History Four days before he met his fate, John F Kennedy visited Tampa Bay. It was an unremarkable stop, and if the President hadn't lost his life a few days later would have gone unremarked. But a researcher, Lynn Marvin Dingfelder, is determined to illuminate why it was important for the people of Tampa with a new film:
“I want this to be about the joyous time he spent in our city,” Dingfelder added. “I don’t want this to be about mourning and conspiracy theories.”
She's researching and collecting recollections of the visit for a documentary. The response has already, apparently been excellent, but on the off chance that someone in the area does read this blog (you never know) (I fail to be surprised by anything these days) the full details of how to make contact are here.

WHO 50: 1988:
Remembrance of the Daleks.

TV Although Silver Nemesis was intended to be the 25th anniversary story for Doctor Who, celebrations began earlier in the season with Remembrance of the Daleks which, with its return to 1963, to Totters Lane and Coal Hill School is arguably the more celebratory of the two.

The acme of that is the announcer on the television in the living room of the boarding house, which at the close of scene is heard to say, “This is BBC television, the time is quarter past five and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new science fiction series Do-“

The shot changes before the walls of this fictional reality entirely breakdown (ignoring previous asides to camera), but the intent is clear. Within an episode of Doctor Who we’re supposed to be nearly watching the broadcast of An Unearthly Child.

On first seeing this, I probably didn’t notice the implication. I was too young and well into my period of Transformers fandom.

On the second occasion, on video later, I was terribly excited because it suggested to me that as in the comics universes of Marvel and DC where superheroes spawned their own comic series dramatising their exploits, the BBC of the Whoniverse produced something similar.

Until it occurred to me that if indeed the BBC was producing a series called Doctor Who in the Doctor’s universe, whenever he turned up subsequently, people should be saying, “The Doctor’s a fiction character off of the television. Who are you really?”

But narrative abhors a vacuum and in the ensuing wilderness years, the Doctor Who universe did indeed get its own version of the series, thanks to Paul Cornell’s Virgin novel No Future with Professor X.

The TARDIS Datacore inevitably gathers together the ensuing references that have appeared in other stories to Professor X, spanning the BBC Books and Big Finish, of this television series which ran from 1963 to 1989 featuring “a mysterious scientist who travelled through time and space inside a TASID, a ship which resembled a pillar box on the outside.”

So perhaps this is the series being announced in Remembrance. Perhaps the announcer’s not about to say Doctor, but something else with that opening syllable. Perhaps.

Unsurprisingly for a franchise that has been rolling on for fifty years it has attracted a number of these internal references designed to comment on its existence, admittedly in the spin-offs.

Dr Who in the Head Games, a fictional version of the character based on the figure who appeared in the TV Comics.

Iris Wildthyme, whose own history runs as one long feminist or camper rewrite of the Doctor’s own (“But that’s me, I did that” as he’s often heard to say in the Eighth Doctor novels).

The One Doctor’s Christopher Biggins shaped imposter.

There’s also Robert Sheerman’s Unbound story, Deadline in which Derek Jacobi plays an old Juliet Bravo writer who has hallucinations about the Doctor and his companions.

But the Remembrance reference is arguably the most potent because it leaves so much unsaid (or at least two syllables), and so much to our imaginations.

Hamlet: The YouTube Supercut (2013).

It had to happen eventually. Geoff Klock, an assistant prof at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City has gathered together a couple of hundred references to Hamlet from films and television, crafting recreations of speeches, scenes and jokes about same. Too many to really comment on, but I loved the juxtaposition of Kevin Kline from Soapdish into his earlier appearance in the role [via].

Hibiscus blossom.

Food Vanessa Wolf of Maui Now! reports on a local food festival. It's all about onions:
"The offerings varied from Kulis’ Kona Maine Lobster Salad with smoked Kula onion emulsion and grilled Kula onion vinaigrette to Maui lamb crepinettes stuffed with house lemon ricotta and Maui onions. Vasquez’s crispy Maui onion and kampachi tartare was given some stuff competition by Simeon’s chicken liver mousse, Maui onion jam, and Funyuns plate and the Maui onion stuffed with a fried hibiscus blossom filled with black lentils."
Not sure if I like onions that much.

Wendy James in 1991.

Music The things you turn up. After impulse listening to Baby I Don't Care, I happened upon this interview between Jonathan Ross and Wendy James (below). She's clearly not quite sure what to make of him or how to come across because it's a prime time interview in relation to a tentative comeback after Transvision Vamp's heyday just two years before. There's an exchange about something which happened on Going Live the week before ...

... and thanks to YouTube, here is the Going Live from a week before:

What's remarkable about this isn't just that it shows that Ross and the commenters to Points of View blew everything just slightly out for proportion especially considering her admission that she doesn't wear knickers when performing is for practical reasons, but also that it's a demonstration of what kids television and Saturday morning television was like in 1991.

