The Music of Doctor Who on The Daily Show.

TV Presumably because of John Oliver, when selecting the music to skewer the networks in this clip, The Daily Show decided on Murray Gold's I Am The Doctor.

There's no embed, but the clip is on Mediaite.


Flatline lyric video.

Music Yet another example of something which might have helped the group when they were originally recorded. Notice it's the first video uploaded to a Vevo account which means that this will continue to be their social media channel and they're putting their pop promos elsewhere. Only as I type this sentence do I notice just how boring an observation is contained in the previous, but probably less boring than this one.

National Space Museum.

Space The National Space Centre in Leicester is to commemorate Sir Patrick Moore in an evening of events on 28 September between 19:00 - 22:00. The highlight of Patrick At Night: A Celebration will be the unveiling of bust of Sir Patrick by Jon Culshaw, but see also:

  • Take a seat in the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium to see Patrick's favourite astronomical objects, hosted by Patrick himself!
  • Join Leicester Astronomical Society for some outside viewing (weather permitting)
  • Try a special commemorative Sir Patrick Moore Ale from Belvoir Brewery
  • Listen to Patrick's compositions performed live on the xylophone
  • Taste asteroid ice cream, created using real science (no real asteroids though!)
  • Compete as a team and build a Lunar Lander for our Eggpollo Mission (groan!!!)
  • Take a Tour of the Night Sky in the brand new TinyTarium
  • Discover the facts about Patrick and take a Tour with the 2.0s
  • Watch Patrick's commentary of the Apollo missions in Mission Control
  • See a total Solar Eclipse and make telescopes
  • Drive a Lunar Rover, see comets being made and handle million year old space rocks
  • Discover the six interactive galleries, Rocket Tower and SIM ride
The planetarium utilising Sir Patrick's voice sounds amazing.

WHO 50: 1997:
The Dying Days.

TV  When I returned to university in the mid-noughties for my film studies degree, one the courses investigated adaptations of fantastical texts and for the final credit we were tasked with adapting part of one of those fantastical texts and writing a report to explain our choices.

I chose Lance Parkin’s The Dying Days.

Partly this was because I’d just recently read it as part of my project to read my way through the Eighth Doctor novels, and partly because I wanted to see if there was a different approach to the one taken on television, to eschew computer effects for practical images completely.

Since it’s a while since I completed the course, I think I’m fine in republishing the contents of that report now with a warning that there are obviously loads of spoilers if you haven't read the thing.

[With a interjection note to say that yes, I do know about it saying "The" Doctor in the middle of sentences.  I have no idea why.  I suspect a "find/replace" error back in the day and too many to go back and fix now... anyway...]

 Firstly, here’s the adaptation itself, a script based on Lance Parkin’s original text:

Totally Doctor Who. A short return.

TV This short piece from a BBC schools programmes features the royal visit to the Doctor Who set from the point of view of a bow-tied teenage fan reporter, presented by Barney from Totally Doctor Who. Keep watching for the moment when he meets the royals at a reception.

Kenneth Branagh answers question about a blu-ray of his In The Bleak Midwinter.

Ken did a Q&A at The Guardian today so inevitably I asked the question:
"Any plans for a UK blu-ray release of his In The Bleak Midwinter? I watch it every Christmas."
Ken answered!
"I would love Bleak Midwinter to be out on blu-ray but for reasons I don’t fully understand there are rights issues involved. It somehow got a little bit complicated. But there is a bit of a cult following for it, I’m very glad to say. I would like it to happen, for those who like it to become a Christmas perennial."
Oh swiz. On the upside, perhaps it'll nudge him into asking his people "What is the problem? What are these rights issues?"  My guess is it's because although the film was made by Castle Rock which is now owned by Warner Bros, it was distributed on VHS in the UK by Columbia Tristar which is currently owned by Sony, who may still have the home rights.  But it's odd, because A Few Good Men (also Castle Rock) is in the same situation, but has been released by Sony on BD in the UK.  Perhaps it's just that Sony can't be bothered?

Elsewhere, Hamlet is mentioned:
Kishiwadaboy asked:

"What is your favourite scene/outtake which didn't make it into the final cut of one of your films?"

