An endless void.

Art Brian O'Doherty's seminal 1976 article, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, originally published in now extremely rate issues of Art Forum Magazine examins the implications of the modernist blank space and how it either stimulates or clouds our appreciation of the art works displayed within:
"The ideal gallery subtracts from the artwork all cues that interfere with the fact that it is "art." The work is isolated from everything that would detract from its own evaluation of itself. This gives the space a presence possessed by other spaces where conventions are preserved through the repetition of a closed system of values. Some of the sanctity of the church, the formality of the courtroom, the mystique of the experimental laboratory joins with chic design to produce a unique chamber of esthetics. So powerful are the perceptual fields of force within this chamber that once outside it, art can lapse into secular status- and conversely."
Some of my best art experiences have been in white cube spaces and it's certainly preferable to the elaborate rooms which fill some British museums in which the paintings fight for visible supremacy against the fixtures and fittings, images impossible to see due to fluorescent lighting bouncing across their glazed frontages. But sometimes, as was the case at Copperas Hill during the Biennial, a very curious space can enhance the work because of the unexpected juxtapositions.

Review 2012: The Projects:
Forgotten Films.

Film  Can any film truly be regarded as “forgotten” even in these slender five years since this blog dedicated an entire month to the form? Surely with thousands of films available to stream through Lovefilm and Netflix and the global accessibility of shiny discs through Amazon and the like, what seems like everything available, nothing can fall through the cracks, the long tail won’t allow for it.

Well, there are two issues here. Many, many films may be available now, but it’s still up to the consumer to discover them if their relative media companies aren’t advertising their existence. We still need word of mouth recommendations, behavioural engines and expert lists to point us in the direction of some classic piece of cinema which hasn’t yet joined the typical canons, academic or otherwise.

Before recommending one of the forgotten films I’ve enjoyed this year, I thought I’d look back over the films that were sprung on you that month and see how many have either fallen from accessibility or become newly available in the five years since that feature first appeared. Find them all listed below with links back to the original reviews for to aid new readers. Hello.

I'm With Lucy (2002)
Still some availability on dvd, though it looks to have been deleted.  Are some copies from between £2.98 to £9.99 depending on where you're looking.  Available on Lovefilm on dvd.

The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
On dvd.  On Lovefilm, for rental and streaming.

Magic Town (1947)
Actually making a rare appearance on television as part of BBC Two's new wildly archival schedule on Thursday 10th Jan 2013 (so perhaps iPlayer for the week afterwards depending upon rights issues).  Meanwhile on dvd to buy and rent.

The Hour of the Pig (1993)
Only available on dvd via an expensive R1 copy under the rubbish title The Advocate.  Otherwise its still only available in the UK on a Curzon Video.  Sometimes turns up on BBC Four in a terrible cropped print.

The Red Violin (1998)
Available amazingly cheaply now on dvd at Amazon.  Reached BD in the US.  Dvd to rent at Lovefilm.

A Thousand Acres (1997)
Budget dvd at Amazon which is rentable at Lovefilm.

Barfly (1987)
Apparently still unreleased in the UK.  There is an R2 dvd import available.

Late Night Shopping (2001)
Available on dvd in various flavours.  Also at Lovefilm.

Loser (2000)
Second hand dvds plentiful.  Streamable at Lovefilm but curiously not viewable by post.

All World Cinema (1895 - present)
Link included here for completion sake.  But I'd still recommend all the films listed.

The Core (2003)
Of all the films on this list to be available on region-free BD it had to be this.  Dvd too and in a double bill with Deep Impact which is practically a tragedy remake.  Lovefilm link.

11:14 (2003)
Amazon, Lovefilm.

Hostile Hostages (1994)
DVD under its UK title, The Ref.  Lovefilm on shiny disc.

Quinceanera (Echo Park LA) (2006)
Amazon, Lovefilm (streaming and by post)

The Tribe (1996)
Still only available on R1 dvd, and even more expensive now than in 2007.

