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Buckets of blood

Sadly, I think a lack of imagination has meant a serious drop in standards and attitudes in "horror" films. I do love old horror/fantasy films (Terence Fisher's expression was “adult fairy tales”) but want to be uplifted – film should be an emotional experience, but not one that makes you want to slash your wrists. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the films covered and praised in podcasts and on line (Night of the Demon, The Devil Rides Out, The Wicker Man etc) are retrospective, and more than thirty years old. Just to establish where I'm coming from, can I say that I really liked Witchfinder General, Hellraiser and Candyman, all of which were gruesome films. One of my favourite horror films is Brian DePalma's Carrie, because it's psychological horror. What distinguishes all of these from lesser films is character and plot. I actually read a review of Carrie on IMDB where the (amateur) reviewer rubbished it because there wasn't enough g…
Recent posts

Who can do better (2015)

Not since Tony Blair joined forces with George "Dubya" Bush have I been so disappointed in a person's misguided choices as I have since Steven Moffat took over the reins of Doctor Who.

What happened to the genius who gave us the hilarious Coupling, and wrote Who stories like The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead? If you look back through this blog you'll see that I've sung his praises. By writing Who and Sherlock simultaneously, it seems he just bit off more than he could chew. Good storytelling is the bedrock of a programme like this and, for me, that has just not been there.

This season (and, sadly, most stories since Mr Moffat took over) have fallen into two types:
"edited highlights" (the plot escaped the writers, and the episode came over as a series of extracts - more like a trailer than a coherent story. Examples: Before the Flood, The Woman Who Lived) and Laboured centre pieces (instead of a plot. Exampl…

Books

The Confessions Of A Society Photographer by Allan Warren
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An "self portrait" so sketchy that it barely qualifies for the title. Maybe it's better described as a memoir than an autobiography. What we get is interesting but superficial, lacking in detail and background. We hear something of what (and, occasionally, who) Mr Warren did, but he is so reticent that the book comes over as little more than a "tease". It's not so much the lack of "gossip" as the fact that there isn't much in its place.

I first read this on borrowing it from the library in the 1970s, when it was originally published. Re-reading it this year when I got hold of a secondhand copy, my overwhelming impression was lack of substance - particularly after reading some in-depth biographies of more illustrious people in the media. The illustrations are nice, but I wanted more detail and a bit more depth - more of what Allan Warren himself is about.
The Lie b…

PODcasts

It's amazing how many producers of these seem to forget the name. As podcasts are (by definition) for mobile devices and therefore meant to be listened to on the move, the likelihood is that there will be background noise from traffic, etc. For safety reasons, the volume shouldn't be turned up so loud that this is drowned out. If the listener is on a bus or train, things are often no quieter. For these reasons, it's essential that the volume of a podcast should be "normalised" (i.e. the peaks should be at the maximum allowed undistorted level) and its dynamic range should be severely curtailed - that is, there should be very little difference between the quiet and the loud bits. I probably have hearing that is just below average in efficiency and I've lost count of the number of times the podcast was so quiet that I couldn't hear most of it (even when turned up to full volume on my phone), or had a section with various speakers muttering inaudibly in t…

PC's Name

Incidentally, it's CapALdi, as in "Paypal", not "Capauldi" as in "Paul McCartney", as you often hear. In the 70s, Peter got irritated at people mispronouncing it; he's probably used to it by now!

JP at Theatre Royal, 1975

Another photo to accompany my bit from yesterday. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of these occasions where it doesn't look as if I'm about to vomit. Maybe it's not a bad thing, then, that the image quality is so poor...

New Who

The name at the top of the bookmakers' lists this summer for the next Doctor Who was Peter Capaldi. I was interested to see the list but pooh-poohed this, as it seemed the production team were set on casting only young actors - I think it was even said at one point that only someone in their 20s could keep up with the pace of production. I was delighted to hear back in August that the rumours were, in fact, true. The choice pleased me for two reasons - firstly, as a long-term fan of the programme (except for the awful period in the 1980s when the production went badly astray) I wanted to see a Doctor with the authority that only an older man could have; secondly, I knew Peter back in the 1970s as a fellow fan - we're the same age and I've followed his career since the 1980s. I had met Jon Pertwee a couple of times, during the making of Death to the Daleks and Planet of the spiders, and got to know Peter through the Jon Pertwee fan club (started by an old school friend, Stu…