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Yesterday Went Too Soon

So, I got a job. It seems like a nice company but so far I’ve only done training so far, and since they’ve just gone through a huge recruitment drive, these training sessions involve about 20 people. In one room. Together. So today as a kind of blue-sky thinking ice-breaker/name-learning ceremony, we were given a somewhat puzzling task: write your name on a piece of paper, then take your first initial and write down as many words as you can starting with that letter, that might also describe you.

CAROLINE:

  • Calm (sometimes)
  • Confident (sometimes)
  • Clever
  • Cheeky
  • Chipper
  • Clean
  • Creepy…
  • Critical

With the benefit of hindsight, it’d be a much better task if I’d written Calamitous, Compromising, Charlatan. I might have made myself laugh. These words might be more apt next week when the 6.30am wake ups start.

On the other hand, I was thinking about putting some photos here and found some pretty cool pictures from a visit to Wells Cathedral many moons ago. It’s a very pretty place and I probably haven’t done it justice, but I like them so they’re here anyway.

A not-quite silhouette of my housemate Annie, against the setting sun.

A very old street. My favourite self-captured perspective photograph.

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In 122 AD, the Emperor Hadrian initiated the building of a large wall, a boundary from the Tyne to the Solway Firth. Until the last century, historians considered it a defensive tactic against aggressive Scots barbarians, but it is now also considered to be part of Hadrian’s border-enforcing policy, to recognise the frontiers of empire, and govern up to those frontiers. What this really allowed the Romans to do was maintain a peaceful empire, the effects of which were so incredibly long-reaching as to still be evident today.

Why bring it up? Well, history is my benchmark for judging pretty much everything (commence hackneyed phrases such as ‘those who misunderstand history are doomed to repeat it’, or some other such platitude…). And right now, I want to talk about 6Music, like I said I would in the previous post.

As you probably know, the BBC has recently proposed some incisive cuts in order to free up a shedload of money (several hundred million is a figure I keep bumping into) which would be better invested in quality programming. Those who listen to Radio 1, watch a lot of BBC 2 and 3, and keep up with Eastenders, won’t notice a jolting difference in the schedules, thanks to consistently high ratings. From my understanding, what will be slashed is the budget to buy American programmes (so a possible end to constant Family Guy repeats on 3), web-presence (by a quarter), sports coverage (though certain items like Wimbledon and 2012 Olympics are safe), some teen content and some digital radio output.

On paper, this is fine. The BBC has often received harsh criticism that their empire is too large, so effectively ‘walling’ it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Unless you are an avid fan of one of the soon-to-be-axed services – which I am. It’s widely speculated that these cuts are down to a possible Tory win in the election, when Cameron might choose to clamp down on the wide-reaching BBC. I don’t know about that, but I do know that the BBC will suffer if some (not all) of these cuts go ahead. In a blog today, Mark Thompson, BBC Big Cheese, said this:

We will refocus licence fee investment around five clear priorities: the best journalism; inspiring knowledge, music and culture; ambitious UK drama and comedy; outstanding children’s content; and events that bring communities and the nation together. We will focus on the areas which most clearly build public value and which are most at risk of being ignored or under-invested in by commercial players.

The BBC will live or die by the quality of its programmes and content. We will retain an unswerving, unwavering, unflagging focus on quality. To ensure we do, we are committing to unprecedented investment in high-quality, original UK content. We will do this in part by reducing the cost of running the BBC and reducing spending on programmes from abroad. Carefully selected acquisitions are valued by audiences but our priority is original, UK content.

And unlike Hadrian, he is a massive hypocrite. He goes on to say that the BBC exists to provide a different service, that ‘enriching people’s lives’ with their bloody good content is their priority. I’ve paraphrased, but you get the point. What Mark Thompson’s cuts actually propose are the opposite of this. The BBC provides so many poor-quality services in direct competition with other freely available content that to claim to strive for high-quality is laughable. Parts of the BBC already encompass this drive for outstanding programming, such as 6Music, BBC4, 5live, and certain aspects of the terrestrial programming. However, BBC1, the channel the BBC ‘lives and dies by’, is in direct conflict with ITV every single Saturday night.