KB replied:

"A very familiar paraphrase occurred when I tried to give Charlton Heston a note when he played the player king in Hamlet, I talked to him about the line "Anon he finds him striking too short at Greeks" which unfortunately I repeated "Anon he finds him striking at two short Greeks". Mr Heston was clever enough to spot my stupidity, the paraphrase was left on the cutting floor room."
That sort of thing.

Golden Crown Centre.

History UNESCO's Memory of the World Register is rather like the list of world heritage sites for world heritage objects. Apart from archives and papers, its unusual inclusions are films. In 2010 the UK list included the unreleased film The Life Story of David Lloyd George, in 2011 the Peter Worden Collection of Mitchell and Kenyon films and GPO Film Unit collection, 1933-1940 and this year, oh boy:
"While Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most famous film directors of all time, his first ten silent films – nine of which survive – are little known compared to his later work. Made between 1925 and 1929, the silent films are among the greatest achievements of British silent cinema, and are blueprints for the rest of his body of work, containing many of his characteristic motifs and obsessions."

Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan. Billboard.

Music This Billboard interview with Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan doesn't offer much that's new about, but the fact of its very existence is noteworthy in and of itself, plus there is some stuff about the recording of the album:
"The trio first reconnected in 2009, but didn't really get the ball rolling until 2011. Realizing the chemistry they had for their first album was still intact, Buena, Buchanan and Donaghy started writing and recording material on their own with producers they sought out. By the time Polydor Records signed them in 2012, Mutya Keisha Siobhan already had a significant chunk of new music recorded.

"The forthcoming set will be released in the U.K. in the very early part of 2014 on Polydor Records. "Flatline," which is already making viral waves on SoundCloud with more than 220,000 plays, will be released commercially to retailers in the U.K. on Sept. 1."
Which means they were already well on the way before the PopJustice interview.  The writer has also heard patches of the album with talk of "pots and pans" which sounds, well I don't know what that sounds like.

Andy Livingstone Park.

Life Watching this Taylor Swift video, I'm struck once again by the number of camera phones in the audience and the people holding them. I don't know the cost scales of concerts but I'd imagine those tickets near the stage were pretty expensive so why would you spend the whole time hold up a camera to record the experience? Wouldn't you arm start hurting after a while? Aren't you diminishing your experience even though as the video suggests there's someone else recording the thing with HD cameras presumably for a future shiny disc release? Aren't all major concert tours released in this format now at some point?

James Shakespeare asks similar questions, albeit sparked by an exhibition at the Barbican.  The need to recording and photograph everything we do and to do so in such a way that it looks great when its uploaded to the internet is ruining our ability to enjoy things:
"There are plenty of ‘Facebook is bad for you because X’ posts, but I’m talking about a mindset that goes beyond any single web service. This is the curse of our age. We walk around with the tools to capture extensive data about our surroundings and transmit them in real-time to the bedrooms and pockets of friends, family and every acquaintance we’ve made in the past eight years. We end up with a diminished perception of reality because we’re more concerned about choosing a good Instagram filter for our meal than we are about how it tastes. We become Martian rovers, trundling around our environment, uploading data without the ability or desire to make any sense of it. Ultimately, we end up externalising our entire lives."
I attended an exhibition recently and there was a rather remarkable installation, a large moving set piece.  Two of us visitors were guided into the space by an invigilator to watch this thing happen and within seconds of us entering, the other visitor, a stranger, had her iPhone out and was recording it, watching it through her screen rather than the real thing, making sure she had a good angle on it.  Apart from the fact this was pretty distracting for me because we were the only people in there, at no point did she seem to stop and absorb what she was seeing as I expect you're suppose to.

I've tended to stop taking photographs at mass events, places were there are loads of people.  Someone else will already have uploaded a shot that's better than anything I could produce before I've even got home by a professional photographer.  As you'll notice, I'll very rarely illustrate reviews and things with anything other than the blandest of photos sometimes of the outside of venue.  Because I agree with James -- much more can be communicated in a textual expression of a feeling than an amateur photograph of something you've all seen anyway or can if you want to [via].

