A Dog’s Life

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I find myself in the news this week, rather than reporting it, but there’s no pleasure in the spotlight. North Wales Live posted a story this morning regarding the tragic and needless death of my three year-old dog Oscar whilst on holiday near Betys-y-Coed. The driver who hit him did not stop, an act which was both immoral and illegal. There is nothing more worth saying.

“But Why Will You Say That I Am Mad?”

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This is all rather worrying: a list of the reasons patients were confined to a lunatic asylum in London during the period 1864-89. I never realised reading a novel could be so hazardous, although there are a few authors I can think of whose success is quite mindboggling.

Edit: I’ve just noticed the spelling of “rumor” in that list, which seems a little odd for a London hospital, although this could have been taken from a US book on the subject.

Timey Wimey, Bollocksy Wollocksy

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If these posters are official, it looks as though current Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall plans to bring John Simm back into the series as The Master, in direct contradiction of his original announcement that no legacy villains would reappear (the BBC allegedly has to use the Daleks every season, or pass the copyright to Terry Nation’s family, hence the New Year’s Day “special”). It’s further rumoured the storyline will involve Brexit, which sounds both desperate and yet more evidence of Chibnall’s creative vacuity. Seriously, why is this useless pillock being allowed anywhere near the world’s longest-running science fiction show?

Update: I am indebted to Doctor Freedom for warning me these signs may be some kind of prank or Brexit-related spoof. Trouble is, after Season 11, how can we discern the real Who from the fake rubbish?

The Funny Pages

Considering I began reading superhero comics in the mid-1960s and writing about them in the mid-1970s, it’s slightly odd that it’s taken until now for me to write a letter to one. Still, here it is, fresh from the pages of The Immortal Hulk #14, with a reply from writer Al Ewing.

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Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations

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I first encountered Star Trek on the afternoon of Saturday, 12 July 1969, just four days before Apollo 11 set off on its quarter-million-mile journey to the Moon. The BBC, unlike NBC in the United States, chose to run the series in the intended order, which meant its UK premiere was ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’. We’re only a couple of months away from the fiftieth anniversary of both that broadcast and Neil Armstrong’s tentative first step upon the lunar surface, and I will confide it was the former which had a greater effect upon my life.

Incidentally, another early fan via those BBC screenings was Janet Quarton, later to run the Star Trek Action Group (which I joined soon as I heard about it circa 1977) and later still to be honoured by Gene Roddenberry himself through the naming of the Next Generation character “Q”.

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Secret Agent Man

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This past month, I’ve watched all 39 episodes of the original 1960-62 run of Danger Man, which is both a great showcase for its charismatic star Patrick McGoohan (who’d turned down the role of James Bond in favour of the far more believable John Drake) and a crash course in the strictures of tight television thrillers. It’s amazing how much can be squeezed into 25 minutes if you follow Fritz Lang’s approach (cf The Big Heat) and only include scenes which are crucial to narrative, characterisation or both.

Little White Boxes

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I see this over and over again. A couple of years ago, I was able to buy a bunch of Kate Bush CDs for half the price of downloading them (I already had the LPs). Tonight, I spotted YouTube selling the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation — or rather, the temporary ability to download a digital version — for £24.99, whilst eBay can get you a Blu-ray boxset for just £17.98, a saving of more than 28%. I find this insane, but then I live in a house full of stuff rather than a white box with a chair at one end and a hungry screen at the other.