Stealing Beauty (1996)
Amazon, Lovefilm.

Visions of Light (1992)
Some dvd copies still floating around for sale and available at Lovefilm.

View From The Top (2003)
The worst film on the list is still one of the most available.  Amazon, and on Lovefilm by post and streaming (so you can skip directly to the scene I'm writing about).

Next (1989)

Life Story (1987)
One of the best films on the list is the least available.  The BBC Education VHS copy doesn't look likely now though there is a low grade copy on YouTube.

Nina Takes A Lover (1994)
Status hasn't changed in five years.  R1 only.

Love and Other Catastrophes (1996)
Status hasn't changed in five years.  VHS only, despite that cast.  I mean look at that cast.

Chacun cherche son chat (1996)
Available on R2 import for £20.

Memento: The Beginning of the End
Is an Easter egg on the special dvd edition of the film.

The Red Siren (2002)
Amazon, Lovefilm.

One Night Stand (1984)
Not available.  Not even the VHS version I bought ex-rental in the mid-90s.

The Family Stone (2005)
Of course it is.  It's The Family Stone.  Happy Christmas.  Amazon.  Lovefilm.

Happy Endings (2005)
No, not the sitcom.  It's a Don Roos film.  Was available on R2 for about three seconds so there are copies floating around.  Lovefilm also have it.  Along with the sitcom.

The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968)
Amazon, Lovefilm.

In reality, despite everything, the availability of titles hasn't changed much.  If it wasn't available five years ago, it still isn't and indeed some titles have since been deleted, with YouTube and Lovefilm only coming to the rescue on a couple of occasions.  As such, there isn't a film version of Spotify, a celestial cinema in which seemingly everything ever is available however obscure.  A studio still has to choose to make it so.

What about a new recommendation?  In short, The Whistleblower (pictured), in which a typically compelling Rachel Weisz is Kathryn Bolkovac, the real life U.N. International Police Force monitor who uncovered sexual abuse amongst her fellow officers serving in Bosnia.  Like Green Zone, Blood Diamond and The Kingdom, it utilises fairly typical Hollywood thriller tropes to elucidate subject matter which might otherwise be illuminated via documentary.

Which isn't to say it isn't tough.  The parallel storyline following a Ukrainian woman who's sold into the sex trade which ultimately leads to Bolkovac's involvement is horrific and enough to make the viewer hate their fellow person, especially when it seems that she'll be saved and is inevitably let down by bureaucracy at its most blandly mechanical and inhuman.

Despite being a film of unique quality, The Whistleblower toured the film festivals of the world but only received a limited cinema release in the US and did not go theatrical in the UK where it went straight to dvd this year and for ages exclusively to Blockbuster which is where I bumped into it for the first time having overlooked its existence until then.  I eventually rented it from Lovefilm, but it is also available for a fiver on dvd and blu-ray.

WHO 50: 1968:
The Mind Robber.

TV  One of the more eccentric elements of early Who includes the lengths the production team had to go through in order to produce each week’s episode, particularly in unforeseen circumstances.

During the making of The Keys of Marinus it was agreed that each of the regulars would have a couple of weeks off and in that and each ensuing story, other characters were brought in, sections were pre-filmed and scripts extensively rewritten to accommodate this much needed holiday.

With the show being made in series of over forty episodes, who could blame them?  Did the public, as they would now, notice that the participation of the regulars were extensively scaled back in those weeks?  Was there talk of a Susan-lite episode?

But sometimes, such changes were so last minute that they utterly changed the fabric of what was on screen, or as in the case of The Mind Robber enhanced it.

When Frazer Hines contracted chicken pox, there wasn’t much that could be practically or convincingly done to write the character out.  So they recast.

A scene was written in which the Doctor and Zoe were forced to put the features of a cut-out version of Jamie back together to save him.

They fail and in walks Hamish Wilson playing Jamie for the rest of the episode and quite well too, blending seemlessly into the mayhem of the Land of Fiction.

