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A long time ago tomorrow morning

There's something very disconcerting about seeing your younger self very clearly. This past four days I went up north to clear out the crap from my old bedroom at home, which included a large box and a tin of letters written to me by university friends, and boxes of books and magazines, all untouched for at least a decade.

It made me a little sad not to have kept in touch with more friends from then but I think it's natural that many friendships are situational in nature. Some people see life as a series of temporary alliances, and you don't have to put up with people who bore you. For others it's pure networking. It doesn't matter how you conceive of friendship if the person with whom you are friends sees it differently. We move on, albeit sometimes unwillingly. This is a fabulous article from The Grauniad on the nature of friendship. I read the letters of the person from whom I parted on bad terms -- and I can see the cracks there now, though I was oblivious as a 19-year-old.

Reading the letters again, it was frightening to think how little I've changed in the many years since. Pain in the arse then, pain in the arse now. I'm better at hiding things than I once was. If you ask the people I know now, I suspect they would find me opaque, but not in that fascinatingly enigmatic, sphinx-like way. More in a talking-to-a-brick-wall sort of way. Must work on being fascinatingly enigmatic. I'll put that on my list.

I wondered about talking to the people who I am still in touch with, to see whether they wanted to read their 18- to 21-year-old selves, but I think that we've all moved on, so all the letters and some old photos are now torn up and in the recycling. I remember the intensity with which I loved those people then, now banked down to a fond glow, so I'm going to call them, see how they're doing, and remember the golden rule of phoning: twenty minutes is more than enough.

I suppose those letters were relics of the past in as much as Kids Today (obligatory harrumphing noise) don't write letters; the ubiquitous email, text and cheap phone calls have seen to that. I feel a bit sorry for them. After all, no one goes back and reads their 'sent' folder, do they?

Also in the piles of crap: piles and piles of Doctor Who magazines and old fanzines. The fanzines were hilarious from today's perspective. The fanboys really are running the asylum now, aren't they?

I only watched Doctor Who when I got back tonight. I didn't love it as well as I did last week but there was still a lot to like, starting from him calling her Pond a la Steed and Peel. I also laughed when Moffat took the mickey out of RTD's moments of profundity (TM), with "oh, the songs they will sing." It's not the first time he's done that.

If shows are boyfriends, it feels as though for the past year of specials, I've been looking at Doctor Who through narrowed eyes, gritting my teeth, and muttering: "You know I love you, it's just that I don't LIKE you very much right now." Moff's version is as though the boyfriend has stopped drinking heavily, making stupid excuses and hanging out with a wanky crowd, and has become the person we loved all along.

Swearing off the Confidentials helps.

I bet Starship UK was built using PFI, and that's why it never got off the ground. The fact that everyone else, including Scotland, had already buggered off just smacks of some hideously familiar government cock-up.

The Beast Below felt as though a whole layer of explanation and reinforcing logic had been stripped out, leaving the entire edifice wobbly.

And yet I didn't care that much because so much else was wonderful. It felt really old school, very Happiness Patrol and Paradise Towers, but done with love, better scripts and a decent budget. There were shoutouts to Star Wars, and older Who eps, and a Farscape-like glee in vomit and giant space creatures.

One thing I do love is that we've lost "I used to have so much mercy", vengeful Doctor. I hated that aspect of Ten and while the punishments of the Family of Blood were fairytale in the Brothers Grimm sense, I didn't think they matched the character I loved when I was a kid at all. (Nor was that in the book, which I also liked very much). I didn't mind the Lonely God schtick at first -- or indeed when leavened by Donna's presence -- it started to feel like one of those slightly overwrought fanfic sagas where everyone dies. That's a guilty pleasure in casual reading but a pain in the arse in canon.

So how perfect was it that Moffat conceptualises the Doctor as someone who has suffered terrible losses, but is very old and, above all, kind. Yes, they hammered it home with the subtlety of an anvil falling on Wile E Coyote's head, but I liked that that's where he's going.

Sophie Okenedo was fun as the Queen, though I did wonder why she spoke standard RP in the video of her earlier self, and Cockney in the present -- unless it was meant to show the passage of time. It was also perfect that the ruler was a Queen rather than a president, as it matched the 1950s style fag-end-of-empire look of the sets. A figurehead monarch and a country that votes to forget, and meanwhile the engineers (winders) and secret police (smilers) make the world keep turning.

I continue to love Matt Smith as the Doctor, as he's done his homework, and he's unworldly and strange. There wasn't much Tennant-y inflection in his performance in this one, but there were definite notes of Two and a whole Seven vibe there.

Which brings me to the current cracky theory: Moffat is replaying the Ace arc of season 26, only better. Maybe Leadworth is so picture-perfect that it's not actually real and those people are caught in some sort of alternate world, like The Library, only not. The Doctor plucks Amy from there but wrongness follows her around, and the Doctor is seeking a way to trap it and stop it. He doesn't quite know what it is yet but he knows that something is awry, hence his furious "you don't ever decide what I need to know".

♥, still.

Comments

ravurian
Apr. 12th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
The Pythia ruled before Rassilon, but Pandora was a rival, I think. I... could be going fan-happy. I mean, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that I'm deliriously fannish about the new series so far. I actually have icons. I never have fannish icons.

But - the Doctor being a Kindly One? I like that idea...
infinitemonkeys
Apr. 12th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
OMG, you are right. Wikipedia to the rescue! That sounds fantastic.

I know what you mean about the fannishness flooding back. I even had a duckpond epiphany this morning. There are no ducks because it's NOT A REAL UNIVERSE.

I probably need to go back to work