A Town Called Eternity.

History Throughout the 30s, 40s and 50s, in Melbourne, Australia, the word Eternity appeared across the city on buildings in chalk copperplate handwriting. For years the identity of the graffiti artist was a mystery despite its iconic part of city life, until 1956 when a newspaper revealed it to be Arthur Stace, an illiterate former soldier, petty criminal and alcoholic who became a devout Christian in the late 1940s.

 His story is commemorated by this website, though The Sydney Morning Herald offered a potted biography of Stace in 2009:
"Back in Sydney, Stace's physical and psychological problems were exacerbated by alcohol and he often found himself in front of the magistrate. In 1930, when he was in danger of being sent to prison, he made the decision to give up drinking. Against all the odds, he would remain sober for the rest of his life, supported by a new-found faith in God.

"It was several months after his initial conversion that Stace heard the evangelist the Reverend John Ridley preaching in Darlinghurst. Significantly, Ridley was not only a man of God but a decorated WWI veteran. He had been awarded the Military Cross for valour during the Battle of Bullecourt in 1917. When Ridley declared: ''I wish I could shout 'Eternity' through the streets of Sydney,'' the word resonated with Stace who, like Ridley, had faced his own mortality daily France. It was the genesis for his extraordinary 35-year mission in which he rose at dawn to walk the streets, anonymously chalking ''Eternity'' as he went."
"Eternity" also inspired an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia.

"Is anyone still reading this blog now that its become a Dr Who only zone ?"

Letters A observation/comment from Jess in the comments to today's Who 50 post:

"Just an observation, but is anyone still reading this blog now that its become a Dr Who only zone ?"

(1) The page views yesterday were 871 according to Blogger and over the last month, 19,154. I'm not sure I've mentionedd that before but there we are. I'm also not sure if that's a lot, about average or rubbish.  None of this is as high as when Doctor Who is on television and I'm publishing reviews, though I do know a few people who only come during the series and go away again when it's over.

(2) The Doctor Who posts are the most popular items on the blog, though to be fair the numbers are still relatively modest. Blogger says the write-up on Peter Capaldi has so far had about three hundred direct hits, though it's not clear where those numbers are from. The one about the viewing order went a bit viral so headed up to about five hundred and eighty. None of that takes into account things like RSS, where the blog has 192 readers via feedburner, though the sources are up the wall since Google Reader shut so I don't know how they're reading.

(3) Which isn't why I'm writing about Doctor Who by the way. I knew I'd be covering it a lot in the 50th anniversary year, especially since I'm watching a lot of it.  It's a nice writing exercise to choose a different story from a given year and try and have an original thought about it then ...

(4) The Who 50 tangent posts were and are designed so that the blog isn't a Dr Who only zone and again they're a useful research test.

(5) There are also posts about girl groups and art exhibitions I've enjoyed and the usual things I'm interested in. There's less personal writing in the traditional sense even though this is still a personal blog, I suppose, but long term readers will know that this sort of thing ebbs and flows. It's been a weird summer for various reasons, so I'm more inclined to write about the things I can write about rather than the things I don't feel like or don't quite understand yet.

(6)  I hope none of this comes across as defensive because it's not supposed to though I suspect it might.  As I've always said, this is what it is.  It's not Doctor Who blog though it does some of that.  It's not a culture blog, though it's been called that.  It's my blog however mediocre an idea that might be.

(7)  What kinds of things would you like me to be writing about?

WHO 50: 2000:
Short Trips and Side Steps.

Books By some measure, in the year two thousand Doctor Who was experiencing one its most fertile periods of the wilderness years. Big Finish was in full swing having quickly shifted to a monthly release schedule after the unexpected interested in their initial releases (available on cassette and cd back then) (for goodness sake), BBC Audio (the old name for AudioGo) began properly releasing the narrated missing episodes on audio, The Robots of Death fired off regular dvd releases of the available stories, BBV was still producing the odd thing notably The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind and at BBC Books, the Eighth Doctor novels had reached a crucial moment with the partial reboot in The Burning with its ensuing "Earth arc" and the past Doctors range was heading into ever more experimental territory with Iris Wyldethyme making her debut in that line with Paul Magrs’s Verdigris and Dave Stone’s split-era curate’s egg, Heart of TARDIS. It was at the point of being made by fans for fans and everyone seemed happy with that.