By the next episode, Frazer was back, Jamie’s face put back to normal.

But our understanding of the environment became richer.  Darker.  It doesn’t just have the capacity to create fictional characters from the minds of the Doctor his companions, it can materially change them too.


The Snowmen.

TV There you are. Where were we? Right, then, Doctor Who’s The Snowmen. Wasn’t it good? Wasn’t it? Since it is Boxing Day as a write and and I've still the rest of the Olympic opening ceremony to watch (Danny Boyle's a fan of the TV Movie it seems) it’s also lucky that it’s the kind of episode which lends itself to bullet headings, section titles and lists. So even though I’m generally dead against that sort of thing in blog posts, resorting to * * * * * and the like, on this occasion, I’m going to crack on with bullet headings, section titles or lists. Do not expect this to be business as usual, but let’s face it, as episode go, The Snowmen was not business as usual either.


Well, sort of, because throughout The Snowmen, for all the Moffat-patented Christmassy whimsy of intelligent snow it’s not until later that I realised that in fact the Great Intelligence’s plan isn’t a parsec or two away from what the Nestene Consciousness has already achieved. This GI’s plan is to repopulate the planet with ice sculpted human beings something the NC has already achieved and has been using for decades creating plastic pals who think it’s fun to behead you. In other words, ironically at this point in their relative histories the Nestene Consciousness is a cleverer being that something presumptuously calling itself the Great Intelligence, which probably serves it right.

Elswhere, The Snowmen shares form with specials of previous years. In Richard E Grant’s frosty Walter Simeon, a Kazran like figure who the Doctor can’t save by wandering through his past (even when he realises he can be bothered) so simply deletes it, influenced instead by the (not so) Great Intelligence. The Victoriana of The Next Doctor and A Christmas Carol (albeit then thanks to a colony world harking backwards). Less developed but still present there’s also a family touched by tragedy caught up in it all ala The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. There’s also the kind of love conquers all, there’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas resolution which can only really be acceptable on the 25th of a December.

But on top of that, it’s also a paradigm reversal remake of Rose in which instead of the Doctor pulling his new companion into an adventure, teasing her along, it’s the other way around. Moffat seems to be deliberately echoing that earlier episode throughout, from the Doctor saving Clara from the Snowmen hoard at the end of her working day, to her (rather than him) following him to his place of residence, to her later dashing into the TARDIS, stepping out, running around the outside and dashing in again. Perhaps I’m stretching the point, perhaps there’s a standard model, but the classic series rarely had companion introductions quite like this.


Since we’re here. My goodness. Now that the show’s been back for a few years, the companion figure is becoming increasingly difficult to get right. The new format, which has somewhat been remodelled on screwball comedies, demands that she be relatively feisty, well ok, very feisty, but without repeating what’s gone before. We’ve had mutually in love with the Doctor, crushing on the Doctor, friends with the Doctor, ambiguously attracted despite being married, married to the Doctor and now we have intellectually teasing the Doctor. I’ll theorise a bit later, but Clara has the potential to beat them all simply because like the Doctor, we can’t work her out.  Clara who?

We know nothing about her. In her Oswin form, we were handed a slender bit of back story, of joining the Starship Alaska crew as Junior Entertainment Manager. This Clara person is a barmaid and governess, but beyond that we’re told nothing about her. This automatically makes her compelling. We don’t even know if these two characters are the same being, facet, reincarnations or … no, speculation later. The point is, companions in the new series usually come with a ready developed back story, a family, a mess of stuff and Clara Oswin Oswald has none at all. All she has is her force of personality.