It boils down to what license-fee payers are prepared to put up with. I watch very little on the Beeb, although it has provided some of the greatest content I’ve ever enjoyed. Where would factual telly-land be without David Attenborough, Jeremy Paxman and Patrick Moore? And what about the recent adaptations of Emma, and Cranford? Not to mention the Doctor Who franchise. And radio-land, with its Lauren Laverne, Adam and Joe, Gideon Coe and Marc Riley?  Absolutely stellar, in my book. But that’s precisely it: in my book. MY book. This is what I pay my license-fee for. Well, that and the fact that the adverts have gotten nicer.

So is it fair for people who don’t listen to 6music to subsidise it? Not really, but I don’t watch Strictly Come Dancing, Casualty or Bargain Hunt, and I can confidently assume that they’re safe.

The problem is that 6music costs £6million to run, has a very small listener base, and the before these cuts were proposed on 20% of the British population had actually heard of it. As a digital-only station, with little promotion and the odd rubbish choice of host (George Lamb, everyone’s still looking at you), it seems like it was designed to fail. The plan seems to be to shift some of its programming to a re-vamped Radio 2, but this puts real music fans back where they were in the 80s and 90s, waiting for dusk and the likes of John Peel.

The problem is putting the genie back in the bottle. It’s understood that this is a pretty difficult thing to do, especially politically. I am absolutely sure that it’s also an impossible cultural move. If I’m at home alone all day, I’ll switch to 6 about halfway during Keaveney’s show and stay until 7ish, when I generally seek out company and food. If I’m driving, I bemoan not having a digital converter for my car radio. Nothing sounds worse that Fearne Cotton, especially when you know the alternative could be Lauren Laverne. And finally, Adam and Joe’s comedy is the perfect way to start a Saturday morning.

6music perfectly embodies the BBC’s mission statement, to inform, educate and entertain. SO yeah, totally get rid of it, as long as you don’t ditch Snog, Marry, Avoid…

You’re no Hadrian, ginger-beardy-baldy Mark Thompson.

In many ways I should be in good spirits right now, but you know sometimes you just can’t make your mood match the facts. Maybe it’s part of being a girl, or maybe (most likely) I’m just a bit sensitive, but I’m feeling a bit sad today. It’s a mixed bag, and I think I’m just emotionally confused.

The story I’ve been constructing in my head since January is finally starting to take a decent form. I’ve got a good deal of it mapped out, except for names. I really struggle with naming things/places/characters, and have decided that this story absolutely needs to take place in a fantasy world, but not one of a Tolkein-esque nature. And Ankh Morpork has been taken! And considering that my protagonist is so far only known as ‘The Satirist’, I’d say I’m a long way off that Booker Prize. Damn you, Booker Prize!

Yesterday marked my parents’ 34th Wedding Anniversay, an enormous comfort in these often unstable times. My mum deserves a bloody big medal, and I’m sure my dad will make sure she gets one. People are often surprised by the length of time between my parents’ marriage and when they had kids (7 years), but if you ask me, it’s been the key to the success of their marriage. I hope I too enjoy such a long partnership!

My best friend, and housemate of over 4 years has embarked on the trip of a lifetime. I dropped her off at Birmingham International yesterday, where she got on a flight to Dubai, alone! She’s so much braver than I’ll ever be. I’m so excited for her. Dubai for 3 days, then Qatar for a week or so, then on to New Zealand for a tour of both islands before going on to spend just over two months in Australia. Honestly, that lucky, lucky girl. Though if it was me I’d have dragged a companion along and just gone to New Zealand. New FREAKIN Zealand! Had initially been miffed since we’d both wanted to go and I couldn’t afford it, so instead of waiting she just booked her part. However, as I was heaving her enormous backpack out of the boot of my car yesterday, I was so happy for her. Don’t get me wrong, I am jealous, but it’s a good, positive jealous. Until this morning, when I got back to an empty house and….

…realised I’d be spending my day alone. Yes, this is definitely the most selfish reason to feel like an emotional shit-mix. I’m not going to dress it up – I’ve been feeling really shitty about my lack of employment for a good month or so now. Shitty to the point where I will just cry and cry, and have no control over it. It’s sort of amplified by the lack of people here now. Since university finished (first at BA then later at MA), I know exponentially fewer people here in Brum, and it makes it more difficult for me to stay here. My best friend leaving sort of felt like the last straw, and I’ve had to keep reminding myself that once I have a job I’ll feel better, and that in 4 months, after maybe doing some temp work (details to follow) and a badly yearned for holiday, I’ll get to start afresh with The Boy. However, it appears to be the beginning of Spring (yes, I’ve probably just jinxed it). I reckon it’s harder to feel depressed in the Spring, so things might be looking up.

