Le Grand spectacle


Le Grand spectacle
Originally uploaded by Tampen.

For some reason this makes up for Doctor Who not being on tv this week. Six(ish) months 'til Christmas


TV Remember that test card with the girl, the chalk, the blackboard and the clown. It was transglobal ...


Site News I've decided to try a new experiment. Can a blog like mine with its small but loyal audience make Google Text Ads workable? I've tried to add them sensitively and I don't think they stick out too much. Meanwhile, I've also decided to start using Blogline's blogroll so that I can have an accurate up to date list of what I'm reading for people to explore ... it looks a bit messy now, but I'm going through the list now and shaving off any of the really ineligant ones. Meanwhile -- anyone know what's happening with Blogger's posting -- it seems to be leaving rather an odd gap after each post.

Belly Bomb

If a human being were to eat black pudding followed by king prawns and washed down with a glass of milk, due to the un-stable chemical mixture now sitting in his or hers gut, the poor individual's stomache would literally explode within a matter of minutes ! [Ugh -- thanks Franchesca]

Hello Control

One of the miriad questions posed over the past couple of days related to who we'd all want to see writing the series. BBC News are saying that Stephen Fry is in talks to write an episode of the new series, presumably in that empty slot for which Russell T has already been announced as the author. Could he be the new Douglas Adams?

Help me take my mask off

Film A few months ago I went to a book group and everyone had been reading the James Bond novel Casino Royale. In the midst of the discuss I explained that I understood that Bond's was a code name used by various agents over the years -- which would explain the different faces in the films. This was seen as some great revelation -- I'd thought that was the point but apparently not. It's just happened again. I'm reading a post about the Star Wars prequels at Cinematical, and in the middle it says:
"Interestingly enough, he even comes to the conclusion that Return of the Jedi could be referring to Anakin/Darth, rather than Luke Skywalker, like the rest of us thought. Interesting idea."
I always thought that even before the new trilogy was released. I understood that the closing moments were about Anakin's Jedi tendencies re-asserting themselves over the Sith as well as the return of the Jedi as an order via Luke. Funny.

I pledge allegiance

Beliefs Whilst I wrestle with the thought that I might be a Humanist after reading the Wikipedia entry, I read that a kid on the other side of the atlantic is also going a different way. In the UK, most children have to say the Lord's Prayer (well they did in -- god help me -- my day). In the US they take The Pledge to their country. Except 8 (probably not his real name) who decided to pledge an allegiance to the United Federation of Planets. And got suspended for it. Which does seem a bit harsh -- I mean it's not like he turned up at school dressed as an Andorian. That said his mum is making the most of it and merchandising the pledge. I haven't watched Star Trek in years, but that mug is looking really tempting ... [via]

Face facts

Art Classical art pop culture lookalikes ... actually the first one also looks like the late Spalding Gray more than Peter Stringfellow. [via]

Oddly enough, whilst watch North By Northwest for the first time last night, I realised how much the rendering of Thomas Jefferson at Mount Rushmore looks like actor Paul McGann in Doctor Who mode.


I think a certain timelord has some explaining to do...

I'll be there for you...

Book Another excellent book title, this time written by Emily Dubberley: You Must Be My Best Friend... Because I Hate You!: Friendship and How to Survive It

Abruptly, the sound ceased ...

Music The chances of anything coming from Mars were a million to one he said ... possibly to coincide with the release of the new film version, Jeff Wayne's concept album version of War of the Worlds has been re-released in a -- get this -- seven disc special edition. That's the actual piece on two cds, a disc full of remixes, three discs of outtakes (including a Spanish narrator) and a making of dvd. Zeta Minor's great review also includes a short history of the piece. No one could have believed in the early years of the 21st century ...

What women want?

Books Is this really what women want? Erica Jong's What Do Women Want?: Bread, Roses, Sex, Power. Actually I like the honesty of the main Amazon review:
"This is Jong at her best and worst, alternately flailing wildly and landing squarely on the mark. "It's hard to be a novelist in the age of soap opera", she observes, commenting on American President Clinton's sexual peccadilloes. "The slow accretion of 500 well-wrought words a day seems pointless beside the dizzying and breathless plot lines served up by the evening news." The delicious irony of the book's title is no accident; it's a question Sigmund Freud asked and never satisfactorily answered. Neither does Jong but her cultural commentary has flashes of brilliance and the nerve necessary to cut to the head of the line."
Taking that as a multiple choice or not, would women be content with one of those things or a mixture of the four. Where are your priorities?

Big on cd

TV I have noticed that I've been geeking out all over for the past the months (months?) with my one track mind flying about in space and time somewhere. It's been a long time and I'm giving myself some room and enjoying the adventure. One of the knock on effects of Doctor Who going mainstream is that all of the various story streams which have kept the dream alive these past few years are being looked at by a wider audience. For example, the last of the ongoing Eighth Doctor novels The Gallifrey Chronicles, which apparently usually sell not more six thousand copies jumped to third at Amazon's pre-release chart, just under both versions of the new Harry Potter novel. Even since release, it's been scarce.

