Tag Archives: BBC

I’m nervous, are you?

As we all take our places, on this the eve of what will be the most important day in Scottish history, I wish each and every one  of my fellow Scots all the best. Whatever you mark down on that ballot paper, I hope that you base it off of what you truly believe is right for this country.

Make not your decision based on having had a bad interaction with an overly aggressive campaigner. Don’t vote “No” simply because you don’t like Mr Salmond and don’t vote “Yes” simply because you don’t like the Tories. Vote for what you see as the best possible future for you, for your children and for your grandchildren.

If you vote “Yes” then fantastic, if you vote “No” then that’s entirely up to you, it’s your decision and nobody has the right to belittle you for it. The most important thing is that we all vote and that we all vote for what we believe is the best option based on our own views and what reliable information we can get. 

With such a short time to go until we make our final decision and cement it in history, I’m nervous. I’m more nervous than I’ve ever been regarding anything politically related. Whatever we do tomorrow, it can’t be undone.

“I am keiching ma scants.”

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Do you ever look in the mirror and think, I’ve seen that face before?

Where do you start with “Deep Breath“? That’s the question isn’t it? The début of Mr Peter Capaldi as the famous Time Lord finally hit our screens on Saturday. Of course, for many out there the episode was already available thanks to Marcelo Camargo and his lackadaisical approach to keeping his copies of the episodes safe.

With a new Doctor comes a mix of emotions, ranging from excitement to  trepidation and sometimes even denial (fangirls and David Tennant/Matt Smith anyone?)
The main thing that always swirls around my head however is just happiness that the show is back. Aside from the 9 years between the Eighth Doctor and the Ninth Doctor, eight months is the longest we’ve had to endure a Doctor Who free television while waiting for the new Doctor to hit our screens since the show returned (unless of course your head canon counts Rowan Atkinson as the real Ninth Doctor).

When the episode started I’m sure that many people around the globe inhaled for the titular “Deep Breath”. With Capaldi’s first appearance in the episode I’m sure many people, as I did, exhaled with joy upon realising that The Doctor was here.

Without spoiling the episode for those who haven’t yet seen it (Why the hell have you not?) there are a few things I want to commend.

First of all there’s the seriousness that instantly comes from Capaldi. Even when he’s inserting the humourous tones he still exudes a serious vibe, of course that was expected.

Secondly there is the dynamic between Clara and The Doctor. Whilst I had no doubt about how well they would work together, there were doubts thrown about by others. Especially after the fantastic chemistry that Jenna and Matt had previously. For me, the restaurant scene with Capaldi and Jenna was the perfect example of how well these two will work together this season. I did feel a very strong “Four and Sarah Jane” vibe from them at certain points throughout the episode.

Thirdly, the man on the phone. It’s such an obvious thing to do to bridge the two regenerations but why it has never been done before now is the question. While it does sort of spoon feed the audience that “this is the same man” it was a wonderfully written scene.

Another side note is that it was great to see the husband of the late great Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) on screen in Doctor Who once more. For those of who missed it, Brain Miller portrayed the tramp that the Twelfth Doctor had a rather wonderful interaction with.

There is one thing that I’m not too sure on however and that’s the new title sequence and theme song. It’s too early to tell whether or not it’ll grow on me because I’ve always been the same with new arrangements of the theme. This version of the theme reminded me of the McCoy era, I wasn’t too keen on that version either so perhaps that’s why I don’t like this one.

The main thing is that Doctor Who has returned. After 241 days of waiting we have the new Doctor firmly on our screens. Roll on next week with the Daleks.

One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens

The pondering coffee cup…

As I dropped the ground coffee beans from the silver spoon into the bottom of my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug this morning I stared out in to the ocean of passing children making their way to school. I saw a plethora of things walking past but the main thing I noticed were the smiles.

Was I ever that happy to go to school? Especially on a Monday morning?

It then occurred to me that those were just childrens natural smiles. A child hasn’t yet been corrupted by the wickedness and ungodly nature of the world. While they may be unhappy to go to school, they’re not unhappy with life.