In the middle of all that, BBC Books also saw fit to look at the slightly more bonkers history of the programme with the publication of Short Trips and Side Steps. The first Short Trips anthologies had been publishing in 1998 as an almost direct continuation of the Decalogue series from Virgin Books, allowing authors to turn ideas what weren’t long enough for a novels into shorter prose. Both of the first two books were pretty freewheeling in their own way, with direct sequels of television stories written in the first person or extrapolations of such fan concepts at season 6B, which back then meant a suggested series of missions for the Second Doctor before his exile to Earth rather than Mels, magnifying glasses and a minotaur. But they were still resolutely in keeping with the aims of the BBC’s existing two lines, especially the Eighth Doctor pieces which seemed designed to offer some psychological underpinnings to that series’s earlier, more simplistic instalments.

But Short Trips and Side Steps (edited by range stalwarts Jac Raynor and Stephen Cole) was different. Short Trips and Side Steps took a long look at Doctor Who’s history and wondered what would have happened if some of its more bonkers licensing excesses, the World Annuals, TV Action comics, the stage shows, Dimensions in Time had actually been viable versions of the programme, rather than what’s now usually considered apocrypha. Mike Tucker and Robert Perry’s Storm in a Tikka is a sequel to Dimensions which dovetails into Search Out Space. Countdown to TV Action by Gary Russell celebrates the version of the third Doctor who lived in a country house and travelled around in the car called Betsy. Justin Richards’s The House on Oldark Moor is another adventure for the TARDIS crew who featured in the 60s movies. The Ultimate Adventure’s Crystal, Zog, Jason return with their friend the Sixth Doctor return for Face Value by Steve Lyons. Season 6B’s back again too. Or is it?

About as free-wheeling a selection of Who prose ever published it had a precedent in Perfect Timing, a charity anthology produced a few years before produced by many of the same writers. That also took the view that all of Doctor Who in its media various incarnation was fair game, the authors intermixing stories about characters from “comics, novels, videos, cereal packets and more”. One of the stories is about how the Doctor’s final companion, upon witnessing his death decides to continue in his name with “all that entails” which sounds magnificent (PT is sadly unavailable now). Short Trips and Side Steps never quite scales the heights of some those stories, in which writers usually paid to write Who fiction within strict rules let rip with their best and worst fan fic excesses, there’s still enough experimental meat to set it aside from much of anything else in publication.

In the midst of the homages, are new alternatives. A future Doctor modelled on Merlin with his companion Guin. A Fifth Doctor and Peri story seemingly modelled on Wild, Wild West. A body swap story for the Sixth Doctor and Peri (yes, indeed) and one of my particular favourites, The Not-So Sinister Sponge, written by Clayton Hickman and Gareth Roberts in their earliest collaboration. There’s an element of in-jokery inherent in the anthology which would presumably befuddle some of the not we, especially Lawrence Miles’s final piece which is actually shorter than this sentence. But for someone like me who was just beginning the crawl back into the Whoniverse, it was like an entry drug reminding me of the merchandise I’d sold on, the stage shows I’d missed and just how flexible the format is, as we’ve discussed already capable of becoming all kinds of things while still inherently Doctor Who.

The Short Trips anthologies would later be revived by Big Finish, mixing in some of the spirit of the Decalogues so that the short fictions appeared within some kind of umbrella story or overarching thematic connection as well as Perfect Timings as they invited in characters from other licensees (thanks to authors retaining the copyright on their own characters), but they eventually ended (and now sell for hilariously large prices on ebay). Big Finish in general also continued the spirit of Short Trips and Side Steps in particular with audio adaptations of the stage shows and creating a new sequel and by heralding in the Eighth Doctor’s various companions on the audio anthology A Company of Friends while introducing a new one. No further adventures for the Cushing incarnation yet, but surely Cribbins would be game for something in the style of the The Lost Years recreations of previous unproduced stories?