Also taking a bow are Big Finish's range of audio cds which I've mentioned before. The next to last episode of the Doctor Who Confidential series had a whole entire slot talking about them, with footage from a recording session. That's pretty impressive. Then I open the paper today and find that Andrew Collins is writing about them in his diary, because he's going to be in one:
"Here is the news: I'm going to be in Doctor Who. Seriously. (Would I joke about such an honour?) Alright, I'm going to be in an audio episode, but it still counts! This is the ongoing branch of Who that, along with the novels, talking books and animated webcasts, kept the franchise alive during the 16 years it was off the telly. It may have been a revelation to part-time armchair fans that the Doctor's been back in the fleeting form of Christopher Eccleston these past 13 weeks, but to the dedicated "Whovian" (or whatever they prefer to be called), he never went away."
It's only a few paragraphs but the I love the way he namedrops the main Who fan website Outpost Gallifrey without explaining what it is as though anyone reading is supposed to know anyway. For the uninitiated three fun facts on how the new series relates to Big Finish:
When they secured the participation of Paul McGann to play the Eighth Doctor they were rolling his stories out in annual seasons. Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss and Robert Shearman all wrote classic stories for the pearless second season. They've all written an episode for the new tv series.

Shearman also wrote a Colin Baker adventure for them called Jubilee. This formed the basis for the Dalek episode in the new tv series.

All of the Daleks in the new tv series were voiced by Nicholas Briggs. Briggs also voiced all the Daleks for Big Finish and has written and directed the Dalek Empire series for them, which features new Doctor David Tennant in a starring role.
BF have had their license renewed into 2007 so there will still be plenty of new Who about while the show is off air. Now if only they could talk Tom Baker into recording a few ...


In the Steven Spielberg film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' during the scene when we've discovered that Roy has built a scale model of Devil's Point in his living room, the television is on and we can hear the sound of a postman calling at a front door. He says: "I have a package for Gillian Anderson."

The actress Gillian Anderson would later play Dana Scully for nine years on 'The X-Files'.

Swallow it down.

Music The acoustic version of Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill is being released in July in the UK (so I've no need to pester Starbucks anymore). Amazon are listing it as an import and charging £14.99. Play make no mention of this and are charging £8.99 More at Froogle.

Duh duh duh duh dee duh duh dee duh

Film Will Layman at Pop Matter writes a very handy review of the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith soundtrack cd:
"But then, whatever you've thought about the Star Wars movies, the music has always been great, hasn't it? The stirring main theme, with its famous melody and impossibly syncopated low brass giving way to the stirring contrasting theme in the strings; Vader's evil-dripping Imperial March that was always 20% too jaunty to be entirely hateful; the high woodwinds curling their way around various space ballets. There is a decent argument that the moving pictures -- some of them, at least -- were little more than visual accompaniment to the music, which rarely stops during the entire lengths of the movies. Indeed, while the six Star Wars movies have had different directors, different writers, different stars and editors and cinematographers, there has been one constant: John Williams as composer, creating a melodic world in which two or three generations of Americans have chosen to eat a whole mess of popcorn."
Watching Close Encounters on dvd for the first time the other day cemented the feeling that Williams is one of our great living composers classical or otherwise. Anyone who just dismisses this body of work because it accompanies films is just being silly.

Not going into Room 101 anymore...

TV Another example of wierdness from this bizarre alternative dimension we've all strayed into. BBC Chairman Michael Grade praises Doctor Who:
"This is not easy to write - as you will readily understand. But here goes - congratulations to all involved in Doctor Who: to whoever commissioned it, those who executed it, the writers, the cast, the publicity folk that promoted it, the schedulers and of course the late Sydney Newman who invented the whole thing," he wrote.
Scary that he should namecheck old Sydney -- does he even get a 'created by' credit anywhere on the show?

Not Room 101

TV Another example of weirdness from this bizarre alternative dimension we've all strayed into. BBC Chairman Michael Grade praises Doctor Who:
"This is not easy to write - as you will readily understand. But here goes - congratulations to all involved in Doctor Who: to whoever commissioned it, those who executed it, the writers, the cast, the publicity folk that promoted it, the schedulers and of course the late Sydney Newman who invented the whole thing," he wrote.
Scary that he should namecheck old Sydney -- does he even get a 'created by' credit anywhere on the show?


DVD Review of Robert Bresson's The Trail of Joan of Arc, which I saw during The Philosophy of Film class and has images which will stay with me forever.

Just you.

TV Not watching much tv (now that a certain programme isn't on tv for the time being I can't think of any must sees right now) it's interesting to see that someone has spotted something approaching my demographic. Although I'd substitute Channel 4 for BBC 4 ...


The Weather What I should have added is that about an hour after I dragged by scorched bones home, the thunder started and it's rained solidly for two hours. I do love the rain. So does someone called Stupified who's just commented on the previous post. "Just to let you know that I found your blog because i was looking for people who love rain, and you said you love rain. I'm putting you on my rain lovers list, if that's ok with you."


That Day Happy Father's Day to anyone with children. It was a hot old day earlier -- went to the Africa Oye festival which is being held in the park and had to leave after an hour of looking for somewhere in the shade. I shut down whenever there is a humidity around and that's exactly what happened early. Plus, although I've tried, I'm not a big fan of some African music although sort of liked what I heard. Spent some of the rest of the afternoon rewatching last night's Doctor Who trying to work out the ending and who actually saved the day. I have a wierd Margaret Slitheen theory ...