Scottish Hamlet.

TV Good grief, the BBC have announced a classic theatre broadcast for BBC Two. Oh, yes, it's Andrew Scott's recent Hamlet which is very exciting especially since it's being produced by Illuminations:
"Robert Icke, Director (and Almeida Theatre Associate Director) says: “It has been a real joy to work with such a gifted and dedicated company of actors on bringing this most-famous play to audiences in 2017. The production has been on a wonderful journey from the Almeida to the West End, and I am very much looking forward to this next step on BBC Two. To be able to offer our version of Hamlet to as wide and diverse an audience as possible has always been of paramount importance to us, and now we are thrilled to be able to bring it to people across the country.”"
The press release is a bit ambiguous about whether it's a theatre recording or a reshoot for television. I've asked Illuminations via Twitter for a confirmation.

Lovefilm RIP.

Film In case you were wondering this gap between blog posts is because I'm having something of a life laundry, deciding which books I really want to keep and reorganising my dvd collection.

 Sidebar: I'm ditching the chronological approach to classification by the date in which everything is set in favour of alphabetical order so I might have have chance of finding a film without having to consult a bloody database.

 Yes, I did spend a lot of time curating that database and yes, I wish I could tell the younger version of me to watch more of the them rather than many the many minutes it took trying decide whether a particular western was set at the beginning or end of the 1880s. But I'm through the tunnel and out the other side.

This interruption to my sorting schedule, is to mark some time. This morning Amazon sent its loyal Lovefilm by Post users an email advising that the service is to close on the 31st October this year. Happy birthday to me.

As you know, other than for a brief gap last year, I've been receiving discs from some version of this company since 2002, over fifteen years, starting with ScreenSelect then to Lovefilm when they merged and finally on Amazon's website.

Honestly, I knew this would be happening soonish. Streaming has entered primacy, with physical sales of films dropping massively and even blu-rays showing signs of serious discounting.

Which isn't to say I wasn't pretty devastated. The key reason why I returned to the service was because if you're interested in something other than the newest releases or the popular canon the available catalogue on subscription streaming is a joke and I can't really afford to pay for everything separately.

But it turns out there's a further option, the cutely named Cinema Paradiso, whose website has some of the old school charm of ScreenSelect and also seems to have titles that Amazon doesn't even have in their database yet (and now we know why).

So I'll be migrating over there and see what happens.  If it's rubbish, I haven't lost anything.  But for all they say that they're not closing and investing in new titles, I suspect I'm putting off the inevitable.  We'll see.

Now, back the book mountain.  We'll speak again soon.

"I've spoken to erm ... a few ..."

TV This morning Jodie Whittaker gave her first broadcast interview since the news to 6 Music's Shaun Keaveny while publicising her new drama vehicle Trust Me in which she (ironically) plays someone pretending to be a doctor at just the moment when she herself is going to be playing the Doctor.

The entire audio of the interview is here and there a video clip here in which she offers some of the most expressively Doctorish gesticulations since Matt Smith's appearance on his reveal show. In few of her roles, which tend to towards the dower, is she able to tap into this expressively sunny side and let's hope she's allowed to a lot of this for Who.

Brilliantly she knows what's about to happen in the process of mentally preparing herself. She knows that to some extent her life's about to change, that like no other role, everyone is going to have an opinion (sorry!) globally but fortunately she says she's not on any social media so she's shielded from idiots like me.

BBC News has a video interview of her saying much the same things in a more sober voice:

God, she's going to be great.

Along Came Polly.

TV In a break from tradition, the BBC have bothered to release the San Diego Comic Con trailer for the next bit of Doctor Who without us outside the hall having to moan about it first. Oh and my, scenes, scenes.

(1) Bill's back -- so as expected we'll get to see her getting a proper send off from him. Also hugging. Proper hugging. Capaldi's a hugger finally.

(2) Moffat's using his final lap to reshoot scenes from The Tenth Planet pt 4. Including the regeneration because why not.  Expect conspiracy theories that it'll include footage from the actual episode as way of revealing that it's been found.

(3) Who's playing Polly here?

