His Master's Voice Silenced.

Film RIP HMV, again. The entertainment chain has once again called in the receivers after it was saved in 2013 despite my own gloomy assessment.  But this feels even more existential, especially since the causes have become even more acute in the past five years.  As the BBC's RCJ notes, whereas the 2013 troubles were blamed on downloads, we now live in a streaming age.

Anecdotally, the majority of casuals stream their films legally and otherwise, usually through a pay monthly service or through a celestial rental service like Amazon Video.  Most people simply can't justify paying ten to fifteen pounds for a film they're only like to watch once or twice, so even if it isn't on Netflix, they rent a stream for roughly the same cost as something at Blockbuster.

Similarly, as I predicted a decade ago as soon as I saw began using the service, Spotify et al and download has pretty much killed the physical media market.  People in general don't use portable cd players any more.  Even when we are given a cd for Christmas, our first instinct is to rip it to mp3s assuming we even bother and don't just simply go to Spotify anyway.

On top of that, even those of us who do still want shiny discs are probably going straight to Amazon, which is cheaper than HMV especially if you take into account second hand purchases through secondary sellers, more convenient especially if you have prime and although it can't really replacing browsing in stores, HMV isn't really the back catalogue heaven it once was.

As soon as the HMV in Liverpool moved from its flagship space to a smaller shop on the balcony in Liverpool One, this seemed inevitable.  Assuming it isn't saved, there won't now be a specialist chain record shop on the high street that sells film and music.  Andy's Records, Our Price, Tower Records, Virgin Megastores, Zavvi, Head and now HMV and Fopp (probably) all gone.  RIP.

Elizabeth Wurtzel has a new father.

People You've probably read this incredible piece already but I'm linking it here for posterity. Elizabeth Wurtzel writes for New York Magazine on discovering her father is actually Bob Adelman, legendary photographer:
"Life is just a shock to the system.

"It turns out that the man I have spent 50 years believing to be my father is not my father.Donald Wurtzel, 2001.

"My mother lied to me about who my father is. My father is Bob Adelman, the photographer, who most famously caught Martin Luther King Jr.MLK delivers “I Have a Dream,” August 28, 1963. in profile having a dream on the Lincoln Memorial. You know the shot. You know many of Bob’s pictures. When they say something is iconic, they just mean everyone knows it. Bob was early for history.

Where's The Doctor? (Doctor Who Annual 2018).

Books Happy Christmas! No new Doctor Who on television today, but instead I had the pleasure of reading Paul Lang's Thirteenth Doctor comic strip, Where's The Doctor? in this year's annual, an unusual publication in that its style originates with Doctor Who Adventures, which is no longer in publication. So it's a chance to have a window on what an issue of that might look like featuring the new(ish) Doctor and her friends, especially across the strip, which was always the key aspect of the comics magazine and which surprisingly features a cameo from the Eighth Doctor, which is why I'm here.

An assassin has been hired to murder the Doctor and the first part of the strip has her chasing the Time Lord around London during the coronation not entirely sure why she keeps bumping into these blokes who read as the Doctor on her scanner but are clearly not female. In each instance she finds herself saving him from some beast he and his companions are fighting off which in Eighth's case is a giant robot (no not that one) towering over Marble Arch, just as he's about to be incinerated by some kind of flame thrower. John Ross, whose recognizable style was seen in DWA across the years, has gone for Eighth's TV Movie threads which puts this early in his adventures.

The first half of the annual is a potted history of all the incarnations (including Hurt!), perhaps for kids who're only jumping on board with Jodie's casting and Eighth is featured here too with a single page that offers a rough synopsis of Doctor Who or The Enemy Within or whatever we're calling it these days followed by an explanation of his regeneration.  Orthodox, although his designated quote (they all have them), "Four minutes?  That's ages ..." (etc) from The Night of the Doctor, is incongruously attached to a photo from the 1996 wig and waistcoat photo shoot.  There's also a "spot the difference" puzzle utilizing an image taken just before the Doctor chugs down his regeneration elixir, the existential chatter with Ohila over Cass's corpse, which is bit macabre.

The second half of the annual puts Thirteenth at the centre in the comic strip and the accompanying material has profiles of her companions, some more spot the difference type puzzles and odds and sods about some of the episodes from this season.  There's something a bit poignant about this as though Lang appreciates that there was always a place for a Doctor Who publication for younger readers, especially when the show isn't on air.  Arguably it wasn't a perfect fit for the Twelfth Doctor and it suffered due to the funk that era found itself in, but I bet if the presses roared back to work with a DWA dedicated to the Thirteenth Doctor, it would be loved.

Placement: How about between the Radio Times strips and Vampire Science?

Christmas Links #24

25 Pictures From Christmas Past That Show Just How Much The Holiday Has Changed:
"’Tis the season to journey back in time to witness the ghosts of Christmas past!"

National (US) Christmas Tree Dark Due To Government Shutdown:
"This is so not lit -- the National Park Service says the tree site near the White House will stay closed until the shutdown ends."

The gift of gaming: the joys of getting a console for Christmas:
"From secondhand Super Nintendos to surprise Sega Saturns, writers, game developers and Guardian readers share their favourite memories of gaming Christmases past."

UK troops around the world send Christmas wishes home to loved ones:
"Thousands of British Armed Forces personnel working around the world have sent Christmas messages home to their loved ones."

‘They even ask for Merry Christmas Everyone at my shows in Sri Lanka’: 10 Questions for Shakin’ Stevens:
"SHAKIN’ Stevens is touring with his Greatest Hits And More show, playing Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on March 16th, and Glasgow’s City Halls on the 17th."

After Years In Refugee Camps, A Family Celebrates Its First Christmas In The U.S.:
"It's a familiar scene: a family gathering on a Sunday afternoon, the kids off playing somewhere in the house. But in the kitchen, conversations in Swahili fill the room."

Lennie James remembers 'dread' of first Christmas in care:
"Actor Lennie James has written and recorded his memory of the first Christmas he spent in care aged 10."

A Charlie Brown Christmas can quote the Bible but not feel like it's preaching:
"That's the secret to its enduring popularity and beloved status."

Christmas Links #23

Back to the crib: north-west England's nativities – in pictures:
"Stephen McCoy has been photographing the urban environments and landscapes of the north-west of England for 40 years."

Did the First World War Christmas truce football match really happen?
"It has become one of the most iconic moments of the First World War, and was in 2014 chosen by Sainsbury's as the subject of their huge Christmas advertising campaign."

The man who sued over a lack of Christmas cheer:
"Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK go abroad for Christmas, for sunshine or snow - but festive holidays can sometimes go wrong, as one consumer champion discovered almost half a century ago."

The definite ranking of Christmas movies on Netflix:
"The good, the bad, and the so-bad-it's-good: this is our definitive selection of Christmas films on Netflix."

A Choral Christmas from Radio 3:
"Delve into Christmas the Classical way with a sprinkle of glittery choral pieces."

A Taxonomy of Bad Christmas Music:
"From the bossy to the greedy to the horny."

Christmas Dinner on the International Space Station:
"Ever wondered what astronauts might be eating for Christmas dinner? I found out recently when I had the chance to speak with NASA's Vickie Kloeris, who manages the food system for the International Space Station."