That coffee was to try and awaken me from both a mental and physical slumber. For it was one of those mornings where I just couldn’t shake off  the fatigue, even after a lengthy sleep. I then discovered that I was not alone in this, so I refer you to my post from a few weeks ago where I described a Science Fiction plot which lulled the country into a fatigued state before aliens invaded. It is the imagination of one who is currently writing a novel that devised this theory. In my normal “reality” I simply put it down to either the moon cycle or the late night for the Superbowl.

I often wonder what my normal reality is. Is it the world that I’m currently living in, with my flat and my newly shaven head or is it the world that I create with magical trees and passages created by temporal physics? The truth is, I know that it’s the shaven head reality but that doesn’t prevent me from wishing that occasionally I could cross through the void and into the fictional reality that started in my head. If, like so many others, you subscribe to the “many worlds theory” then you may agree that my fictional reality does in fact exist in another dimension.

Of course I realise that everything I have just written makes me seem a little bit  unhinged. I however would argue that point, owing to the fact that I am perfectly aware of what exists and what doesn’t exist.

I know that at this moment and for most of this year, there exists a battle of wits for Scottish independence. In this battle, for many months, I refused to take a side. However as I posted previously I have now woken up and smelled the coffee in my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug. I will be voting ‘Yes’ and I will be doing so for a number of reasons.

If we become independent then we would officially be one of the world’s richest countries – ranked 6th in the OECD compared to the UK’s 16th place. There are  twenty four billion barrels of oil remaining in the North Sea, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK. That’s roughly around £1.5trillion in today’s prices – half as much in value as has been taken out.

The truth is that an independent Scotland would prosper. We would become a self sufficient nation. The above reason is but one of many reasons why we should be independent.

For me, this has nothing to do with the Scotland/England divide. Anyone who looks at this as a battle of the nations, should have their right to vote revoked. This is about the future of our country and not about past relationships.

As I stood there this morning staring at the waves of children making their way to school, I wondered what they’re being taught about the referendum. I realise that they are too young to vote but this concerns their future just as much, if not more, than ourselves.

On 6 May 1999 there was an election to decide on a Scottish Parliament. When I was at school, we were taught nothing about that. It was mentioned very briefly but we were never really taught about what it meant. I just hope that with something as huge as the referendum, the schools are educating their pupils accordingly.

On another, semi related note. While I was doing my research, I discovered that there are approximately 1036800 cans of Irn-Bru sold per day. I find that extremely impressive. Irn-Bru is a wonderful drink and even though I have refrained from drinking any carbonated juices for the last 7 weeks, it still holds a place in my heart.

Before I take my leave for today, I urge any of you who haven’t yet watched it to sit down and watch The Musketeers on BBC One. It is so refreshing to see a portrayal of The Three Musketeers which isn’t overly camp and high on comedy. The original novel by Dumas was never written that way and so I’ve never understood why that’s how it was portrayed in film. However BBC have nailed it in my opinion. While it may not be Doctor Who, it is most definitely worth a watch.

Friday my old friend….

Friday and I used to be old friends. As a day that is named after the great Norse goddess Frigg, who herself was the wife of Odin and thus the Queen of Asgard, I had more respect for Friday than any other day of the week. Across my lifespan Friday and I have been through many things together and even though she has often plagued me with a hangover to meet my mate Saturday, we never had any disagreements……….until now

You see today, the name that was given to my dear friend Friday by the masters of the sea back in times of yore seems much more appropriate. For today “Dies Infaustus” is a much more suited name as she has brought me nothing but bad luck. I have lost a bank card, had a power cut, stubbed my toe, smashed a mug and fallen off of a bus. Of course these may not sound like the worst luck in the world and you would be correct in thinking that. However, all these incidents happened before 10am this morning and as a result I am afraid to move for the remainder of the day.

I have experienced bad luck days on a few occasions in the past, the worst being back in 2006 when I lost my job and my place to stay in a matter of minutes (I was living in the same house as my boss) on that occasion I also lost my bank card. Fortuna clearly has no place in her life for me and also , it would seem, has a strange fascination with removing my  bank card from my possession.

