Rise of the Cybermen.



TV I've never been a fan of the Cybermen. They've always seemed like a generic rent-a-villian, without the cache or iconism of the pepperpots. Mad illogical schemes throughout their careers as monsters all too easily vanquished by a reversed polarity or small bomb. I remember visiting the National Museum of Film, Television and Radio in Bradford and loving the opportunity to see the final episode of The Invasion projected onto a big screen and finding myself far more enthralled by the human 'drama' (and Sally Faulkner's legs) than anything the Cybermen were doing. The nadir was possibly The Five Doctors in which they're all too easily vanquished by the Rastan robot and their own idiotic and slow plan to blow up the TARDIS. Still they killed Adric which is definitely in their favour. But really I could have lived without them this time around.

The episode began really rather slowly and not at all like Genesis of the Daleks. Evil genius in an electric wheelchair? Yes. Death of scientist who doesn't entirely agree with said evil genius? You bet. Perhaps I'm being too harsh but Roger Lloyd Pack's performance seemed to have been dragged in from a different programme. The old programme. Nothing in the world could stop him now I suspect. Menacing or camp? Simply couldn't decide. I did like that the cybermen weren't revealed straight away, a tactic that might have worked if they hadn't already appeared in every magazine and website within temporal orbit of this Saturday. Again I envy the viewer who manages to ignore the hype so that they view the episode all shiny, new and unspoilt.

In the end, I need not have worried. Yet again we have an episode with a completely different texture to the previous four and anything from last year. The pacing was slow because it was taking its time, putting all of the pieces in place. Writer Tom MacRae was channeling Terry Dicks and basically presenting us with the first two episodes of a classic four parter, spliting the gang up almost as soon as they're trapped on the world and later bringing them together for the big old cliffhanger. To a degree, oddly, this was a fairly Doctor and Rose lite episode with the supporting players taking up the most screen time, not that it mattered too much, because unlike The Long Game, this screen time was taken up with important things like plot and characterisation.

I didn't spot any eyepatches but it was good to have the Doctor in alternate universe territory again. In any other series this might have been the whole story (or series -- see Sliders) but instead it was more an opportunity to re-introduce a villian without having to mess about with forty years of convoluted continuity. But classically they're using it as a springboard to investigate how people can change when presented with a different selection of life options the result being extraordinarily dark, evil Jackie eskewing the usual tendancy in these things to say that we're really all the same, deep down.

The rehabilitation of Mickey continues with some excellent playing from Noel Clarke, proving once more what an abberation his opening appearance in the last series was. The scene when we realised how his grandmother had died was heartbreaking and he was truly chilling as his alternative self. Anyone else notice that he's getting as much screen time as Billie and Dave lately without the big screen credit at the front of the episode? Unlike US shows like The West Wing which drop a new regular in the opening titles on a whim, here you really know who the stars are. I have a bad feeling about the next episode you know. I think they've been building him up for a reason. Assuming that Joss Whedon tactics are in force I think something really bad is going to happen to our new friend next week.

That said, it was good to see the Doctor and Rose alone together for the first time in what feels like ages just talking. This is one of the problems the series is still trying to get to grips with, the more characters you introduce to a story, the less time you have to allow for the central dynamic to endure. Piper gels much better with Tennant than she ever did with Eccleston -- last year seemed like a job of acting, whereas here they seem to genuinely enjoy each others company. Am I repeating myself? Probably. But really, I can't wait for an episode similar to Rob Shearman's audio Scherzo were the whole story is on their shoulders -- a long version of the Pudsy Cutaway -- I'm sure it'd be just as compelling as these budget-sucks that we're being treated to each week.

But what of those pesky Cybermen? You know, for once, for the first time ever probably, I found them menacing. Truly. When Lord Rassilon, sorry The President was sizing him up and the Doctor was suggesting he didn't I was truly worried. Then with the massive hand and the electric current, I actually sat backwards on the bed. The entrance was excellent too, as we've seen with Autons, crashing through windows is the right way to go and the execution demonstrated why Graeme Harper's a great director (insert Keith Boak comment here).

Watching Harper in Doctor Who Confidential he looked like a man who'd been handed a massive toy set. I suspect he felt that he was finally directing the series in the way he would have wanted to in the seventies, actually having a whole army of Cybermen to play about with, no wimpy controlled explosion on an abandonded airfield here boys. Witness the lovely handheld as the Doctor and Rose enter the party and the sweeping shots of the dead TARDIS. Again I'll say, each director does have a different vibe even if you can't quite put your finger on what it is. I'm hoping that the commentary will include some talk on how different the experience was.

