Saturday, 30 April 2011

Day of the Moon notes

Maybe it was the sunny weather or the having been on holiday for two days, but I was much better disposed to this week's episode (of Doctor Who, Day Of The Moon) and I loved it.

Okay, I have already seen writing on the wall (Blink)
And I've seen aliens who sleep on the ceiling (School Reunion)
and aliens who dangle from the ceiling to scare Amy (Eleventh Hour)
And people being gay (Doctor Who. Oh and life.)

But I just chilled, stopped playing spot-the-things-you've-seen-before and enjoy it.

The pre-credits sequence was fantastic. When I say "that's more like it" as the opening titles roll, that's praise indeed. (Although, though I did say that at the start of A Time Of Angels and The Pandorica Opens, I also said it at the start of Victory Of The Daleks).

The "how you get rid of The Silence" resolution was confusing and open ended. So everyone since 1969 has had the subliminal message that they should turn round and fights the Silence, so they do, and the Silence went and we don't remember it? But we've learnt that the recordings of The Silence will fade over time, so that subliminal message will have faded by 1970 surely and the Silence will still be everywhere.

And we still don't know where they come from. Or what's so bad about them, apart from making one woman blow up in a toilet in 1969. Or what happened to the Doctor's other Tardis at the beginning of last week's episode (two Doctors turn up, only one Dr leaves, ergo there's a spare Tardis in the desert somewhere).

And those are only the questions that are unresolved from last week. As for who this little regenerating girl is, and just how pregnant Amy is, etc etc - and you know, I don't care. That is to say, I'm enjoying it, and I feel secure in Moffat's hands, knowing he will eventually answer the questions.

And I liked the humour this week, Nixon taping everything on the Doctor's advice (ooh but I do wish somebody hadn't spoilered the "say hello to David Frost" line for me), and I was up to speed with the fast pace of the show. I know that's how it's going to be with Moff episodes, and you have to watch them over again (I'd just finished watching Impossible Astronaut for the third time before Day Of The Moon started, and I watched The Dr Dances a couple of days ago, so I was well prepped).

All good fun and I look forward to watching it again very soon.

Best thing on the telly (mind you, that Torchwood trailer's already got me excited. Game on)

Kev F

Royal wedding thoughts

Royal Bloody Wedding

It was hard to avoid yesterday's Royal bloody Wedding so inevitablly we have given it some attention in our household. Undeniably it was fun to join in with Twitter, which I did with relish while sitting up in bed watching the early arrivals at the wedding and feeling pleased with my Pooterish witticisms. Eg:

Prince of Orange is invited, but no Prince of Vodafone or T-Mobile. No reception for them then #royalwedding

But once I'd got up and got stuck into the day, in my case I designed an advert for my Comic Art Masterclasses to go into a comic which I then uploaded for printing, and a few other fun chores that soon filled the working day, the wedding was turned off and not another though was given to it.

This enabled me to catch up with the photos of the embarrassing costumes and the other fun stuff later in the day. These I enjoyed:

Fashion choices of the day

The most Hilarious picture from the #RoyalWedding. Cant stop ... on Twitpic

For those without a TV, here's Princess Beatrice at the ... on Twitpic

This morning I am delighted to find I am not alone in my ambivalence towards the Royals and their wedding. And I remain, politically and logically, a Republican (in the classical, not the American, sense). I see no place for a Monarchy in the running of a 21st century western liberal country.

However I am not at all sure that I live in a 21st century western liberal country. When our Prime Minister is an old Etonian who can blithely entertain his posh friends on the front bench by telling women MPs to "calm down dear" (no matter how funny I may have found that), when many times more people turned up to line the streets for the Royal couple than turned up for the anti-cuts protests a few weeks ago (and caused a lot less trouble), when the BBC and ITV can devote endless hours to coverage of an event in which they refer repeatedly to someone as a "commoner" as if that is in the slightest bit not-weird and by which they mean she's in some way "one of us" when in fact her family are millionaires, she's related to the Royal family and she went to bloody Marlborough. That's like redefining the word "chav" to mean someone who only went to a minor public school and doesn't have a place in the country.

