more pertinent than ever

Pilgrim Street Liverpool, originally uploaded by ijob.

Liverpool Vodaphone advert with Jon Pertwee and Kyle MacLachlan
For years I thought this was for British Gas. With social networking, the advertising slogan is probably more pertinent than ever (the above photo is from 2006).

All Music Is The Same Four Chords
Scream as Axis of Awesome reveal some of your favourite music as the plagiarist sham it is. "Oh no", you'll shout, "Not Torn!" I'm just surprised someone else has heard of Missy Higgins. In the comments there's also a video demonstrating that everything else is Pachelbel's Canon.
Related: Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now and Now Coldplay Sound Like Everyone Else

Or how Andrew Collins almost appeared on BBC News to talk about the Golden Globe nominations.

Cablevision and the infinite TiVo
John August discusses the implications of everything on-demand television in the US.

Something Awful: WWF Wrestlemania
"When the title screen's music started up with the traditional thump thump thump thump thump thump SUPER HARDCORE MIDI, I had my misgivings. But after that, the music in Wrestlemania became oddly cheerful. It reminded me less of a death match and more of a pleasant tea party between a couple of kind-hearted princesses. Then you realize each princess has six heads and a segmented thorax leaking chromatic pus because you're on a fucking acid trip."

10 freaky finds inside shark stomachs
Not to be read before or after a meal.

Top 5 worst New Year's Eves
Sadly Robyn's not writing for Dollymix any longer, a day I knew would come, so I saved this vintage post to read later. I'll not go into details, but similar experiences are the reason I've pretty much given up on New Year myself. You always think people are having a better time than you are.

The Guardian could test itself.

Life I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my voice. Not my voice voice you understand, as in the sound of the words which spew from my mouth. I resigned myself ages ago to the fact that I’ll never sound like Laurence Fishburne, that the best I can muster is Paul McGann rising to a Paul O’Grady if I’m really annoyed or excited.

I’m talking about my writing voice, the way I express myself in prose. It’s probably more properly described as my writing style, though I think you can have a decent style without having anything to say. Certainly, it felt that way for me at university when I was trying to apply Freud’s female trajectory to the film Amelie (independent girl still needs man for total fulfilment or she’ll die lonely etc).

I’ve been questioning exactly what my voice is and what makes it distinctive to the many millions of other writers on the planet. I look at my recent film reviews and though intellectually I can see that they’re perfectly functional pieces of writing which get most of the points across, they don’t sing and more disappointingly they don’t sound like me; they sound like me trying to mimic what someone else, specifically what I think a professional writer might produce.

That’s something I’ve caught myself doing all too often. I’ll either be impersonating the kind of bloggy style I’ve seen elsewhere or pretending I’m doing it for Sight and Sound. You can and should tailor your style depending upon the subject to be sure, but lately I’ve found myself being dragged in a hundred different directions, at least as far as I can tell.

In other words, I think I’ve lost my voice.

I’m highly self critical of my work at the best of times. At worst, I feel guilty that I can’t seem to get myself to think in a way that produces writing of what I think is of a quality, with strong, surprising unrepetitive phrases, a clear argument with a thorough through line that leaps out at the reader, the reader I suspect often that is just me. I know we can’t all be George Orwell or Earnest Hemmingway, but can we at least stretch to a Woodward or Bernstein or Clive James?

How distinctive is a writer’s voice or style, especially when someone’s writing non-fiction or journalistically? I have favourite writers, in books, in newspapers, on blogs and I know that how they express themselves isn't as important as what’s being expressed. There’ll be some admirable turns of phrase here and there and in some cases it’s the sentence structure which draws you in, but more often than not it's the, to quote an unfortunate phrase from an unfortunate lady, “world view”.

If I had a copy of The Guardian, a paper which I’ve read for years and years, with all of the author names blotted out and profile photos, would I be able to tell who had written what? The Guardian could test itself. It would be an interesting exercise if, one day, a number of their columnists were commissioned to write for the G2 supplement on exactly the same topics, the work was published anonymously and then the readership had to guess who wrote what.