So on the whole a great first episode continuing the high quality of this series, not at all disgracing the taxi-cab logo -- and with a proper cliffhanger without a trailer for the following week at all. On a slightly off topic note, have you noticed how Russ and the gang have consciously/unconsciously developing a political landscape for that universe. After positively identify Thatch in Tooth & Claw, when Mickey helpfully outlining the concept of alternate realities so the Doctor didn't have to, he mentioned that there, Tony Blair wouldn't have been elected. Which means in his universe the current Prime Minister he must have been. Does this imply that indeed Blair was the man deleted last year by the Slitheen last year?

RI:SE and Shine

Elsewhere Delete. Delete. Delete.

Curb My Embarassment



Commuter Life When I got home tonight I found this stuck to the bottom of my t-shirt at the back. It had obviously somehow become attached when I was getting up from my seat on the train.

Can someone explain to me why I had to travel all the way home on the bus with it there without ANYONE mentioning it to me???

Humans are a cruel species.

The bigger fear would be if I picked it up this morning and I walked all the way around the university with it there ...

In the wall...

Film During the screening of Brick attended, a man sitting across the isle from me sat opening and shutting his oyster-shaped mobile phone every few seconds. He had a slightly fierce look in his eyes so I didn't ask him to stop -- I don't know what the other nine people in the auditorium thought. After a while it really broke my concentration, which is a shame because Brick is the kind of film which demands your attention.

Described in the lazy press as this year's Donnie Darko, Brick transplants the tropes of a hard boiled noir mystery thriller into a high school setting, infrusing it with language in the style of Anthony Burgess. The effect is akin to wating Reality Bites or My So-Called Life with the dialogue transplanted in from Bugsy Malone without the songs. It's odd and incongruous, but as the story unravells around teenage detective Brendan you can't help but be enthralled. It helps that the plotting isn't typical high school fare, doing for the murder mystery what Election did for politics, but totally free of useless exposition. If something is revealed about a character, it is important. There are few red herrings.

Clarity is helped by the brilliantly measured performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, totally unrecognisable from his turn as an alien in tv's 3rd Rock From The Sun. Peter Parker without the spider-powers, he's channeling the souls of both Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford, an imprenitrable wall of placidity in the face of insurmountable odds, convincingly getting straight back up again whenever he's knocked down. The rest of the cast, a sea of unknowns (with one notable spoilery exception) are equally amazing, with few weak links despite the sometimes obtuse dialogue. Expect Nora Zehetner as femme fatale Laura, to gain a Rachel McAdams style cult following.

One of the dangers of this kind of picture is that the audience requires a peculiar film literacy in order to gain full enjoyment. Thankfully, writer/director Rian Johnson keeps the audience entertained with meticulous photography and editing, with unexpectedly funny set pieces and slapstick within the generally sober texture. If there's any criticism it's that sometimes the style decends slightly too far into it's archer sensibilities but it's to Johnson's credit that he keeps faith with his concept and isn't distracted into providing a teen movie cliche in the climax. Engrossing.

I Am a Dalek.

Books I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that Gareth Robert's new novel I Am a Dalek features the Tenth Doctor's first tussle with his mortal enemy. Much like his colleague from Rob Shearman's Dalek, this metal machine has dropped through time to be uncovered in an archaeological dig on the south coast of England and it's up to the timelord and his companion to stop it from thinning down the local population. Part of the Quick Reads initiative, it's a very short book, a hundred pages of big writing so in length it's probably more akin to a Short Trip than anything else. I managed read through it in about an hour during a slow train journey home this evening. But what the book discards for brevity is more than made up for in humour and menace.

Gareth Robert's ability to capture realistic humanity in a Who setting is demonstrated once again here, with the two main supporting characters, Kate and Frank given some depth in the few words available, the latter being instantly sympathetic in the one scene he has with the Doctor. Kate as the linchpin of the drama is equally well thought out and particularly resonated with me since I too have been a twenty-eight year old, living at home and working in a call centre to make ends meet -- believe me -- those pages are horrifyingly authentic. It seems right and fitting that in the climax (not to give too much away) everything is sorted out because of the luminance of us clashing against the coldness of the Dalek.

