strange_complex: (Doctor Caecilius hands)
So! Film festival, day two. Here is the overall schedule for the day:

Saturday schedule.jpg

And here's what I did:

21. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), dir. Gordon Hessler / interview with Caroline Munro / Ray Harryhausen's Lost Treasures )

Interview with Katy Manning (aka Jo Grant from Doctor Who) )

Met Caroline Munro and got her autograph )

Doctor Who season 22 show-makers' interview )

Afterwards, I joined [ profile] newandrewhickey, [ profile] minnesattva and [ profile] innerbrat for the first 45 minutes or so of The Rocketeer (1991), a sort of larger-than-life SF comedy about a US stunt pilot in the 1940s who finds a jet-pack, with Jennifer Connelly as his under-impressed girlfriend. I could see it was good and would have stayed to watch the whole thing if there weren't competing features on the schedule, but there were: two live commentaries from the Tenth Doctor era, marking the fact that his first full season screened ten years ago now. Ten is much more my thing than Six, so off I slipped...

Live commentary on New Who 2.3 School Reunion )

Live commentary on New Who 2.13 Doomsday )

All this time, Galaxy Quest had been playing in another room, which is a pity, because once the Doctor Who stuff was over and I went to join [ profile] innerbrat, [ profile] minnesattva and [ profile] newandrewhickey in the screening, I realised what bloody good fun it was to watch at an actual con. But then again I have seen it multiple times before, and those live Doctor Who commentaries really were great, so I think I made the right choice.

After the film had finished, we went for food at a seriously good pizza / pasta place just down the road. It was nominally just a take-away / sit-in at fixed tables place, but the quality of the food was way better than you'd normally expect for a place like that, and along with the cute student room I was staying in and the well-appointed Co-op just below it, this was one of a number of things that really made me fall for the area where we were staying. Like, on one level, it was just edge-of-city-centre ring-roadish urban redevelopment, with a lot of medium-rise new-builds, but on another it did actually feel somehow quite modern and dynamic and nice to be in. In fact, hell, let's have a picture of it which fails to do justice to the intensity of the sunset on the Friday evening:

2016-08-26 20.27.12.jpg

22. Blood of the Tribades (2016), dir. Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein )

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strange_complex: (ITV digital Monkey popcorn)
I'm out campaigning more than ever now, and very much need undemanding downtime when I'm not if I'm to keep on top of my day-job alongside it. Watching films is a good way to achieve that, but reviewing them not so much. So the goal here is to rattle through four film reviews in a hundred words or so each - and I'm not allowed my dinner until it's done. With a bit of luck that will clear the slate for the time being, so that I can watch another one this evening!

7. The Resident (2011), dir. Antti Jokinen )

8. The Vault of Horror (1973), dir. Roy Ward Baker )

9. What We Do In The Shadows (2014), dir. Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement )

10. Nocturna (1979), dir. Harry Hurwitz (as Harry Tampa) )

Well, that'll be a slightly later dinner than I was intending, but hey - I'm up to date, and can happily watch one of the (classic) Hammer horror films I borrowed from [ profile] ms_siobhan last night while I'm eating. :-)

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strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
I bought this in Hebden Bridge last July, but held off reading it for a while on the grounds that I was just way too invested in the character of the fourth Doctor, and couldn't bear the possibility of having my illusions shattered by finding out that the guy who played him was actually a jerk (cf. Christopher Lee, passim). I don't think I need have worried too much, though. There's certainly a touch of melancholy to Baker's life story, and the ending which sees him obsessive and paranoid about his lawnmower and his own gravestone is frankly kind of unsettling. But I ended up feeling more sorry for him than anything else.