I think I probably might because of my long service, but might someone who’d just picked up the paper? Would they care? I suspect I could identify Charlie Brooker very quickly since no one’s quite like him, but is Hadley Freeman that different to Marina Hyde? Philip French to Xan Brooks? Sam Walliston to Gareth McLean? Barbara Ellen from Miranda Sawyer? Are they trying to be or am I missing the point, since by definition a newspaper has a single voice however blissfully sarcastic and if they were writing for a different audience their style would change accordingly.

But I don’t think even in those circumstances someone’s style is invisible even if its not as specifically different as Swift or Austen, Ibsen or Gibson and there lies my problem. I think my style is invisible and there’s nothing to distinguish it and I think that’s only something which has happened recently. Looking back at old blog posts and reviews I can tell that they’re written by me. Looking back over this group of paragraphs, I’m not sure that’s the case any more.

A couple of evenings ago, BBC Four broadcast an insightful interview by Mark Lawson with the actress Maureen Lipman. In the closing stages she was explaining to him how she’d come to terms with her own crippling self-criticism, how nothing she does will ever be as perfect as she’d like. She paraphrased from the final page of the autobiography of Agnes De Mille, the choreography.

De Mille was describing a conversation she had with her mentor Martha Graham, during a period when she too was having pangs of self doubt. Graham said:

“It is not your business to judge what is right and wrong in a performance. You have only one thing to do in life and that is to keep the channel open. There is a vitality, a life force in you which is quintitentially you, and if you block that channel by judging yourself, it will never exist in any form and the world will be deprived of it.”

De Mille pleaded: “But then there’s no satisfaction.”

To which Graham replied: “No satisfaction, ever, at any time. Only a queer divine dissatisfaction which marks us out and makes us different from the rest.”
In other words, it’s up to other people, critics or whoever to judge how good you are. Your job is simply to communicate – in her case through dance, in Lipman’s case through acting, and in my case I guess, in writing.

Even if I’ll never be happy with my writing style or anything I put in writing, no matter how much satisfaction or otherwise I’m giving to others, I should just resign myself to the fact that nothing is ever perfect and I should just live with it and carry on. That has the potential for delusion and a wasted life, but we’ll leave that exploration for now. Thank you, doctor. Why aren't you writing any of this down?

Graham’s words are constructive, but it expects that you know what your style is and its power. I’m not sure I have that, and don’t know if I ever will. QED.

My conclusion, as ever arrived at in a roundabout way even with the help of Googe Maps, is that the reason I feel as though my writing has stultified and nullified is that I’m trying too hard. That the reason I failed to capture the kineticism of The Night They Raided Minsky’s is because I wasn't being as open and expressive as I'd wanted to be. What I really wanted to do was obsess over Norman Wisdom’s surprising participation but felt that, because it was a review of a film many of you simply don’t know yet I loved, I had to cover all the bases.

That’s crazy, especially since, like this thousand odd words, I was purely trying to fill the one post a day minimum (hopefully of at least three paragraphs) I’ve promised myself I’ll put up here or one of the other blogs or websites. I need to relax and get back into simply enjoying the process of writing and in a way which entertains myself at least without, also, admittedly, the constant concern of potential professional engagements at the back of my mind. Otherwise I may go mental and not in the kind of upbeat way I observed on Tuesday night.

Renée Fleming!

Neil and Palma's Kilimanjaro Challenge
Neil Perryman, co-editor of Behind The Sofa and his friend Palma Carter are doing a charity climb up Mt Kilimanjaro to see the roof of the world in aid of UNICEF and they're looking for sponsors. You can make a donation here. Given the date, I think Neil's just looking for a way to avoid the next series of Torchwood.

Ada Lovelace Day.
Have you signed up yet? 24th March some of us bloggers will write about a woman in technology who is unsung. I think there's still time to pledge. I haven't decided who I'll be writing about, but I suspect selecting Suw herself would be missing the point, even though she deserves it.

Renée Fleming to sing at Obama's inauguration
And some other people, but still -- Renée Fleming! I just hope we get to see some of it, though I suspect the BBC coverage will be the likes of Justin Webb talking about the US economy whilst Shakira sings in the background.