Roberts replicates the Tenth and Rose perfectly, with the chemistry between the characters chiming immediately in the opening few pages. Some of the in-jokes which have cropped up in the first few episodes of the new series are echoed here as is the Doctor's verbal tick of repeating a word over and over in the same sentence with different stresses and meanings. In some of the comic strips, Rose can seems to be a bit 'generic mockney' but here she's much closer to the tv version, her scenes with Kate being a highlight.

I laughed beside myself on loads of occasions and actually shuffled in my seat during others. A book that does that is winning the battle. If the intention was to create in print enough action for a forty-five minute episode, it works perfectly and it's a shame that we might never see some of these scenes, particularly with the Dalek, filmed. But it does wet the appetite for what Roberts might be capable of given a television episode to work with.

More Ted

Web Katie has blogged the Ted Nelson night, and there are photos here.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Life This was my last day of formal teaching, final two seminars of the year with just an essay to write by D-Day and a dissertation for some time in early September. I vividly remember my excitement in September at the opening lecture and today had a hint of anti-climax, possibly because it wasn't the end of the course, more the drawing of a line under with a pencil rather than an endelible marker. Perhaps fittingly, we ended with the last ten minutes of It's a Wonderful Life, which I haven't seen in years but still had the power to get to me. As Aude Lange Syne sprang out from the voices of the people of Bedford Falls, I cried. It still feels like the end of something even through I've eighteen and half thousand words of writing ahead of me.

The sense of things changing continued on the was home as my train stumbled slowly through to Liverpool after being stuck behind a local train then stuttering into a track fault. Even though I was reading, I had time to look out of the window. For as long as I can remember there has been a massive car park filled with automobiles are far as the eye could see. I guessed it was a kind of 'warehouse' for cars and over the years I've been able to see the trends in favourite colours -- one month blue, the next red, the next white. Today the car park was empty with only the dirty on the tarmac were the machines had been. Beyond this further down the line a host of golden daffodils have sprouted, rolling across the fields. Perhaps it's a sign.

Links for 2006-05-10 [del.icio.us]

  • "Do I Disturb You, Mister?"
    Tim Lucas has some commentary on the US attitude to film horror and reviews Takeshi Miike's largely unseen episode of Showtime's 'Masters of Horror'
  • The Return Of Frank Sidebottom
    The man even has a blog.
  • Did Marijuana Fuel Shakespeare's Genius?
    Or was Bill a pothead?
  • The Saddest Things That I Own
    Having just cried during 'Spiderman 2', I don't I'm in any kind of emotional condition to look at this site now...
  • First Break

    Film "Daughter of the great cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, Zooey Deschanel caught her first break playing the young hero's impulsive older sister in Almost Famous. Her appearance is brief, but the hallmarks of her screen persona are readily apparent: She's flighty and a bit of a goof, with big moony eyes for rolling, yet that innocence makes her a vulnerable, touching presence, too. When Deschanel's character leaves home with her boyfriend, the shot of her sticking her head out the car window, her past rushing away as she peels toward an uncertain future, may be the most exhilarating in the film." -- Scott Tobias for The AV Club

    Part of a list of the 10 Character Actors Who Should Be In Every Movie. I love Zooey -- she was about the only good thing about the Hitchhiker's film (goes into paragraphs so that he can trot out yet again that this was the best Trillian in any media then closes them again). The list is actually pretty hip, and only features the living, which is a shame because I'd certainly include the likes of Claude Raines and Jason Robards. Also can I bump someone for Brian Cox? He regularly turns up playing everything from army men to fathers to heads of Longitude boards and fits anywhere. Basically created his character in Red Eye from nothing. I'm still not convinced that he didn't have some kind of government agency connections...

    crisis of identity

    "there has been, of late, an underlying urge to do or be something other than what i am. i have felt the deep need to escape this family and the crushing disappointment of having reached twenty-seven and done nothing worthy of consideration or account. there are no forms of recognition hanging on my wall, no university degree or certificate that says that i am anything. the fact of my high school diploma is even questionable in its value. i don't necessarily want the praises of this society and my ideal would be to change my culture's ideas about what is valuable, but still i have that feeling of lacking because nothing i've done is of any matter enough to be designated as worthy of a paycheck." -- anna kiss

    anna was always one of my favourite bloggers she stopped writing for a very long time. but thanks to rss, i know that she's back and still getting to the nub of things. welcome back anna. i missed you.