Globe to Globe Hamlet.

Shakespeare's Globe is taking a production of Hamlet, a version of this production perhaps, to every country in the world:
"Shakespeare’s Globe said it aims to perform in some 205 countries and territories, some of which have never seen a Shakespeare production before, and will get around by automobile, boat, train and plane. The Twitter feed @WorldHamlet will track the show’s whereabouts."
It doesn't leave until next April, but the official website is already up here. How exciting. The Guardian has quotes from director Dominic Dromgoole:
"I think having a lunatic idea is a very good thing, it's a great way to keep everybody focused and dazzled and delighted by the ambition and energy of the company," said the artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole. "If we're going to do every country in the world it has to be every country, we're not going to leave anyone out. All the 'Stans, South and North Korea – we're very keen to get into North Korea. Antarctica? Fuck yes."
The Twitter feed offers some background on the nature of the production:

All very In The Bleak Midwinter. Or Shakespeare Wallah. No news if it's the same eighth actors, because that would be remarkable. Can I come?

Why do most exhibitions in Liverpool seem to be of contemporary art?

Art Attending the Burne-Jones exhibition at the Lady Lever reminded me something which has been becoming increasingly frustrating over the past year or so and can only be said bluntly in the form of a question:

Why do most exhibitions in Liverpool seem to be of contemporary art?

Let’s just define that for a moment because “contemporary art” is an ever changing term because it has to be. Edward Burne-Jones was a contemporary artist at a certain point. I suppose what I mean, though I’m ashamed to say it, is living artists. A major proportion of the work is by living artists. Dead artists don’t often get a look in.

Every now and then I’ll glance wistfully south and that see that somewhere like the National Gallery is showing a selection of Vermeers or the Royal Academy is showing Manet and sigh knowing that such things will never appear in Liverpool or even (to some extent) Manchester.

Or I'll watch videos like this and cry:

Yes, I know it's the Met in New York, but damn, why can't that be us too?

Partly it’s because we don’t have an equipped venue.

Tate Liverpool has notably been veering closer to the turn of the last century or even earlier in its selections for major exhibitions, Chagall at the moment and Monet mixed in with Turner and Twombly previously. Mondrian coming soon. But it is still a “contemporary” art venue. It’s not within its remit to present a selection of Constables for example, unless it’s in the context of some wider contemporary art exhibition, as happened with some London Pre-Raphaelites turned up in the Alice in Wonderland show.

The Bluecoat, FACT, the Open Eye are all contemporary art venues. The Victoria Gallery has the odd thing from their collection, but generally they choose to support living artists.

The Walker has a massive, much acclaimed permanent display which rivals some of the national venues for quality.  But it's relatively static just as permanent displays are supposed to be.  Much as I love it, I'd also like to see something new.  

In 2008, the Walker offered the amazing Art in the Age of Steam, but since then exhibitions have generally preferring instead to foster new work and present acquisitions and more contemporary items from the collection. Plus there's the John Moores exhibition too. Again this is all fine. The venue has a vast collection of its own much of which can’t be displayed plus blockbusters like Art in the Age of Steam are hugely expensive.

Which is, I understand, part of the problem. The reason the real treats are in London is because those huge galleries have the infrastructure and sponsorship to be able to afford them.

But for an art lover, especially an art lover who is interested as much in Bosch and Bruegel and the Impressionists, London feels as close as Paris in terms of accessibility and it’s in the same country. A minimum of £65 to see something like this on a regular basis is a real shame. We’re being penalised by geography. Again.

Except doesn't need to be a "blockbuster" exhibition.  I'd love to see the work of lesser known artists.  When was the last Arthur Hughes retrospective?  Or John Collier?

What can be done?

As it stands, not much. 

The pipe dream idea would be for the national galleries to have outreach programmes in which touring samples of their collections, and not just the odd painting as has occurred in the past, travel slowly across the country spending a quarter in a venue before moving on, Tate Britain vacating a space to make way for the V&A before the National Gallery moves in and perhaps the British Museum or whoever and even running concurrently.