Possible temp work coming up. And I really fucking hope I get it. On Friday morning I had a Hugh Grant-in-Four Weddings style start to my day; I opened my eyes an hour and a half later than intended, to an alarm clock reading 9.52 am, and let out a garbled string of ‘FUUUUUCK! Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks!’ Me and Annie had been intending to see our landlord at 9.30, so I rushed into the shower, slap-dashedly scrubbed here and there, then haphazardly ate breakfast. I checked my phone and had received this message :

Hi, it’s Penny from Kate+co recruitment. I have an urgent temporary grad role to run past you! Starting next week. Call me ASAP.

Now, any message with an ASAP will grab my attention, so in a frazzled attempt at grabbing some work, I called her back. I made an appointment to see her that afternoon, and then spent a frantic half hour in our landlord’s office. I went to Solihull, found their office and did lots of typing/computer literacy/basic ‘I’m-not-thick’ tests. Hopefully I’ll have a job offer this time tomorrow, so fingers crossed. It’s shitty hours for the first 3 weeks, but gives me enough time off to still write, and it’s decent pay and casual dress (meaning – wages for just 18 hrs a week don’t have to go on boring office clothes!), and since they want graduates it’ll be mostly people around my age.

Who knows, I might even make some friends…

Oh, and I’m gonna post soon about the possible closure of BBC 6Music, the only radio station I listen to. And I’m really glad Canada beat America =)

A Quick Update

I’ve really been neglecting this bloggy thingy lately. I’d like to say I’ve been busy, but I think we all know that’s not true….Well, some stuff has been going on. Job applications (Yeah, right, how can I be made to do an aptitude test for a part time data entry position? Are there really so few jobs that they’re vetting even the lowliest admin worker so thoroughly? Mental. Still, got a secondary interview next week), massive row in the flat (I think we were due), almost got convinced Spring was on the way (only to be thwarted at the last minute) and L O S T.

Oh Lost. You killed my favourite character, but I still love you. And wtf?

Needless to say I won’t be starting a teach course this year at least: 1. all courses full! 2. work exp showed me just how mental being a teacher at an inner city school is. So for the moment I’m trying to get a job at uni, and win my fortune by either writing a BESTSELLING NOVEL (easy peasy) or some kind of lottery win? Also looking likely we’re gonna be moving to Leeds. Trying to convince the boy to let me get three cats so I can call them Elsie, Kelsey and Chelsea. So far he’s not exactly sold…

I’m away to Cheshire this weekend and hoping to get some nice photos to break up these HUGE blocks of text.

Confessions to my mother

2010 is already proving to be the most exciting, if scary, year of my life. Eleven days in and it’s finally beginning to feel like the new start I’ve been craving for awhile.

I realised in late November that all I’ve been doing for the past 4 years is pass the time. I’ve had some really great experiences on the way and made some fantastic friends, but I’ve become aware that flying by the seat of your pants is really the only way to go. In November my housemate told me she was going travelling on her own for 3 months. She’d originally intended to just go for 6 weeks, but had made a snap decision. I’ve never seen her that scared and excited at the same time, and I’ve lived with her for over 4 years now. I was surprised and enormously jealous. Here she was, grabbing it by the proverbials. Likewise our other housemate was due to emigrate recently, and it was sad but invigorating to see him off.

After a quick review of everything I’ve done so far and the thought of my future looming expectantly before me, I decided to consult The Boy. “I need to do something, and I think I need to leave” I explained. I didn’t want to leave him, in fact, I wanted him to come with me. So that’s what we’re doing. I’ve applied for teacher training to start in September, and while the local university is a comforting back-up option, I’m looking at moving rather far away…

So it depends on getting offers, but there’s another plan for if I don’t get into any of the places I’ve looked at. It seems strange to say it, but I’ve been inspired recently to really do what I want. My grandfather died on January 2 very suddenly – we had seen him on Christmas Eve and he seemed fine, but was rushed to hospital on Boxing Day. He was my last grandparent and had a greater impact on my life than he probably considered. I adored him, for all his humour and experience, all the shit he went through and had to rise above. The day he died I was sad, and the next day I was in his room at the home, clearing away his things and trying not to cry at the sight of his old man hat.

