Sunday, August 20, 2006

Unexpectedly, over the horizon a life was spotted...

It's our twelve year wedding anniversary today, and to celebrate we actually managed to get babysitters for the kids and contrived to ignore any work that needed done, and went out on the town for the first time in an age.

First off we met some friends and went to see comedian Ian Stone, as recommended by my brother, at the Underbelly. None of us had even heard of him and I was getting doubtful looks when I mentioned the source of the recommendation (my little brother, R, is seriously into stand-up as an art-form and is perfectly likely to suggest an unfunny act purely because the stand-up's stage persona is "interesting and edgy"), but I needn't have worried as all turned out well, with Stone being very funny and easily filling the hour he was on with great comedy. My favourite joke was the suggestion that rather than cause wars everyone should relax with a bath - "When North Korea wants to bomb South Korea, they should take a bath instead. When Pakistan wants to invade India, they should take a long bath. When the Jews want a land of their own, they should occupy someone else's bath."

After the show finished we headed down to Jools Holland's new club in Edinburgh, the Jamhouse. To be honest, I didn't fancy it much - I'm not a club person really and I hate honky tonk piano of any type. A fiver to get in was cheap enough though, and, vitally, we got a table in the seated section between the bars and the dance floor and stage (hey - I'm 36 now, a seat's important!) but the sight of a mass of near-pensioners boogieing on down to that vocoded Cher song from a few years back as we took our seats wasn't comforting, nor was the plethora of women who appeared to have had unsuccessful plastic surgery and/or have got dressed in the dark. Throw in a handful of sweaty looking businessmen with bald heads and paunches but implausibly attractive young trophy wives/prostitutes on their arms and it did look like a quick drink and head home.

So we sat and chatted desultorily for a few minutes; I had a whine about the fact you can't smoke in clubs, Mike kept pointing out new geeks, freaks and general wierdos and things gently slid towards utter failure when the the least expected and most joyous eight words I'm ever likely to hear blared out from the stage.

"Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Alvin Stardust".

Alvin fucking Stardust!

From that moment on the night was brilliant (as was Alvin - go see him at a club near you, doing stonking covers of early Elvis and Eddie Cochran). We finally got home about 4am, which is about the latest I've been out since I was a student for the first time, back in the late 80s and early 90s and I've spent the whole day singing "My Coocachoo"(in a strange medley with 'Spirit in the Sky' which, to my ear, sound very similar).

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Astonishingly Positive: What RTD Has Taught Us Part 2

[I wrote this at the same time, but obviously taking another tack.]

Rose

  • Taught us that you don't 90 minutes to tell a full length old-style Who adventure - just cut out all the padding.
  • Taught us that there can be more to a new companion introduction than simply deciding to join the TARDIS on a whim.

End of the World

  • Taught us that that the aliens in the new series will look really cool.
  • Taught us there's more to new Who than just random adventures - now there are consequences.

The Unquiet Dead

  • Taught us that RTD should be doing all the scripts.

Aliens of London

  • Taught us that no-one need be embarrassed by the special effects in the new show.
  • Taught us that New Who wasn't afraid to have a laugh.
World War Three

  • Taught us that RTD isn't afraid to change the rules of the show in a major way.

Dalek

  • Taught us RTD knows who the best Big Finish writers are.

The Long Game

  • Taught us the new series really wouldn't be a series of unconnected stories, but one with a season long thread running through it, for those observant enough to see it.

Fathers Day

  • Taught that RTD knows who the best Virgin novelists writers are.

The Empty Child

  • Taught that RTD knows who the best writers full-stop are.
  • Taiught us that RTD remembered that scary is part of the Who experience.

The Doctor Dances

  • Taught us that RTD is willing to give scope to really talented writers.

Boom Town

  • Taught us that lack of cash need not be a hindrance when RTD can pull a thoughtful and intelligent script out of the hat.

Bad Wolf

  • Taught us that RTD there was a point to the Bad Wolf motif after all.
  • Taught us that RTD can really write death scenes.
  • Taught us Daleks can be terrifying even when you can't hear them.

Parting of the Ways

  • Taught us that RTD knew what he was doing all along.
  • Taught us the Doctor and Rose are almost equals, but that the Doctor makes the ultimate sacrifice as befits the Hero.

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Ludicrously Negative: What RTD Has Taught Us

[I wrote this a while back after the end of the Eccleston season - I've changed my mind a bit and obviously didn't think it was terribly witty since I didn't post it at the time, but in lieu of the time to have a life, I thought I might as well take it out of the Drafts folder and post it]


Rose


  • Taught us that a full length old-style Who adventure isn't possible in the new timescale and format.
  • Taught us the series should really be about the companion and not the Doctor.
  • Taught us that cutting edge special effects can still fail to improve on the "rubber octopus" template
  • Taught us that the word incidental in the phrase incidential music means far too loud.

End of the World

  • Taught us that that RTD wasn't paying attention when he saw Galaxy Quest on DVD.
  • Taught us the year 5 Million will look pretty much like a Star Trek space station, only with fixtures and fittings by IKEA.

The Unquiet Dead


Aliens of London

  • Taught us that in the absence of a story, Scooby-Doo chases and farting can take the place of plot, characterisation and wit.

World War Three

  • Taught us that RTD can mess up two episodes at a time, not just one.

Dalek

  • Taught us RTD would be better leaving the writing to other people.

The Long Game

  • Taught us the new series really wouldn't be bothering with distractions like well thought out, realistic or imaginative aliens.

Fathers Day

  • Taught that RTD really should leave the writing to other people.

The Empty Child

  • Taught us that Steven Moffat could teach Mark Gatiss something about scripting a very traditional feeling episode of Doctor Who.

The Doctor Dances

  • Taught us that RTD should absolutely, definitely leave the writing to other people.

Boom Town

  • Taught us that fans can convince themselves any old rubbish is gold if they try hard enough.
  • Taught us Deus ex Machina endings were acceptable in drama nowadays.

Bad Wolf

  • Taught us that RTD thinks aping contemporary game shows is satirical.
  • Taught us that Bad Wolf wasn't worth all the build up.

Parting of the Ways

  • Taught us that Rose is really the hero of the show.
  • Taught us that all you need to break into the TARDIS is a big enough lorry and a strong chain.

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