 At various points, James is coaxed into talking about feminist issues and the environment and although some of her answers wander a bit, the fact that she's even being asked in comparison to the topics which are covered on so called "adult" television now. The modern comparison would be The One Show, I suppose, which has a particular reputation for Goulding stars out of the comfort zone.

Generally James comes across as being really rather mighty, so it's a shame that this was the last we really saw of her in the pop world.  Wikipedia suggests the album she was promoting, Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble, didn't eventually have a release in the UK after a disagreement with the record company over the sound, the group splitting up before they could change their mind.

There's load of Wendy James related stuff on YouTube.  Here she is on Rivron for goodness sake.  Can you imagine this programme being commissioned now, let alone there being any guests?  "So I'm supposed to float in the Thames with Roland Rivron while he asks random questions?" "Every now and then a boat may almost collide with you but it'll be fine ..."  Oh and good lord, Star Test.  "Number nine, yawn."

The Vincent.

Traffic For Popular Mechanics, Jay Leno remembers the Vincent Black Shadow:
"Where I grew up, in a small New England town, the Vincent was a motorcycle you only ever heard about. But the legend surrounding the bike was so strong. There was a guy who lived a couple of towns over who had a Vincent that had allegedly run in the renowned Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race off the coast of the U.K. Every now and then, somebody at school would say, "I heard it go by the other night." All the kids would stop to listen to his story. "What did it look like? What did it sound like?" We all wanted to know."


History The National Maratime Museum has in its collection two charts illustrating "the Battle of Navarino, a naval engagement fought on the 20 October 1827 in the Mediterranean Sea during the Greek War of Independence":
"A combined fleet of British, French and Russian ships under Admiral Sir Edward Codrington decisively defeated the Turco-Egyptian fleet of Ibrahim Pasha in the bay of Navarino (modern Pylos), on the west coast of the Morea (the Peleponnese). Many Turkish and Egyptian vessels were destroyed in the action, which effectively decided the war in favour of the Greek insurgents struggling to throw off many years of Ottoman Turkish rule. It is also the last recorded occasion that two fleets entirely under sail met in conflict."
The collection also has this painting by George Philip Reinagle which demonstrates the sheer horror of naval battle, the fires of hell ripping through the fleet.

Who is the Secret Actor? #5

TV After last week's information overload, Secret's back to talking about someone else.

She has a friend who's a bit like Martin Freeman and is everywhere, but before that was being asked to be a bit like Martin Freeman in auditions.

If this is Romola "After the recent birth of my child, I had the misfortune of having 23 stitches in my vagina. So I didn't think I'd be laughing at anything for a long time - but tonight's nominees have proved me wrong" Garai (Oh wasn't she brilliant last night? Wasn't she?) then a prime Freeman-like suspect would be Joshua McGuire from The Hour.

He's sort of Freemanesque.  He's not "everywhere", certainly not on television.  He's not a household name.  He isn't out of work at the theatre though.  He played Hamlet at The Globe in 2011.  He's at The National at the moment.

The comments underneath the column are still scathing, but I'm sticking with it, if only for the intellectual challenge.

One of them is making an effort and suggests a few decent possibles.  Hits upon Hugh Bonneville as another possible, which could work too thanks to the Glorious 39 connection, but he's not very Freeman-like, plus he's was knocking around well before Freeman turned up nullifying the premise of the column.

Doctor Who's BAFTA Tribute.

TV Presumably because they couldn't afford the clips or some other licensing issue, the Eighth Doctor was under represented in the BAFTA tribute last night. Everything else was present and correct, Dalek Sec, the Dominators, Colin not telling Peri that she's a rather egotistical young lady and Sylv finally defeating a Dalek by sticking two wires together. At least didn't include the Myrka I suppose.

The final bumper's a treat and shows that the these characters really are at their best and funniest when they're simply talking together in the TARDIS. Everything else just simply stops us from having that. Spot the moment when the walls of the fiction come crashing down and they drop out of character ... I'd never thought this before but Dr Brian Cox is sort of a real world version of the Doctor isn't he?

Softel Nebula.

Anti-gravity spiral.

Life You've probably read this already (it's the first post I've seen at blogpost to reach five thousand comments) but in words and pictures and ironically in a very funny but also very tragic was, Allie Brosh explains what it's like to be depressed. Not just down, but medically depressed:
"The beginning of my depression had been nothing but feelings, so the emotional deadening that followed was a welcome relief. I had always wanted to not give a fuck about anything. I viewed feelings as a weakness — annoying obstacles on my quest for total power over myself. And I finally didn't have to feel them anymore.

"But my experiences slowly flattened and blended together until it became obvious that there's a huge difference between not giving a fuck and not being able to give a fuck. Cognitively, you might know that different things are happening to you, but they don't feel very different."
On the basis of this, I'm probably on the borderline. Which is either really worrying or entirely normal.  Her first attempt is here.