Hadden Park.

Film Last Friday, Ben Wheatley's new work, A Field in England was released simultaneously in most formats (about the only one not included was rental streaming). I caught it on blu-ray through my Lovefilm subscription and liked it very much in a post-Tarkovskian sort of way even if I also think it's a film which has to be watched multiple times to full unlock its secrets.

The big question was always going to be, did it work, did this form of mixed distribution hurt one format or another. Well, let's watch Mark Kermode interviewing executive producer about the results...

The Guardian has the numbers too.

In general its considered a success. It was released on the weekend that Murray stormed Wimbledon which was unlucky, and only appeared in cinemas in a very selective way, it wasn't a wide opening across multiple chains, but as the producer says, across the various platforms, the film probably saw more eyeballs than it might have done otherwise considering the kind of film it is and the audience it might otherwise have attracted. As she and Mark say, it's not a model which is going to work for every film, but I could imagine it being the future of independent distribution.

WHO 50: 1996:
Doctor Who.

TV One of the less well-known elements of the original broadcast of the TV movie is that outside of the UK, for the so-called “international release”, the opening sequence featured a caption that read “Based on the series originally broadcast on the BBC”.

As the TARDIS Datacore, where I gleaned this spectacular information from explains, this was as a way of observing the typical American production tradition, legal or otherwise, of crediting the original creator of a property, except they didn’t chose Sydney Newman. They could have. He’s often the answer given on game shows and in board games unless they’re being wrong and decide it's Terry Nation. Trivial Pursuit, first edition.

Why did they choose not to? Gene Roddenberry is still credited as Star Trek’s creator even after all these years even as the franchise strayed quite far from his original concept (the later years of DS9). For all the changes which have happened to the classical Marvel Comics characters over the years, they’re still credited as being created by Stan Lee and whichever artist he was working with. Bob Kane created Batman.

But Doctor Who feels unique. As the producers of the TV movie observed even in 1996. anyone who’s written it on an official basis, across media, is a co-creator. It’s a collective creative act.

That’s why when The Guardian offers up Mark Gatiss as co-creator it doesn’t seem that strange (until they corrected themselves about six weeks later judging by the article history). When Matthew Sweet explained on the Today Programme in a discussion about whether the new incarnation could be a woman how the Doctor et al were loomed, a piece of mythology from the Virgin New Adventure novel Lungbarrow, it felt right.

You only have to look at the TV movie’s much derided opening monologue for evidence. Skaro was created by Terry Nation. The Master was created by Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts, his original appearance in Terror of the Autons written by Robert Holmes. Derrick Sherwin, Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks arguably created the Time Lords but Dennis Spooner introduced us to The Meddling Monk the first example of someone else from the Doctor’s race. Gallifrey was first mentioned on screen in The Time Warrior.

On that score you could more legitimately suggest Dicks, Letts, Hulke and Holmes created the mythology of Doctor Who and which underpins most of what we know about the show and particularly the TV movie. Except they didn’t decide the Doctor’s time machine would look like a Police Box. His sonic screwdriver first crops up in Fury from the Deep by Victor Pemberton.

Notice how, when the show returned, Russell T Davies didn’t even attempt to apply some kind of propriety claim to his version of the show. The opening credits are all about the stars, the title of the show, the title of the episode and the given writer for that week as per the classic series. He saw himself as just its latest producer, one of many. Even in the closing credits, it's only usual for the word creator to be utilised when one of the old monsters has been brought back. Kit Pedler’s always there when the Cybermen trundle through.

As with so many things in Doctor Who, there really is no right answer other than “Based on the series originally broadcast on the BBC” because that’s where it all started and started again.


Says Discogs:
"Managra was an offspring created from a gang-bang of a bunch of Waukesha based 90's punk, thrash, grunge, power pop, glam rock, and garage bands. The band always tried to take their music to new levels of eclecticism. But, with an over abundance of band members, and not enough steam to keep the engines hot, Managra eventually fell apart. All the members are still playing music in bands and/or projects, and live in and around the Milwaukee metropolitan area."
Unconnected, there's also a Managra Music record company:
"Managra Music, Inc. is committed to recording and presenting quality musical content within and without of the traditional industry umbrella. Acknowledging the vast talent pool and believing that global audiences have much more varied appetites than the diet they are being fed, Managra Music, Inc. provides the experience and guidance for nurturing, creating and distributing music through direct marketing and viral InterNet proliferation."
One of their releases is available at archive.org.

The Making of Flatline.

Music Some notes:

(1) It's always a bit strange when people record things in the wrong aspect ration on their phone, but the bit with Keisha getting the song wrong is funny because the aspect ratio is incorrect so what can you do?
(2) It's excellent proof that the vocals on the track haven't been tampered with.
(3) Sugablokes.
(4) Leona Lewis for a second.

Updated later. My goodness. The Sugababes's email mailing list, the current line-up such as it is, has just sent out an email about  ...
"Mutya Keisha Siobhan, aka the original line-up of the Sugababes, have announced their first headline show in 12 years at the Scala in London on August 1st. "
With all the relevant links about where to hear and buy Flatline (currently only iTunes).  I wonder what significance we can put to this, especially since its labeled Universal which is their current record company and not any of the record companies the Sugababes have signed to. Island still have the copyright on the name. Hmm...

The only bit of interest is that it was sent to an older email address I don't use much now, so it's possible this could be an old, old list that I registered with earlier in that last decade and it's being pressed back into service.  Still interesting though given the disparity in the record companies.

Terence Stamp on The Limey.