One problem is the space. In Liverpool, at present, we don’t have one. Which means an older building would have to refurbished and pressed back into service for these galleries of national museums stuff turning up on Merseyside to move into. The old Post Office building would have been perfect but that’s being turned into lecture theatre and the like at the moment by JMU.

The other problem is paying for all. There’s no money. At all. At this point it seems unlikely Tate Liverpool would open up under present conditions. Thank goodness it’s already here.

But again that’s also wrong, because we’re paying for these national galleries even though most of us never get to see them more than once or twice in our lives other than on The Culture Show or BBC Four. Usually information packed, but not the same and also just slightly depressing.

Yes, I know, it’s all sound and fury and I should be grateful for what we do get and that we have something like the Biennial which happens every couple of years and brings great art to the city by living artists. 

 It would just be nice if we could commemorate more of the dead ones too.

The Drawings of Edward Burne-Jones: A Pre-Raphaelite Master at The Lady Lever Art Gallery.

Art If there’s at least one reason to visit The Drawings of Edward Burne-Jones: A Pre-Raphaelite Master, it’s for the rare opportunity to stand toe to frame with arguably one of the artist’s greatest works, Sponsa de Libano (the Bride of Lebanon) (1891) which in these small exhibition spaces stands floor to ceiling, and if you’re close enough your entire field of vision. Although such paintings are rarely inaccessible in other locations both in the gallery and elsewhere, usually these taller canvases are displayed off the ground, further up the wall as they are in the main picture room at the Lady Lever.

Only here can see the heft of his technique, the banding of colour, of gouache and temper, to create other pigments and how their integration when looked at from further away creates the stunning detail which is the hallmark of pre-Raphs in general. Even having seen at the work many times before, only now do I notice the design of the Bride’s sandals and the way she almost hovers above the ground and just how much of an inspiration Botticelli was to Burne-Jones. The painting is almost a chaster, vertical re-imagining of the Birth of Venus, especially noticeable in the positioning of the virgin’s face.

The rest of the exhibition is fine in that way that exhibitions of drawings on paper both complete in and of themselves and preparatory tend to be, with the vague suspicion that artists and art students will gain more from seeing the technique revealed more than this general visitor. As with most other members of the school, his style is exceedingly recognisable partly because he kept returning to the same models time and again so that there’s almost a “Burne-Jones” face. That means that when he comes to create a figure of Christ at The Last Judgment for the east window of St Margaret's Church in Rottingdean, Sussex, we’re not quite sure just how androgynous he’s supposed to be, the facial expression almost exactly like Sponsa de Libano.

The Drawings of Edward Burne-Jones: A Pre-Raphaelite Master continues until 12 January 2014. Free entry.

Ogden Avenue.

Radio In 1958 ...

Then again in 2013 ...

Time Can Be Rewritten.

TV As per Philip Sandifer's piece today about Doctor Who's Army of Ghosts slash Doomsday, and because I do see this a lot in relation to various episodes, here's the thing about why UNIT don't mention Torchwood in the 70s episodes.

The most obvious reason is because Torchwood hadn't been invented yet but that's not good enough for fans who want this to a be a complete universe that doesn't contradict itself and wonder also why Pertwee era spin-offs sometimes do but also sometimes don't try and cover over the cracks.

Here's the fictional fantasy reason.

Torchwood hadn't been invented yet.

You might argue on this if you like, but time in the Doctor Who universe has always been in flux even within the fictional world of the series. So when the Doctor delays the Daleks for a thousand years in Genesis of the Daleks it does have a real effect in ensuing episodes and effectively overrides what may or may not have happened before in previous pepperpot related stories. Retconned if you will.

Similarly in nuWho, when Van Statten doesn't know what a Dalek is despite Journey's End, it's because that episode happened in the timeline before Journey's End changed everything. In the new timeline, there may or may not be a version of Dalek which reflects those events and Van Statten identifies the Dalek immediately.  Assuming his collection hasn't already been impounded by Torchwood.