I suppose that a lack of sleep could be causing some lapse in  concentration today, last night I found it impossible to sleep, no matter how hard I tried. A phenomenon which has apparently affected more than just I. I have spoken to seven or eight different people today who all had the same problem. I suppose this could be down to our nearing another full moon on the 27th or perhaps there’s some other strange reason behind it, I’m going with the full moon thing though.

In my  attempt to avoid moving in fear of more bad luck I’ve been reading the Three Musketeers. I picked it up the other day after watching The Muskeeters on BBC One on Sunday night (might I add I didn’t only watch it because of its ties to Doctor Who and Peter Capaldi as someone accused me of, I watched it because I’m a Musketeers fan). I haven’t read it in over a decade and I actually forgot how great a book it actually is.

Many people who have read The Three Musketeers find the idea enchanting. A story about friendship, loyalty and courage. D’Artagnan of course being the hero throughout. Myself, as much as I love D’Artagnans’ tale, I have a different hero in the story. Captain de Tréville for me is a fantastic character, who defends his Musketeers to the hilt. Strict and at times coated in a strange maniacal essence, he is the character who really pulls me in at certain points. I think that everyone needs to have someone like de Tréville in their life, someone to keep them out of trouble and make sure they’re towing the line (even  if they’re not).

I have looked out both Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne to re-read once I have finished with the Musketeers. The Vicomte de Bragelonne of course featuring The Man in the Iron Mask. The D’Artagnan collection of books is almost 200 years old and yet it’s amazing that when you read it, there are certain things that really haven’t changed all that much in the society of today.

As for my old friend Friday, I sincerely hope that you are merely in one your passing moods and that this type of behaviour will not carry on through to next week, otherwise we may have to have a heated conversation. Friday today you are a wretched wench…….

Gay marriage causes rain?

Science is wrong and soon all meteorologists will be unemployed. Everything we knew about the weather has been shown to be a fallacy.

Ukip councillor David Silvester, a former member of the Conservative party, has revealed that rain is caused by none other than gay marriage. I know, I know everything you thought you knew about the atmosphere has been shattered.

In a recent letter to the Henley Standard Mr Twat (as he will be referred to from now on) wrote: ‘The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.’

After warning David Cameron about the disasters he faced if he supported gay marriage he added He added: ‘It is his (Mr Cameron) fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.’

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but surely that’s a load of nonsense?

I grew up in a society where it was ok to call someone ‘gay’ because they didn’t agree with you or have the coolest clothes. That term got thrown around a lot. I will admit ashamedly that I have used that term when I was younger just because it was the in thing to do.

Then I grew up, I realised that I was in no position to judge anyone. As a heterosexual male I came to realise that my preconceptions of gay people were completely warped and wrong.

If a gay man stabs someone and kills them, blame them for murder.
If a gay man breaks in to a bank and steals thousands, blame them for theft.
If a gay man uses someone else’s identity, blame them for identity fraud.

If a gay man marries another gay man, then don’t blame them for making it rain.

We are all on this earth and we all have to share it, this hatred for others because they are different is a horrible thing to witness. It doesn’t matter if a man loves a woman or a man loves a man. The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone it is not how you feel about them.

I am in no way religious but even if I was there is no way that I would believe this offal piece of scripture. More so, we live in the 21st century. Have we not moved on enough to realise that this hate, this never ending trail of disrespect is a thing of the past.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” that’s something we should all live by.

As we look around at the people around us we should learn to appreciateand love their uniqueness but most importantly we should respect their reality.

I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of people hating one another! Is there truly a point to it, do they gain anything from it?

A politician thinks that bad weather is caused by gay marriage but can’t see that the real problem, the actual problem with society is the state that the country is in because of short sighted politicians. It has nothing to do with the gay community, it has everything to do with the dumbasses who are in charge of running the country.

I realise this post is a slight deviation to the norm on here but it just really got my back up.

Sherlock

While I try very consciously to try and keep this blog free from actual “reviews” sometimes it’s hard to write a piece on a subject without it coming across as a review. The following is (in my mind) not a review but more of a personal standpoint on the latest series of Sherlock, the BBC’s hit show and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ love child.

May contain spoilers.