Interestingly, the TARDIS Index File lists her under the same record. She was there and now she’s here, even though in describing her, they’ve essentially describing two (or three!) distinct fictional beings. The best bit is the final paragraph, one of those occasion when this wikia goes a bit QI. I’ll quote it in full to save me paraphrasing:
Clara's headstone in 1892 states that she was born on 23 November 1866 and that she died in 24 December 1892, meaning she not only shares the same birthday (though not the year) as Doctor Who itself but that she was also 26-years-old when she died — the same age as Doctor Who was when it was cancelled in 1989.
Mind blown I know! I know! That’s Moffat at his most intricate, isn’t it? But wait, there’s more:
The Evil of the Daleks, which introduced the other Victorian companion, Victoria Waterfield, who also faced the Daleks and the Great Intelligence, took place in 1966, one hundred years after Clara was born. The oldest Dalek model to appear in her first story was also from Victoria's origin story and another of her stories (TV: The Web of Fear) was referenced in her second (a reference to the 1967 London Underground).
This magnificent piece of detective work has to be more of a coincidence doesn’t it?  Less of a coincidence than Victoria happening to be the star of this blog's title bar in Christmas week anyway.  Let’s add that to the list of things to speculate about later.

All of which ignores Jenna-Louise’s compelling performance demonstrating that Asylum of the Daleks wasn’t a fluke and that Andy Pryor and the production team have chosen another fabulous actress for the Doctor’s companion, on this occasion with the range to articulate multiple accents. Like Karen Gillan before her, there also some automatic chemistry with Matt, who genuinely seems energised by her. There are also few actresses with the guile to convincingly jump about outside an invisible spaceship shouting the owner’s name, at least not since Catherine Hicks in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

As she fell from the TARDIS, I gasped, both because I was watching a character who in the slender screen time I’d grown to adore unexpectedly dying at what’s supposed to be the most exciting moment for a companion, but also because of the audacity of it, especially on Christmas Day. It’s not quite Suzie being shot through the head in Torchwood’s Everything Changes especially with the ensuing throw forward, but it’s a rare occasion when an “emotional” death is wrapped up in an intellectual conundrum and that is different for Christmas Day, to have a piece of television which challenges the viewer in that way.

The Doctor.

Almost every Christmas special has consisted of the Doctor brooding about something, usually it’s a companion, once it was his own mortality and it’s a trope that something will force him to snap out of it, rekindle his sense of adventure. The idea of the Doctor not becoming involved is an anathema, so it’s little surprise that he does eventually don the bowtie and step up. We don’t know how long it is since the last episode in his lifetime. Could be decades. Could be a century. He mentions being over a thousand years old, but again, it’s entirely possibly he’s been moping around for decades.

Matt’s very good at moping, just as he is everything else. But what’s surprising is just how much more mature he seems. I accidentally stumbled on my copy of Party Animals the other day and the photo on the back looks almost like a different actor. Like every Doctor before him, he’s physically aged into the role. Not as significantly as Tom, not yet, but when he stopped to look in the mirror at one point, I thought it would be the character acknowledging the passage of time (it was the bowtie). Not that his line readings have changed much. Writers will probably never know if their dialogue will be shouted or whispered, though his choices are usually just right.

Old Friends.

“I am the lizard woman from the dawn of time - and this is my wife.” Aaah, Vastra and Jenny, you do spoil us. As everyone else has said, it’s ironic that on the day the Archibishop of Canterbury condemned gay marriage in the one address each year when people are listening and you’d think he’d instead be promoting peace and goodwill to all men and women, the BBC’s flagship family tv drama doesn’t just endorse it, but to such a degree that it’s interspecies. Oh bless you Steven for providing this antidote however inadvertent. This is why Doctor Who, like Shakespeare, is the closest thing I have to a religion.

Nevertheless, Moffat utilises the “keep them greedy” approach to their return, putting them central enough in the action that they’re able to pick up the curiosity slack early in the episode when the Doctor doesn’t give a toss, but again not so much that we learn all of their tricks.  We still want that spin-off damn it.  Aguably it’s Strax who has all of the best lines, having lost a few IQ points since he died leading to a Tribbianite understanding of life, albeit without the interest in women (unless he’s revealed to have a secret crush on Jenny and wouldn’t that be a complicated love triangle) (what else is the probic vent for?), and strange obliviousness to the Doctor’s racism.  Yes it is.  Isn't it?