He's a born escapist - something I can relate to myself - and spending his childhood being told that he was thick and worthless clearly didn't do much to help him develop goals or ambitions, or give him the confidence to pursue them. The result is that his life story is basically a series of escapes from reality into which he stumbled into more or less accidentally, each time completely sublimating his own identity to whatever dominant person or institution presented itself for the purpose - the Catholic church, the army, acting school, a disastrous first marriage, a contract with the National Theatre, and finally Doctor Who. There, of course, the match worked perfectly, because the character of the Doctor responds beautifully to someone who can bring to it both an awkwardly non-human quality and a total conviction - and Baker had both in spades. But it was a flash in the pan. He had very little ambition to build on it, even at the time - a television interview from 1981 shows the rather sad spectacle of him shrugging when asked about his plans on leaving the show, and saying, "Well, I'm going into oblivion I suppose" (about 3 minutes in on this video). And indeed he pretty much moved smoothly onwards into his next avenues of escape - initially pub culture, but later a clearly much more satisfying marriage to Sue Jerrard.

The book contains a great deal of information, yet somehow never reveals terribly much about its author. There's enough story and colour to make you feel you are living his life alongside him at certain points - particularly his Liverpool childhood. But he very rarely steps back to give the bigger picture regarding what all this meant to him, how he felt about it or why it sent him in the directions it did. And that's kind of the point, really. He still doesn't really know who he is, as the title of the book proclaims. He knows what he did, but as for why he did it? He never knew at the time, and he certainly doesn't know now.

The style is also quite impressionistic - as, indeed, his televised interviews and DVD commentaries usually tend to be, too. He jumps from phase to phase of his life quite abruptly, so that I sometimes had to spend quite a lot of time working out how much time must have passed between one event and the next in order to make sense of the story. The amount of space given to each period of his life in the narrative is also sometimes quite skewed in proportion to the amount of time it actually took up. This applies particularly to his post-Who years, which accounted for about 25% of his life (15 years) at the time of writing the book, but only get 10% of the space in it (two chapters) - a stark contrast with his childhood, which took the same length of time but gets six. That probably makes for a better read, as one of the post-Who chapters consists of very little else besides him sitting around in the pub, and wasn't terribly interesting to read. But I'd have liked to hear more about his life in the present day, especially since he does seem to have found some kind of settled happiness at last with his third wife.

I suppose the truth is that another chapter is needed now, covering the renaissance in his career over the last decade - largely, as he often says in interviews, as a result of the generation of children who loved him so much as the fourth Doctor growing up and into positions where they can employ him. Long may he be far too busy doing fun things on television to write it.

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strange_complex: (Doctor Caecilius hands)
I'm pretty slow writing these at the moment, but still watching avidly, and writing when I can manage to.

Multiple Doctors: The Five Doctors )

Multiple Doctors: Dimensions in Time )

A digression on Tom Baker )

Third Doctor: The Curse of Peladon )

And that's me done with Three for the time being, since I have now seen all of his stories that are available on DVD. At some point I'll go back in fill in the rest via Other Means - but for the moment, I'm well into the Five era instead. Write-ups of that will appear... eventually...

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Lesbian bingo

Sunday, 20 July 2008 21:12
strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
I went on a lovely excursion today with [ profile] glitzfrau to Hebden Bridge: allegedly, the lesbian hub of Britain.

Glitz knitting on the train )

I'd been there the previous Friday for Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, but had only got to see it relatively briefly and in partial day-light, so when [ profile] glitzfrau expressed a desire for a Sunday excursion, it seemed like a great opportunity to go back for a proper look. It's ever so picturesque )

The weather, alas, was rather English, which curtailed our photo opportunities, and also put paid to some half-conceived plans to go for a walk along the river. However, so were the people )

In fact, the need to take shelter from regular showers of rain, coupled with the ready availability of charity shops, antique shops and festival stalls, meant that the day ended up developing largely into a very rewarding shopping trip. [ profile] glitzfrau got two very pretty tops and some nice bread (which I'm sure she will post about shortly), while I got a nice lilac blouse, a very classic-looking battered denim jacket and the purple flared trousers of my dreams! Seriously, they are the trousers my sixteen-year-old self would have died for - except that back then, they would have fallen off my hips. Now, however, they fit perfectly. Yes, there may be some advantages to growing into a slightly more womanly figure, after all...