What better motivator than that? Words can’t really express how this has made me feel, but it’s like he’s cleared away the confusion. It’s sad and difficult to see my mum trying to trudge her way through having lost both her parents, and it’s strange to think that our family now comprises only two generations. Between this and seeing friends come and go, get on with their lives and strike out on their own path has made me want to do the same.

On Christmas Day I I had a conversation with my mum. She was worried about me not settling and flitting between jobs too easily. I could only partially explain my behaviour – that she’s given me better chances than that, that I needed to work out what I was doing – but I think now I can. I try to stay away from new year’s resolutions, because the notion that one year can sort out your life is obscene – you’re basically playing your personal happiness against your own nature and your nature will probably win. But, as I explained to her, 2010 is my year of seizing the day. She won’t like all of it, but occupied and occupation are not the same thing.

There’s a prerequisite to reading this post: you must read this first – making sure to watch the video. Read some of the comments too, they’re stellar!

Made it through? Good, welcome your personal ethical nightmare.

So Ethical Man’s ill-conceived, rather self-congratulatory piece of homework has moments of honesty (how many times does he mention poo and farts?), bits where he comes close to decently assessing the problem, and some actual information. Shame it also relies on pedantry and a poor sense of comic timing.

The tagline of this blog is that “efforts for a better future remain patchy at best”, and Ethical Man’s foray into this very complicated issue has torn another gaping hole in an already patchy sense of personal ethics. The problem seems to lie in people themselves. I’ve had many debates and chats about this, with mates after a few too many, with family and with anonymous login IDs online.

I’ve encountered various points of view time and again, each one making me want to bash my head against a wall (which is more productive than the debate in the first place). They are as follows:

1. Killing animals is inherently cruel and we don’t need to do it any more, therefore we should all convert to (ideally) veganism, or at least try to consume less.

2. Humans are designed to eat meat and it’s the best source of protein for us.

3. My CO2 footprint is fine because I’m not going to have kids, so I’m helping the planet instead of burdening it further.

4. I grow my own food (often supplemented with “and I’m looking into keeping chickens”). My food tastes better, is ethically sourced, and all round more rewarding.

5. Eating meat results in deforestation and loads of CO2 produced by cows.

6. Eating soy results in deforestation.

The problem is that all of these arguments are true. And they all contradict each other. Getting a dialogue going is really important for everybody’s sake, even with all the inevitable disagreements. Really though, all this blog has resulted in is a bloody slagging-off contest. Most of the replies state a point of view and the commentors (almost uniformly) act like they’ve got the best idea, the planet would work if everyone started doing things their way and we could all live happily ever after. Unbelievable. Millennia of evolution, enlarged brains and a general aptitude for coming out on top has led us here!

It’s clearly a dividing issue, but farming is just the tip of the iceberg. Reading through the comments it’s obvious how much people blur the lines between farming, producing other kinds of food and also shipping that food all over the world. Someone pointed out the sheer stupidity of bottled water, others have gone so far as to mention cycling as a healthy alternative to driving. One even stated that he’s free to burn fuel in his SUV because he’s not going to have kids (comment 41). For the record, the latter argument is ridiculous – it’s like that bit on Little Britain when Marjorie Dawes says she’s cut her portions in half so that she can eat twice as much.

Our attitude to food seems to be one of a spoilt child. If we do what is by and large considered moderately ethical (IE not eating meat everyday and trying not to waste) then we rally behind that point, and forgo any decency to those who love meat and refuse to cut down. If we get even more righteous and want to keep chickens then we might find ourselves looking down on those who eat can’t afford the effort or time to do so. If we love meat and decide that’s the way forward then we’ll piss off our vegetarian mates.

So this has become yet another pondering, and (dare I say it?) rambling post without conclusion, but I hope that provoking thought is compensation enough. Personally I often try to understand my impact on the planet. I drive a car and I eat meat, so I’m by no means innocent or alone. I find myself trying to eat seasonally, locally grown food, but I also love burgers and curries. I eat less meat in the summer and made a conscious effort to eat less beef and pork. I take a typical cook’s approach and consider meat to be important in terms of cuisine. I’m a foodie, and I wouldn’t ever eat quorn. I was a veggie for 3 years but I could no longer resist bacon sarnies on cold winter mornings.