Since it’s implied that Vastra is the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, let’s ruminate briefly on the great detective’s status in the Whoniverse. A glance at the latest edition of Ahistory indicates that as far as spin-off fiction is concerned, from Andy Lane’s All Consuming Fire onwards, Holmes is a full blooded character within this fictional universe and has been embraced to such an extent that it’s possible to conjecture that all of Conan Doyle’s stories, like Nigel Kneale's, are retrospectively canonical. Lane’s book suggests the author is fictionalising the exploits of real people, which isn’t contradicted by The Snowmen. Thank goodness.

New titles, new music, new TARDIS interior.

The murky time vortex has been replaced by a Contact-like drift through the cosmos which vaguely references all of the previous title sequences and Matt Smith’s face peering out of a nebula which vaguely references the cover of the Eighth Doctor novel The Slow Empire. The new Dominic Glynn hewed version of the title music reintegrates some of the alieness of Delia Derbyshire’s original arrangement, though frankly going into the 50th year what we’d really want is Delia Derbyshire’s original arrangement which if you’re paying attention hasn’t aged and continues to resonate in and influence electronic compositions.

The decision to change these indicates The Snowmen is supposed to be something of a reboot that looks backwards across the history of the series and that’s also true of the new control room, a kind of submarine take on the white nightmare of the classic series. The space seems smaller, though with everything else happening we didn’t really get a chance to see Michael Pickwoad design at its best.  There still isn’t a proper scanner, though opening a door and looking out is the more epic option. My favourite interior is still the TV Movie. It’s so ludicrously huge it fulfils the suggestion that the TARDIS has a whole universe within its walls.

Everything Else.

Where to start?  Murray's music packed with new themes and a homage to David Arnold's Sherlock track at the necessary moment?  Pickwoard's atmospheric design elsewhere including the spiral staircase leading to a cloud and the Great Intelligence literally inhabiting a snow globe?  The costumes especially on Jenna-Louise who it seems looks amazing in both spacewear and corsetry?  The Snowmen with their Jack Skellington faces?  Life on Mars's Liz White (who was once companion material) in a tiny little (and frankly slightly thankless role) as a maid?  No, let's start with Ian McKellan voicing the not so Great Intelligence.  Ian McKellan!  In the month that the new Hobbit film is out.  Not bad, Andy Pryor.  Not bad.


Who is Clara Oswin Oswald? It is still possible that she is fragments of the same figure blown across time Scaroth like, but she keeps dying. Is it that she keeps being resurrected? Is she conscious of the other versions of herself? My initial thought after Asylum was that we and the Doctor would meet a new version in each episode and that she’d die by the end of each somehow like Kenny from South Park, only to magically re-appear the following week never conscious of her other selves but entirely the same character, the Doctor flummoxed as to why he keeps meeting her, a string of one-off companions who’re all the same companion.

The problem with that approach, however ground-breaking, are the merchandising implications, with licensees trying to work out if each of their stories would have to have the same structure, the Doctor meeting a Clara at the start of each comic, novel and audio only to be lost by the end. It’s also a big ask for the audience to be empathetic across so many different iterations of the character, having to carry their affection across these multiple personalities. It’s the Dollhouse problem in some respects despite it being an adorable actress playing loads of different characters who’re the same character.

Luckily, the trailer offers a few other suggestions. There’s talk of a girl who died twice but still lives, which suggests the Doctor’s going to be meet the very modern Clara in the graveyard and she’s going to be the girl he carries into time (with the prospect come Easter of at least the third introduction of the same character) (will it still be played from her pov or his?), trying to find out what links her to the other characters. Clones? Sisters lost in time? Or has she been planted to be the Doctor’s perfect companion ala Paul Abbot’s suggestion for the slot which he was given in the 2005 series before he dropped out, either by some future version of the Time Lord or someone else? River?