Neko Case track. Free download.
And because I'm linking to it, the record company are sending $5 to an animal welfare charity. Just because I'm allergic to cats doesn't mean I can't help them out once in a while.

Catherine Zeta Jones is Cleopatra in Steven Soderbergh's 3D musical Cleo!
I don't think there's anything this man can't at least try to direct. Jones was about the only thing which made the film version of Chicago watchable. Secretly I hoped she would be the next Doctor Who, which seems terribly unlikely but consider her performances since High Fidelity. Not that (the royal) we could have afforded her.

Sarah Beeny is in my generation.
It hadn't occurred to me that Sarah Beeny was thirty-seven, just two and a bit years older than me. Which isn't to say I thought she was older, it's that I forget sometimes (as we've established) that I'm not in my twenties. It makes her more approachable somehow. Before this becomes too inappropriate, I should mention that this interview from last weekend's worth reading for the opening few paragraphs were the Guardianista forgets what she looks like...

Is it Little Boots?
Production company actively looking for crap dancers for a video shoot. Will only say that they're one of the BBC's fifteen musicians to watch. Lady Gaga? La Roux? Remember when singers had names which sounded like someone you'd meet at the shops, like ... oh ... no ... erm ...

Heather Higginbottom reacts
Donna Moss. "She's a fine lookin' woman." etc.

Barack paraphrases an Alanis Morissette song. Probably not.
"Enough about me, lets talk about you for a minute / Enough about you, lets talk about life for a while / The conflicts, the craziness and the sound of pretenses / Falling all around... all around." I still can't quite believe that by next Tuesday evening, this man is going to be the US President. In this video, without pretension, he offers what amounts to an advert for the inauguration describing the various media outlets and websites that will be carrying the event, including a kids version on Disney with Michelle and Joe and then goes all Capraesque with suggestions on how people can help serve their country.

Amanda describes the plot of Star Wars from the tiny amount she’s seen.
Genius. And strangely close to Lucas's original synopsis.

Friends of Dorothy
Health warning: Contains Bobby Davro and the phrase: "Take it away kids, here we go."

Girl comforts friend whilst studying.

Danielle Steel has been translated more than Shakespeare
That's horrifying if understandable. I'm yet to here reports of Shakespeare having been translated successfully, verbatim, into any other language and that includes Klingon.

Jessamyn's my year in cities and towns, 2008
Amazing collection of photographs of the guestrooms she's stayed in. That I couldn't compile a similar collection underscores why I need to get away and soon. Any offers?

Norman Wisdom’s constant pratfalls and general brilliance

Film The Night They Raided Minsky's is one of those forgotten films, at least in the UK, from the late sixties which has fallen through the cracks of film criticism, little spoken of, little written of. Sure, google the title and there are plenty of reviews, but when an otherwise comprehensive film guide like Time Out ignores it and it’s rarely mentioned in retrospectives of the period it feels like a lost gem, the kind of piece, which like it did for me last night, creeps up on you and makes you wonder if, despite the many thousands of films you’ve already seen, you’re still looking in the wrong direction.

Despite its 1920s setting, this fictionalised account of the invention of the striptease during a midnight burlesque show at the titular theatre marinates in the style of late 60s Hollywood (shot in '67 and released in '68). It headlines Brit Ekland and Jason Robards as an Armish innocent who’s hoodwinked into starring in the show with her Bible dancing to embarass the police raid of the title and the comedian who falls for her and wants to save her from the humiliation. The manager of the show, one Billy Minsky is played by Elliot Gould, cigar permanently in hand, and it’s directed by William Friedkin who’d go on to own the early 70s with The Exorcist and The French Connection.

What makes it particularly special, though, is that dropped in the middle is Norman Wisdom as Robards’ pathetic sidekick. This was some time past his work at Rank (which used to turn up on BBC2 on a Saturday aftertoon, ‘Mr Grimsdale’ and all that) when he was working on Broadway. He was cast in Minsky’s after being nominated for Tony for the musical Walking Happy and he secretly steals the film from under Robards’s bowler hat, his emotional break recalling the likes of Chaplin and Keaton in evoking the likeable clown. Whenever he’s on screen it’s him your looking at, as every part of his body is moving and you’re wondering what have happened to his career if this film had been a hit – it was theatre and British tv all the way after this.