It takes a lot for me to watch what people would class as “normal” television. Sometimes my mind is so attached to the Sci-Fi genre that watching anything else doesn’t challenge me enough to dedicate any time to a different genre. I will admit I love the occasional comedy show, a friend recently introduced me to ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ and it was one of those rare occasions where I enjoy it.

Back in 2008 I heard rumblings about a new “Sherlock” production, a one off, hour long show headed up by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I was instantly interested, not only have I been a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes novels but ever since I first saw ‘Press Gang’ I have been a huge Steven Moffat fan. At that moment one of my favourite writers was writing for my favourite show (Doctor Who) and was about to co-write a show based on one of my favourite literary characters, needless to say that I was excited.

As time progressed things changed, the pilot was filmed and never broadcast, at the point of hearing about the non-broadcast I was somewhat confused. Rumours circulated that Sherlock was a disaster and would never make it to air. Then news broke that, yes it would be broadcast but not only that the pilot would be re-shot and Sherlock would now be a three part series consisting of 90 minute episodes. I was once again excited.

Series one and two of Sherlock were exactly what I had hoped for. It wasn’t Sci-Fi and I knew that when I sat down but it captured my imagination like only Sci-Fi could. The plot lines were intricate and well thought out, there were no front and centre relationships and you genuinely had a show that made you think. The cast were and still are fantastic, being a fan of Cumberbatch since I first saw him in 2004’s television film “Hawking” I was even more thrilled with his casting. Sherlock was fast, intelligent, witty and one of the best things to hit television screens in years.

Then came another two year wait and we finally got series 3. Sherlock was back with a brilliantly written episode ‘The Empty Hearse’ by Mark Gatiss followed by a collaboration by Stephen Thompson, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss called “The Sign of Three” and finally Steven Moffats finale “His Last Vow”

For all intents and purposes series 3 was a success but for me it wasn’t the ‘Sherlock’ show that I had fallen in love with four years ago. Gone were the intricate plot lines, the fast paced intelligent action and instead the relationships took front and centre. In the space of two years a show that I had loved for being outside the box and one that I commended for its ingenuity had all of a sudden conformed to being what I despise in most other shows.

Relationships were always a byline in the first two series’ and that’s what made it so great. We were treated to some fascinating plots and some fantastic deduction scenes by Sherlock himself. Suddenly that was gone and the deduction scenes we had this series were minimal and quite frankly boring. In the very first episode called “A Study in Pink” when Sherlock and Watson are sitting in the back of a taxi and Sherlock tells him how he knew he was in the army and that his brother was an alcoholic, that was fantastic that was what made me love the show. Fast forward four years and you get Sherlock standing in a court room with some woman and working out how they were all connected, it just wasn’t the same.

To me Sherlock series three has lost the edge that the first two series’ had and while I enjoyed it it just wasn’t the same show. I’m not complaining in such a way that I’m going to take a hissy fit and say that I’ll never watch it again because that’s a lie, it’s still a good show but it’s lost the certain elements that made it a fantastic show.

I’m going to give the Moff a bit of leeway with it because he had the Doctor Who 50th anniversary last year and I can only imagine how much time was spent on that, there’s every possibility that he just didn’t have time to put together an amazing episode of Sherlock. I’ll give Gatiss the same leeway but not just as much, his script should have been better. Thompson had written his script with both Moffat and Gatiss so he can’t totally be held accountable for his writing.

My hope is that when Series Four appears there is more of a return to the way Sherlock was and less of a return to what Sherlock has become.

The one big stand out for me this series was Yasmine Akram, I instantly thought she was great in “The Sign of Three” but I thought that her story was finished so it was great to see her back in “His Last Vow”

The one bonus…………….Moriarty Lives!

That one I didn’t see coming.

Time to starve it out….

I have made the concious decision to give up nicotine. After so many years and so many failed attempts to quit I have decided that it’s now or never. If that part of my mind that calls itself “will power” decides to fail me on this then I won’t try and give up again.

Giving up comes down to two reasons, the first being health. I’m not what you would call the fittest person alive nor am I the least fittest but I have every desire to become healthier.

The second reason is money, I sat earlier today and tallied up how much I spend in a year on tobacco products including lighters etc. and it nearly made my heart escape through my anal passage. I could be spending that money on much better things and things that are actually needed.