    Coffee

    Drink "Like many people, I love coffee. I love the way a good cup of coffee tastes, rich with a hint of bitterness. I love the way it looks dark and bottomless in the cup. I love the wisp of steam that rises from the surface and gently curls skyward. And most of all, I love the jolt." -- Michelle Isham for The Central Daily Times.

    Since I bought the coffee maker I know I've been drinking far too much of the sludge. I'm not at the shaking hands stage yet, but I genuinely feel more run down when I haven't had a mug. This is not good. Reading the above paragraph is making my glands water.

    BCCCDDE / BD

    Education "So here I am, filling in another application form for a job I know I would enjoy, would be able to do and would bring a great deal to. So why, oh why, does this form, and every other form I've ever filled in, still ask me to list the school I went to sixteen years ago and the O-levels I took? Who cares that I got a B in O-level maths in 1986 (at the age of 15, might I add) or an A in Physics when I was 16? I've moved on. These things don't matter. Let me just attach a copy of my degree certificates and have done." - Jonathan Baldwin

    Emo kid

    Trends " I cry a lot ... This is a given, seeing as I'm a hormone-ridden teenage girl with something of a penchant for the melodramatic. Most of the time I don't cry for overwrought normal teenage girl reasons, though. I usually tend to put on an early Bright Eyes album and curl up in my dimly lit bedroom with the exact purpose of making my vision go blurry ... Let's just call it a quirk ... Or, we could just call it me being a little emo kid." -- Olivia Hernandez for the Yakima Herald Republic

    Extremely lucid piece of writing about what it's like to be a teenager in a certain part of the world. Emo's seem to be post-Generation X and grunge. Sub-cultures are getting smaller.

    Ted Nelson @ FACT

    Web I've just returned from seeing Ted Nelson, the man who coined the term 'hypertext' speak at the FACT centre in Liverpool in the first of a series of annual lectures comemmorating Roy Stringer who was fundamental in helping to set up the FACT organisation. I went because of my dissertation topic, 'hyperlink cinema', hoping that he might say something which would trigger a new line of thought. It didn't quite happen that way. I was going to write a massive entry synopsising the main thrust of his argument, but since he designed the concept of hypertext, I think it would be more in keeping to link to Ted's wikipedia entry which actually eccentuates the main thrust of his arguments.

    I could certainly identify with the opening of the talk, in which he suggested that really software should be thought of as branch of movie making. That people who design software should take the cues from classic cinema, from Eisenstein and Welles. He talked about how the opening of Disney's Pinnocio is better than Snow White because he learnt that if was better to have Jimmy Cricket singing and introducing the film rather than endless pages of information -- getting information across as unobtrusively as possible. I do think a lot of software is designed this way, although I understand that much the time designers are papering over the cracks or looking for new ways to follow the same approach. As he said, Windows, Linux and Macs all basically use variations on the same interface.

    He continued that the reason that most games are better designed than office software is because they have directors where as office software is put together by programmers who are closer in this context to cameramen. He offered Pacman as a model for office software because there was no need for a manual -- you understood the game straight away. Critical of Photoshop as being uncomfortable to use and unintuitive and requiring a manual for most features.

    Nelson has a ready wit and the biggest laugh of the evening happened when he described Steve Jobs as being like a very good movie director, but Bill Gates is a traffic cop, directing a mass of software created under weak principals. He describes himself as the only dissenter in the computer field because everyone else accepts that hierarchical directories are good - as is the simulation of paper, reminding us that all GUI interfaces were designed in the 1970s by people working for Xerox.

    There were many demonstrations of the software he's designing. For anyone who knows about such things he played through the Xanadu Cosmic Book system, which is hypertext that includes a line linking back to the original document, also still visible to show the original context. There was also Billowtalk in which text increases in size when most important to the user. Some of his approaches are about expressing information in a three dimensional space -- there were a couple of systems on display which seemed quite fiddly to use with a mouse. When I asked about that Ted pulled a gamepad from his bag and plugged it in, providing a much smoother user experience.

    I sometimes feel a bit isolated when it comes to the web because whenever I try to talk about my online activity, this blog in particular, people tend to think it's a bit strange. Last time I felt entirely secure was when I met Suw Charman a few years ago. It was amazing to see so many people gathered who were in my context, using the same websites I do. I've never been in a Q&A in which people are asking questions about Creative Commons licenses, Web 2.0, upcoming and flickr and in one case mentioned that they have a blog. Ian Jackson from Art In Liverpool was there too which made three of us, although I'm sure there were others. So what I really enjoyed about the evening was being in a room with lots of people having a similar online experience to me.