So now, post Tooth & Claw, there will be a version of the Pertwee era in which Torchwood is a going concern. If there are any classic Who spin-0ffs which mention Torchwood, they're happening in the new version of the timeline rather than the old one. Not that there needs to be much of a difference, probably, though there is some potential in producing a series of nuTrek style remakes which recreate old stories like The Claws of Axos or Invasion of the Dinosaurs in a nuWho tainted version of the timeline in which Torchwood does exist.  The Delgado Master becomes a Scientific Advisor to the evil version of Torchwood.

In other words, time can be rewritten and many of the stories we've enjoyed across the years are just snapshots of a fictional universe at a certain moment.

Some notes:

(1)  The Doctor can only change time if he wasn't previously aware of the outcome.  In other words, he can't kill Hitler, even if he wanted to.  The whole fixed point in time business.  Notice that whenever he's tried, the aforementioned Genesis, Waters of Mars, something has always happened to keep the web of time in check, even if that includes, as per Father's Day, the destruction of a planet or timeline.

(2)  All of which also in effect nullifies canonicity questions because it means that everything can happen, even Death Comes To Time.  They're just different versions of the fictional truth.  At some point, there's nothing to say that there isn't a version of the timeline in which the Doctor isn't a eccentric human in 60s London, the TARDIS his personal hobby.  Chameleon arch or whatever.

Block Google.

Film It was Ingmar Bergman's birthday yesterday, and to celebrate, only in Sweden, Google offered this doodle:

"This is my hand. I can turn it. The blood is still running in it. The sun is still in the sky and the wind is blowing. And I... I, Antonius Block, play chess with Death."

BBC Genome completed.

TV Ariel brings news that the BBC Genome project is complete and from Monday, BBC staff will be able to browse the contents. The public will be some time after that. In case you don't know, the project scanned in every issue of Radio Times and transformed it into a searchable database so that users will be able to see when programmes were originally broadcast without having to visit a library and work through the pages. Quite an endeavour, Morse:
"We seriously underestimated the scale and complexity of the endeavour,' says the member of the archive content team in west London. 'Other organisations have digitised and published their magazine back catalogue, so digitising 4,500 magazines doesn't seem that daunting until you realise that it's about 420,000 pages, containing 4.9 million programmes and information about over 8 million contributors.'

"McEnery puts this into context for those still grappling with the numbers - the dataset is about the size of Wikipedia."
Don't suppose anyone's handing out guest accounts?

British Columbia Children's Hospital.

Film PiXAR now has its own Lance Parkin and Lars Pearson. In a hilariously well thought out, imaginative blog post, Jon Negroni attempts to explain how all of PiXAR's films can exist in the same universe filled with wild moments of extreme brilliance:
"Meanwhile on Earth, machines are left behind to populate the world and run things, explaining human landmarks and traditions still being prominent in Cars. There are no animals or humans in this version of Earth because they’re all gone, but we do know that the planet still has many human influences left. In Cars 2, the cars go to Europe and Japan, making it plain that this is all taking place on Earth as we know it. So what happened to the cars? We’ve learned by now that humans are the source of energy for the machines. That’s why they never got rid of them. In Wall-E, they point out that BNL intended to bring the humans back once the planet was clean again, but they failed. The machines on Earth eventually died out, though we don’t know how."
After I've finished watching my way through Disney mainstream in release order, I think I'll be rerunning PIXAR in this order. Oh my.

Plaza of Nations.

Travel The New York Times publishes an article about Japanese culture in Paris. It's the perfect storm for this blog's city tags:
"Japan continues to fascinate the French, and after a while, you begin to see Japan almost everywhere you go in Paris. The spa Cinq Mondes near the Opera features “kobido,” a natural skin-lifting ritual once reserved for geishas. The Henri Le Roux chocolate shop makes a pea-green Yuzu Macha bar. Galerie Sentou, a design and furniture store, sells Noguchi lamps. Every Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris now seems to have a Japanese touch; some bistros, like L’Office, have even imported Japanese chefs. The Paris runways have come under the same spell. Just one example: Kim Jones, Louis Vuitton’s men’s-wear style director, has combined classic tailoring with kimono silks. Meanwhile, the high-fashion concept store Colette just unveiled “Bento,” a jewelry collection inspired by rice, jasmine flowers and wasabi beans."
See also: Paris syndrome.