Film Every AV Club Random Roles column always seems to have a Steven Soderbergh story and here's Stamps, about how the director managed to secure the footage of Poor Cow for The Limey
"I was on holiday in Hawaii, and I got this number to call him and he’s telling me about the movie. And he said he’d seen this older movie I’d done called Poor Cow, and he was thinking of using footage from this old movie as a kind of backstory, and how did I feel about that.

"I was speechless, really, because when I got the call from him, I just assumed it was for some kind of supporting part. But as he explained the movie, I realized that he was actually thinking of me as the limey. He said, “What’s the matter, what’s the matter? Don’t you like it?” And I said, “I really like it! Did you think I wouldn’t?” He said, “I don’t know a lot of other male stars who’d like to be up there with themselves 30 years ago.” And I said, “Not me, mate.” However, during the shooting of the movie, we didn’t have permission [to use the Poor Cow footage]. Every week, every time he got a day off, he’d go to Warner Bros. and work his way up from the people who sell you, like, frame by frame. He worked his way up, and finally on the last weekend, he’d worked his way up to the head of Warner Bros. And what he told me was this. He said that the guy said to him, “Why are you dealing with me? Why can’t you deal with the people who sell the movies by footage?” And Soderbergh said, “Because I want permission to put anything I need from the movie, into my movie.” And the guy—I can’t remember the guy’s name—said, “I can’t do that.” Steven said, “Why not?” and he said, “Because it’ll create precedent.” Steven said, “Yes.” And he said, “I can’t do it.” Then Steven said this thing which I thought was amazing; he said, “If you won’t give me permission to do it, I will never make another movie for you.” This is a guy who’s like 35 or 40. And the guy said, “Oh, take it, take it.” What was wonderful for me when I saw [The Limey] was his pace and his restraint in how little [of Poor Cow] he used when he could have used anything from it. That, to me, is why I put him up there with Fellini and Wyler. "
No mention of Full Frontal during which Stamp has a metatextual cameo, but you have to admire the confidence. But you can understand why Steven's decided he doesn't want to have to deal with the bullshit of getting films made any more, though I do wonder if he might have been able to carry on if he'd done a Woody Allen and decided to move to Europe for a while.


Opera Malkovich. Malkovich. Malkovich. Malkovich:
"Actor John Malkovich sets out to introduce some nuance to the character of Italian adventurer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova in the new opera-theatre presentation The Giacomo Variations.

"Malkovich says he wants to bring out the sensitive soul who gets lost behind the libertine image as he plays Casanova on stage.

“He was very gifted in expressing his feelings and of course, a lot of his feelings had to do with the conquest or the loss of women or even just how a relationship started, proceeded and ended,” he says in this interview with CBC’s Jelena Adzic."

Cardinal Richelieu.

Radio In 2009, Radio 4's The Long View compared ... well ...
Cardinal Richelieu and Lord Mandelson

Jonathan Freedland presents the series that looks for the past behind the present.

Jonathan and his guests discuss the art of politics through an examination of the careers and political worlds of two great survivors, Lord Mandelson today and Cardinal Richelieu in 17th-century France.
... and then a year later he was largely gone again. Oh well.

Professor Alice Roberts on Human Anatomy and Evolution.

Nature What's often forgotten about a lot of television experts is that most of them are academics, even when they have various titles and letters before and after their name. Professor Alice Roberts is an excellent example.

 One of the newer wave of television "faces", she's also been holding down a job at Bristol University and now Birmingham University.

 This video, which sums up one of her television series, and was apparently recorded just after she'd signed her contract this time last year, is about new, cutting edge research on the evolution of human anatomy.

Mary Shelley.

Medicine The Atlantic discusses the news that the technology is now apparently available to do a full human head transplant:
"Jump forward to 2013, when last month Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero said that we have at last figured out that issue of connecting the spinal cord. The head transplant is now feasible, said Canavero, and he has a project called HEAVEN that's going to do it.

"HEAVEN stands for Head Anastomosis Venture, which is a poor choice of acronyms in an industry constantly sidestepping God-complex accusations. Maybe it's like, ironic in a super self-aware way. That would be unique among the pages of the journal Surgical Neurology International, though, where Canavero dives deep into the specifics of how HEAVEN will work. So deep that we arrive at the existential."

... with Jennifer Lawrence as Young Zoe.

Completed in 2007 when Lawrence was still a teenager, but pulled out of the archive now for some reason which will be entirely unrelated to her Oscar win. She's not in the trailer, but is in this clip:

Looks like a rubbish version of an Adrian Lyne thriller. Should be amazing.


Academia In January 2011, the University of Lodz's department of British literature and culture (in Poland) held a conference celebrating, seriously, the legacy of Monty Python:
"Upon seeing Internet postings for "Monty Python in Its British and International Cultural Contexts, or, How to recognize the Spanish Inquisition from quite a long way away," all of the attendees at first thought it was a joke—an impression that was not dispelled when the conference Web site announced the attendance of the special guest Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-Schplenden-Schlitter-Crass-Cren-Bon-Fried-Digger-Dingle-Dangle-Dongle-Dungle von Knacker-Thrasher-Apple-Banger-Horowitz-Ticolensic-Grander Knotty-Spelltinkle-Grandlich-Grum­blemeyer-Spelter-Wasser-Kurstlich-Himble-Eisenbahnwagen-Gutenabend-Bitte-einen-Nürnburger-Bratwürstel-Gespurten-mit-Weimache-Luber-Hundsfut-Gumeraber-Schönendank­er-Kalbsfleisch-Mittleraucher von Haut­kopft of Ulm.

At the opening, though, Dobrogoszcz conceded that Gambolputty would in fact not be coming, "as he plainly does not exist."