    Links for 2006-05-08 [del.icio.us]

  • Cybermen make cover of Radio Times
    First time a brain's been on there surely.
  • The Girl In The Fireplace.



    TV It's been very difficult for me to sit down and review The Girl In The Fireplace. Not because I didn't like it. I did. I loved it. I just think I loved it so much that I've lost perspective. On my own blog  [this blog -- retrospective ed] I'm often left in the position of having to write about something that I've loved utterly and been defeated. Usually I just post a picture of the dvd, the book cover or the cd and let that be the single recommendation, and feedback says that some people like that approach because they know that even if whatever I'm presenting isn't flawless, it's made me feel, so they'll feel too. Really all I wanted to do here is present a photo of the clockwork men, but since you all have seen it, that would be silly.

    So I'll just admit defeat, cop out and concur with what everyone else has said, especially Neil and Paul [other reviews on Behind The Sofa - retrospective ed again].

    This was television programme as statement. Not in the Cathy Come Home sense of illuminating some social problem, but in terms of demonstrating what's possible if enough people love an artistic endevour enough that they simply want to produce and create something built on love and joy. Watching Doctor Who Confidential afterwards, every single crew member from Russell T Davies downwards had a sparkle in their eye and a glow which said that they're all doing something which they never thought they would ever get the chance to do, and we should be very grateful that they're being given the opportunity to do it.

    Very Insular and Introspective

    WeMedia "All in all, the day was very insular and introspective, with a lot of people appearing to think that they are doing very well, thankyouverymuch, without the input of anyone who knows what they're talking about. By the end of the day, I was beyond my usual state of British reserve and just about ready to spit feathers. I'm used to people not getting it, remember - I do this stuff for a living so I have plenty of experience of people talking out of their arse. But this conference brought me to a new level of frustration." -- Suw Charman blogs at the WeMedia conference

    The Older I Get

    Film "I, too, find that the older I get, the less tolerance I have for much of the sludge that Hollywood spews out with ghastly predictability. I'm sure there are lots of people willing to shell out 10 bucks plus snack money on a David Slade or Adam Sandler film. I'm just not one of them. For the most part, I far prefer to spend my movie-watching hours with indies, foreigns, and documentaries. Not that every film that falls in those categories is automatically good (actually, indie films can be really, really bad), but the likelihood of hitting a film worth spending my time on -- where I actually walk out of the theater feeling that my life has been enhanced in some way by spending my time watching it -- seems to markedly increase the further from Hollywood the film originates." -- Kim Voynar at Cinematical

    Doolally

    Erm. "David Icke talk, Brixton Academy, Saturday, May 6. The most perplexing thing about this talk by David Icke is not the notorious former goalkeeper himself, it is his audience. Ok, I reason, it is eminently possible for one man to go a bit doolally but how do you explain the capacity Brixton Academy crowd - some 3,000 people - clapping, whooping and hanging on his every word?" -- Richard Lyons for The Streatham Guardian

    It's a bit long...

    Film A few weeks ago someone who wanted to watch some good international asked me for a few suggestions.

    The following list is the result. I thought you'd be interested.

    It's a bit long.

    I've tended to include films that I've loved rather than the so-called 'standards' many of which have bored me rigid. The star means I'd watch it tonight if I could. Also I've only put things in which are available on dvd. It's a bit French but I've probably seen their films more than anyone elses. Plus they tend to be the majority of the films released in the uk at the moment.

