Lockdown Links 2.3

One Touch Of Love: 20 Years Of Sugababes' Debut Album:
"Perhaps the most definitive opening statement of any British girl group..."

Sugababes' Keisha Buchanan Shares Amazing Throwback Photo As Band Celebrates Big Anniversary:
""Literal babes," Keisha tweeted, alongside an incredible photo of herself and her bandmates."

DuckTales Has Blown My Dang Mind:
"Disney’s shockingly excellent reboot of DuckTales has given us countless joys: The introduction of Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s mother Della; David Tennant voicing Scrooge McDuck; and the origin of Chip and Dale and the Rescue Rangers, just to name a few. But the series has also given me a scene that changed everything I thought I knew about Disney cartoons, if not my very existence."

Georgia On My Mind:
"The suburbs of Atlanta, where I grew up in an era still scarred by segregation, have transformed in ways that helped deliver Joe Biden the presidency. But some things never change."

Dozy dormouse gets stuck in garden bird feeder on the Isle of Wight:
"A dozy dormouse could not believe its luck when it managed to squeeze inside a bird feeder for a feast - only to fall asleep and get stuck."

10 of the best Christmas songs (that aren’t by Mariah Carey):
"The classics are back in the charts even earlier than usual – alongside the perennial row about the Pogues. So why not discover these lesser-known festive bangers?"

A Canadian Town Is a Festive Anywhere, U.S.A., Onscreen:
"With its mix of 19th-century historic buildings and a ’50s diner, Almonte in Ontario has been the go-to location for holiday movies set in Vermont, Alaska and even Milwaukee."

Liverpool Biennial
2020 2021:
Press Launch.

Art What with one thing or another, this year's Liverpool Biennial has been postponed until next year. The opening date of next March still feels relatively optimistic, contingent on good distribution of a vaccine and relying on volunteers enforcing COVID safe rules.  Nevertheless, it's full steam ahead and the press launch was this morning.

I forgot. 

After falling asleep in the chair post-porridge as usual (its an anxiety exhaustion thing) then going for my morning walk to get the paper and listen to last night's The Rachel Maddow Show and all the outrage about Michael Flynn's pardon it slipped what's left of my mind. 

Fortunately, since piling up to a hundred people into an education room at Tate Liverpool or the Playhouse theatre isn't really possible or ideal right now, the programme has been made available via a recorded stream (uncomfortably positioned above because Vimeo hates embeds) and a list of artists and a press release about one of the venues.

So no photographs of half eaten croissant or confusion over embargoes.  About an hour ago I clicked the watch link on the video and that's all the "on the scene" blogging colour you're going to get because that's all there is.  Dammit 2020.

After the underwhelming mishmash of 2018 (which I didn't even review on here because of the Thumper rule), the Biennial now has a whole new creative team led by director Fatos √ústek, with this year's show guest curated by Manuela Moscoso of the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and a veteran of numerous other Biennials.

This year's title is "The Stomach and the Port" and a theme of "the body" and "notions of the body and ways of connecting with the world" which is a return to the non-specific open tent approach of some of the best of the Biennials in which it is up to the spectator to speculate on how the works are connected to one another.

As ever, I'm trying to keep myself relatively spoiler free although Jenna Sutela's work sounds as though it's going to be very impressive, with its reference to a specific type of mold.  If it's anything like her PLANTSEX installation as featured in this Serpentine video, I only hope there's some decent chairs and an adequate toilet, because I'll be in front of it for hours.

The introductory page has a list of venues, all the old favourites including some which essentially opted out of 2018 or have previously only been inhabited by the Independents strand:
The Biennial programme is presented in locations across Liverpool, including public spaces, historic sites and the city’s leading art venues: Bluecoat, Liverpool Central Library, Cotton Exchange Building, Exchange Flags, FACT, National Museums Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery, St George's Hall, Tate Liverpool and Victoria Gallery & Museum. New for 2021, Liverpool Biennial’s reach will also expand to the city’s historic Lewis’s Building.
Yes! In a return to previous Biennial adventures in semi-derelict edifices, part of this year's show will be on two floors of the Lewis's building with an impressive sixteen artist's work which suggests this will be a massive space.  