It's difficult to tell from this poorly lit screenshot but it could well be Ellie Spicer, who portrayed the actress playing Polly in An Adventure in Space and Time.  Here she is in another poor screenshot I just took from the screen while watching the blu-ray ten minutes ago:

Could be. Updated: It isn't. Lizo reports its Lily Travers

Different jumper. Judging by this shot from The Tenth Planet:

The one from Adventures is more accurate.  Though like the console room which in the clip looks like the one from Hell Bent, you could argue that instead of needing to accurately portray the production limitations of the time as was required in the docudrama, the Christmas special is portraying a more idealised reality. Updated later: James Smith, a friend of the blog, has clarified that its not the TARDIS console room so there's something more complicated going on like time changing or a new scene.

(4)  I bet Mark Gatiss is playing an ancestor of the Brigadier.

(5)  Anyway it looks like a big old celebration of the Moffat era including his anniversary successes.  It would be astonishing if there weren't more cameos despite what he says about not wanting to have a victory lap.  This is not some ordinary story which happens to have a regeneration at the end.  Like The War Games, Logopolis, Survival and The End of Time, it's the end of an epoch.

"Let's go get you a lanyard."

TV Samira Ahmed writes for The New Statesman on the talismanic nature of lanyards:
"Two 1990s television shows gave us our figureheads: Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files, flashing her FBI ID at every opportunity, and later Allison Janney’s C J Cregg in The West Wing, who embodied the idea of the female who had broken through, thoroughly qualified to run the operation. The lanyard was their symbol of arrival and as much of a challenge to the old order as their brightly coloured pantsuits were."
In the more customer service orientated employment I have, due to wearing my own clothes the lanyard becomes the uniform. Putting it on means I'm working, off I'm on my break or out of the door home.

Doctor Foster.

TV The Guardian recently published a brief but excellent piece from an academic about the implications of Doctor Who companion Bill's foster status:
"The first thing I noticed is that Bill is a working adult in her 20s, but still lives with her foster mother, Moira. Young people in care are often expected to become self-sufficient more quickly than their peers, but Bill’s situation is a nice example of the recent shift in policy that recommends young people have more gradual transitions to adulthood. Although we see Bill move out in episode four, this doesn’t work out, and by the sixth episode she is back living with Moira. I wonder how many viewers are aware that Bill’s experience isn’t the norm? How many would question the apparent ease with which Bill returned to live with her foster mother? In Scotland, less than 3% of young people eligible for support after leaving care remain with their former foster carers."
I suppose one of the disappointments of the series is that this back story element didn't resolve itself with any great unity. Although I suppose that's probably more realistic and akin to classic Who where companions would come and go and very rarely exited in a way which spoke directly about their character.

Ken's Show: Exploring the Unseen. Press launch at Tate Liverpool.

Art Next year, Tate Liverpool celebrates its thirtieth anniversary and this morning held a press launch in one of the handling rooms, with coffee and danish pastries to explain their plans. The room is less glamourous than you might expect, with its heavy duty floor and white walls, the kind of space you might expect to be used to actually display paintings at the Biennial. But the large wooden storage boxes reveal some glamour with foreign destinations written on with in black marker or printed labels.

Ken Simons began working for Tate in 1974 almost straight from school and particularly as a handler in the Liverpool branch since 1998. As a way of commemorating his long service and imminent retirement and providing a retrospective view of the exhibitions which have been at Tate Liverpool since the start, he's been given the opportunity to jointly curate a show containing the work of thirty artists (one for each year), his favourites amongst those he's been tasked with placing in the the gallery spaces across his career.

After an introduction from Francesco Manacorda, the current artistic direction of Tate Liverpool, Ken offered a brief description of some of his favourite exhibitions across the years, notably the Rothko which opened the building and which I have fond memories of from a school trip. He spoke of how exciting it was to be at the launch of a major art gallery, the staff pulling together to present the space to an audience queuing around the block for entry.

You can read in this post from 2013 what Tate Liverpool has meant to me across the years and this sounds like an inspirational way to celebrate its legacy. The press pack contains a list of the works which will be included but I've chosen not to look preferring to be surprised by some old friends.  There's bound to be a Proustian rush to the exhibition and I want to enjoy the surprise.  With so much work to choose from, I can't wait to see what will be there.

Doom Coalition 4.

