Thursday, 31 October 2019

Haunted Bookshelf 2019.

Leaning towards the Vampiric for this years choice of titles. Theres a pulpy quality to the choices with deep red threads of continuity running through them. Bram stoker set in place certain tropes which have trickled down through the ages. Stoker was working as a theatre director during the Whitechapel murders era and all the mores of his time were bound up in the text. It is not even surprising how little has changed today...

Tamburlaine Must Die.

First read this novella by Loise Welsh a couple of years ago, enjoyed it very much then, even more so now.  Just took an urge to re-read and i am so glad I did. i very much enjoyed her interpretation of Christopher Marlowe. Swaggering and sexy, up to his cod-piece in all sorts of skull duggery in an age of ferocious skull duggery, where a mistep spells disaster. There is no room for innocence in the School Of Night And Fog. although the seasoned players find uses for it.
           We understand from the beginning that the clock is ticking for Marlowe. We have the advantage of hindsight even if the details of his last day remain cloaked in mystery. How could it be any less so for a master of the dark arts. Talk about Mad, Bad and dangerous to know.This was the man who created Doctor Faustus as a form of entertainment in an age when to truck with the Devil was to take not only your freedom and physical well being into account but was also to put your immortal soul on the line...
            Oh how Marlowe must have laughed.

Thursday, 17 October 2019


Skaro..Not the nicest place I have ever visited and not the nicest reason for being there. Me and the lovely Amanda  was sent there on a top secret mission for the High Council on Gallifrey. The confusing bit being I was not the only one sent on an almost identical mission....
            You see the High Council had sent The Doctor back in time to avert the creation of their greatest enemies The Daleks, or failing that cause them to perhaps evolve into a less aggressive species. In order to garuntee that outcome the High Council had also decided to send a second team without actually telling The Doctor.Actually, knowing what a bunch of scheming wheeler dealers they are, they probably did the same with our team, Rassilon alone knows how many teams they sent.
              Off course The Doctor is a long lived and genius adventurer who has been traveling through time and space for hundreds of years, regenerating through new bodies, and is a dab hand at getting out of the most incredible situations. Trouble is his middle name. My middle name is Patrick and I have only ever had the one body and its a bit crap, to be honest, creaky and unreliable.
               Fortunately Amanda was there to keep us focused on the task at hand. For when the wind is southerly she knows a hawk from a handsaw, to paraphrase William Shakespeare in Hamlet..or maybe Ronnie Barker in The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town...
               Unfortunately, while The Doctor, Harry and Sarah were winging it back and forward across the tortured landscape of Skaro, being chased by Kaleds, Thals and Mutos, meeting Davros and bearing witness to The Genesis Of The Daleks, Amanda and I had the misfortune to land in a greenhouse full of flesh devouring infectious Varga plants. These nasty examples of mutated vegetable plant monsters were no bunch of petunias, more like Triffids on crack cocaine.
               And weed killer does not cut it with them.
              This was less like an episode of doctor Who and more like an episode of Homocidal Gardener's World. A big hit show in The Vogon system ,apparently.
               It all ended much of a muchness, with Davos and his creations going on to become the galactic nightmare we all feared despite our best efforts. Ah well, off to Metebelus 3 for a quiet break, I hear that famous blue planet is welcoming and restful....

Type Forty.

It has been Forty years since the first issue of Doctor Who magazine went on sale ( it was Doctor Who weekly to begin with. Such valiant optimism.). Damn, how did four decades go past so quickly?
For me it has been forty years since I raced up Etna Drive to the newsagent on Aliance Avenue in the hope of finding a copy. And there it was. Then I had to race back down Etna Drive to beg my da for twelve pence to pay for it. If it had been anything else I do believe he would have said no. But he knew what this television show meant to me so he counted off the pennies.We hardly had a pot to piss in back then and the pennies were important. A hundred of them add up to a pound, after all.
              I devoured this publication, part comic part magazine. The most amazing Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons comic kicked it off. The Iron Legion, a strip I have read and appreciated so much over the years it has embedded itself as canon in the recesses of my imagination and memory.Great articles, great photos and a whole load of photos i had never seen before. In those far off pre internet days it was probably the biggest and best source of photographs I had seen other than the Malcolm Hulke book The Making Of Doctor Who or the legendary, and rarely been equalled, Radio Times Doctor Who Tenth Anniversary Special.
              There were free transfer stickers also but they were an embarrassment of riches.
              I would hold this issue in as high regard as 2000AD #1 or even Mighty World Of Marvel #1.
              Three mighty number ones.
              The three who ruled.
              And just look at that Tom Baker cover.i think that photograph was taken as part of his initial publicity shoot in the car park of BBC centre. Just look at him; full of the bear and ready to take on all of time and space.
               He did not let us down.

Rembrandt 1936.

Picked up this movie Rembrandt on DVD, a recommendation by Jim McKevitt of Atomic Collectables, who knows a thing or two about art, the real thing and the many pretences. It is a British movie made in 1936, directed by Alexander Korda, and stars Charles Laughton as the titular character. It also stars the beautiful Elsa Lanchester, whom Laughton was married to for a while.
           Jim explained it is a little seen film but that I was in for a pleasant surprise. Thanks to the atmospheric direction and a strong performance by Mister Laughton. And damn, he was right. The story of Rembrandt's social decline, the riches to rags tale of an artist struggling with demons that allowed him no respite, of a genius at the mercy of pudding heads, made for an emotional ride. There is no trace of self pity in Mister Laughton's performance, he owns his "mistakes". There is a manly lunacy to his tics and turns, a clumping clumsy Dutchness that also projects great empathy for this gifted man. A man who escaped from a hard, grinding, merciless working class background, to immense success and wealth and then down into a spiral of poverty, social and economic.
            The film is shot and framed in a way that brings to mind other Dutch painters. Vermeer is projected large here, with sets bordering on expressionist. It made me think of James Whale and the huge sets he had his cast play out on.
             A lovely film that deserves to be remembered with affection and respect.

Stephen Moore.

Was sorry to hear of the passing of actor Stephen Moore..Although he had ca long and very impressive career as a much respected character actor, he had a special place in the affection of many for one role in particular. That of the poor doomed, and very doomy and gloomy, Marvin the android from the BBC's adaption of Douglas Adams much loved series of Hitch-hiker books. Marvin the paranoid android, crippled by the weight of his vast, and generally unchallenged intelligence.
            Brain the size of a planet yet he spent millions of years in a car park on Magrathea awaiting the return of his "friends" only to be repaid by being plunged into the heart of a sun onboard a space ship preprogrammed to do so.  A long, very long, actually really,really long life ended in a blaze of apathy.
             It is no more than a poor android can expect in such a wretched universe.
             Stephen Moore's voice will be remembered as long as Vogan's continue to excrete poetry through their faces or the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal continues to devour the grandparents of the universe.