Other than that, there isn't much else about how this will be structured, where Bloomberg New Contemporaries will reside, that sort of thing.  Looks like City States is now gone for good but its last hoorah at Copperas Hill was a worthy conclusion and I should probably move on.

I'm incredibly optimistic about this new installment.  It feels more accessible somehow and a return to some old principles.  We'll see.  I just hope that in these blighted times this new body is able to show itself in all of its glory.

Stranded 1.

Audio   "Oh hello Earth Arc II!" was my first reaction on hearing that the next big mid-era Eighth Doctor series would see him stuck on Earth with a broken TARDIS.  The details differ, of course.  We're presumably not going to see him experience a deep expanse of time, he doesn't have amnesia yet and he's trying to keep a relative low profile (although appearing on a game show should catch the attention of a few old friends).  Not to mention that this is very much the London 2020 of the revival series, drawing together elements from all the eras Big Finish currently have rights to and the proles not being especially surprised by the appearance of aliens.

The most notable difference with his other exile in the 70s (or was it the 80s?) is that Stranded is intensely interested in his living arrangements.  This is Doctor Who does domestic, forcing him once again to interact with real human beings in close proximity having ended up being a landlord after his bolt hole on Baker Street has been turned into shared accommodation.  In keeping with the Eighth Doctor he's not very good at it, but unlike some of his later incarnations he's not cruel just neglectful with Liv and Helen acting as an interface.  But it works and the cast sound like they're having a wail of a time dealing with material which doesn't involve Time Lords or Daleks or both.

Lost Property

The set is right out of the gate with introducing the Doctor, just not the one we were expecting.  You might expect them to hold Tom Baker's participation back for some reveal halfway through, but he's almost in the opening scene.  If The Day of the Doctor was purposefully ambiguous about the identity of The Curator, Matt Fitton's script is entirely explicit.  He is the Doctor, a future incarnation with the older Baker's face, in retirement protecting the Under Gallery and its treasures.  After the events of The Timeless Children, we know the Doctor has an infinite number of potential incarnations - how far in the future is he from?  His memory is still sharp, he recognises Liv and Helen, and has a view as what he thinks of the Eighth Doctor.  Frankly this is all worth it just to hear Tom namedrop River Song.

Wild Animals

Considering Stranded was recorded last December, this insight into the Doctor's psyche feels incredibly timely.  He feels trapped, walled off from the universe, a similar business to the Third Doctor, but his enunciation of his fears cuts to the core.  He talks about the animals at the Zoo and how they have illusion of freedom because they're in large cages but its still captivity and how they fall into patterns of behaviour, routines.  We all know that feeling, especially now.  John Dorney also wrote the award winning Absent Friends and this shares its low-key emotional through line and investigation of needless tragedy.  This is a rare occasion when for all of his god-like genius, the Doctor is essentially useless and knows it and but has to work hard for acceptance.

Must-See TV

If you'd told me when watching Torchwood's Everything Changes at the Filmwork in Manchester in 2006 that fifteen years later PC Andy would be the special guest star in an Eighth Doctor audio which also references that bloomin' organisation, I would have also asked you whether my liberal arts degree had been of any use and which companies to buy shares in.  But there he is, Tom Price, all present and correct, interacting with the gang and trying to hide his knowledge of spooky-doos.  Not having kept up with the Torchwood audios, I don't know whether he's still in the police or a full member or both, but it's rather brilliant how consistent his character is with what we've heard before.  The rest of the episode is mainly set up for future entertainments - who is the mysterious Mr Bird and will he turn out to be the Master?  Again?

Divine Intervention

One of my mistakes over the years has been to treat these boxed sets as complete entities and being quite cross when they bleed into one another or aren't simply a series of self contained stories.  But on reflection, they're actually sixteen episode seasons structured like any modern bingeable series, with story arcs running throughout reaching a conclusion or explanation in the finale.  So although this offers a few tantalising story elements for the future, this is really just episode four and shouldn't be given any more weight than that.  A few mysteries have been established, the premise of the season has been set up and on this occasion without the need to dash off to another timeframe, characters are receiving far deeper development than usual.  Thrilling stuff.

Placement: The usual.