Monday, 7 June 2010

Yes Vincent I could hear the colours too... Doctor Who has an Art attack

As usual, this blog brought you by my  musical director and his fine radio programme Beat Surrender.

Last post was a bit intense, but that's only because I had to endure an entire week of BGT. But Mietek I can hear you say , you don't HAVE to watch. True, but I was committed to seeing  if Chandi and impressionist Paul would get in. I promise on a stack of Doctor Who Annuals, I won't watch next year...Honest! Irritatingly, I hear from my tweeps/twits/twats at twitter, Simon Cowell has been given a lifetime achievement award at the Telly Baftas, when will the madness end? Didn't see the Baftas, as I was too busy watching England loose on pens to the rest of the world. They had Woody Harrelson and Wayne from Wayne's World. We didn't have a chance. ....As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by myself, ... The alternative, Corrie, had been pulled  two days in, due to the incredibly sad and tragic events in Cumbria and short of watching any number of films I have already seen or given a wide berth the first time around, there wasn't much else on. What with super week on ITV and the World cup starting on the 11th,  no one is willing to put much of anything new until the midle of next month.

There was however at least one massive beautiful, ethereal bright spot on the telly that has me thinking I'll have to watch this at least twice more before I'm completely done drinking in the programme. Doctor Who , in what has to be the stand alone episode  every whovian has to have a copy of and possibly the best ep of the current series, "Vincent and the Doctor", achieved a number of things in the simplest and most poetic outing to date.  I spent a good deal of time admiring the art on display before I got round to soaking in the story itself. The art was not just for show, it was used to demonstrate that all is not as we see it and far more fluid. Brilliant ,sensitively played and written, it did have one slightly disconcerting problem, I had no idea Van Gogh was Scottish ? A detail while somewhat important, I will pass on as on the whole the story was so well done. Not since Rose was forced to not save her father, have the rules of  time been so clearly and simply explained with absolute near irrevocable finality ( except of course when it's one of those times that choices have to be made). You can't change history most times even if you want to, it has a way of  just proving you were supposed to do that in the first place. A lovely self contained story about how life is what it is. If you can't change time, what do you do? You make a sick unhappy persecuted person happy for a short time. The compassion shown in "Vincent" was good advice and an affirmation that like with Nelson Mandella, or a sick person, we have the capacity to make another's life good for a short time or just another extension of Hell. Ask my father if he regrets going through Siberia or my wife's aunt if she would have preferred Not being Dr Mengele's guinea pig? But they survived and had far better lives later on. We as sons, nieces friends and total strangers can choose to contributed to the good times rather than the bad, that even our past tragedies contribute to our future joys, is the message to take from it. Vincent sees that Amy is, despite surface appearances, mourning Rory, she has not forgotten him  and the tragedy of his death will make her do things in her future, more than likely important and most definitively with Galactic implications. In answer to Keith Topping's question, is it Doctor Who? No it's not , it's more Great Bird of the Galaxy at his best. Gene Rodenberry understood that at it's core, life is about how you live it.We are the sum total of our actions and the actions of those around us. Vincent and the Doctor was a metaphor for a troubled time. Choices that will affect the very fabric of time are coming and they will be wrapped up in tiny personal bite size  questions that aren't always obvious at first glance. Was the monster an impediment  or a help? I have a feeling the story would have moved along to the same glorious conclusion without the creature being dispatched with an easel to the chest. One last thing, I'm a bit surprised  by the insensitive talk surrounding Amy and Vincent,. I don't think there should be any impediment for two gingers reproducing. After all Gingers are people too. "Vincent and the Doctor" is destined to be one of those stories that have a life of their own like Arc of Infinity or the Key to Time. So far this series, Doctor Who has been like a big box of mystery chocies, some familiar , some less so, most delicious and maybe one a bit disappointing. I leave it to you to figure out which one that is. Here's a clue..... It had mushy odd tasting Dalek centre..

Here's a treat I know you will all enjoy. Last Thursday Colin Baker was interviewed by BBC Newcastle Radio's own Paddy MacDee. Click on the link and The former Doctor comes in  from about the 29th minute.  better hurry , the link is only good till this Thursday.

Compared to the masterpiece above, Corrie was a bit of a let down. For those paying attention, I had indeed decided to boycott Corrie until after the worst excesses of Km Crowther were history, but a combination of inexorable forces conspired to make us watch this week. First, my wife missed her Corrie, and second it was  the last week of Kim Crowther. It seemed wrong not to watch. Be aware readers that for the first time Corrie is brought to you in glorious HD! Yes now you can see Liz MacDonalds neck better, Kym Marsh can fall out her towel in far greater clarity and Roy Cropper can talk about trains to your face up close. What we did get to see was far more cinematic in feel and editing. Felt like we had walked into the middle part of a Guy Ritchie film, a bad one. Instead of pointing out the incredible age of the street and  the texture of the place as well as playing on the lovely aged interior of the Rover's, they chose to clean up the place too much . Weatherfield should not have looked so bright and clean and another thing, it never once rained. I was disappointed that Sean who seems to be a such a curious person , normally full of information, had only the sketchiest of notions as to the story of the most famous pub on television. The presumably new opening and closing sequences are very pretty, very gadgetty, very.... lets play with the new toy a bit. At least they kept the cat in. Personally, I prefer the old opening and hope this is just temporary. The new superimposing of one bit of dialogue over another  does give it a certain dramatic tension, but frankly speaking it's Corrie, not Lock Stock and two smoking barrels. Corrie is a nice programme in which interesting , fairly normal people live fairly normal lives. The need for such a device past this last week of Kim Crowther's reign seems limited at best. Doctor Who's Phil Collison has a mighty big task ahead of him. How do you film the rest of the series when the previous producer has blown the budget on a monster finale week in which the knicker factory is blown up and a few cast members are rumoured to be killed/sacked. It being the 50th anniversary of the nation's soap,  I suspect Dalek week will have to be postponed, perhaps he could consult with Jeremy Clarkson about working on a shoestring budget. I know, they can always drop a piano on Mad Mary's Camper!