A latter day backstage musical set during one fatal night, large chunks of the three shows are reproduced in their entirety and authentically much of it is pretty awful. Most of these films disengage from reality when a dance number scrolls around, aping Busby Berkley, with scientifically precise choreography, outlandish dance manoeuvres and dancers who look like they’ve been developed and manufactured on a production line. Here, the Minsky’s grinding dancers are rarely in time, swishing and blundering about the dance floor and are real women, their figures popping out of too small dresses. It’s a spectacle, but for the wrong reasons, as the audience stoop forward trying to get glance at their flesh.

Similarly, the comic material on stage isn’t that funny and seems that way by design, tired old vaudeville sketches which you’re certain are sure to be eulogised by historians later as the routines give way to the legends of the comics, in which their backstage antics have blotted out the paucity of the material they presented to their audience (who to be fair lapped it up anyway). There’s a desperation to their performances, equivalent of our end of the pier comics in seaside towns at the twilight of their careers, desperately trying to cling on to what they once had, by giving the punters what they remember.

The film is shot in the kind of handheld style familiar of the period, few moments of stillness, plenty of whip-pans, a spirit of experimentation. In one complicated scene, the conversation between Minksy and an investor is played with Gould’s face emerging, when he’s talking, in a hand mirror on the wall behind the other actor’s left shoulder, the flow of the conversation at the whim of the focus puller. Much of the film takes place in the theatre and we’re up on the stage during the show, enjoying the intimate and often desperate communication of the performers which is hidden from the audience. It's clearly influenced by the French New Wave just as Bonnie and Clyde was, though even more complex somehow as the camera takes in far more characters, embraces even greater detail.

The film’s relative obscurity might be explained by its torturous trip to the screen. After an atrocious first cut, Friedkin reportedly disowned the film (from what I can gather he flew to London to shoot The Birthday Party, a Pinter adaptation) and we have cutter Ralph Rosenblum to thank for making the film as good as it is (though it took him ten months). Rosenblum’s contribution is to mimic the freewheeling shooting style in the editing, intercutting, for example, footage from the period with new material whenever a character enters New York’s streets, and offering illustrative snap shots to punctuate the lengthier speeches, such as Denholm Elliot’s decency inspector when Gould is describing to his father (who owns the theatre) the pressures he’s working under.

It’s far from perfect. The treatment of women is deeply suspect, mostly to be ogled at and though there’s some attempt to bolster the girls who work in the theatre by suggesting that they’re well aware of the exploitation and ‘boys will be boys’ the old Hollywood Barbara Stanwyck vehicle Lady of Burlesque probably presents a more realistic view of women’s role in these kinds of operations. The doe-eyed inert Ekland’s a weak link too; clearly the motive for her cute overload is to make her later embracing of the erotic form of dancing all the more shocking, but despite her luminance she's generally the less impressive addition to a scene. There's no denying that her swan like emergence in the finale is ... imaginative, yet uncomfortable because as the assembled males are clawing to see her naked curves even as oddly, some of their wives look on disapprovingly.

Yet, you’re basically willing to forgive all of that because it’s so damn entertaining. A fight scene in which Wisdom and Robards have gone to a speakeasy to find Eckland is reduced simply to the results of the punches as both actors are flung about the place. When Robards has finally managed to talk Eckland to his room, she says she’ll only sleep with him if God offers a sign just as his fold up bed falls backwards from the wall. The shots of the Amish stereotype which constitutes her father drifting through New York, a disapproving look fixed on his bearded face. Norman Wisdom’s constant prat falls and general brilliance, even in character on stage, his drunken act. He’s the ‘discovery’ and the film’s worth watching just for that.

Now, I'm off to get over myself.

