This and that

I am trying very hard to come up with a good displacement activity, because the alternative is reading "Cymbeline", which I find the most daunting of Shakespeare’s plays despite the fact that my first date with the man who is now my husband was a performance of it. Our second was the movie 1984. It’s remarkable we’re still an item, really.

My daughter turned 15 this week. The house was full of teenage girls sleeping on the floor, eating burgers and popcorn and watching "Bones". She is very into "Bones." I certainly don’t have a problem with that. As she pointed out when I mentioned homework, she knows what a clavicle is now. It’s more than Martha Jones ever taught her.

I used to dread the kids’ birthday parties but now they more or less organise their own – I just come in useful when bills need to be paid. They all went off on the train to a place called Formby on Merseyside, the nearest one to us that could reasonably be called seaside. There they played frisbee, struggled over the sand dunes in flipflops and ate an awful lot of cake. I thought it was so sweet that out of the eight she invited, two of her friends turned up with home made birthday cake. You don’t get that with boys.

Spent Easter in the Lake District with DH. I am terribly unfit – partly because I have recently had a bug, partly because I am just unfit. Nevertheless we managed to walk over from Langdale into Eskdale on Easter Sunday – 14 miles and a lot of climbing. My knee became very painful on descent and if we hadn’t met some kind people who helped strap it up, I’m not sure how I’d have managed. By the time we reached our hotel, I literally had to heave myself upstairs, I was so stiff and exhausted.

So, I need to get the the gym a LOT more than I have been doing if I’m going to enjoy the summer.

On the plus side, I have been gardening this weekend. That always makes me feel better. Today I planted out my salad bed with fennel, dill, parsley, lettuce and coriander. Okay, my salad/herb bed. And I bought my son a new iPod. My DH will not approve – he thinks he should pay for these things himself.

Apple prices really are a law unto themselves. Not only the goods themselves, but also the accessories. Today I payed £19.00 for an iPod mains adapter that cost £68.00 a year ago.

I have no desire to upgrade my own iPod, or my phone. I’ve reached the age now where the thought of mastering the instruction manual puts me off. I suppose, if I really had to find something to spend money on, it would be nice to have room for all my songs (I only have a 2GB now), instead of having to choose which playlists to put on, but since I only use it in the gym, and I haven’t been going lately, it’s really not a purchase I could easily justify. Although the new colours are certainly pretty.

Yes, I did watch POTD. Don’t have an awful lot to say about it, really, that others haven’t said before. I find Ten a less and less attractive character – so much so that I’m beginning to take more of an interest in TenToo. I find the more I write about him the more I like him. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy POTD. I did, very much, and if I’d not seen DW before I’d think it was brilliant. But there’s a feel to it that they’re going through the motions. Everybody knows Tennant’s strengths and the script plays to them. It feels a bit predictable.

I didn’t have any strong views either way about Lady Christina. She was very formulaic, and meant to be, I think. Kind of went through without touching the sides. I did find her remarkably self-centered and it boggles the mind that people criticise Rose for that. I think it might have played better if the Doctor had just politely turned her down because she was so cocky and certain he’d want her to come along. I don’t like the thought of him taking companions just so they can escape the consequences of their actions, really. Although, having said that, I think it’s probably a mistake to get too heavily analytical about this particular episode. It’s a bit like dissecting the values in "The Avengers" or "The Italian Job", both of which it intentionally resembled. I’ve a feeling that if I saw "The Avengers" now it would embarrass me in exactly the way re-watching "The Goodies" with my kids did a few years ago. Nostalgia blinded me to the crass sexism, racism and homophobia – the kids were pretty shocked that I’d built it up into something worth a look.

So much about the DW formula is showing its age now – the prophecies of doom, the Doctor’s emo statements and even the jokes at times. I hope the final specials will push Tennant to the limit and really redefine the character. I’m quite excited about them really. But a day or two after Easter I happened to catch one of the S2 episodes on Watch, and I couldn’t help thinking how much emotional depth and sweetness we’d lost along the way. It makes me very sad.

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4 thoughts on “This and that

  1. I did find her remarkably self-centered and it boggles the mind that people criticise Rose for that.
    Well, you’re comparing crabapples and Granny apples: there’s a matter of degree. Rose was self-centered enough to walk up and slap Elton under the Absorbaloff’s nose on her mother’s account, but she was also empathic enough to sit down with him once she’d been put into the picture. Would Christina have done either of those things? I don’t think so either.

  2. there’s a feel to it that they’re going through the motions.
    I’m glad it’s not just me! That was exactly how I felt about it. And I still can’t decide whether that was really a consequence of the writing, or of my own knowledge that this is nearly the end, that RTD is gearing up to Drop The Grand Piano on Ten, and that anything else is just marking time.
    Mind you, looking back throughout new Who I’ve struggled a bit with several of the Specials. I can see two reasons for that: I think each series arc develops a momentum and feel of its own, whereas the Specials are starting from scratch each time and so have sometimes (Runaway Bride, The Next Doctor, this one) left me feeling a bit “meh, yes, so what”. And secondly, so much of the energy and the dynamic for each series has come from the relationship between the Doctor and the companion: there simply isn’t time in a Special to get enough of that dynamic going, though they tried hard here.
    The obvious exceptions to the Specials experience above are Voyage of the Damned, which I think got away with it both because Kylie was so brilliant and because the whole show was such an FX barnstormer, and Christmas Invasion, which did have an energy both because it was introducing Ten, and because we already had a Doctor-companion relationship which now had to completely rework itself. Plus it was just bloody brilliant writing.
    I’ve been rewatching the whole of Ten from Christmas Invasion onwards, and so far (am up to School Reunion) have been revelling in the freshness, in the excitement of Rose-and-Ten before the universe starts to drop its personal grand pianos on their heads. This time round, of course, with all the poignancy of knowing that they’re going to lose it all. Sniff.

  3. Re the Specials: my own feeling is they worked best when regarded as an extension of the finale narrative. For that reason, TRB is my favourite episode of New Who. It’s beautifully written and seems to take the Doctor on an emotional journey – I’m always touched by how sensitive and compassionate he is to Donna, qualities I’d like to think he learns from Rose, but then he appears to mislay them in spectacular fashion somewhere in S3.
    Word to your views on S2. I can hardly bear to watch him so happy.

  4. For that reason, TRB is my favourite episode of New Who
    That’s really interesting. I wonder how I’ll feel about it when I get to it on the rewatch. I was hugely prejudiced against it before it even started, because I had hated the way that the writers had, for me, completely crassly shattered the incredible mood at the very end of PoTW, the Doctor alone in the TARDIS, completely broken – and then Catherine Tate comes crashing in through the door shrieking.
    Even had I admired Catherine Tate then as I do now, and known how completely brilliant a companion Donna would go on to be, I would still hate the way they introduce her at the end of PoTW. Even leaving that clip till after the credits rolled would have been something.
    And at the time, my only exposure to CT had been brief watches of her comedy show, which always utterly set my teeth on edge (and still does – I find whats-her-face the schoolgirl like watching fingernails scraped down a blackboard, though I know that’s rather the point), so the very idea of her being a companion made me want to run screaming. Just goes to show how utterly wrong I can be…

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