So fuck it, I’m not going to change my habits (because, like everyone else, I don’t think they’re that bad or that I’m unhealthy) until some hippie in a hemp skirt whips that juicy burger out of my hands.

An Update

I never thought unemployment meant I would be so busy! In the past week I’ve been rushed off my feet, and now, with a day to myself I still have to go and do a bit of research. Maybe it’s me, but the idea of people out of work just being slobby and lazy is NOT true…yet.

So yeah, being a Charity Campaigner, standing on the street asking for people to stop and take an interest in a leading cancer charity (that they’ll probably reap the benefits of at some point in their lives, whether through a relative or personally) is an impossible and thankless task. I was told that it was a soulless job, but in my experience all jobs can have that aspect to them. I was told that despite this, I was being paid to save the world and socialise, an entirely accurate claim. Some people are more than happy to stand and natter for 5 minutes, but most are absolute shits. Approach a lady and her daughter laden with Selfridges and Topshop goodies, perusing  the HMV displays, and ask them if they’d like to make a difference. Now ask a bloke wearing a hard hat and hi-vis jacket for the same thing. The ladies will wander off without explanation and the bloke will tell you why he can’t stand and chat. Five minutes later, the women out shopping will reappear and make their way back towards the Bullring.

I know people don’t like to be bothered in the street. Trust me, if I’m in a rush the last thing I want is someone making me feel guilt at not having stopped and chatted about a fatal illness. I think other campaigners just moved onto the next person (one of my co-workers had particular success with the young male crowd) but it left me feeling disdainful. It seems that the more visibly affluently people are the least willing to give. If I concentrate on that too much I’ll just curl up into a ball and cry.

Last night I worked at the Alice Cooper gig in Wolverhampton and had a fantastic time. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t working out in the harsh Brummie winter weather, but people were so friendly. We were rushed off our feet and still didn’t make enough money to send the manager home totally happy, but I got into my bed thankful for the work and in a good mood. It’s been ages since I’ve sold merch regularly and it’s the best job in the world sometimes. Watching people not far off retirement age attempting to gig like they did in the 80s is joyful.

I suppose that’s people for you, and it’s why I want to work with them as much as possible. Just not out, in the street, getting grumpier and grumpier that your money’s going towards the progression of consumerism instead of something worthwhile. Then again when I’m selling teddies at £25 a pop I’m the biggest fucking hypocrite on the planet! And will be again at the Royal in Notts on Friday evening =) And I have a job interview in a shop tomorrow, so I’m never going to stop being hypocritical…

Otherwise I’ve been busy due to having a demanding family, and a man I can’t leave alone (in a consensual way, before you get confused). I went home on Friday, fetched my sister from the airport, and didn’t make it home until 10pm. The next day I went to see my granddad in the home, and he seemed ok-ish. Apparently some relative of mine (whom I don’t know) came and prayed for him, despite his insistence that he was quite happy to die without redemption – while he was trapped, stuck in his chair, unable to get up and feeling more like he was already in hell by the second. Brilliant comic twist that. I may have to use that in a story at some point, it’s so well-conceived. Also went into Nottingham (which I still prefer to Brum, despite my best efforts) and treated myself to a handful of goodies. Then my sister made me cry. This is the usual order of things.

The next day I went to see my best friend and her family. I may have convinced her to move into our spare room in the new year! Woohoo! I’m only a teensy tiny bit apprehensive – mostly that she’ll be clingy for about a week – but I reckon once I’ve shown her round and she’s got a job somewhere we’ll be happy as Larry. I’m trying to be more altruistic, and it sounds like she’s in need of something like that. We may even get a cat out of it…

If this is all it takes to be a journo today, then sign me up. I could fire out ten of these a week, if only someone would let me. God knows there’s enough shit on telly to justify some hateful, jealous bile, fit only for red-tops and trashy magazines. Which the Mirror is.

I’m going to save you the time and effort of having to read it, then read my criticisms. Oh yes, I’ve copied and pasted the original article, and edited it with the same vigorous attentions my dissertation tutor awarded my first draft. Before I can really get to grips with it, I must call your attention to some stylistic…mishaps…

1. It is not okay to write an article in bullet form. Placing each sentence within its own line might look nice, but gives the impression of a list.

2. Jim Shelley, the writer, seems to depend on this format for a sneering, staccato delivery style, creating a sort of ‘haha, what a bunch of twats’ persona. So that’s exactly the kind of criticism he’s going to receive. Lucky for him, only 1 person reads this blog, but by golly they’ll agree.