Audio Now that the Capaldi era is almost done bar the shouting from manbabies about his replacement, it's time for me to catch up of the Eighth Doctor's adventures, some short stories and audios and this latest boxed set. The upturn in quality continues from last time with a really solid, often strong final selection of stories and a final installment which doesn't anticlimax and due to Big Finish's expanded license doesn't need to allude to Gallifrey's future, can simply suggest that they're all doomed.  Once again, across the set, despite what's said in the accompanying documentaries, these two companions for the most part don't feel as integral to the story in a way that Eighth's previous friends have but arguably such things are more recent innovations and we're rarely bothered by such things when watching classic stories.  Plus that's not a criticism of Nicola Walker or Hattie Morahan who're both remarkable.  The making of indicates that these two will return in a future boxed set series which means we're stuck with this format for the foreseeable future.  God, I miss the stand alone stories.  Eighth never quite seems comfortable here.  Any-hoo ...

Ship in a Bottle

A three hander about the TARDIS team facing oblivion and never giving up hope.  It's an episode long version of the scene from The Stolen Earth in which the Tenth Doctor just gives up until Donna nags him into action.  All three have very specific points of view.  Eighth is hopeless, Liv won't give up and Helen has the very human response of sheer panic.  But for all that, it's not as way out or innovative as some other similar regulars only stories like Scherzo, which seems like one of the franchises bravest few hours as time goes on.  Cantankerous Eighth never sits well with me and his treatment of his friends in the early stages feels a bit like an artificial attempt at some conflict similar to that earlier story, but it lacks the bite to make us genuinely concerned about his behavior and the consequences going forward.  Nevertheless, like Absent Friends previously, it's the stand out installment in this set.

Songs of Love

The flip side of the cliffhanger resolution from the Doom Coalition 3 set and what amounts to an extra installment of the River Song Diaries.  The banner headline is Professor Song visiting Gallifrey, something which would have been impossible on screen this way, before the Time War, still recognisably the place initiated by Robert Holmes.  Her reaction is similar to someone who's lived in a different country for years before being brought back to their parents homeland, aware of what to expect, knowledgeable about the landscape through osmosis but still being disorientated.  Alex Kingston is superb in these scenes as plot threads from River's past but the franchise's future become important and she's able to twist the context to suite her own ends.  Once again your correspondent pleads with Big Finish for a Bernice Summerfield cameo in the next River Song series or a special release possibly also starring Iris.

The Side of the Angels

Like the "other" Master in Dark Eyes, the Rufus Hound version of the Meddling Monk is entirely new to me, having skipped over his previous Big Finish appearances.  A juicier role for Rufus Hound than he was given in the television series, he very much seems to be enjoying the ripe dialogue and flamboyant characterisation.  This is notably set before the Graham Garden incarnation possibly in order to lessen the potential fallout from Eighth of having to deal with the Monk's role in the death of Tamsin and especially Lucie, although the TARDIS Datacore pages indicates that there's some far messier history than that.  Otherwise, the episode is stuffed with the epic remodeling of NYC and an ingenious utilisation of the Weeping Angels, whom Eighth is well aware of, perhaps after meeting them in his Fifth incarnation.  I don't think classic and nu elements mixing like this will ever be any less strange.

Stop The Clock

And so yet another Eighth Doctor story resolves itself around a conquest of Gallifrey.  Overall this is fine, it certainly ties up everything which has come before it and has some excellent business for McGann to get his chops into, but there's not a terrific amount here that's different to similar predicaments with a rogue President of Gallifrey taking control, the genocide of the High Council and an overall sense of doom.  The script is amusingly cagey about who the current President is supposed to be, perhaps so that if necessary in the future, it can be one of the various incarnations of Romana or someone else if necessary.  But please, please, please can the next series have nothing to do with the Time Lords or Gallifrey?  I can't imagine the upcoming Time War boxes are going to be direct continuation of this.  That would be silly.

I Know Places.

Music Hermione Hobby of The Guardian on her brush with celebrity as she held hands with Taylor Swift on leaving a restaurant interview:
"Taylor – I suppose we were now on post-selfie first-name terms – must have seen my terror. She asked in a droll and gentle way if I was “ready for a photo shoot” then took my hand firmly and out we strode. Cameras flashed, voices rose and, like the Red Sea parting, the crowd shifted to allow her into the waiting Suburban. And then I was on my own, walking towards the subway feeling dizzy."
The column also explains why Twitter's pretty much the only "forum" I visit now.

We Don't Give A Damn About Our Friends.