But part of me wishes BBC Books would revive them again themselves especially in the digital age, with the Puffin releases and their own recently announced ebooks demonstrating that there’s a potential market for them. Particularly in this anniversary year, why isn’t BBC Books turning out anthologies mixing the various eras of the show, short pieces featuring the first eleven Doctors alongside new adventures for Sarah Jane and gang along with Torchwood? I’m now enough of a fan to notice that weirdness that the nature of nuWho licensing means that this year’s celebratory releases aside, only the newest incarnation features in new merchandised stories, nothing for 9th or 10th, which in old Who terms would have been like only putting out TARGET novelisations of Peter Davison stories when he was the Doctor. If nothing else, Short Trips and Side Steps reminds us of the franchise’s rich history and how much can be gained from investigating it.

The Thirteenth Doctor.

Nature Butterflies are the "canary in the coalmine" says Joanna Lumley:
"What frightens me more than anything is how humans are detached from nature. We look at it on the screen and think we know it but we are more distant from the natural world than ever before."

Him & Her.




Elizabeth Wurtzel's AMA.

Books Elizabeth's AMA is a typically brilliant affair with her view of the Prozac Nation film (which I bought from abroad years ago at great expense but can't bring myself to watch) and new that she's writing a new book based on her generally misunderstood New York Magazine article.

I hope she won't mind me quoting in full one of her answers (but I'll happily remove if it's stepped over a line) because I want to have it somewhere to refer back to because I'm stuck in a writing rut at the moment, as I'm sure you've noticed and it's all the things I seem to have forgotten:
"Being a writer is extremely hard. This has always been true. It was true for Chaucer. It was true for Shakespeare, who wrote plays to please the queen. No one cares if you write. It has to matter to you so enormously much that you visit your ego upon the world and give it no choice except to care. I agree that this is harder now, not just because there are all these outlets that don't pay, but also because there are ALL THESE OUTLETS. Because of the Internet, there is too much content and not enough audience. It is so hard to distinguish oneself. Here is the trick, I think: You have to be brave as a writer. You have to write in a pure voice that is distinct and rare. It really is not hard. That does not require facility with words so much as it requires lack of fear. Of course, that is hard. Fear is the thing that gets in the way of everything: love, happiness, success.

"I happen to think there were many more opportunities twenty years ago to get a job as an editorial assistant at a magazine and write little articles until you could get assigned bigger pieces. But in terms of becoming an author of a book, the odds are as stacked against you or for you as ever. It is really difficult. But I think if you are sure this is what you must do, you need to be fearless and proceed. It really only works if it is a matter of no other choice."
My italics.  I'm trying to remember.

The Eleventh Doctor.

Theatre Actors have busy careers. Back in 2005, Rachael Stirling and Jim Broadbent appeared in a stage version of Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre during which the latter gave this interview to What's On Stage:
"There are some very strong arguments for critics in the play and sometimes you get very good critics. I think there’s an argument for putting them out to grass at a certain stage when they get so jaded with it and don’t have a fresh approach and a natural interest in theatre any more because they’ve seen so much of it. But you have to be able to gauge reactions to work and get some objective opinions, so it’s good. There are some critics I know enough to have a chat with if I saw them at a function or on the tube, but I don’t think I’ve ever been round to a critic’s house. Oh yeah, years and years ago, there was one but I don’t know what happened to him, he might have died. It’s all very subjective which ones you like. I think “oh, he likes me” so then I like him."

"I chose him because I felt I had the most room to manoeuvre"

Books It's August, finally, and so the author who's taken on the challenge of writing the Eighth Doctor e-short Puffin thingy has been revealed. Let's unpick the press release...

TimeRiders author Alex Scarrow has penned the eighth adventure in our exclusive series of short Doctor Who ebooks.

I've heard of TimeRiders. Oh no, hold on, I've heard of Time Riders, the 1991 television series directed by Michael Winterbottom. So no, as with most of the other authors in this range, I've never heard of him or his books. But that's due to my ignorance.  Probably.

Spore, featuring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor is set in a small town in the Nevada desert:

"Spore" Pretty direct title and actually in-keeping with many of the Eighth Doctor's previous adventures which have tended towards the single word, things like Endgame, Kursaal and Neverland. "Small town in the Nevada desert" - so it's set in the US just like the TV movie. Again, we'll reserve judgement.

An alien pathogen has reduced the entire population to a seething mass of black slime. When the Eighth Doctor arrives, he realises this latest threat to humanity is horrifyingly familiar – it is a virus which almost annihilated his entire race, the Time Lords...