Now in case you weren't ready for the spirit destroying clangers, tragic injuries and bad calls that will almost assuredly plague us during the World cup, BBC3 has a timely reminder to destroy any optimism you may still be harbouring. Two hours of Richard Bacon and Peter Crouch reminding us every ache, pain, bad call and agonizing moments of the last six World Cups. It's all there, bollock stomping, the hand of God, Gazza nearly rapping, wor Michael Owen's ( well he's Man U's now  HAHAHA) leg dissolving before our eyes, Lampard missing the penalty, I  can go on but some of you would rather forget it ever happened. Go on I dare you not to watch, you won't be able to help yourself... World Cup's most shocking moments 

Speaking of rubbish football, did you watch the fat lads kick about for charity? Not a bad match if I do say so myself. Ollie Murs turns out to be a better footballer than a singer and it was nice to see Alan Shearer in full flight. I was annoyed by the presence of one over inflated unfunny omnipresent so called comedian. James Corden was all over the place being his usual well ....annoying self. In case you live under a rock or don't have internet, Corden and Dizzy Rascal have released an official England "song". I say song ,but its just Dizzy  shouting at us into a microphone while Corden does something. They then take tears for fears "Shout" and have a drunken mob sing off key. Do yourself a favour, it's a charity song  right? I'll give you the direct link for the charity and you don't have to listen to this dreck. It's the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children charity.
Sample lyric, and this is one of the less shit bits.

 “Pull your socks up let’s get physical, We need team work - we don’t need a miracle, We need Rooney in tip top condition, Aaron Lennon down the wing like he’s on a mission, It ain’t no superstition, its not a luck thing, Rio Ferdinand nobody can muck with him!”

PS Rio is out already. Also, a good World Cup song is supposed to be terrace friendly, catchy and have an easy to sing hook. Looks like Vindaloo will do yet again. 

In a complete lurch back to drama, Luther has set up it's finale for next week. Poor Luther over the last two eps has seen Alice "take care" of any problems he may have, only to see his old partner set him up by  apparently killing his wife and making it look like Luther did it. Will he save his reputation, will he and Alice go to a cosy love nest in an insane asylum somewhere in Midsommer? No one can tell, I would bet  they do, but I also said the excellent impressionist would win BGT . 

Staying on a serious note for just a minute, if you missed any of these, watch before it's too late. Part of the Dunkirk programmes.... Dan Snow Tells the story of the Little Ships and in an older special veterans speak of the reality of the retreat in A Soldier's Story.

Graham Norton must be concentrating on his chat show now, because his guests last Monday, Chris Rock ,Joshua Jackson and Diana Vickers seemed to be on top form . Chris Rock was genuinely funny and seemed aware of the format and silliness expected. He was a bit careful at first  but soon opened up and cruised into comfort zone like he'd been on dozens of times. Joshua Jackson the Canadian, seemed so at home I was sure he wasn't just passing through. Looking forward to the truly over the top ep that is surely in the works complete with eccentric guests, odd fashions from the internet and perhaps a new remote control device thar humiliates audience members. Who can forget the the tail wager belt complete with code cards? 

This last week has been a bit of a strange one, we saw the last two iconic cranes at the old Swan Hunter ship yards in Wallsend blown up, a mad taxi driver shot his way through Cumbria and I had to set aside time for someone very close to me who is now awaiting surgery. Sometimes life just steps in and reminds you there is more to life than football or telly. On the bright side, my favourite programmes cleaned up at the TV Baftas.. Thick of it, The Inbetweeners and even Armstrong and Miller, which has it's moments. Particularly like Thick of it writer Armando Iannucci thanking ConDemn co PM Nick Clegg for "for completely destroying our plans for the next series

Please check out Pride Radio North-East UK Launching on FM for 28 days from Monday 21st June 2010 until 18th July 2010. They will be announcing their presenter line up very soon and all the details will be at or you can have a sneak listen here .  Crakin party music!!!!

Last bit of business, World Cup time, England will surely win, we won't be depressed for a week THIS time, or we might, but we will need to eat. I'm giving you some easy recipes for the World Cup, but you'll need time to get the ingredients for these tasty easy tubs of real food even the most inept person can make . You can thank me later  World's best spinach dip ever , Smoked salmon dip, Blue cheese dip, Dill dip . Spend the money you save on some good beer. 

See you Friday or Saturday , get the provisions in and make sure your flag is hung up in time. Hums Three Lions quietly to himself as he presses POST.

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