Oh, and I got one other thing too. *embarrassed shuffle* A thing I knew about, but had actually consciously planned not to buy, lest it shatter my fannish illusions. As Glitzy will testify, though, it was Not My Fault - it just fell on me in an antiques shop. For £4. So now I have a copy of Who On Earth Is Tom Baker?. Oops!?

strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
As promised, now that I've watched every single one of his stories, I want to draw together my thoughts on the Tom Baker era, and why the Fourth Doctor is, and always will be, 'my' Doctor.

Before last January )

So, now that I have seen his full oeuvre, what is it that makes me think he is such a bloody great Doctor? Well, in a way it hardly needs examining, because he is so widely recognised as brilliant in the role, and so many people have analysed why that is extremely effectively. (The Wikipedia article has a decent stab, for a start). But what the hell - I'll have a go anyway, because it's fun to do.

Grins, grimaces and fight scenes )

Fannish drooling )

Companions )

My top five Fourth Doctor stories )

My bottom five Fourth Doctor stories )

And now? )

strange_complex: (K-9 affirmative)
I'm building up to the Big Tom Baker Post I want to make now that I've seen Logopolis; and indeed, what follows here was originally going to be a part of that. But actually, I think it deserves a post of its own - if only in an attempt to mitigate the tl;dr factor that's inevitably going to plague the TB eulogy. So: a word or two about K-9.

The case for the prosecution: K-9's flaws )

I absolutely see the merit in all of those arguments. They are undeniably valid observations, and perfectly good reasons for disliking K-9. I, however, love him. At the time when I was chewing the matter over with [ profile] swisstone, the only time I'd actually seen K-9 in action within recent memory was in School Reunion, so the only argument I could really put forward in his defence was the emotive one: I just like him. That's a fair reason for enjoying anything, of course. But now that I have seen all of K-9's stories (well, except for the pilot of K-9 and Company, which I'm sure I'll catch up with soon), it so happens that I'm in a position to add a batch of reasoned arguments to that emotive fondness for him.

The case for the defence: K-9's contributions )

Whether or not you like K-9, of course, is always going to be a matter of personal emotional response more than anything else. And I still fully acknowledge his many flaws. But I can no longer agree that he is merely a gimmicky, if cute and quirky, millstone around the programme's metaphorical neck. He has a positive contribution to make, too.

With apologies to [ profile] swisstone for casting him in absentia in the role of the prosecutor.

strange_complex: (TARDIS)
Yes, I finally did it. Last weekend, in fact. It's just that I was working so hard on my teaching portfolio last week that I didn't have much writing energy left for reviews in the evenings. So, now that I have a day spare, here goes:

Fourth Doctor: Logopolis )

Footnote )

strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
Fourth Doctor: The Keeper of Traken )

Logopolis I'm procrastinating on for the moment by watching a recently-purchased DVD of The Hand of Fear with lovely, lovely Tommentary instead. But there's no getting away from it now. And that's especially unfortunate at this particular juncture, since it looks like this weekend is going to have to see me mourning the end of not one but two eras in Who's history.1 Seriously traumatic...

Note: this is not a spoiler, because whatever else may happen in tomorrow's episode, it'll certainly be the last full-length series with RTD at the helm. Ergo, end of an era.

strange_complex: (Apollo Belvedere)
Onto season 18, now. I think I'll try to write up the stories in this one at a time as I go along - otherwise it just becomes too daunting if I let a back-log build up and have to write three at once.

Fourth Doctor: The Leisure Hive )

Long thoughts on the beginning of the JNT era )

And back to the specifics of The Leisure Hive )

strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
So we're back to Tom Bakery goodness with UKTV Drama. Well, except that they last stopped at Robots of Death, and have now picked up again with Horror of Fang Rock, meaning that I had to acquire The Talons of Weng Chiang via Other Means. *shrug* UKTV Drama is a very strange channel.