Which all sounds very The X-Files, very Fringe, very much like people assumed Doctor Who would be like if the TV movie had been a goer. But hold on, what about the other alien virus which actually did wipe out Gallifrey in the Big Finish Gallifrey spin-offs? Well ...

Alex Scarrow commented: “I am squeeing like an over-sugared toddler at the thought of being part of this project. Doctor Who is an export this country can be proud of. We OWN time travel. My small part in this project was to breathe life back into the least known, Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann. I chose him because I felt I had the most room to manoeuvre, to explore a lesser known Doctor and add flesh to his character. In my story entitled Spore, we're getting a particularly grisly tale of an intelligent virus that liquifies and absorbs any creature it infects. All in all... quite gross - liquified people an' all.”

Oh hello question mark the size of my Eighth Doctor collection. We won't really know until he puts out the inevitable YouTube hostage statement if he's aware of the character's illustrious history, but just a couple of months on from the release of Dark Eyes, it's still bizarre seeing an author tasked with writing a project featuring the character saying things like "I chose him because I felt I had the most room to manoeuvre" and "explore a lesser known Doctor and add flesh to his character" as though McGann himself hasn't been playing it for the past decade. It is true that he is the "least known", the connoisseur's choice, but nevertheless ...

... we'll see what happens.  It could be amazing or it could be another A Big Hand For The Doctor.  At this point I'm assuming we're going to get a generic Doctor in the TV movie costume travelling alone that has nothing to do with what's been established in the past couple of decades.  Sigh.

Updated! 07/08/2013  The Guardian have uploaded their customary extract and actually, I've read worse versions of the Eighth Doctor, there is a TV Movie reference and the description of his costume is on the nose, the external details are fine.  But it's unfair to pass judgement on just a page or two...

The Tenth Doctor.

Fashion Owner’s appeal for information about mysterious England’s Lane shop sign:
"Ms (Andrea) Galer, who made the legendary overcoat worn by Richard E. Grant in Withnail & I at her workshop in England’s Lane, said the awning is likely to be derived from a less upmarket shop.

“It was all run down when I moved in,” she said. “There were squatters on the main street and nobody had spent any money on doing up houses, but people like Bob Hoskins all started in that area and gave it a newfound energy.”
Unrelated but equally hilarious, a Chinese restaurant has opened up in Liverpool's Hardman Street called the Hard Wok Cafe (and not the only one). It's up the road from a barbers called Ben Hair.

The Ninth Doctor.

Film Here's a really rather good interview with Rowan Atkinson at Empire's website.

It's a non-embeddable video, so you'll have to click above to see it.

It was conducted on the occasion of the release of Johnny English Reborn but covers a range of topics and has quite a funny bit about Pierce Brosnan.

Yes, it’s Peter Capaldi!

TV Yes, it’s Peter Capaldi!

As we reached this day of reckoning, his name and one Daniel Rigby were the front runners, and after spent most of the afternoon twitter stalking people who were attending the younger actor’s Edinburgh Fringe show asking them to confirm if he’d turned up for work, one of them did, which arguably put Rigby out of the running. So logically it was always going to be Peter Capaldi by default. But because he is, let’s face it, Peter Capaldi, the whole thing seemed entirely unlikely. He just seemed, well, too famous for the role. I mean look at his IMDb.

Except in the run up, I did find myself being convinced nonetheless. Having realised that it wouldn’t be Romola Garai or anyone else with a double x chromosome this time, I’d pretty much decided that Capaldi is about the only choice I would have been happy with. Because he’s Peter Capaldi, because he has an acting history, whose already had what you could describe as a career defining part in Malcolm Tucker, because he is the polar opposite of Matt Smith in terms of being a near household name on the reveal.

The actual process of the reveal was excruciating and not just because of having to wait twenty-five minutes from the beginning of the programme. The BBC live programme was godawful with its dayglow version of the Room 101 set from the Merton era and bizarre choices in celebrity presenter and guests. None of which, it should be said, is on Zoe Ball, who did her best with what must be the weirdest presenting job of her career other than the Big Brother night she was on stand-by in case Davina went into labour.