At the start of Doctor Who the Doctor was captured by a robot so innocuous he made K-9 look like the Terminator. (sure)

“State your name, rank and intention,” demanded space station commander Lindsay Duncan in a velvet voice so seductive it could never be menacing.
(she’s not going to jump his bones, you moron)

“The Doctor,” breezed David Tennant. “Doctor. Fun.” (because it was funny)

How much ‘fun’ Tennant’s Doctor has become is debatable nowadays.
(only to you, we all still find it amusing)

I’ve never been Tennant’s biggest fan. His decision to play the enigmatic Time Lord as if he were an intergalactic George Formby – a cheeky chappy music hall act riddled with imbecilic grins and occasional faux Cockney accent has made him impossibly irritating.
(ok, so you’re entitled to your own opinion of Tennant. A proper Whovian would know that the 10th regeneration was influenced by Rose, the chav from LONDON with some cockneyisms. Not expecting Whovian levels of knowledge, but that’s the character and most people like it)

Russell T. Davies’ has adopted the motto “if in doubt throw in a tenuous link with the Daleks and a snow storm.”
(hate to agree with this one…)

Sunday’s episode was basically Alien meets Day of The Triffids with the Thriller video thrown in.
(oh do fuck off)

We were on Mars, Bowie Base One (geddit?!?!)
(some of us like Bowie..) , November 21st, 2059.

Captain Adelaide Brook (Ms Duncan) was in charge of the first “off-world colonists in history.”

Unfortunately, as the Doctor knew full well, the crew were about to die.

“I am very sorry – with all of my hearts,” Tennant joshed cutely. (no – they’re about to die, and it’s made him sad. That’s all.)

“Your death is fixed in time,” he explained, declining to do much about it (‘cos it’s fixed!!!). Thanks a lot Doc !

“But what’s going to save you ?” she asked. “You are !” Cheers ! (really dislike the use of a space between the last word and exclamation/question marks. Seems to cope with full stops though.)

A “viral life form”, hidden in the ice was their (unseen) enemy.

“Captain, that sound we heard ? I’ve put it into the computer. It’s Andy.”

With his swollen, wild-eyed face, Andy had indeed transformed into what looked like a bloated version of Hale & Pace. (what, both of them? Hale AND Pace? Blimey.)

Each crewmember did a little Riverdance and turned into a frothing zombie, water gushing out from their mouths like a sketch from Little Britain.

“She’s exuding water. Like she’s drowning.”

Not good basically.

This was a nifty idea in making WATER the monster. The Doctor certainly didn’t trust it. (an idea so obtuse it’s worthy of uppercase?)
“Water is patient. Water just waits. Wears down cliff tops and mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins.”

A bit paranoiac but still…

One of the annoying things about Tennant’s performance as The Doctor is that he is so good at conveying the more powerful emotions of his character: the Doctor’s guilt and remorse. (yeah I hate it when actors can, y’know..act…) By saving the Captain, he would alter the heroic future actions of her granddaughter.

“Your death creates the future,” he told Brook, explaining why he couldn’t intervene in history.

“Imagine you were in Pompeii. And you try to save them. But you make it happen. Everything I do just makes it happen.”

Quite bad admittedly. What he was saying was that HIS pain and suffering was WORSE than the extras being turned into zombies.

As usual, it all went a bit bonkers. He changed his mind – a bit late for the crewmembers that had been turned into walking watering cans but still…

“It’s taken me a long time to realise the laws of time are mine. And they will OBEY me!” he declared, alarmingly macho. “We’re not fighting the flood. We’re fighting time itself.”

Frankly, he sounded distinctly unpleasant and dictatorial. (well, that’s the point, it’s kind of like they’re trying to tell a story..)
“I thought I just a survivor. But I’m not. I’m a winner. The Time Lord victorious.”

Captain Brook started to argue AGAINST him saving her, pointing out: “If my family changes, the whole of history could change. The future of the human race.”

It was one ego-maniac against another basically. (AAAAAAARGH!!)

Having saved her, when Brook got home, she promptly shot herself.

The Doctor survived, although it was all a bit: whatever!

The bad news is Catherine Tate is coming back along with The Ood. (awesome)

Personally, I’m looking forward to The Changeover.
(regeneration, love)

For me, David Tennant’s work saving the human race is done.