Music Tom at Freaky Trigger's Popular section has a brilliant excavation of the "Sugababes" Freak Like Me, from its samples to its cultural significance:
"You can get an idea of where “Freak” sits at angles to the group’s later sound by hearing the bonus version on their Overloaded singles collection – the “Maida Vale session”, performed live. Here the song is thoroughly de-X-ified, the grimy pulse of the Tubeway Army synth line turned into a rock backing track with occasional keyboard stabs. And the band rush the ending, going straight back into the chorus after “good for me”. It highlights something important about the single – how much in tension the Sugababes and the sound are. On their earlier and later records, the group and their vocal interplay are the focus. On “Freak Like Me”, there’s less room for harmonising: the song and the singers are a dam built against the backing’s electronic flood. At the end, it breaks."
The bootleg that led to Freak Like Me is above. In parts it's like the listening to the Amelle version of Red Dress, so close are the vocal choices [via].

That hand, is it male or female?

TV He's winning, it's a short match oh this is unbearable. Go Rodge. Go Rodge. Yes! Now, it's going to be now. Oh speeches. Well fine, I have time to go to the toilet. What this is still on? Right prizes given. It's going to be now. Oh no there's some walking about. Still talking, more talking, more talking. Oh god when will this end? They're filling aren't they? Fill, fill, fill. More talking oh when will this end.

Finally. Here we go. Aha, they're fucking with us. Hoodie. Is that Captain Jack's coat? Oh yes very clever, just tell us. Oh its a bloke. Look at the shoulders, broad shoulders. Yes definitely a bloke. Sigh. It's going to be Kris ... oh that walk isn't very male. Not sure about the legs though. That hand, is it male or female? I can't tell? Oh here we go, hood off, that eye, I recognise that eye, it's, it is her, it bloody is her, yes, yes, yeeeeeeeeasssss. Clap, clap, clap, clap.

Pretty much sums up my reaction. The bookies got it right again. Jodie Whittaker IS the Doctor. Fucking, fucking amazing. Scream. Scream. Scream.

Apart from breaking the gender barrier and all that, here's why Jodie's casting is extraordinary.

We have absolutely no idea what her Doctor is going to be like.

For the most part you can have some idea of a Doctor by the casting. You knew Tennant would offer us chaste Casanova, Matt Smith would be eccentric, Capaldi would be brash.

But Whittaker's an actor of such range that she could play it in all kinds of ways. Although she's often been typecast as wife, girlfriend or sister, almost all of these characters have been different souls. Her IMDb in the ten years since her first screen credit is remarkable eclectic.

Her first interview and all the usual quotes are at the BBC Press Office.  Chris Chibnall decided to cast a woman beforehand and cast the part on those terms.  There's a lovely bit about him approaching her on the Broadchurch set.

And to address the assholes already complaining that the Doctor can't be female, it's going to ruin the programme, the SJWs have won and other bullshit.

Fuck off.  I want nothing more to do with you.

This is going to be amazing.

The New Whittaker.

TV This is one of those slightly obligatory Doctor Who related posts in which you all will have seen the above trailer/announcement but it feels like I should post it anyway so that it's a fixed point in time when looking back through the blog in the future. Plus, I can start the relevant label/keyword for these posts.  Expect my instareaction tomorrow night depending on how long the tennis match runs on for and whether I have to cook the dinner.

Just so this isn't a complete lost cause, here's some added content.  Earlier, Clayton Hickman solicited responses on how we each found out about each new incarnation of Doctor Who.  Here's my list, correcting a few things I got wrong when I tweeted him back:

1:  Wasn't born yet
2:  Wasn't born yet
3:  Wasn't born yet
4:  Wasn't old enough to be watching yet
5:  The end of Logopolis
6:  The Doctor Who Radio Times 20th Anniversary Special
7:  BBC TV News
8:  The Guardian
9:  BBC News
10:  Watching Casanova or as it turned out a midnight press release which acted more as a confirmation than anything.
11:  That random Doctor Who Confidential
12:  The live show.

Oh and for completion sake:

Shalka:  The Doctor Who Official Website

WAR:  The Name of the Doctor (although set photos indicated her was going to be playing someone)

Who's next?  Tonight the betting patterns which gave away Capaldi have started gather again around Jodie Whittaker which given the Broadchurch connection doesn't feel like utter bullshit and a could be a very good thing indeed if you're ticking boxes.  Long career, range of work, bloody good actor.  We'd be lucky to have her.  We'll see.