Fourth Doctor: The Talons of Weng Chiang )

And, ladies and gentlemen, if I may indulge for a moment, I treat having seen this story as a moment of graduation. It was a pretty random choice of reference to include in the post which started off this whole Who Odyssey back in January - but, nonetheless, it is at this stage that I get to progress from being vaguely aware that The Talons of Weng Chiang features a giant rat in a sewer to having a meaningful grasp of the plot and some actual opinions about it. I claim my Geek Certificate and Coffee Mug of Rassilon, please.

Fourth Doctor: Horror of Fang Rock )

And now? Well, now, we have a Thing. Which is that I've already seen the next three stories UKTV Drama will be broadcasting, and would have to wait until the end of May to come back in at Underworld. Only to then meet the Key to Time season again two stories later, anyway.

Fact is, though, there's another thing happening here, too, and a very sad thing at that. See, as of now, I have only eleven stories left to see from Tom Baker's time as the Doctor (or twelve if you count the video reconstruction of Shada, which I think I shall). It's my own fault, really, for getting greedy already and skipping ahead of the UKTV schedules. I could have spun things out by watching stories featuring other Doctors in the interim, but no - it had to be Tom. It had to be the piercing blue eyes and the dazzling grins and the bouncing curls and the ginger side-burns and the noble profile and the chocolatey voice and the guh! *swoon*.

So I'm certainly running low on UKTV Drama stories in the immediate present - but also facing the horrible prospect of reaching the end of the Tom Baker era in the not-too-distant future if I don't rein things in pretty soon. I don't want it to end, and I can't begin to imagine the trauma of having to actually sit down and watch Logopolis. But, having thought about it carefully, and considered the alternative possibility of watering down my Tom Baker diet by interspersing his stories with those of other incarnations, I decided - sod that! Fie to delayed gratification, and sensible rationing out of indulgent pleasures! Instead, I am just damn well going to max out on his Doctor, right here, right now, while I'm really into him. Because, frankly, I won't rest until I have, and any other Doctor will merely be Not Tom Baker until and unless I know that I have seen every single one of his stories. Then, and only then, will I be able to find it in me to entertain the possibility of anyone else in the role.

So it's goodbye to UKTV Drama now, because you're just going too slowly for me, I'm afraid. Time to plough wildly headlong through those remaining unwatched stories - and I'll leave bitter repentance of my foolish extravagance for the other side of Logopolis!

strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
For most of this year so far, I've been working my way more-or-less sequentially through the Tom Baker era, largely thanks to UKTV Drama. When the current season of New Who started up, however, they went into temporary hiatus, leaving me hanging at The Robots of Death. I was ready, though. The enticingly-packaged Key to Time box-set was already waiting in reserve. It meant jumping forwards a little - but what with one thing and another there are actually only four stories I haven't seen between Robots... and the start of this season, so it wasn't too much of a problem, and it has meant another six stories viewed (mainly) in their original broadcast order. Now that I've worked my way through not only its six stories, but a solid selection of its myriad extra features, it's time to review it - as a season, and as a set.

Fourth Doctor: The Ribos Operation )

Fourth Doctor: The Pirate Planet )

Fourth Doctor: The Stones of Blood )

Fourth Doctor: The Androids of Tara )

Fourth Doctor: The Power of Kroll )

Fourth Doctor: The Armageddon Factor )

The Key to Time Season )

The Key to Time Box Set )

Overall, then, not every story in this season may be amongst the best. But the box-set itself is a very sound investment. And now I do believe it is time for this week's episode of New Who... *big grin*

strange_complex: (TARDIS)
Picked up from [ profile] angeoverhere, and must be passed on everywhere, as everyone has to know!

Tom Baker to take over BBC1 on Thursday evening.

I don't care what I have to watch to hear his spots in between - even Eastenders will become acceptable.


strange_complex: (Default)

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