Monday, January 30, 2006

Hello Mum

My mum has taken to reading this blog which - for reasons which I can't nail down at the moment - makes me terribly uncomfortable.

It's not that I write anything here which might upset her - if I recall correctly, I initially started a blog as a private online diary in which to enter the stupider thoughts that struck me and/or rant about things that annoyed me and thus get them off my chest before I climbed the nearest water-tower with a rifle. In reality it quickly descended into the usual mix of reviews of Doctor Who books and inconsequential comments about football, science fiction and movies.

And yet it still makes me uncomfortable to think she's reading it.

She's promised not to read it anymore, but as a promise from my mother's not to be nosey about one of her children is similar to having a girlfiend who genuinely likes football and doesn't sound stupid talking about it (a lovely thought, but never going to happen in the real world*), I'll just close by saying LOVE YOU MAMMY and leave it at that.

*Unless Helen Chamberlain's car actually does break down in a thunder storm outside my house one day and has to pop in to use the phone and get dried.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

More of that Show about Chocolate and Girls

Pity me. Charmed is on its way back and Julie's bound to want to watch it.

The series was recommended by my mother to J and punted to me as being 'a bit like Buffy', but it's not - except in the way that Half Man Half Biscuit are a bit like Chas and Dave, because they both did songs which were meant to be funny.

On the surface it's hard to see why one show is so poor and the other hit such highs. I imagine both shows attract top notch writers, directors, producers and the like, and the acting is much of a functional muchness (neither show ever showcased Olivier or De Niro).

Granted, the sets in Charmed are awful, regardless of whether the sisters are in a cave, back alley or mystic realm. Everything looks as though it's made of plastic and nothing is actually dirty. It's hard to suspend disbelief when Purgatory and the fiery pit of Hell is clearly made of the same brown plastic as crappy Thunderbirds' toy Tracy Island.

More importantly though, there is a noticeable vacuum at the heart of Charmed. Buffy (and its sequel Angel) had a central theme which the writers ran through the series. Reactions to loss and death and the way in which the main characters deal with grief motivate and inform the actions of everyone in the show. There was actual subtext. The hunt for demons served both as a means of causing the required death and grief and as a method by which to magnify and mirror teenage reactions to that. Charmed on the other hand is a show about hair-styles and boys, with demon hunting something to do when there's a lull in playing with one another's hair or talking about the girls' various romances. It's probably the least subtle genre show ever made (including Andromeda and Josie Lawrence vehicle Not with a Bang).

Which makes it all the more galling that Charmed has just returned (by popular demand it seems) for an eighth season, whilst Buffy/Angel and its many mooted spin-offs remain in some televisual Limbo (to say nothing of the cancellation of 'Firefly', a decision so mindless as to warrant an entirely new word for 'stupid').

Life's just not fair sometimes.


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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

December will be magic again

We had a bit of an odd Christmas and New Year this year, curiously downbeat at times due to the fact that this was the first real Christmas for J and her family since her dad died. Not that it was awkward or mournful or anything like that, just that there was an awareness whenever the whole family was together that someone was missing.

This was most obvious at Hogmanay when, for the first time since about 1984, we stayed in by ourselves. The two oldest kids were at their auntie's house of the night and the youngest one was in bed by 8pm, what with being three. It was nice to get some time alone to talk (and we had plenty to talk about in spite of being married for 11 years, which is surprising, apparently) and I didn't have to listen to Shayne from X-Factor's dreadful single even once, which would not have been the case anywhere else in Edinburgh on New Years' Eve.

In terms of pressies, I got considerably more than I expected, including:


The Ancestor's Tale
- Richard Dawkins
Darwin on Trial - Phillip Johnson
The Time Travellers - Simon Guerrier
Doctor Who: The Legend Continues - Justin Richards
Only Human - Gareth Roberts
Back to the Vortex - Shaun Lyon
The Curse of Lono - Hunter Thompson and Ralph Steadman
The Judgement of Caesar - Steven Saylor
Eric Gill - Fiona McCarthy
The History of Time - Leofranc Holford-Strevens


Songs in the Key of Z Vol.1 & 2 - Various Artists
Complete Peel Sessions - The Fall


Dad's Army Season 3
Flint Street Nativity

plus a Sonic Screwdriver, a Dr Who calendar, bottle opener and pack of playing cards and two Dalek key-rings, courtesy of my lovely mother-in-law (who also bought me the Season 27 (ok, Season 1 officially) box set of Who and gave me it early).

J seemed to like everything I bought her (or pretended that she did, which amounts to the same thing) which, as ever, came as a bit of a surprise.

It's just a terrible shame that I'm back at work now, which means I won't have time to watch/read most of my presents until some time in April.
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