sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Apr. 12th, 2015 09:16 pm)
So much for evading a social life on the grounds that I had a conference paper to write. The conference paper is not yet begun; a day off tomorrow, I think, to begin it. Instead, some recycling has been done and I've almost finished Richard Marson's biography of Verity Lambert; a short review might appear here or elsewhere at some point.
I'm in the middle of a wholesale reappraisal of the contents of my flat, including my collection of VHS tapes. This has led to my playing The Invasion of Time, which works rather well as background to walking in and out of the room. One notices the strengths more: Castellan Kelner in the hands of the master of unctuous officialdom, Milton Johns, alternately conspiring against his president and grovelling to feed him jelly babies; the Outsiders' dismissal of Rodan's survival skills reducing her to tears and apologies; the scenes of chamber politics and close-ups which play to the theatrical roots of studio drama and given Tom Baker the chance to deploy a range of performance which he had little opportunity to do in Doctor Who; and Louise Jameson's domination of the location scenes in Outer Gallifrey, which redeem Leela from the burden of the leaden and belittling dialogue she is given to speak in scenes with the Doctor.

Yes, the Vardans are badly-realised, there are too many chancellery guards not paying attention to staying in character, and there are characters set up for usefulness - such as Gomer and Savar, whose discussion about wavelength fluctuations in part one foreshadows both the Vardans' source of power and their weakness - who are in the event underdeveloped. However, the first few episodes aspire with some success to dramatise some 1970s popular concerns - the source of political power and authority, and the limitations of the welfare state - though little effort is made to disguise the convenience with which the Doctor can stop and divert the action with an "apt phrase", which undermines the whole.

Some Doctor Who fans of the late 1970s and early 1980s were obsessed with Gallifrey, to the extent of wishing for a season entirely set there. We were mostly would-be technocrats then; but we'd all missed the message. The Invasion of Time is about the corrosive effects of a consensus of the highly educated, unable to stand up to ideas spread by broadcasting or brute force (and the Sontarans, led by a Cockney Stor, are here working-class warriors rather than the bachelor colonial officers they are elsewhere) without innovative thinking. The anticlimax is that the status quo ante is restored at the end, with the gimmick of the Demat Gun suggesting an epic which has run out of ideas.

ETA: There's also the confusion that Derek Deadman's Sontaran mask is noticeably different between the location film footage and the studio videotape scenes. In studio, the nose appears larger and narrower and the eyes are surrounded by dark make-up which doesn't appear on location. The effect is that Stor's genetic inheritance includes some of the vampire Count Orlok from Nosferatu; what this does to my class-warrior reading of the Sontarans is beyond the scope of this post.
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2007 11:24 pm)
Fresh from wirelessing my flat, so I can do fantastically lazy things like check e-mail and post to LJ and watch television on a large screen at the same time without changing the layout of the flat any further, as well as practical things like transfer files between computers, I've now got back to the great reorganization, and have all but emptied one cupboard and refilled it. Along the way I've come across a second folder of NFT programme notes, and various attempts at starting other projects, including proposals for fan-crit articles. One of these projects was something called 'Buffy in the Garden of Good and Evil', which evidently didn't have legs; but I'm hoarding it in case the right circumstances turn up to take it forward.

The study floor should be clearer after this, anyway.
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Oct. 11th, 2006 12:53 pm)
I had expected to be in Oxford by now, but after getting to bed at some point after 1 after the DSoc event, woke up at 5 (having dreamed about the Society - obsessed, moi?,) seemingly alert, had a breakfast of beans on toast, listened to the first half of Auld Mortality, napped, washed, dressed, faced storm with thunder and lightning, decided not to go out just yet, felt very tired and fell asleep over the new Doctor Who Magazine.

Now I think I'll move the freelancing to tomorrow and the weekend, as the Bodleian is open on Saturdays, and do some more flat-sorting today. The piles in the living room are lower now, and there is one box made up and marked with a nostalgic stylized 'A', the left diagonal formed by a shadow cast by a sword brandished as if from a pool...
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Feb. 23rd, 2006 01:58 pm)
My bed is collapsing. [ profile] pellegrina warned me five years ago that divans were a bad thing. I now can't fit one of my drawers in because the beams of the frame have in one case warped and in another case split. I can't really afford a new bed at present (well, I can, at the risk of moving closer to my overdraft limit and having to sell one of my remaining shareholdings) but it looks as if I'll have to. A new mattress would be good too. My sister suggests eBay, where she found hers.

I still haven't left yet, probably just as well as I'm not really quite awake.


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