    8 Women
    20:30:40
    400 Blows
    L'Apartment *
    A Very Long Engagement
    Aimee and Jaguar
    Amelie *
    Amores Perros
    Bande A Part *
    Battle Royale
    Belle Epoque
    Belleville Rendez-Vous
    Betty Blue *
    Blue Gate Crossing
    Bob De Flambier
    Closely Observed Trains
    Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
    Etre Et Avoir
    Fairwell My Concubine
    Festen
    Un Flic
    French Twist
    Goodbye Lenin!
    Heaven
    He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
    Hero
    Hidden
    House of Flying Daggers
    In The Mood For Love
    In This World
    Intimate Strangers
    Irreversible
    Jean De Florette/Manon Des Sources
    Jesus of Montreal *
    Jules Et Jim
    Kitchen Stories
    Lagaan
    La R├Ęgle du jeu
    La Reine Margot
    Last Life In The Universe
    Like Water For Chocolate
    Look at Me *
    Love Me If You Dare
    Ma Vie En Rose
    M
    Malena
    Metropolis
    No Man's Land
    Nikita
    Partie De Campagne
    Pot Luck * (l'auberge espagnole)
    Red Lights
    Ringu
    Run Lola Run
    Shaolin Soccer
    Show Me Love *
    Solaris
    Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter And Spring
    Sunrise
    Take Care of My Cat
    Taxi *
    Taxi 2 *
    Ten
    The Dreamers *
    The Hairdresser's Husband *
    The Last Metro
    The Man Without A Past
    The Motorcycle Diaries
    The Seventh Seal
    The Umbrellas of Cherborg
    Three Colours Blue *
    Three Colours White
    Three Colours Red *
    Trilogy - One / Two / Three *
    Un Coeur En Hiver
    Un Flic
    Une Liaison Pornographique
    Wild Strawberries
    Wings of Desire
    Y Tu Mamma Tambien
    Zatoichi *


    There are a couple of crossover films in there and it's far from complete.

    I also offered some further suggestions:

    Unlike a lot of hollywood directors, you tend to find that if you like the work of one director you'll like much of anything else they do.

    Look at BBC Four's website. They haven't broadcast many bad films and in fact many of the things I've had to watch for my course are recordings from their broadcasts:

    Also the list of Oscar nominations. There aren't that many bad choices amongst the winners, and looking back into the past some really seminal films have been chosen. Basically if it looks boring and a haul, it probably is.

    Laptop Trouble

    Commerce Sasha's been having a 'few' problems with her laptop. Here is the letter she sent to Sony. Here is their response. You'd think when the guy had read as far as phone call thirty that he'd twig that perhaps there was a problem in their system.

    Counting slowly

    TV Interesting phenomena this week. As has been noted at Outpost Gallifrey, the overnight figures for The Girl In The Fireplace take a massive jump of 700,000 at 7:15, presumably because the show's been on at about that time for three weeks running and people have assumed that's when it'll be starting, effecting the percentage overall.

    BBC One BBC Two ITV Four Five
    19:00 ... 6.7 (34.8%) ... 3.2 (16.6%) ... 3.0 (15.6%) ... 1.4 ( 7.2%) ... 0.8 ( 4.2%)
    19:15 ... 7.5 (37.1%) ... 3.4 (16.7%) ... 2.3 (11.2%) ... 1.4 ( 7.1%) ... 0.8 ( 3.8%)
    19:30 ... 7.8 (37.9%) ... 3.3 (16.0%) ... 2.3 (11.0%) ... 1.3 ( 6.4%) ... 0.9 ( 4.3%)

    Still the most watched show yesterday though, which is fun considering how beautifully atypical the episode was.

    Clothes

    Life Yesterday was about clothes.

    I visited The Walker Liverpool's new A Passion For Fashion exhibition. Although I can understand why they're popular, costume exhibitions leave me generally fairly cold. Hanging as they do from mannequins, the items always seem very lifeless and cold to me -- whilst they can be beautiful, clothes are to be worn and only really present their true lushness on a human body.

    Looking through this collection of Emily Tinne I understood intellectually the fine needlework and what the items demonstrate about the time in which they were created I couldn't focus on them in the same way that I might a painting or sculpture which fulfill their potential in and of themselves. I pondered what might happen if I working in my dream job as an arts correspondent and had been given the job of reviewing this exhibition -- would I be able to present a true opinion of what I'd seen despite my prejudices?

    As I passed through the station I saw about twenty women in bright pink t-shirts with a photograph of themselves printed on the back.

    Last night's Doctor Who was a costume extravaganza, and although I knew that the items on display were fake I cooed more over them more than the exhibition. Sophie Myles' dresses in particular looked amazing, although apparently some of them were cinematic hand-me-downs -- a golden number originating on Helen Mirren during The Madness of King George. In the lighting though, they sparkled. Really, after a shakey start this series is going from strength to strength, somehow managing to fuse the traditional and experimental in amazing and quite extraordinary ways.

    I found a hole in my favourite jeans.

    Last night too was Chris's birthday drink. Everyone piled into The Flute on Hardman Street and tried to talk over the loudness of the music and din of other people talking. Clothing questions occured. Is a bin bag turned into a sort of waist coat sort of hanging off a girl's shoulders acceptably fashionable now? How about a white jacket over black shirt and heavily ripped jeans?