Well, I know it’s not exactly a diplomatic statement, but whoever wrote that should get fucked. I don’t care about the quality of the paper he writes for. 5 year olds can understand Who, and yet this bloke can’t. He’s just narked at David Tennant, it seems.

I know this is two Who posts in a row, which is exceptional even for me. But this article just cried out for it. This man was paid to write this. People pay to read it (not online, admittedly – at least for now). Why?
It’s not clever or fun, nor is it original. Further down in the comments section, a woman whom I can only presume to be his wife (or biggest fan) steps in to defend ‘my Shelley’ against the torrent of common sense. I mean really! how dare people say he’s thick, when he clearly is? I’d say I can do his job better, except for the fact that I don’t fucking want it.

Not too shabby

Just a quick word to catch up on a few things. Have had the worst cough of my life in the last week (I sound like my asthmatic grandad when he’s got bronchitis) but loving the crazy weather, and finally took the time to download the Mumford & Sons album, ‘Sigh No More’. Incidentally, my housemate thought I called it ‘Say No More’, proving that maybe, just maybe, I’ve lived in Birmingham for too long.

Last night’s Doctor Who was perhaps one of the most stressful television shows I’ve ever watched. Not in a bad way, but it was stressful nonetheless. It got a really mixed reaction from everyone I watched it with, which I find intriguing. It was a bit higher concept than Russell T. Davies tends to go for, but mixed in with his usual faux-eccentric-casual approach (watch any other RTD lead drama, esp. Queer As Folk, and you’ll know what I mean). The resulting pace, I think, made it unwatchable for those who prefer the regular Monster-of-the-Week format, but as a story of a man’s downfall it’s sheer brilliance.

What I personally loved about the episode was how, after hearing for so long that the Doctor needs someone, that he’s quite clearly mentally scarred with some sort of hero complex, we actually get to see what happens when he responds to his emotions. For so long he’s bottled them up. And it’s sad to see that when he doesn’t try to suppress himself, he appears insane. It’s actually a rather shrewd portrait of the classical model of a tragic hero. His heroism is his downfall, because it blinds him to other things when he no longer has the sense and perspective of one of the ‘little people’ to bring him back down to earth.

He seemed genuinely sickened by the end of the episode, and, if we follow that other great storyteller, we can see that the Doctor is following a pattern all tragic heroes must. No one can rescue him from himself, but redemption might be around the corner…

Some shit bits though – fighting time? “And I’m gonna win!!!” was a bit too far gone, even for me. Robot? Smash it with a hammer. Isn’t skin waterproof?

Other news: Got job. Passed Masters degree with a Merit.

Lessons in the Scene

Having been a total music snob for some years now, I’m always impressed when I find a band I really like, especially if I’ve caught that band at the beginning of their career and can eagerly await some 3 or 4 albums – if all goes well. One such band was Johnny Foreigner, a Birmingham-based 3 piece. I used to work with the guitarist/lyricist, and though I don’t see him anymore, a few friends of mine are still as close as they could be with him. Having semi-sort-of-witnessed what it takes to get going as a band makes me deeply respect any who seriously make a go of it (since it means they’ll be skint-for-art for awhile), and pick up my guitar to badly imitate some of my favourite music.

I guess the worst thing about hunting for new bands is that you can’t download their stuff as easily as you could track down an established band’s material. Yes I know myspace was kind of purpose built for this, but there’s still too many kids with pouty pictures at acute angles. Last.fm is good, and Tom Robinson’s 6Music programme is indispensable, now that Jo Whiley’s been demoted and far too easily pleased with middle of the road bands, and NME and Q walked down that road some time ago. But I suppose this is the coolest thing about the internet.

So here’s the video for Jo Fo’s new single, Criminals (on their new release, Grace and the Bigger Picture). If you like it, check out their debut, Waited Up Til It Was Light.If you like that, check out Grammatics and Sky Larkin, and maybe even Copy Haho. It makes sense to mention these bands together because they’ve bumped into each other and have something in common.

Otherwise I’ve been listening to Lou Reed (a consistent favourite), Sonic Youth (again) and City and Colour, the solo breakaway attempt by Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green. And it’s pretty good, if a bit depressing. It’s nothing like his work in Alexis, except for that same awesome voice.

My job interview is postponed til Thursday. If I get it, music by these bands is what my first week’s wages is going on 🙂