The other main thread is the not so Great Intelligence. The implication is The Snowmen is supposed to be a prequel to The Web of Fear. Will all of the stories in the upcoming year feed back into the old mythology, perhaps all be subtle prequels to classic stories somehow, one for each of the Doctors? Lord knows what they’ll do for Eighth given the dodgy connectivity with the spin-off media leading to no chance of a pre-visit to Edward Grove or appearance from Fitz. Grace can’t wander through can she? It’s going to be a celebrity historical featuring Puccini isn’t it? Unless we actually get the Eighth Doctor himself. Yes, that should do it.


A magnificent episode of the kind which you want to watch almost as soon as you’ve finished the first time, The Snowmen is clearly the best story of the seventh series so far, assuming, due to its weird structuring it can be included as part of that seventh series. What’s the boxed set going to look like? Will it include two Christmas specials? How is the series going to chime in international sales with a whole new bunch of stuff in the middle or is it being treated as two separate series? Is s8 actually beginning in Easter? I know, I’m effectively playing with the packaging. But can you blame me? It's still Christmas for two whole hours.


Archaeology The world's largest ancient Egyptian sarcophagus has been identified in a tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings:
"Made of red granite, the royal sarcophagus was built for Merneptah, an Egyptian pharaoh who lived more than 3,200 years ago. A warrior king, he defeated the Libyans and a group called the "Sea Peoples" in a great battle.

"He also waged a campaign in the Levant attacking, among others, a group he called "Israel" (the first mention of the people). When he died, his mummy was enclosed in a series of four stone sarcophagi, one nestled within the other."

Magnetic Fields.

Astrophysics Magnetic field shapes spinning black hole. The astrophysicist in his home territory:
"At the time of our interview, McKinney was working in a small office on the fourth floor of the physics building of the University of Maryland. He had just moved and his office had boxes everywhere, a bicycle shoved into a corner and two tables awkwardly positioned in the middle of the room. The tables were coated with a layer of black soot that had dropped through a ceiling air vent.

"My own jet of grossness," he called it."

Walking in the air ...

TV Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Wasn't it though? Wasn't it? I'll post a review of Doctor Who's The Snowmen if I can get my head around it in the next week or so (it's Christmas night, I don't get review copies beforehand and my new blu-ray of the Olympic opening ceremony (without commentary!) is waiting to be watched).

But let's look back at my review of the Children in Need prequel and ...
"I'm still going with my theory that Oswin and Clara are two facets of the same character, scattered through time ala Scagra and the Key and that the Doctor will either accidentally keep meeting them or be motivated to gather them all up and make them whole. It would be nice for him to simply be travelling with her though in the typical mode. One of the problems of the last five, was that the jiggery-pokery required in each episode to explain why the Ponds are travelling with with that week."
At this point possibly. Maybe. Either way. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.  Happy Christmas.

Review 2012: The Projects:
My Top Ten Films of 2012.

Film Having thought about this for a few days, or at least hours, perhaps minutes, I’ve realised it’s impossible for me to select ten films I’ve truly enjoyed this year because despite outward appearances at the box office, I’ve seen so many more than ten great films this year, it’s impossible for me to single them out and makes me wonder exactly how film critics manage it, though to be fair most of the time they’re choosing what they think are empirically the “best” because it’s their job, whereas I’m trying to find favourites.

It’s also a process not helped by the sheer volume of films I’ve watched and also the haphazard way I approach them with little regard for release schedules or vintage. As we’ve established elsewhere, my paying film theatrical experience of new films this year amounts to Cabin In The Woods, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit, with press screenings of Delicacy and This Must Be The Place, all of which I’d happily include on such a list if I was being forced to make one. Even now I have a strange feeling I saw something at the Cornerhouse in Manchester too. Um.

But that leaves five to fill in and with Margin Call, Shame, Haywire, Coriolanus, The Descendents, Young Adult, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, John Carter (of Mars), Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, We Bought A Zoo, The Hunger Games, Tiny Furniture, Salmon Fishing in The Yemen, Damsels in Distress, Iron Sky, Moonrise Kingdom, A Royal Affair, Your Sister’s Sister, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World and The Flowers of War to choose from, that’s not easy.

