Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Week's Guest: Author/Poet John Osborne. Any Questions?

This week, we talk to author and poet John Osborne, who wrote the book "Radio Head: Up And Down The Dial Of British Radio" I talked about a few weeks back.

John Osborne has long been a fan of radio - from late night sessions of John Peel to Test Match Special at dawn, he has always enjoyed tuning in to the riches of our best broadcasts. When his dull temporary job became drearier than ever, John decided to remain attached to his headphones all day to listen to some of Britain's more unknown stations as well as revisiting the mainstream to fully experience the breadth of our radio output. The result is a funny, disarming ride through aspects of Britain that are uplifting, informative and sometimes plain bizarre. Throughout his month of intensive radio listening, John flits through talk radio, sports shows, dips into the mainstream and the minority, exalts in specialist music shows, comedy and local radio before expanding his mind with an experimental arts channel. It seems there is something for everyone at the turn of a dial, whether that is the ranting of the permanently enraged, the gentle tinkle of a string quartet, West Indian stomp or the sound of frozen peas being thrown around Elephant and Castle underground station.John also gets under the skin of the radio business by interviewing presenters such as Mark Radcliffe and Nicholas Parsons as well as industry insiders. John's daily life is directly affected by his radio habit as he finds himself organising a poker night during exposure to The Jazz, and Zane Lowe's energy on Radio One goads him into cooking his stir fry at the same speed as Morecambe and Wise prepared their breakfast. Finally, John decides to turn his life around and radio becomes his saviour.

So we'll talk about that, plus his new book, "The Newsagent's Window: Adventures In A World Of Second-Hand Cars and Lots Cats", and trying to bum free copies off him, probably.

'I had met a lot of special people through newsagents' windows, and spent many enjoyable days with them. I found out about a community I never knew existed, the heart of rural Britain. I learned that everyone had a story to tell, and that people who live very ordinary lives are much more fascinating than explorers or pop stars.' John Osborne's second book is a comic voyage through small-town Britain via the ads in newsagents' windows: lost kittens, personal ads, a second-hand bike for sale, yoga classes ...Moving into an unfurnished house, John at first uses the ads in newsagents' windows to buy practical things like a bed and a settee. But on impulse one day he replies to an advert for a psychic masseur named Lucy, who tells him some startling home-truths as he sits on her settee in his pants. So begins a year of self-discovery and a wild obsession with newsagents' windows, which take John to a shoe-exhibition, to an Alan Ayckbourn play, to a wrestling match. He finds himself the owner of a man's entire video collection, a second-hand bike, a clapped-out Ford Escort - and discovers a community of a bygone age. Looking to improve his German, he meets a pretty German girl named Leni ...Hilarious and thought-provoking, The Newsagent's Window restores our faith - in our fellow human beings, in a world without ebay - and reveals the odd things that can happen if you let newsagents' windows dictate your day.

Any questions for him?  Post them below, or send them to The Usual Address, @spikester, @higginbothamp or at the Googy Wave.  Get your questions or comments in before 6pm USe/11pm UK tonight (tuesday 27th)

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Five Ways Social Networks And Their Users Butt Heads

link to the full article below, but boy... doesn't this sentence ring painfully true?

Remember MySpace? Remember why you stopped GOING to MySpace? It might have something to do with the fact that people could throw hot pink text on a yellow background, festoon it with Hello Kitty animated gifs, and then put the rotten cherry on this rancid sundae by setting a Britney Spears track to play on loop. Then they could just leave it there, like a sparkling, keening, burning bag of dog crap just waiting for you to click on it and smear itself everywhere.

Facebook is slowly succumbing to the same problem, as everybody whose mom has discovered FarmVille has learned to their great woe. You know how all your friend keep insisting on taking those quizzes, and how you block them but a new quiz keeps coming up? That’s because each quiz, even though it’s made by the same developer, is treated as a separate application by Facebook.

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Half The Theft?

Aw c'mon!  Jamiroquai kick ass, and even though "Half The Man" is possibly one of the lamest and dullest and least inspiring videos ever made, it's a damned good song!

 

....but wait a minute.  Is it just me, or does it sound more than a bit like the theme tune to 1977's "Robin's Nest"?

 

And so, I think that conclusively proves that Jamiroquai's "Half The M... what do you mean 'no' ?

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tonight's Time-Travellin' Question: What Point In History Would You Visit? And Why?

So, let's say you had a loan of the Tardis for a couple of hours.  What point in history would you visit?  And why?

Answer below, or at The Usual Address or twitter.com/spikester.  Answers in by 6pm east (11pm UK) on Tuesday the 20th, please. =)

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Subterranean Hotaayy'msick Blues

Following on from the shenanigans contained within TPASS #212, Gavin sends us this personalised flash ad for Bob Dylan's upcoming best-of album.

In other news, there's a best of Bob Dylan now.  Who knew?