A Viewing Order for all of the Claire Temple episodes in the Netflix MARVEL series.

TV Claire Temple, so winningly played by Rosario Dawson is my favourite character in the whole of the MCU, films or television. Appearing across the Netflix series, she's always the one thing I look forward to and indeed in Iron Fist she's about the only reason to continue watching later in what's otherwise a quite boring and confused series.

 With The Defenders finally arriving in a month's time, I don't currently have time to binge repeat everything so I've decided to just watch those episodes featuring Temple, see how much of a coherent story they are on its own.

As an aid, I've created this watch this for the episodes in which she features across the series which about three of you might also find useful too:

Daredevil (Season One).

2. Cut Man
4. In the Blood
5. World on Fire
6. Condemned
11. The Path of the Righteous

Jessica Jones (Season One).

13. AKA Smile

Daredevil (Season Two).

3. New York's Finest
10. The Man in the Box
11. .380

Luke Cage (Season One).

5. Just to Get a Rep
6. Suckas Need Bodyguards
7. Manifest
8. Blowin' Up the Spot
10. Take It Personal
11. Now You're Mine
13. You Know My Steez

Iron Fist (Season One).

5. Under Leaf Pluck Lotus
6. Immortal Emerges from Cave
8. The Blessing of Many Fractures
9.The Mistress of All Agonies
11. Lead Horse Back to Stable
13. Dragon Plays with Fire

Literally Beaming.

Science Every day, I find myself gaping open mouthed as what seemed like something which could only happen in the future not too long ago is suddenly presented to me. Yesterday it was the ability to stream an otherwise obscure eighty year old silent film from China instantaneously through my television.

 Here's my open mouthed gape moment for today.

First object teleported to Earth's orbit:
"Chinese researchers have teleported a photon from the Gobi desert to a satellite orbiting five hundred kilometres above the earth."
The AV Club has a user friendly explanation but if I remember my Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual correctly, the methodology is almost precisely the same as that imagined in the 60s and developed across the years by successive writers albeit on a much more complex scale --  reprogramming particles in one place so that they're resemble a source pattern.  We're still probably hundreds of years away from being able to move a person let alone a more complex object but good god.  Gape.  Open mouthed.

We Need To Talk About Peter Parker.

Film Spider-man: Homecoming is out and it was pleasure to see its gloriousness at the lunch time showing in Screen One at FACT's Picturehouse in Liverpool. Short audience report.  About ten of us, barely a peep out of anyone apart from me laughing like a hyena on the front row. I'm amazed no one went out to complain about the noise I was making.

Few films this year have made me laugh this much, just as few films have had me this enraptured, hanging on to every moment.  Visually and narratively rich, it's simply one of the best comic book films ever made.  But enough of that hyperbole, let's survey some talking points.

There will be spoilers.

Having never really had much love for the Raimi films, enjoying The Amazing Spider-Man more than most, this feels to me like the most "Spiderman" film of the lot, the one which seems to preserve the essence of the comics, gets the character right.  It builds on what we saw in Civil War, the excitable teenager still happy to have these amazing powers, still discovering what he's capable of.

This is the best Spiderman film ever.

Why does it succeed?  By tossing out everything but the essence of the character and his mythology.  If the Raimi films are akin to the ITV Sherlock Holmes adaptations starring Jeremy Brett and the following two films starring Andrew Garfield are  Sherlock, Spiderman: Homecoming is Elementary.  Loads of recognisable elements reconfigured in the service of telling a good story.

Where the previous films were in a rush to introduce the more iconic elements like the Daily Bugle and JJJ, Mary-Jane and Gwen Stacy, Oscorp and the Green Goblin, probably admittedly with a view to not repeating itself Homecoming offers a much revised version of the Vulture, a younger Aunt May and a bunch of school friends who are totally unrecognisable from those who appear in the comic.

We don't really know the extent to which Spidey's mythology has been added to the MCU's rights database, how much the MCU actually has access to and so working creatively around.  Plus the walled garden approach to their various iterations means we're unlike to see Vincent D'ONofrio turn up at some future point as Kingpin who's another of Spidey's great antagonists.  

Was there too much MCU?  No.  Not at all.  If MARVEL finally have the chance to put Spiderman into their universe why wouldn't they take advantage and allow for his existence to be entirely absorbed into the mythology?  It might even be possible that one of the reasons SONY agreed to the deal was on the understanding that a major player like Iron Man would appear in the film to make it distinctive to their previous offerings.