Life Sometimes you need to write the truth. Sometimes, you're just existing. Sometimes days just slips past you. You begin at 7am wondering about all the wonderful things you could be doing but somehow by ten o'clock you've eaten granola and watched an episode of Survivors, by eleven you've shopped online, by twelve you read the day's RSS feeds including job search, then lunch, then the last couple of episodes of Survivors (I gasped!) which somehow bleeds into listening to Offenbach's Coppelia suite and reading about Haydn, then a call to the tax office, followed by some Boston Legal by which time, it's dinner time, then it's off to see The Night They Raided Minsky's and then you're sitting at your computer at 11pm and you really wonder if you've spent your day productively.

When I was growing up, my Mum and Dad always made sure that I was busy. I'm an only child and they thought it important probably that I didn't have enough time to ponder the lack of siblings, so I was always doing something, making things, playing games and it's a self sufficiency which has carried through. I don't remember the last time I was bored -- or more specifically slumped somewhere wondering what I could be doing. I can fill my time and do; but boredom is an odd emotion. You can still be doing lots of things, but still feel inherently bored even as you watch the hours of each day ebb away.

I know that to an extent I'm simply finding ways to fill the spaces which wouldn't necessarily be there if I had the responsibilities of most people my age. But I'm 34 years old and I still feel the much the same way I did when I was in my twenties. I know there'll be some who look at that day and ironically wish they had the luxury of time which I feel like I've wasted and I know that there'll be some time in the future when I think about what I've written here and pity this younger(ish) version of me.

I know that some of this dissatisfaction is blogger envy or the newly minted Twitter envy as you watch people who're going out and doing things talk about it in 140 characters and I know that most of them probably having similar feelings as me or else would think me a fool too for having them. Just go out and do something they'll say, you've only yourself to blame and I know if I was allowing comments on this post there'd be some to that effect. I know that too.

This has helped, and I know this is just a temporary condition brought on by post Christmas blues, that I'll feel better in the morning and there are 352 potentially more productive days left before 2010 is upon us and the monolith returns. But sometimes you need to tell the truth so you can see it yourself so that you can have something to refer back to when you're doing something about it. This is it.

Now, I'm off to get over myself.

'Show don't tell...'

Just a few links tonight since I'm catching up in the BBC's recent adaptation of Terry Nation's novelisation of the BBC's Survivors. Having also watched Dead Set, Sunshine and The Bitter Tea of General Yen lately, I figure I'm already in a nihilistic mood so I might as well get it over with. The first episode had its moments though I do wish it hadn't resorted to the kind of narrative and thematic handholding which ruins most tv drama these days, which in this case meant the inclusion of characters who's whole existence is predicated on the apparent need to point out how rubbish life's going to be and how the modern human doesn't have the skills to cope. My old writing teacher used to shout 'Show don't tell...' at ten minute intervals throughout tutorials and looking at Survivors I can see why. That's what's so brilliant about the opening twenty-odd minutes of 28 Days Later. It's all in Cillian's eyes.

This is my 100 day challenge to Yuu, Nintendo.
Man locks himself in his room for a hundred days because Nintendo won't release his bedroom authored game for the DS. Includes minimalistic webcam. He seems to be under the impression that he's the first person to write a computer game by himself. Yuu, meet Jeff Minter. And the other Matt Smith for that matter.

WTF Was That!?!: Deep-Sea Siphonophore
Lovecraft lives!

It's a crying Shane
Five-Centre's summation of Martine McCutcheon's career is so funny I almost choked. Since I do seem to have blogged about everything at some point, here's what happened when she appeared on Parkie with J-Lo in 2001.

Janeane Garofalo, Comedian
Soon to be seen in 24, though she doesn't seem to have enjoyed the experience.

Find out what happened on the set of Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Woody Allen's diary
Which allows me to forgive him for ruining my Saturday night. This diary is funnier than his last three movies: "30 June: Dailies are looking good, and while Javier's idea to add a massive Martian invasion scene complete with 1,000 costumed extras and elaborate flying saucers is not a very good one, I will shoot it to make him happy and cut it in the editing room."

