Lady of the Snows (Short Trips: Destination Prague).

Prose  Some Doctor Who stories, especially about the Eighth Doctor, which are just so weird that you can't quite believe what you've just read.  Part of an anthology of stories all set in the capital of the Czech Republic (which in and of itself is an interesting choice - did someone at Big Finish have a stake in their tourism?) this follows Yan, a local artist who saves the life of a amnesiac young woman who becomes his muse and changes his career fortune before the actual reality of his situation revealed to him.  

Stop here if you want avoid spoilers.  

Gone?  No?  On your head.  What we discover is that the city is actually a reproduction produced by aliens a trillion years in the future as part of an exhibition in a space which probably resembles the tesseract in Interstellar.  This futuristic version of Prague only exists in a snow globe and Yan and the rest of the citizens are echoes of real people in the distant past and that the Doctor accidentally dropped Charley in the middle of that which is how she lost her memory.  She's the girl.

Here's where it gets tricky.  Yan isn't keen to give her up.  So he all but keeps her prisoner in his house and they have a relationship and so now we discover that some time late in the second season of her audio adventures with the Doctor, Charley spent nearly a year in sharing a bed with a gaslighting failed artist, only remembering fragments of her life in the TARDIS.  Then off she pops into another adventure and it's never mentioned again.  Like I said, some Doctor Who stories are weird.

Placement:  Throughout the story its revealed that Yan is creating artworks based on her memories of earlier audio stories.  The latest mentioned is Face of Grail so I'm going to put this between Seasons of Fear and Embrace the Darkness.  After that the story arc asserts itself and things get messy.

Second Chances (Short Trips: How the Doctor Changed My Life).

Prose  What happens to a megalomaniac after their dastardly scheme's been defeated by the Doctor?  How do they pick up the pieces once the Time Lord and his plus one have left the scene?  Where do they go?  In Krellig's case, it's back to live with his parents and find a job.  There are lots of lovely writing in Bernard O'Toole's story, like the scene featuring the villain's emotionally staccato pigeon fancying father and how the thrilling details of the Doctor Who portion of the story crash against the mundanity of the job centre.  The Eighth Doctor and Charley are present and correct although most other combination would have done the trick.  But it's not about them.  It's about the aftershocks of their presence on this one man's life, the kind of story for which the short form is perfect.

Placement:  In the gap between With Charley Seasons One and Two I should think.

Alistair Cooke's Letter From America: A Chronology.

Radio  Letter From America was a weekly series on Radio 4 which ran from the mid-1940 to the mid-2000s in which the broadcaster and journalist Alistair Cooke commented on the week's news from the United States in a fifteen minute essay.  Documenting the history of the country over the past five decades, every episode of filled with contemporary details often glossed over in hindsight.

Across its 58 year history, 2869 episodes were broadcast of which about 1,550 survive, 900 in the BBC's own archives and another 650 previously thought lost until they were revealed by two listeners who'd been diligently recording ever episode for decades.  Home taping might have been killing music but it was saving this precious speech radio.  

Every extant episode is now available on the BBC website.  Unfortunately, like In Our Time, they're locked into a programme page format which isn't easily navigable when that many episodes are involved and so I decided to create the following chronology to make them more accessible and create the ability to easily skip to a particular year and re-experience that history through the words of Alistair Cooke.

To that end, I've also augmented the radio episodes with transcripts of lost episodes from elsewhere as well as Cooke's US-related journalism from other outlets, notably The Guardian where he was a foreign correspondent from 1947 to 1972 and which led him to be on the ground during these historic moments, like the Montgomery bus boycott and RFK's assassination.  Those entries will be marked with their source and in italics.  Enjoy.

Navigating Glastonbury 2022.

Music  Hope you've all been enjoying Glastonbury this weekend, even from your armchair.  Having come to terms with not seeing the Sugababes set in clips longer than 20 seconds via Twitter, I've been diving into some sets on the iPlayer.  Except the navigation isn't particularly ideal.  Unlike previous years when the line-up was structured around stages, this year, there are some murky "genre" headings like "pop perfection" and "top of your lungs".

There is a line-up page on the BBC Glastonbury site with does break the acts down into stages but it requires at least a couple of clicks to get anywhere and even then, it's not to the iPlayer, it's to an extended clip which is embedded into the BBC Music website rather than the iPlayer, which doesn't matter exactly, but it's still a lot of effort.  Plus it's sometimes difficult on the iPlayer to see the difference between a broadcast highlights show and a full set.

So during BBC Four's repeat of the JARV IS set tonight, I've created a breakdown of Glastonbury by stage with links to the full sets (give or take a Fuck You).  Most stages it's every act apart from the first few (sorry fans of The Libertines).  The links below should be valid for a month so you have until the end of July to catch up.  Obviously this is only helpful if you're watching things on a tablet or PC.  You could always try casting them I suppose.  Anyway, on with the show.