Sunday, 22 May 2011

Blog - "Single Season"

You know, it seems sort of like this is the season to be single. I've been single for a while, so I can't claim to have been affected too directly, but people around me just seem to be falling apart.

Obviously, I can't supply particular names, tales or details, but suffice it to say that things are really starting to fuck themselves up for some close friends of mine. It's a typical sort of relationship implosion, but it's suddenly happening everywhere. The inevitable decay of life abruptly, an without warning, steps it up a beat. It's rather disconcerting overall.

Now, don't be too surprised if I choose to remain a pessimist; I've never much been one for sharing, or relying on other people. That said, it makes me hopeful that other people can manage to survive making the compromises and submissions ever apparent in the early months of a new relationship. Just because I can't handle it myself, doesn't mean it's not worthy of a little admiration.

I'm told that, after a certain amount of utterly failed relationships, you're pretty much supposed to lose all faith that there's a future for you, but, for me, I had the pleasure of having that idea proven wrong. I was granted the privilege or watching love flourish before my eyes. Yes, my own relationships have failed, but while other thrive, I have faith.

So please, people around me, find a way past your differences. Stop being selfish; think about me.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Review - "The Mad Man's Box"

So, this weeks episode of Doctor Who was a bit of a nostalgia trip, though in a backwards sort of way, which managed to make a lie out of everything Russell T. Davies wrote about The Doctor being lonely and yet, still, managed to completely eclipse Steven Moffat.

While The Doctor's generally renewed Colin Baker-ness is in full swing, and he lets another creature find its way to death in this episode, the audience were treated to a far more important piece of characterisation: the TARDIS, in human form.

The set, as usual much darker than those in previous series', was a scrapyard this week, containing broken bits of TARDIS and, chameleon circuits in a state of full repair, less recognisable broken bits of TARDIS. The characters of Auntie and Uncle were strangely likeable, despite there being very little time with them.

Amy and Rory, in this episode, largely seemed there as an afterthought. It seems to me as though the writer, Neil Gaiman, was not altogether interested in them, but they did serve to add the right amount of additional peril. When trapped together, their minds being played with, Rory in particular is forgotten because he's not actually targeted by any of House's tricks. He might be in Amy's head, but Rory just keeps running.

The interior of the TARDIS was a perfect throwback to previous generations. This surprised me, considering how Moffat has chosen to re-invent the Doctor as a much more America-friendly character of late. When hearing that we, the audience, were being taken to a previous control room, I was quite excited. However, I'll admit to being a little disappointed with the control room that they chose.

Nephew, the Ood, seemed like a one-trick pony. His job could have quite easily been taken up by a dodgy radio, and he adds little peril to the dying moments in the TARDIS. House himself, though obviously capable of causing great harm, had an entirely monotone voice, which ruined the 'fear me' line for me personally. The Doctor himself had no power in his voice for his rebuttal, and the music barely emphasised the moment.

Now, dialogue, and here, I think, we're onto a winner. We had a bit of a false start. (I don't know why Moffat insists on almost all scripts containing 'basically, run' in them) Thankfully, after our dear TARDIS and Suranne Jones appeared on the picture, that all changed. ("Biting's like kissing, but with a winner," "I stole a Time Lord and ran off" etc.) Not only did her presence encourage The Doctor to become more like The Doctor than he's been since the Big Bang Two, but it also earned similar responses from the other characters. (Amy: "Did you wish really hard?")

I will compliment Suranne Jones most certainly. Everything from her accent, through posture, to her grace made her much more interesting than any role I've seen her in previously. Portraying the TARDIS itself must be increasingly daunting, but she rose to the challenge spectacularly.

That said, this is a woman who is capable of matching the Doctor's wit and intelligence because she's a technological device that's been with him for seven hundred years, and she couldn't last long. She was a character. River Song remains a complete Mary-Sue.

Finally, the 'soap-bubble' theory actually checks out quite well, annoyingly.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Blog - "Monty Python"

Monty Python's Flying Circus is, in fact, a comedy sketch show that has few to no recurring characters at all, and yet it's one of those programmes that draws me in the strongest.

Over the years, many secrets have emerged concerning the lives and lifestyles of the six original members of Monty Python. Some of them come out of the blue, while some of them are no surprise to anybody. Being able to look back on the lives that these people led previously is impossible, but art does have a wonderful way of imitating art.

A perfect example of the truth emerging is a Michael Palin moment, where a mention of The Spanish Inquisition, long after this particular sketch had been played out, confronts him with the giggles.

Another is any number of Palin and Cleese sketches when the two of them were on stage. They did absolutely everything in their power to put each other off and make it as difficult as possible to perform, with Palin often coming up short under the immense comedic presence of John Cleese.

In the films, and the series, tricks come out via preferences. Eric Idle is the one most often called on to impersonate a female because the others believed him the most attractive when donning female dress. This might also be something to do with the fact that the rest of them, when in long dresses and push-up bras, often wore fake moustaches. Idle's own sketches mostly involved either a lot of talking or singing, and singing is the path that he eventually pursued.

Palin and Jones seemed at their best when writing sketches involving outdoor travel, such as the entire episode dedicated to Palin's 'Mr. Pither' travelling on a bike tour. Palin now makes a living travelling around the world.

Graham Chapman, arguably the best actor of the six, is, unfortunately, no longer with us. As everybody in the world is sure he would have wanted, John Cleese ensured that his entire funeral ended up roaring with laughter. How often do you see that?

Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to get them all in the same room together. However, at the time, these men were inseperable, and it shows in their obvious devotion and respect to and for each other.