BBC News US Presidential inauguration coverage
To be anchored by Huw 'Not you too Bob' Edwards; Dimbleberry is nowhere to be seen.

it really depended on where you were standing as to the kind of night you had

Liverpool Life I didn't manage to get to the closing ceremony for the Capital of Culture last year, the 'Transition', though I did see the rather stupendous fireworks from the flat, so loud were they that we could feel the vibrations on our window frame. I've had a glance around online to see what I missed:

Pete Carr (Vanilla Days): "They played this great video of the history of Liverpool. It featured farmers herding Superlambananas, all the various events through 2008 and a hilariously sad looking Boris Johnson cartoon figure. The 3 Graces looked amazing lit up, and they also had a lantern arrangement by the canal link which was really beautiful."

Robin Brown (Liverpool Culture Blog): "Thanks to some idiotic regulations in force at the Albert Dock we were faced with the choice of watching betweeen a gap in the Pumphouse and Dock buildings or walking around the entire Dock, by which time they would have certainly been finished. Lunacy."

Christopher Brown (Metro): "Then the location, the Pier Head is a closed off space so once it was full thousands were ineffectively siphoned off to towards the Albert Dock and Arena further along the waterfront, unsure of where to go.Many will have heard crowds and the odd flash of light but missed the bulk of the video show."

Nikita (Girl Found): "For the first time, I belonged. All around me people hugged and kissed and looked up in awe at the display of human dexterity and kindness around them, we felt proud to be living on Merseyside and we marvelled at the distance the city has come in a few short months. We all sang along to the songs, waved at the cameras and Will and I shared a beautifully tender kiss."

My impression is that it really depended on where you were standing as to the kind of night you had. Did anyone else go? What were your impressions?

attempt to out geek someone

TV It’s not often I even want to attempt to out geek someone, but when faced with Shaun’s list of reasons the Doctor (as in Who) is a terrible timelord, I can’t help myself. I tend to love Topless Robot, but like any of these sites, when I find something I unfortunately know a bit about I tend to get a bit precious, no matter how funny the material. So, since I’ve no review to post to Behind The Sofa this week (first time in just under a year would you believe), I thought I’d offer a few comments on this here instead. Click here to open his post up in a new tab on your browser and here we go, click, click, click.

9) Fails to Use his All-Powerful Sonic Screwdriver In Every Goddamn Situation

That’s a contentious issue – some argue that he uses it far too much in nu-Who anyway though that is somewhat a necessity given the length of an episode these days. It’s a narrative device and one which was dumped during the Davison era because it was becoming too much of a God wand. But there have to be some limits, otherwise the jeopardy leaks out of the story all over the carpet. The likes of un-unlockable dead lock seals are the Who equivalent of Star Trek characters not being able to transport through shield when the Klingons are on the warpath.

8) Only Hangs Out In the 20th and 21st Centuries on Earth

Again, narrative and budgetary device; he doesn’t have to spend so much time within these decades but a certain story shorthand can be used when he does materialise here, and it’s certainly cheaper, even these days. But if you treat Doctor Who as far more than a television franchise, this couple of decades is only vaguely on his radar. He tends to land here for the same reason that others become regulars at the local pub; the beer’s cheap and the food’s ok and you fancy the barmaid or in his case he likes the culture and the girls aren’t so clever that he can’t enjoy explaining everything to them. There’s a further discussion as to why the timelords decided to strand his third incarnation at the beginning of the seventies, but that would also bring up the UNIT dating controversy and I haven’t the time.

7) Often Has a Difficult Time Fighting Semi-Mobile Trash Cans

Notice how Shaun doesn’t specifically mention stairs, so the world really has changed. The Doctor’s deadliest foe is technically a bit pants, but it’s all in the movement and the voice and the catchphrase and their ability to kill everything in sight (assuming their vision isn't impaired and they can see). Why kids love these guys more than any other is one of those weird examples of how something just works for reasons that are difficult to comprehend, like why ice cream and coca-cola both remain tasty even when you dunk one into the other. But he’s right about the Cybermen – they’re terrible and even worse in the new series because they’re not even the proper ones. Hopefully Moffat will resurrect the Mondas version, the ones with a bit of personality.

