent book haunts.I was looking around for something to take away with me during my week in the country. Something surprising, as I already had a couple of pieces set aside for my book bag. And I found a copy of Never The Bride. Did not even bother to read what it is about, the author's past work was more than enough to risk picking up this copy. I love his Bafflegab work, channeling Tom baker and creating these hilarious and sometimes quite touching situations at Baker's end. I can only imagine the surreal conversations that must take place between him and Tom baker when it comes to each new adventure down Baker's End. It must be like taking the Magic Roundabout to the homeworld of The Clangers.
          Now that I have finished the book I now realise that was not a leap into the dark but a blind folded bounce into a very familiar and cosy old bed. Wait til you find out who The Bride of the title is, fantastic stuff. It is all set in the town of Whitby too. What a stunning location for such a yarn, just the perfect back drop, forever framed against the restless sea, starkly beautiful, raw in both sea and sky. The first place in England Dracula touched down upon leaping from the doomed Demeter one dark and stormy night.
            Gothic literature was never the same afterwards...
            And this book by Paul Margs deserves to sit in close proximity to Bram stoker.

The Uncommon Reader.

One Evening ,while in conversation with the French President,Queen Elizabeth 11 engaged him regarding his knowledge of French author Jean Genet; "homosexual and jailbird, she said, "was he nevertheless as bad as he was painted? Or more to the point, was as good?"
          Years of diplomacy had not prepared him for such an eventuality but a lifetime of being a French man had perhaps done so. Regardless, he knew he was in for a long night.