Monday, December 31, 2007

Lib Dems Message for 08

The Lib Dems' Nick Clegg sets the scene for '08 adequately on one hand, and very well on the other.

It's of course impossible to disagree. For me Clegg's point is undermined through being founded on the government's incompetent loss of data at Revenue & Customs. Whilst it obviously proves that no government, especially the current one, can be trusted with private, personal data which it doesn't need, that's ultimately a sub point.

What we must all remember is that the individual determines the state, not the other way around. It is the fundamental cornerstone upon which all liberal democracies are founded. The government's ID card plans would involve a complete inversion of that principle. You can argue till you're blue in the face that technology has made that irrelevant - the inversion has already taken place. Well maybe - our surveillance society has made true privacy from the state almost impossible in this country - but no technology is one way. To suggest an inevitability about a technology is not to understand the way in which it works. Google can monitor huge amounts of our internet habits, but even Facebook was forced to back down in its attempts to monitor and manipulate its users.

Do you really want some chav temping in the Passport & ID Agency to tell you that you aren't who you say you are? ID cards won't make any difference against terrorism, they won't make any discernible difference against ID fraud and there hasn't ever been a government on this planet which hasn't misused power of this magnitude over its population. And don't forget if this plan comes to pass, your power over the government (which at the moment is supposed to be absolute) will fall away. That must not be allowed to happen. A good start by the new Lib Dem leadership - using Iraq as a touchstone issue changed everything for the party - this too will retain a unique selling point for them.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

We Disappear

At last Scott Heim's third novel is about to be published.

Fingers crossed it'll get a UK publication date soon. Mysterious Skin and In Awe remain two of the best novels I've ever read (Mysterious Skin as well having been adapted into a really impressive movie too). 

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Complaining About Catherine Tate

Me? Absolutely not. I have huge reservations about her being the new companion for Doctor Who series 4, but I love her comedy show, and thought her Christmas Special the other day was one of the best show's she's ever done in her career.

Others didn't agree.

We really are in a place where people love to take offence for other people, regardless of whether they're offended or not. It's bollocks. Grow up people - the show was on at the right time, the tone was just as it's ever been, the Northern Irish sketches were a satire for fuck's sake (see, I said fuck too) and we even got the delight of Kathy Burke returning from her premature acting retirement.

Tabloid Santa

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Death of Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated.

Oh shit.

This couldn't be worse news. World Wars have started from much less.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I like it, even though it's bloody cold. It's still a 'clean' cold rather than one which just pierces right through you. We're in Geneva for another day, for our Christmas break, and are slowly picking up Swiss ideosyncracies, such as every train always leaving to the minute, walking in the street being somewhat of a relaxed task - stopping randomly isn't something for some people, it seems to be for everyone. It's not as straightforward as you might think to just pop into somewhere for a bite to eat, but public transport is extensive, quick and easy to use.

There's a relaxed, almost American West Coast attitude here, which is disarming. Maybe it's down to the extremely high level of relative affluence which is easily noticeable in the street, maybe it's because the international community is so huge. Either way it's somewhere I want to visit again, and that's without even having had our long-awaited fondue yet. That comes later - this club sandwich was a Christmas Day evening snack last night!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Voyage of the Damned

Well the sole naysayer I saw reviewing the Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned Christmas Special was wrong. It wasn't the best we've had, but it far outdid last year's, and Kylie wasn't window dressing, nor did she overshadow Tennant. In fact she outacted Catherine Tate something rotten. 

This was a lovely Christmas episode, with elements of Titanic & Poseidon Adventure thrown in, not to mention the odd surprise. The only fault I'd offer would be that it was perhaps played too safe. Where Torchwood made a thoroughly unexpected and curveball-throwing introduction at the end of the first Christmas Special, this was far too self contained. Nice for the evening, but without much of an edge to it. Not surprising, considering Russell T Davies himself wrote it, but it did leave you wanting more danger and uncertainty than was actually offered.

