09 June 2007

Flaming June

I hate hot bloody weather. People moan about the cold, but when it's cold you can just put on a jumper, or the central heating. What can you do when it's too hot and you've already discarded all the clothing decency allows? Lose weight, that's all. Bah.

That aside, it's been a pleasant couple of weeks. B. and I spent last weekend very enjoyably in London and St Albans, celebrating the respective birthdays of two friends, and staying at flat of the little-sister-in-law and her boyfriend.

Friday night in St Albans was a combination celebration for Not Invented Here's birthday and the 30th anniversary of Star Wars -- both of which we commemorated by watching this comedian act out a breakneck précis of the entire original trilogy in the space of fifty minutes.

I was less impressed with it than most of my companions (who were, in fairness, largely wowed). I felt he really needed a) better voice acting, b) more jokes and c) more visual texture, given that the show consisted essentially of a fast-moving man in a black boiler-suit and the occasional mildly clever lighting change. As it was, the experience was midway between being buttonholed in a pub by an entertaining madman whose company begins to pall after barely the first half-hour, and watching a five-year-old on a tartrazine high running around... well, acting out the entire Star Wars trilogy.

Still, it was entertaining enough, and the company (and the split-level meal before and afterwards) were fun.

On Saturday we met up for lunch with my old friend Z. and her husband W., whom we saw married last August, and who seem very happy still. We then had to climb into 1920s costume (which in my case involved shaving off the goatee bit of my beard to give myself a fine set of muttonchop whiskers [1]) and proceeded hither for my godcousin-in-law's 30th birthday bash [2]. There were canapés and beer, and many more old friends, and a lovely view over the Thames, and it was all thoroughly splendid.

Since then I've mostly been working in one manner or another, though with a brief break on Thursday night to visit some of the better class of drinking establishments in the Bristol area. Lunchtime today we spent with some Australian friends who are sadly about to move back to Australia. Tomorrow we're meeting up with my parents somewhere near Romsey, for some reason. It's all a manic social whirl.

Meanwhile, the borderline-insane idea for a Doctor Who reference book which I mentioned way back when has borne slow-growing contractual fruit. I'm not allowed to say very much about it at present, as the publishers don't want to spoil the surprise, but it'll likely take up a substantial chunk of my attention for the next year or so. I've spent most of my writing time in the past fortnight sorting out preliminary research and assembling a team of experts to help out with the fact-checking.

And speaking of Doctor Who -- as I usually don't, or try not to, or at least not very much, or at least not too much, here -- Paul Cornell's Human Nature and The Family of Blood were both stunningly good, to a degree approaching, with disturbing proximity, actual perfection [3].

You may recall that I'm not a big fan of David Tennant's Doctor, and indeed I'm not -- but I do think that Tennant's a fine actor (not as excellent as Christopher Eccleston, but frankly who is?) when he's not playing the Doctor, as he wasn't for most of the two-parter. It's beyond question the best story since Eccleston left, and I'm not sure it wasn't the best thing the new series has done altogether.

And tonight we have another episode from Steven Moffat, the writer of The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances and The Girl in the Fireplace. And supposedly the Doctor barely appears in it. Which, if all goes well, could make Human Nature through to Blink the best three-episode run of Who since Season One's Cornell-Moffat-Moffat hat-trick.

[Edit 8:25pm: ...Yes, wasn't wrong there.]

And now I'm talking about Doctor Who altogether too much, so I'll stop there.

[1] To be precise, according to this handy spotter's guide to facial hairstyles, they were somewhere between "Friendly Mutton Chops" and a "Franz-Josef".

[2] Godcousin-in-law [n.]: Person whose uncle is one's wife's godfather, but whom one's wife (as she then wasn't) got to know well at university without either of them being privy to this information, until it emerged later with consequences altogether too hilarious to recount here.

[3] We long-term fans were expecting this, of course, given that it was an adaptation of Paul's equally exceptional Doctor Who novel from 1996, Human Nature. ( And if for any reason you feel reluctant to take my word for it, you can read it online here...)

No comments:

Post a Comment

(Please sign comments -- it helps keep track of things. Offensive comments may occasionally be deleted, and spam definitely will be.)