The BBC brought in the big guns. This was executive produced by Amanda Kean of Noel’s HQ, directed by Simon Staffurth whose career also includes Over The Rainbow, Popstar to Opera Star and most recently Les Dawson: An Audience with That Never Was and produced by Guy Freeman, who oversaw the tv presentation of the Diamond Jubilee concert and before that Johnny & Denise: Passport to Paradise, half a dozen Brit Awards, Noel’s House Party and Fist of Fun. Yet there was something curiously flat about the thing.  Please, BBC, next time, a Tennant-style midnight press release?

Inviting celebrity fans on isn’t that poor an idea, but they didn’t really add anything bless them, all slightly surprised to be there, especially Rufus Hound, who without his beard now looks ironically more like Daniel Rigby. They all seemed terribly nervous, as though they knew that they were being shouted at across the country through the vibrations of the air and on social media by a collective audience screaming “JUST TELL US!” But then, the decision to invite an audience of fans meant they were getting daggers in real time too which can’t have helped.

A better idea, perhaps, would have been for more people who’d actually been in the programme. Both Peter Davison and Bernard Cribbins were good value, especially the former when he was asked if Doctor Who was the best part on television, a question he studiously failed to answer, and Bernard who managed to sneak Barry Letts’s name into the proceedings during his anecdote about auditioning for the role himself during the Tom Baker casting. Cribbins does, of course, remain one of the best Doctors we never had.

Arguably the best bits were the pre-recorded segments which, despite the rapid editing brought to mind Confidential and at its best (the last reveal programme) when interviewing Matt Smith about his time on the show and Moffat about the casting process, the sort of thing which has been much missed since the behind the scenes element of the show has largely had a curtain drawn in front of it. A few surprises in there, notably Bonnie Langford who I don’t remember talking about the role on screen like this before and Shappi Korsandi sitting in front of the McGann photo. What a combination…

But it was also these pre-recorded elements which eventually tipped me off that it must be Capaldi, especially when Steven said that they hadn’t done much of an audition process, no three weeks in a Travel Lodge somewhere watching people who weren’t going to get the job because they’d already chosen Matt. All had the same idea, invited him round, sounded him out? So he had to be relatively famous, he had to be a Peter Capaldi. That coupled with Radio Times (who’d named him on the 30th July anyway) saying that it was a recognisable actor ten minutes before broadcast…

Nevertheless, when Zoe said the name and Peter sheepishly walked on set waving with both hands (very Wilf), I screaming, I roared, I applauded and shouted, “It’s Peter Capaldi! It’s fucking Peter Capaldi!” It was still a surprise in the same way that we all knew full well, thanks to the spoilers that Professor Yana was going to be the Master but still couldn’t quite believe it when it happened. Earlier in the day, I said that they wouldn’t have done their job properly if they didn’t provoke reaction like this video. Well, yes, indeed, yes they did.

All of which posturing, cunningly mimicking the process of the actual programme in putting off the inevitable, what do I really think? I couldn’t be happier. Honestly, it’s an amazing choice. Thrilling. He is different to Matt, and not just because of his age, though he is fifty-five the same age as William Hartnell when he took on the role. He’s, well, more distinguished in a way, though not the point that he’s not capable of being a funny lunatic when required, he’s probably capable of playing the role in a similar way to all of the previous Doctors and I'm younger than the Doctor again.

Plus the relationship with Clara will be different, won’t it? Whereas, for all his age, the relationship between 11th and Clara has been nothing if not flirty, now all of that will probably be dialled down and for all dear Terry Dicks says about it just being the actor who changes the character, not the script, you just can’t imagine Capaldi doing the infamous “skirt too tight” script. Well, no I mean you can, but it would be even creepier. I do think they’ll still be all hugs, but he’s a father figure, we’re looking at a 3rd Doctor and Jo dynamic rather than 4th and Romana II, I suppose.

Will he still do as much running? He did a fair bit of corridor acting in the Thick of It, so he clearly keeps himself fit, so he’s not going to be a “grandfather” figure. But it;s possible that it will mean an even more “active” role for Clara and depending on when Matt decided to leave that could account for the “moments of charm” (notably at the back of the TARDIS in The Rings of Arcofinfinity) and other Doctorish behaviour in the last eight episodes in which she could just as well have been reading Matt’s script (in Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS).

How will he actually play it though? God knows. Matt’s personality in his initial interview suggested some things which did indeed come to fruition. It’s bound to be a soberer portrayal, though with flashes of madness, so I do think it’s going to be more Tom than John, more Dave than Matt, more Pat than Bill. Looking physically older gains the character a certain authority in given situations especially with his height, he’s physically much more imposing. Depends how he’s dressed too. Choosing the right costume’s going to be interesting.