The emotion though was real, sincerely acted, and Kylie Minogue really was nice as Astrid. Shame she couldn't take Catherine Tate's place - she'd clearly have done very well indeed. We had familiar themes here about the Doctor and his wishing he could determine who lives and who dies, but they were nicely not overdone, especially considering the seasonal episode. I do want to hear the new theme again though, and I'm intrigued about Series 4, with the edgy trailer, alongside what I've already heard rumoured. That Tennant really owns the character now - even the slightest failures in direction or script really do quite easily rub off now - he can really own the audience with looks which he now times to utter perfection.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who Prayers Answered

So it looks like Catherine Tate jumped the gun. Can this blogger say whew?

Tennant's refuted her claim, saying he is going to be the Doctor for the three 2009 specials, and that as usual he's not yet signed to season 5 because he hasn't yet been asked. So my suspicion that Tate's claim was part of his usual bargaining strategy was probably right. The BBC will find it hard to avoid signing him to season 5 now, whoever is in charge of it (according to Peter Davison it will be Steven Moffat).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tennant To Leave Dr Who?

Catherine Tate seems to think so.

The comedian, speaking on Radio 2's Jonathan Ross programme, said: "I think it's maybe David's last series."

The BBC needs to do everything in its power to keep him in series 5 in 2010. Hopefully, despite their cost cutting exercise they're wise to this. The show managed to keep going in 1984 after Peter Davison had only been there for two seasons, indeed Tennant's predecessor Christopher Eccleston notoriously managed only one. But the relaunch is still fresh in the public's mind, especially in an age where the media is so fragmented (alongside viewers' attention), and to me only three seasons plus a year of quarterly specials would be far too short for a man labelled frequently as the best Doctor ever. This blogger's fingers are crossed - at least one full season with Steven Moffat at the helm (as is strongly rumoured) and then give someone else a crack as the Eleventh Doctor.


Beckham to Make Your Day

Friday, December 14, 2007

Paris: Spac

I'm not sure about Paris.

There were very clearly multiple Parises, as is true with any large capital city. The level of petty street crime was appalling, the public transport was hard to navigate and even more inconsistent than London's, and the all-pervasive smoking was a bit of a shock! But the diversity of the eateries was fun, the architecture was remarkable and there was the sensation that you have to change your mindset for Paris to work for you. London and others open up to you, not Paris. There's something much different going on here - I wonder what it is?

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Yesterday I went on London's National Climate March in the (fittingly?) pouring rain. It went well thankfully, considering how many people were marching, and how many unnecessary Met police people there were. Once the march reached its destination of the US Embassy however, things went slightly differently. A small but significant (and definitely loud) contingent started to wind the police up, these boys among them. Fitwatch are an impressive collection of direct activists against police surveillance of legitimate protesting. FIT stands for Future Intelligence Team, which pretty much sums up the Metropolitan Police in particular - creating criminals and criminality out of thin air, to be used when it most suits them.

The Met really didn't like them at all, which pretty much means they're doing a good job. Gotta love that surveillance society - at least there is some activism against it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Dark Knight

This film is just going to be astounding. Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton this is not. This is the ultimate screen Batman. I can't wait!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


A local BBC radio presenter joked that Gillian Gibbons' dog was called Mohammed. Then the BBC issued an on-air apology. Why, exactly? Were they really afraid that a sarcastic jibe at a hysterical Muslim element in a foreign country would lead to her meeting Theo Van Gough's fate?

They stand firm over Jerry Springer: The Opera, yet cave in and apologise to world Islam before a complaint is even made. Why bloody pander to people who choose to take offence, before they even do?

Dr Who : Time Crash

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rubbish Presents

These people are clearly mad. If I got a giftwrapped Will Young for Christmas my head would spin right off!

Kit Kat

Cookie Dough Kit Kat. Those Australians are very lucky.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Read Fantastic Four in February '08!

Folks for those of you who love the medium (or indeed those have yet to love the medium), read Fantastic Four 554 in February! Brought to you by Mark (creator of the upcoming Angelina Jolie film 'Wanted') Millar and Bryan (designer of the current Tardis in 'Doctor Who') Hitch, this will kick off 12 issues for anyone who loves good, innovative, high adventure storytelling!
(note to Marvel: use of the jpg is entirely for your promotional purposes and not intended for my benefit in any way)