So the Royals fit 21st century Britain because more people want them than don't, which is essentially democratic, which is a thing I believe in. And I can be pretty sure that, if there were a vote on May 7th for the AV voting system and for keeping the Royalty, the AV vote would get a 20% turnout and an indecisive result, while the Monarchy debate would get a 90% turnout and a 70% vote in favour.

As opiates for the masses go, they are mostly harmless. Though I do wish we knew better.

Friday, 29 April 2011

In praise of Axe Cop

Someone just asked, on a comics forum, has anyone read any good comics lately. As it happens I have read some good, and bad comics, lately. My current fave rave is Axe Cop, the strip written by a 6 year old and drawn by his 30 year old brother.

It's simple, innocent and exciting, and overflowing with genius nonsense ideas, like robbing the Museum Of Diamonds and selling the diamond for a Tyranotillion Dollars, which is the highest number in the universe.

Of course the double pleasure of Axe Cop is that not only is it hilarious, and not in a mocking-of-six-year-olds way, it also shows up the paucity of imagination in so many other comics.

I'm very very out of touch with American superhero comics, which I was raised on and which I read from age 6 (Fantastic & Terric the Odhams reprints) to my twenties (Marvel UK reprints via 2000AD to Alan Moore and the 90s British invasion) till I started working for Marvel in the 90s then got jaded, until they finally stopped sending me free copies at the end of the 90s and I lost touch.

So, in a vain attempt to have some connection with comics, and to have stuff to show the kids in my Comic Art Masterclasses, I buy the Panini British Marvel reprints and get 5-for-a-quid comics from FP. And so little stimulates me. I've found some good and readable superhero stories by Grant Morrison and Paul McCornell, but the fact of the whole lot being obsessed with the superheroes I used to read 30 years ago is stifling. (Have I mentioned that kids in schools don't read superhero comics? If they read anything it's manga).

And so much of the stuff I'm seeing just seems overblown and pretentious, like every hero is some sort of God and every story is some kind of epic legend. I find so little humour and so much self-important pretentiousness.

Have a look at this opening paragraph and try to guess, is it from Axe Cop or Superman? (Names have been changed to protect the innocent):

"Arion of Atlantis has travelled forward in time to reveal the result of (the hero's) never-ending battle, by showing him the future of 2014, a time when L, J and L form the tattered remnants of humanity. Arion tells (the hero) he will be the downfall of us all!"

You remember when Neil Gaiman took over Miracleman from Alan Moore and it stopped being fun and started being wanky? Well that's what almost every superhero comic I'm wading through is like. (The stuff in Clint is okay, but useless for me to show to kids. I know comics don't have to be for kids, but writing stuff just for 40 year olds with Aspergers seems to be limiting your market unnecessarily).

Except Axe Cop. It's the best. If you've not read it, do. Here's a paragraph that knocks Superman into a hatted cock:

"They hit the lion and it died then the pig ate it. It turned into Super Lion Pig... Super Lion Pig jumped in front of them and said "Go to the year Zero Thousand And Zero, when animals could talk!""


I'm also enjoying the giant 40 years of Doonesbury book I got at Christmas. Yes, it's that thick.

Kev F

Thursday, 28 April 2011

That's What She Said - more comics by kids

My Comic Art Masterclasses in recent weeks have taken my from Dublin to Dungarvan, Crok to Crockerton, to Muswell Hill in London (today I was preaching comics at the school attended by Ray & Dave Davies of The Kinks and by Rod Stewart. Here are their efforts:

These, of course, and the front covers of their comics, a copy of which each pupil takes away with them. The comic contains a strip by every single one of them plus individual caricatures by me.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Dr Who Impossible Astronaut more thoughts...

More idle thoughts about Doctor Who The Impossible Astronaut (before I get on with some proper work)

Amy, Rory, River, Canton and The Doctor are all sent invites at the start of the programme. But invites to where exactly?

Are they invited to an open stretch of road, beside a Red Edsel, in the middle of the desert, or are they invited to a nearby diner, which we can't see in the establishing (very) wide shots?

The Doctor (age 903) is invited to the diner, but the others are invited to the roadside (where the Doctor age 1108) is waiting. And Canton is invited to turn up beside the lake.

And do we really believe that, after 200 years, the Doctor is wearing exactly the same striped shirt and bowtie? He's changed his shirt and tie between almost every story before now (well, between every shooting block).