6) Is A Death Magnet, Yet Still Travels to Highly Populated Areas

It’s the Jessica Fletcher syndrome, though unlike Murder She Wrote (as far as I know), Doctor Who has discussed this over and over, and the timelord himself is confronted with it in The Family of Blood, where he’s become human and walks the Earth so that he can avoid giving some aliens the wrong end of his gothic nature. People die because the meanies follow him to the 1920s. But it’s relatively easy to rationalise; it’s not the Doctor’s presence which brings death and misery, it would have happened anyway. It’s his presence which means that less people die than might have otherwise (with a few exceptions, Warriors of the Deep). Incidentally, on the subject of Jessica Fletcher, I have a theory that she’s actually the murderer in every case but implicates other people. After all, who’s not going to believe this kindly old author?

5) Is Totally Sexist Regarding His Traveling Companions

River Song. Romana (it’s rumoured). Madam de Pompadour. The Doctor loves women and has often danced with them. But he’s usually the lone hero who tragically can’t get too close to his companions because eventually as he says in The Next Doctor, they always leave and it break his hearts. See also the spin-off love affair with Charley Pollard, the first companion he owned up to loving way back in 2002. Plus this has only really become an issue for some people in recent decades when he’s been a dashing lad. In the 60s, no one questioned the fact that neither Billy or Pat cosied up to Vicki, Zoe or Victoria, because it would be wrong.

4) His TARDIS Is Literally Made of Trash

The TARDIS interior is not a literal expression of its space; almost everything in there is a product of the Doctor’s imagination (I think) which lately has decided that some part of the complex business of shifting through the time vortex can best be accomplished with a bicycle pump. Next it could be a big silver button or another hammer. It’s not made out of trash, it’s made out of the suggestion of trash. The console room and time rotor have changed a few times over the years and my absolute favourite is the steampunk cathedral in a box styling of the TV movie. If your living space is dimensionally transcendental, you might as well make the most of it.

3) He Refuses to Do Laundry

During the 80s, the producers did have it in their heads to put the Doctor and his companions in very definite costumes as though cricket whites and air stewardess uniforms were at all practical in the forests of Deva Loka, decorative vegetable included. But though it seems like the Doctor always wears the same suit, it often varies in colour and probably like me with my white t-shirt and jeans he has many, judging by his wardrobe, several hundred. He also mixes shirts and t-shirts quite a lot too. For further discussion of costume changes and button placement listen to the audio commentary for The Silence In The Library.

2) Turns Into An Attention Whore Every Time He Regenerates

Fair enough, though he was stealthy in the TV movie and simply had a good sleep in The Christmas Invasion. Most of his antics are as a result of his companion’s reactions at having watched their friend entirely change shape and personality, which I know most of us have seen happen to old school friends on Facebook, but this takes place much more quickly than that. The question Shaun should really be asking is why Romana didn’t experience any trauma at all when she simply chose a new body in Destiny of the Daleks (though the Gallifrey audio spin-offs rationalise this as the time lady cleansing her system of some kind of digital tapeworm).

1) Has Not Checked Up On His Granddaughter for Centuries

Why would he need to when five of his incarnations bumped into her during The Five Doctors and clearly had some off screen conversation about it. Plus it’s implied in The Empty Child that she died during the time war. If that sounds unlikely given that she’s stranded on Earth, during the novel Legacy of the Daleks, the Eighth Doctor bumps into her on 22nd century Earth whilst looking for a lost companion in a story which eventually concludes with her causing the Master to experience the disfigurement we see in The Deadly Assassin and then nipping off back into the universe in his TARDIS – so she’s completely free to buy it at the hands of the Daleks. Confusingly, Big Finish are due to release an audio called The Earthly Child in which the Eighth Doctor bumps into her on 22nd century Earth and has a completely unrelated adventure, though I'll leave it someone else to rationalise that inconsistency. Assuming none of this counts, to be fair to the Doctor, when he dropped her off he couldn’t control the TARDIS, and it was only in the mid-seventies that he finally managed to repair the thing.

Did any of that make any sense?