As I embark on this journey I realise that the next two weeks will be the toughest, I’ve never made it past the two week stage and so that’s my first goal. If I can make it to there then I will feel more confident about staying nicotine free.

I looked at my options to help me quit and I decided on cold turkey. Why? I believe that if I still have any nicotine going into my system then I’ll just want more, it’s my mentality. If I go cold turkey and completely starve myself of it then I’m less likely to want it after a few days. I know that doesn’t work for everyone but it’s how my mind works with everything else so I’m hoping it’s the same for this.

I have no doubt that over the coming two weeks I shall be a jack in the box of moods and agitation and so there will most likely be some extreme posts on here. Writing for me is a way to release some tension and I have a bad feeling that my nicotineless body will have a lot of tension over the next few days. I may be that agitated that even Doctor Who won’t settle me down.

I’ve been training recently for this feat. Little over a month ago I gave up my second addiction – Irn Bru. Ever since I can remember I have been addicted to the orange goodness that is Irn Bru. I could drink anywhere up to two bottles per day every day. I’m now 32 days clean.

Who knows whether I’ll succeed or not, I’m determined that I will and I have a good feeling this time. Only time will tell…..

Losing days…

I have been so engulfed in putting words on pages recently that I’ve lost track of days. I could have sworn today was Friday so I was confused when I picked up a newspaper to see it read “The Independent on Sunday” instead of just “The Independent”

At some point in my life, this entire tumultuous ‘forgetting which day it is’ debacle is not going to serve me well. Unless I can be two days late for my own death in which case it has served a necessary purpose.

Cup of tea and some Ocean Colour Scene to kick off the day as I prepare to attempt to construct some more comprehensive yet esoteric undertakings.

It’s fascinating to me how something can entirely distract you from the rest of the world. Had I not left the house and ventured to the shop this morning there is a chance that I would not realise it was Sunday until next Sunday arrives.

I’ve been contributing to various writing projects as of late, that has also led my mind into solitary confinement. However, come the end of this month most of those projects will be completed and so I should have a bit more time to enjoy the wonders of life.

I am however making time tonight to watch the latest episode of Sherlock. After a fantastic start to the new series I am eagerly anticipating the remaining episodes.

Anyway, back to the grind.

It only took 17 years……

First off I would like to say that if you haven’t yet watched “The Night Of The Doctor” then it is not advisable to read any further.

In 1996 when the end credits rolled on “Doctor Who – The Movie” I was thoroughly looking forward to some more “McGannigans” (it’s what I like to call the Eighth Doctors shenanigans) and at the time I was blissfully unaware that Fox hadn’t picked up on the show and so we wouldn’t get any further episodes featuring McGann. When I found out, I was suitably sad. I thought that Pauls talent was phenomenal and even with a weak script and some massive continuity shakers, he still managed to produce an excellent portrayal of the Doctor.

Fast forward a few years to 2003 and the news broke “Doctor Who to Return”. I along with so many life long fans broke into tears of joy, our favourite show was returning. The question now was “will McGann come back?”

I think we all know the answer to that. At the time it was such a blow to those of us who wanted to see more of the Eighth Doctor on our screens. Sure , at that point we already had a couple of Big Finish audios but no actual screen time. In retrospective I think it was the right move. RTD had to bring in a name that would get some recognition from non-fans at the time and Eccleston was the perfect choice.

I think we all thought at that point that we wouldn’t get to see the Eighth Doctor on screen in a new adventure again. Fast forward 8 years and that feeling remained and if anything it had grown stronger, with the constant denials from Paul himself, we all thought that our only adventures with number Eight would be through Big Finish.

How wrong were we? Today we got the Night of the Doctor starring none other than Paul McGann. I literally jumped through the air and couldn’t stop smiling. The Eight Doctor was back and above all, we got some closure. We finally got our regeneration scene.

In a way I’m still to excited to be typing this and it probably won’t make a lot of sense. The Sisterhood of Karn was enough to excite me when I saw the photo yesterday (not seen since the 70’s and Brain of Morbius) but having McGann back was just too great for words.

The 50th Anniversary celebrations have officially kicked off!

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