One of the problems with the previous films was that his existence and that of the villains never quite sat well without being part of some larger universe filled with superhumans.  Spiderman by his nature, along with numerous other "street level" heroes, exists to contrast with the gods and their epic intergalactic battles.  Whenever he becomes involved, he is often the audience's way in to the madness.

Homecoming makes that contrast the key story point, of Peter learning that he's not old enough to join the big guys yet, that he should be content to be kid with extraordinary powers, dealing with neighbourhood problems, not to try and skip his development and to an extent training.  In all of the fight scenes he's clumsy.  He's yet to completely develop his skills.

One of the earlier 60s strips had a newly bitten Spiderman turning up at the Baxter Building attempting to become a member of the Fantastic Four.  He failed badly and it wasn't until many years later (barring a few What If? stories) that he had a chance to join that group, when he was older, wiser and ready.  The five film arc is pretty carefully mapped out from.

Homecoming has some huge moments for long terms fans of the MCU and the ongoing narrative.  The Avengers vacating the New York skyline -- who could they have possibly sold the tower to?  Plus Tony and Pepper are back together.  As we've discussed in the past I bloody love Gwyneth Paltrow and seeing her brief return to acting here was a real treat.  When they kissed I sighed.

That chemistry was one of the engines which made the Iron Man films work and seeing them back together is brilliant (however understandable it was that she didn't appear in Civil War given the tone of that film).  This brief scene is the MCU equivalent of the doorstep epilogue between Tim and Daisy at the end of the Spaced DVD documentary.  Hopefully we'll see more of this during Infinity War.

I wouldn't be quiet if that were my job.

Music Find above the digital equivalent of those films which show jaffa cakes or meat pies on a production line. It's a fascinating look how some parts Spotify work, in particular those whose job it is to programme a playlist. The surprise is the immense amount of work and heart which goes into choosing the tracks, important because of the number of subscribers which use the playlist. If the effects she can have on the careers of these artists isn't overstated, she's single handedly fulfilling much of BBC Radio One's remit albeit on a much smaller scale, though it'd be interesting to know how many artist have broken out because she's decided to add them to the list.


UGWE, Reggie. 2016. Inside The Playlist Factory. In. Buzzfeed.

KOUMIS, Athena.  2017.  Fresh Finds.  In.  Spotify.

Romola on Everything.

Theatre The Stage has a huge interview with Romola Garai about her career, the challenges of being a mother in theatre and screen work and various other bits and pieces. On the West End revival of the RSC's Queen Anne:
“For me it is predominantly about a female friendship that is destroyed by politics, which is rare. Although its a historical play and you feel that Helen Edmundson has done a great deal of research for it, something at its heart feels very personal and leapt out at me. I found the portrait of two women locked in a highly dysfunctional relationship very moving. Because it has lasted since childhood, it has become quite warped in some ways. They could reassess their relationship in a positive way, but they don’t. Sarah, particularly, doesn’t have the strength of character to bring that about and so it explodes, and politics is the thing that initiates that.”
The play runs for thirteen weeks from the 30 June. Do we know what the shooting schedule for the next series of Doctor Who is?

Petite Padme.

Film Here's an other tiny reunion for The Clones Wars courtesy of Forces of Destiny.   Featuring Catherine Taber with her uncanny Portman sounding rendition of Padme, it's a fun bit of business.  Just don't read the synopsis first because it literally is a synopsis, the whole story.


Politics Just after the 20th January, I decided that unlike previous US presidencies, I'd be omitting mention of the leader of the free world on here because he's getting so much coverage elsewhere that it's entirely pointless. But there's no denying that his existence has had a profound effect on discourse and that's especially true of social media, so I'm breaking the rule on this occasion to offer my solution.

Twitter is still somewhere I spend a lot of time online, finding, for all its faults, it a much more flexible and understandable place than Facebook. But the election has led to it becoming somewhat monosyllabic and despite the range of voice in my timeline, he's become the main subject of conversation presumably because of the extinction level element of his existence. When a disaster is ongoing, everybody wants to talk about it.