And where's his other Tardis? The Doctor who's sat on the Edsel then gets shot and burned (and how well is that supposed to dispose of Time Lord DNA by the way?) obviously arrived in one Tardis, parked somewhere within driving distance of the desert (if that's the Doctor's Edsel). And the younger Doctor, who emerges from the loo with a straw in his gob, clearly arrived in another Tardis, which they then take off in. So, somewhere in the Utah desert, there's a spare Tardis. Did they think to get the key out of his pocket before they burnt him? Or his sonic screwdriver, which River would have known how to use to locate his Tardis, into which she could have loaded him them flown him into the heart of a supernova which would, surely, have been better than burning him and leaving his remains to be found floating in a lake.

Companion, eh? Do they think nothing through?

Kev F

Oh, it's okay. I found that other Tardis. It was hiding.

Monday, 25 April 2011

10 Things More Super Than A Super-Injunction

Ten Things That Are More Super Than A Superinjunction

No1 Super Womble

No 2 Super Furry Animals

No 3 Superman cartoon by Max Fleischer

No 4 Superspike by Bill Oddie & John Cleese

No 5 Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in German

No 6 "Great! Super" David & Tony out of Reggie Perrin

No 7 "Super dooper!" Putting On The Ritz from Young Frankenstein

No 8 Sunshine Superman by Donovan (on the Super Channel)

No 9 Superstar by The Carpenters

No 10 McLovin out of Super Bad

Which Doctor Who has taken out a superinjunction?

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre present not one but two new shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012: Boo Lingerie - A Socky Horror Show every night at 10.40pm and Chunky Woollen Nits - The Family-Friendly Hour at 11am. Tickets are now on sale, book now!

UPDATE Feb 2 2012: Dear reader, I cannot bear the thought of the antipathy that must be being held against me by disappointed readers of this, the most popular blog post I've written to date. I'm guessing it's that headline isn't it? Well, before you scroll ahead waiting for a genuine revelation about Doctors Who and Superinjunctions, can I just let you know that there isn't one. Sorry. It was an eye-catching spoof title that I used to attract some readers to a blog about press freedom and censorship. By all means read the article on its own merits, but please don't expect the big pay-off that title promises. Here as a consolation is some Scottish Falsetto Socks fun on a similar subject: Which Doctor Who has taken out a superinjunction? Genuine revelation. Yes, the answer to this question will be given here. Now. Okay, not now, but at the end of this blog I shall answer that question. Which Doctor Who, by which I mean actor who has genuinely actually played the actual Doctor in Doctor Who has taken out a so-called super-injunction this week? Answer below.

But first, why does anyone care? This whole superinjunction debate has made the news this week because the news is frustrated at not being allowed to report the news. As many sage commentators have explained, in depth and in very interesting terms (see Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard as a particularly clear example), the legal construct of the "super injunction" (not its real name) by which the placing of an injunction preventing one person telling their story to the press (commonly placed by one party involved in an extra-marital affair, usually the rich one) is covered by another injunction preventing the press even reporting the fact that the first injunction has been taken out, is a recent development, first made headline news when a firm called Carter Ruck tried to prevent their injunction about a poisoning crime carried out by their client Trafigura being mentioned by an MP in the House of Commons. They failed and, by default, the public found out about super-injunctions.

Of course most of the legal actions currently going on aren't "super" at all, they're just plain old fashioned injunctions taken out by (it is suggested) TV presenters, TV actors, film actors, footballers, pop stars and whatever Gaby Logan is. And many of us in the Twittersphere, who are neither journalists nor interested parties, have piped up in a small level of revolt, by asking out loud who these injunctors might be, then rabidly re-Tweeting the names that are flung our way, with no way of knowing whether these names are correct or not. Are we libeling someone by suggesting they might have taken out an injunction when in fact they haven't? And should we further assume their silence on the matter to be an admission of guilt, or are they just staying away from Twitter cos they're on holiday and they realise how inane the discussion is?

So I have to apologise to those most-likely innocent parties who I got carried away and re-tweeted over the weekend, having just watched the super-injunction discussion on Have I Got News To You while having a wee drink. Can I reiterate that I have absolutely no grounds to believe that any injunctions, super or otherwise, have been taken out by Ryan Giggs, Gaby Logan, Alan Shearer, Hugh Bonneville and/or Ewan MacGregor(this thread shows where that unfounded rumour began and ends), Andrew Marr, Jeremy Clarkson or Gordon Ramsay (those rumours seem to emanate from here. And as for the prominent YestoAV campaigner who genuinely has taken out one, I know I can only be disappointed when I find out who he is.