Plus there’s all of the films made in other times which I saw for the first time this year which seem just as present, like the three hour cut of Margaret which would and should have been considered one of the greatest films of the 00s, and everything from the back end of 2011 like Midnight In Paris, Tyrannosaur, Sleeping Beauty, Contagion, We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Help, Immortals, The Rum Diary, 50/50, The Deep Blue Sea, Moneyball, My Week With Marilyn, Resistance, Another Earth, Mysteries of Lisbon and The Artist. Shouldn’t they count?

Take instead, then, all of those films as recommended, though let’s face it you’ve presumably seen most of them already. Here’s where I think film is in 2012. In surprisingly good health. Whilst it’s true there is a hole where US mid-budget films used to be, low budget titles have become even more ingenious to cope and the gap’s being filled internationally more than ever, in Europe and the Far East (cf, Headhunters and The Raid). Plus distribution networks outside of cinemas continue to make the history and geography of cinema even more available so there is always something “new” to watch.


Fashion  Tori Spelling (yes, Tori Spelling) on how to make your own kaftan:
"Whether you're in your living room, by the pool, or entertaining guests, there's a kaftan for every occasion. So why not customize yours by sewing them yourself? It's actually pretty simple: on the scale of difficulty, if hemming a pair of jeans is a "one" and sewing a couture dress is a "ten," making your own kaftan is about a two or three."

"Our lives are different to anybody else’s."

TV One of the elements of the modern world which still confuses me is what constitutes being a geek or nerd. Computer and video games now sell in vast numbers but those who play them simply aren't labelled as nerdy in the same way as we were in the 80s, when even owning a computer automatically placed you in a particular subgroup. That's also true of television and film, where genre titles and the achievements of same mean that there are probably people walking around who would undoubtedly previously be described as having geek sensibilities but don't consider themselves as such. And let's not get started on computer use in general.

What I hadn't considered, though, is how females in particular, especially girls who identify themselves as geeks, either find themselves as somehow fake, especially if they're of a particular appearance, or otherwise patronised by men who're surprised by the fact that they have seen every episode of Fringe or want to dress up as a Star Wars droid. I'd hope I've never been guilty of this, especially towards anyone reading this blog. Indeed my assumption, taking into account everything I've said in the opening paragraph, is that women are often even more passionate about this stuff than men and better at it, because they seem to be in most things anyway. Seriously.  Men are rubbish and women would do just as well without us.

The Mary Sue has asked psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi to consider why "are we so deeply threatened by the notion of falsified fandom?" with the wider issue of this kind of chauvinism and how women who do identify themselves as geeks face disbelief by XY chromosome carrying mouth breathers:
"I recently traveled to a psychology conference, and, upon arriving at the airport for my departing flight, experienced an example of a microinvalidation. At security check, after my technology went through the scanner, I scurried over to gather my shoes and belongings. I picked up my Star Wars hoodie and wrapped it around my Batgirl t-shirt. The thirty-something male TSA agent pointed to my Kindle, the one with the Star Wars comics cover, and immediately looked at the stranger standing next to me: “Is this your Kindle?” 
The stranger next to me, a twenty-something looking guy dressed in plain jeans and a pale shirt, shook his head. “It’s mine,” I blurted. The TSA-man then leaned forward and said, giddily, “That’s really awesome. I love Star Wars too.” A compliment. But I couldn’t process the kind words because I was still recovering from being stunned by his assumption that my things do not actually belong to me. A reminder of the widespread belief that Star Wars is gendered. It’s male. The thing I love is for males."
Another interesting question is why I don't identify as much.  I have a TARDIS wallpaper on my why-phone, City of Death themed keyrings (Eiffel Tower, TARDIS) and TARDIS blue jumpers, but I don't wear branded t-shirts or any of that business (partly because it's cheaper to be man at Asda).  Perhaps I should dig out my fez.