Assuming Moffat doesn’t do a completely clean break, how will he interact with River or Vastra, Jenny and Strax? Will it still fit, or be closer to Tom and the Brigadier and the rest of UNIT, bound together because of past glories but somehow still like oil and water. Having finally seen Terror of the Zygons recently, there’s something quite off about the whole thing, like the Doctor has “outgrown” them and he’s utilising their services for old time’s sake and to keep Sarah Jane happy not the other way around.

But you know what’s best about Peter Capaldi? He gets it.  At this point, the Radio Times letter not withstanding, we don’t know how much of a fan he is, whether he can reference the Monoids with quite the same glee as David Tennant, but, oh sod it, here’s a transcript of the statement he was coaxed into giving at the end:
"Well I think Doctor Who is an extraordinary show, and the thing that strikes me about it is that it's still here after all this time and the reason that I think it's still here is because of the work of the all the writers, and the directors and the producers who've worked on the show, the work of all the actors and I don't just mean the fabulous actors who've played the Doctor, but also those actors who've sweated inside rubber monster costumes and had to wear futuristic lurex cat suits, but the real reason, the big reason that Doctor Who is still with us is because of every single viewer, whoever turned on to watch this show, at any age, at any time in its history, and in their history and who took it into their heart because Doctor Who belongs to all of us. Everyone made Doctor Who."
Put that on an infographic and post it to Tumblr. Doesn’t that sound like someone who listens to Big Finish audios in the car and has a signed copy of Lungbarrow on the shelf? We’ll probably find out in the inevitable Doctor Who Magazine interview, but I’ll be amazed if he’s not listing Androzani as a favourite story and quoting from City of Death [Updated 5/8/2013: we have now, see below].

Before I take up much more of your time, I do have one other question. Who was involved in the casting? Moffat, yes. Andy Pryor, yes. But what about Mark Gatiss? For ages, I’ve been suggesting that he’ll be the one to take over when Moffat inevitably leaves in a year or two, and if that is the case, it seems unlikely, I think though I'm probably wrong, that he wouldn’t have some say in who’s going to take over the role that he might be writing and crafting for. I refer you to the infamous round table from Doctor Who Magazine issue 279, when Mark said:
“There is a genuine Doctorishness – perhaps it’s a gene – which some actors have and some don’t. I would like to think that a new production team could successfully argue the case for casting David Collings, Geoffrey Bayldon, John Castle and the like, rather than a Light Entertainment “name” which makes the fans wet themselves. Funnily enough, I think the recent Comic Relief saga proved the point well with the unlikely Hugh Grant – playing it dead straight – producing a genuine and actually rather moving Who moment, whereas Rowan and Richard E Grant just weren’t very good.”
Notice how he references firstly older men and next Hugh Grant, who was in his own way a rather British take on a Capaldi figure, albeit the younger version from Local Hero. Of course then Gatiss went on to say: “So … cast a woman, by all means. Why not? Bit make sure you err on the side of Stephanie Cole rather than Joanna Lumley.”  Which does give us hope that, assuming he does take over, the thirteenth Doctor may be woman. Romola.

Anyway, it’s getting late and I have to post this, but yes, wow, Peter Capaldi is the Doctor. Let’s hope they spell his name right on the cover of Doctor Who Magazine. It’s one P.

Oh god, I've been pronouncing his name wrong all the these years...

Updated 5/8/2013 Mark tweeted:

Is that someone who knew beforehand? Hmm...

Updated 5/8/2013 Paul Cornell, author of fanzine collection License Denied, the collection of fanzine articles, just tweeted this:

Now, that is archaeology. Capaldi knows who Bernard Lodge is. He really is one of us.

Updated 6/8/2013  Rufus Hound has a blog and on this blog, he's clearly mortified by his performance on the Capaldi reveal show and tangentially explains where his beards gone.  He's in a play.  "My problem is that I care about the show, and because I care, I went a bit weird. "  You're forgiven, not that you had much to forgive.  Faced with sitting next to Cribbins, in that studio, with that many cosplayers sitting opposite, anyone would most likely forget everything they've ever known about everything.

The Master.