But it's had the effect of destroying some of the random element of Twitter even amongst the three and half thousand people I follow. Admittedly plenty of those are journalists so it's bound to happen to some degree. But day on day for weeks, I was met with a wave of identical stories about whatever new bile he's decided to post to his own Twitter account or think pieces about what stupid or cruel or weird thing he's done in meatworld.

Then I realised that I could wipe it all out in one swoop especially now that Twitter's filtering tools have parity across all the platforms. I visit the filtering section on Tweetdeck and Twitter and added his surname.

Suddenly my timeline went back to resembling how it did two years ago. All the shock and awe and RTs of whatever he's had to say at three in the morning. Having to look at yet another photograph of his face, which is sometimes enough alone to increase my anxiety levels. Now I can go back to watching people talk about other "important" things without having to mentally filter him out to. He's filtered for me.

He's not gone completely. This doesn't knock out mentions of POTUS or the surname with an apostrophe or when an article or tweets talks about "America" really meaning him. I could remove all of that too, but it's still good to have some idea of what's happening. The volume is lower, there's a lot less repetition. If I miss something, if it's "important" it'll be in the news anyway, either online or television or radio.

Making Merrily We Roll Along.

Film Lately due to not having to be at work, I've been watching lots of documentaries from streaming services, mainly about making films, with this and that. Most of these are about disastrous projects, attempting to turning a project which didn't ultimately find fruition into something tangible.

This morning over breakfast, I found The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, the story of Stephen Sondheim's rare Broadway failure, 1981's Merrily We Roll Along, directed by Lonny Prince one of the key cast member who is now a successful stage director in his own right.

Profoundly moving in a number of ways, it takes the key element of the musical, contrasting the positivity of youth with the cynicism of middle age and through archive documentary footage applies it to the members of the original cast showing what happened to them after their dream turned to disaster.

The trailer is at the official website, but I'd suggest you see the film with as little preparation as possible.  Few documentaries I've seen have captured what it must have been like on Broadway in that era and a cautionary tale of how you can't let one event define your entire life (which is something I need to keep reminding myself too).


TV Since this is the first week without Doctor Who in three months, here's my response to the meme which has been floating around:

1. Marco Polo
2. The War Games
3. Invasion of the Dinosaurs
4. City of Death
5. Caves of Androzani
6. Terror of the Vervoids
7. Ghost Light
8. Storm Warning (audio)
WAR The Day of the Doctor
9. Dalek
10.1 Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead
10.2 Planet of the Dead
11 Touched by an Angel (novel)
12 Heaven Sent

Nothing too controversial ...

"Oh, it’s a joke, ha ha."

Film Actress Zoe Kazan features in a pretty intense interview in The Guardian which covers everything from her eating disorder to her grandfather and the blacklist and her treatment on film sets. This, for example, is horrible:
“No. I mean. Hmmm.” There is a long pause. “Like, I had a producer ask me on set once if I spat or swallowed. At work. He’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a joke, ha ha.’ But he was also paying my cheque and then watching me from the monitor as I made out with another actor – so when he tells me I look good, it feels different. I was in my mid-20s at the time. I was not powerful, I did not feel I could say anything.” There is another long pause. “That has got better as I’ve got older, partially, I think, because I’m better at knowing how to shut that down. But it makes you feel guilty, and bad, as if it’s somehow your fault – that you’re somehow giving that person the signal that it’s OK to treat you that way. And none of that is stuff that Paul has to deal with.”
Paul Dano in case you were wondering. They've been together for ten years. I had no idea even after seeing Ruby Sparks.  My gossip filter is incredibly strong.

Short Snips.

Film Disney/Lucasfilm are producing a series of short animations highlighting female characters from the Star Wars franchise and in amongst Leia, Jyn and Rey they've also blessed us with this three minute piece about Asoka featuring the original voice casting from The Clone Wars.  Matt Lanter's Anakin sounds a bit gruffer than of old, which lends it am element of Peter Davison's Doctor at Big Finish, but for three minutes a series which I have huge affection for returns after it was so cruelly cancelled in mid-production.

Given that there are whole voice recording sessions for episodes of The Clone Wars which didn't break out of the pre-visual stage, why not utilise this animation technique to complete them, a style not unlike the original Tartakovsky series?  Admittedly, there'd be a lot more involved in generating another couple of hours of animation and for all I know it'd be just as intensive as producing them in the original full painterly glory.  But this will always feel like unfinished business, despite the story having been continued in Rebels.