Because the question remains, why do we care? A footballer has had an extra marital affair with someone whose claim to fame is having appeared in a series of Big Brother. Read those words. How, I mean how on earth can that be of interest to anyone, least of all me? I don't care about football, and I long since stopped watching Big Brother. And they're both Welsh. Could this story be trying harder to be less relevant to my life? So, why make a fuss?

I think we are making a fuss because being told we can't say what we want to say, Freedom Of Speech, is one thing that some of us take more seriously than almost anything else. And having our collective silence bought and enforced on us by people who just happen to be rich and powerful, but not necessarily morally in the right, is wrong.

There was a time when such nonsense was not the staple of news. Since the 1970s the celebrity kiss-and-tell story has been a favourite of Sunday tabloids like the News Of The World, and of The Sun and The Mirror, but didn't trouble we broadsheet readers and seemed to blow over quickly. Since the 80s someone like myself became more aware of it when it was decided that pop stars counted as celebrities (older readers will find it hard to imagine, but before Boy George and George Michael became stars in 1982, no tabloid bothered to poke into the private lives of pop stars, considering their audience not to be newspaper buyers). And since the 90s there is a swathe of people who became famous solely for having their private lives poked into, sometimes because they were married to footballers (about whom I would know little and care less) and sometimes because they were born rich (I still don't know what Tara Palmer Tonkinson is for), but most often because they were in TV shows I didn't watch (sorry Hollyoaks, never seen you even once), or went out with pop stars about which I, and anyone else, couldn't be arsed - I seem to remember small media businesses driven entirely by news about Gail Porter and one of Toploader (short-lived 90s covers band, google em) and Mr & Mrs Danny Out Of Supergrass.

Ah, innocent times (December 1976)

But since the advent of Big Brother and Heat, the media world has been deluged with non-news so bereft of actual news value as to be less valuable than fiction. And way way less interesting. Pages of Heat (and I know because I have waited in dentists and hairdressers occasionally) are devoted to the fact that a celebrity has left the house, walked the dog or pushed a pram or put a bin bag in a wheelie bin, and gone back in again. That is judged worthy of a double-page photo-spread. In 1953 you had to get crowned Queen of bloody Great Britain to get that much paper wasted on you.

So here we are in a situation where people whose claim to what we would once have recognised as fame is so flimsy they may as well be a character in a soap you don't follow is spending a fortune in court to stop you knowing about what may well be the only interesting thing they've done this year.

I know, here's the solution. Let's just make up celebrities. We can get actors to play them, for photoshoots and the like, but as for the details of their lives, we can just make that up. That way every paper can have an exclusive every week, unless they're unfortunate enough to make up the same story as someone else (you know, like when the Antz guys wrote the same story as A Bug's Life one week), and not only will the celebs not be able to sue, being not real and all, but best of all the stories will be interesting. Hooray.

Good. I just invented drama.

I thought I had a longer point to make. But that seems to be the sum total of it. Don't tell what I can and can't say. You're not my Mum, The Law.

Signed Kev F aged... a lot older than he sounds

PS: Oh yes, about that Doctor Who who's taken out that injunction in the last week. Here comes the answer.

Naturligvis er jeg ikke tænkt mig at skrive svaret i engelsk, der ville være for let. Jeg har oversat den til dansk, ved hjælp af en online-oversættelse ting. Så skal jeg forestille mig, det er allerede ret ikke-sensical når du igen oversætte det tilbage til engelsk. Så her går. Som Doctor ud af Doctor Who har tegne en super påbud? Et forbud som det super sort? Uno injuntiono superbo? Er det David Tennant? Kunne det være Tom Baker? Kunne det være Christopher Eccleston? Hvad er væddemål om Peter Davison? Er vi ser på Sylvester McCoy? Kunne svaret være Matt Smith? Må ikke fortælle mig, at det er Colin Baker af alle mennesker? Himlene til Betsy du ikke siger, det er Paul McGann. Tja, svaret er ...



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