Tuesday, July 26, 2005

the DR WHO bandwagon rumbles on...

So, the moment I knew David Tennant would be an okay Doctor Who? It wasn't when I saw him stand out in the dreadful piece of Dennis Potter-lite BLACKPOOL or the mediocre Derek Jarman-lite CASANOVA. It was when I saw him being interviewed by Colin Murray and Edith Bowman at this year's Glastonbury Festival. His hair was unwashed and standing on him like a buck goat, and he was buzzing from lack of sleep, too much caffeine (one hopes)and rock'n'roll. So when the Beeb released the above image this morning, it raised a smile. The guy might just be great.

Anyway, the picture was joined by some scuttlebutt about series two, especially the return of the Cybermen (groovy - if I was producing the show, my grand plan would have been: series one - the Daleks; series two - Cybermen; series three - The Master). The most interesting thing in the press release was that the new series seems to be establishing some clear continuity with the past for the first time ever by featuring a guest appearance by Sarah Jane Smith (who if memory serves, and it probably doesn't, was the longest serving assistant). One of the funnier debates in WHO fandom of late has been the "it's series one, it's a whole new show" brigade versus the "no, it's series twenty seven, it's a direct continuation" school. Maybe Elizabeth Sladen turning up in character (and with K9 in tow!) alluding to The Doctor's past will give the fanboys a definitive answer. If the answer is yes, it's the same show, then if I was Davies I'd start jumping through hoops to organise a "The Three Doctors" style team-up with the
dear departed Eccleston and Paul McGann. Fill in those "The Time War" gaps.

Monday, July 18, 2005

read the new HARRY POTTER

Okay, so the latest volume of the highly repetitive boy wizard's exploits came out at a highly fortuitous time: while I'm stuck in flight school in GTA: SAN ANDREAS. As usual, Rowling's less-than-stellar prose style makes for a quick and easy read, and I had time to work a full shift on Saturday, go to a family barbecue on Sunday, and still have it finished for Monday morning. This is a good thing: it sets me in good stead to talk about the book at work with kids and MILFs alike. The book follows the exact formula of the others: a highly competent, twisty old school whodunnit in the Agatha Christie style, with a healthy dose of Mallory Towers style school drama, draped in the cloak of Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey.

After the genuinely great THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, Rowling's next three have all promised much, but delivered considerably less than the hype and the expectation would demand. Her characters remain lovable, but GOBLET, ORDER and now THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE have all been a couple of great set-pieces floating in a miasma of place holding and exposition. Unlike most of the other novels this one really only adds one new concept to Potter lore, that of the horcruxes. I'll make a prediction for the seventh book: Harry himself is one of these items (I won't spoil tardy readers with too much explanation of this rather chilling concept). After the conclusions of all three of these later novels (always their most thrilling aspects), you're left with a feeling of escalation, that it's all going to kick off, that the many plot threads are going to have to start weaving together into an almighty war between the forces of good and evil. Instead, Rowling has put it off again, giving us another term of homework trauma, will-they-won't-they teen romance, and inter-house quidditch cups. This may have left the last in the series with too much to adequately contain. Here's hoping she foregoes the formula next time, and lets her cast finally cut loose. She's ran away from the logical conclusions her writings have suggested for too long.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Get well soon, Mike

I think all my readership (both of them) appreciates how much I adore Michael Moorcock at this point.
So here's hoping you make a complete recovery, big man.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Avi Arad an @sshole, apparently

From a recent interview with the Marvel honcho over at the great Comic Book Resources:

"I noticed of course that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's names appeared in the credits. Did any money end up going to the Kirby estate or his relatives?
Arad: No, there is no money going to the Kirby estate. Jack Kirby was a hand for hire like all the Marvel artists. He got credit, but not money."

Avi, your highly paid, high powered job wouldn't fucking exist without the labours of this man. Show some respect. Oh, and thanks for making my mind up about avoiding this car crash of a movie at all costs.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

deja vu all over again

Being from Northern Ireland, we've gotten a unique perspective on the randomised slaughter that is terrorist bombing. Too much fucking perspective, as Nigel Tuffnell put it. And my hometown had the privilege of being the most bombed town in Northern Ireland, too. Growing up, it was all hardboard in the windows round our way, with "business as usual" painted artlessly on them.

I thought the Provisional IRA had it in for me personally, because they seemed to bomb the three central pivots of my life: McKinley's toy shop, where I bought my STAR WARS action figures; Robinson's toy shop, where I bought my ACTION MAN gear; and the Astor cinema, at regular intervals. Little did I know, at that age, that this was actually due to their proximity to certain tactical targets (the court house, the cop shop, the local newspaper's offices). All I knew was that the Provos were the biggest bunch of joyless fuckers ever, stomping all over the holy trinity of my little kid life.

To add insult to injury, I missed half the dialogue in every episode of DOCTOR WHO, because every Saturday night, local news readers would clumsily read out police warnings for local key holders to go back and check their premises, as the 'RA regularly phoned in some half-hearted warnings of incendiary devices hidden in the shops. Finally, they succeeded in putting both the toy shops in my home town out of business. To add insult to injury, it was during the run-up to Christmas. I had a Tom Baker Mego
DR WHO doll and to-scale TARDIS back in the Christmas club (art on the box by Walt Simonson!). For weeks, me, mum and dad would go in and pay a little bit off. I was being taught a valuable lesson in economics - Santa doesn't exist, and everything you get at Christmas we've had to strive for, save for, work for. Well fuck that sonny, because BOOOM! Your present of a lifetime has been smelted down because a bunch of malicious tossers hate their neighbours, but hide that awful truth behind a wall of sub-Marxist cobblers (still do).

So the moral of this meandering anecdote: terrorists are humourless bastards who'll always try and shit all over the finer things in life. But fuck them. Fuck anyone who can place ideology over empathy.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

an open letter to Tony Blair

Dear Mr Blair,
I'm just writing to say that it's a total disgrace that those damn Martians are still being allowed to kill Africans in this day and age. That said, I've been drinking heavily, and I may have gotten the LIVE 8 concerts mixed up with the late showing of WAR OF THE WORLDS I've just sat through.

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.