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Friday, April 16, 2010

TPASS #213 - MemeFest 2010 with Old Spike

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A wry old time with Old Spike in his final appearance until he returns in summer, with memes-a-plenty, red wine flowing and much hilarity regarding Helen Mirren's state of dress.

0:00:00 - An apology from Old Spike, hay fever from Paul and a rare semi-victory (of sorts) for Spike's favourite Paul-taunting tipple, hereby known as "margarita, asterisk". This leads on to a discussion about "alcopops", in particular the infamous Buckfast Tonic Wine; the palate-pleasing pisswater drunk by Scotlands errant teens. Ask them to stop drinking until they are of legal age, and they're like that, "whaaat?"

0:07:34 - Catchup from last week's show brings us, uuhhh, some, like, updates from, y'know, the 'added value speech' discussion? Right? Y'know? Covered are the correct way to respond to "thank you", whether one should divulge one's full name at the start of a phone call, and uptalking?

0:18:48 - Future show meme on the horizon? Old Spike tells the famous story about the alcoholic bloke who worked beside him in the box making factory, who would give blow by blow (literally) accounts of his weekend fisticuff activities.

0:26:52 - Late, but it's a special "last week's show" themed Pickin' And Grinnin'. Hey - it's better than Tiger Woods jokes, right?

0:28:48 - This Week In Stuff! Calling Mark Morriss from the Bluetones! We need a TWIS theme! For free! Paul's had a surprisingly full stuff week, taking in more of the "Up" documentaries from Ebert's list, including a surprise appearance from a very young Sarah Palin! Some more Star Trek TOS on Bluray, Dweezil talks Frankly in "Zappa Plays Zappa", and also, based on the glowing review given over a chinese meal (yeah, a glowing review of Helen Mirren's threepenny bits) he ingested "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". Fwaarrr, eh?

0:40:48 - Old Spike's media week, "by the very nature of things", has been filled with some pretty terrible kids' tv. He's philosophical about it all, though, and has some interestingly complimentary things to say about Hannah Montana and Zak and Cody... but not "Rentaghost"! And I'm like that, "whaaaat?" Interesting political discussion comes from the film "Seven Days In May" and Kevin Phillips (bong!)'s book "American Theocracy"

0:54:20 - Spike's been watching "Alexei Sayle's Stuff", from the writers of "End Of Part One", and wondering how a cardinal gets into people's holiday snaps.

1:00:06 - This week's question comes from Peter Neill: The music quiz "All the way to Memphis" once asked the panelists to name a pop music icon who they "just didn't get". I'm asking you to do the same in the world of media. A person or programme or film or book hailed as a genius/masterpiece, but which means nothing at all to you personally.

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Thanks for listening to the show. We mean it. You are all awesome. Especially you. Keep in touch at The Usual Address, @spikester and @higginbothamp and via paulandspike.com -------

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It Just Works: "Northern Soul"

The beauty of mash-ups (the art - and it IS an art - of combining two songs to make a new one) is that when it works, it can be filed under one of two categories: There's the hilarious, where two (or more) songs that shouldn't belong together are combined for comedic effect.  See "Beyonce Vs Andy Griffith" or The Freelance Hairdresser's "Marshall's Been Done To Death" where Eminem was combined with several childrens' TV theme tunes.

The second category is "it just works" the combination of two completely different songs that gel beautifully, almost as if they belonged together.  Check this out; Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" Vs Nick Drake's "Northern Sky".

 

Listen!

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"I’ve Never Voted Tory Before... And They Keep On Reminding Me Why."

"Harry Potter" author JK Rowling gives an opinion on the upcoming UK election. I must admit, even though I enjoyed what I read of the Potter books and certainly doff my cap to her literary achievements, I never thought of her as anything more than a fantasy writer. But boy... she's blown that out of the water here. Any old fool can write a political article, the Huffington Post is famous for celebrity-written pieces, which get trumpeted on the front page like they're the sermon on the mound, but turn out to be a one-paragraph piece with little to no substance. Ooh, The Bloke From That Sit-Com says he thinks the republicans should not be quite so obstructionist. Wow, thanks for enlightening my day with that deeply personal and unique insight.

Not JK. Not by a long shot. This, as the kids say, is an epic win; a passionate political article which is based not just in superficial opinion, but on real experience. After reading this, I put on seven more caps, just so I could doff all of them. One by one. Twice.

I’ve never voted Tory before, but . . .” Those much parodied posters, with their photogenic subjects and their trite captions, remind me irresistibly of glossy greetings cards. Indeed, the more I think about it, the more general elections have in common with the birthdays of middle life. Both entail a lot of largely unwelcome fuss; both offer unrivalled opportunities for congratulation and spite, and you have seen so many go by that a lot of the excitement has worn off.

Nevertheless, they become more meaningful, more serious. Behind all the bombast and balloons there is the melancholy awareness of more time gone, the tally of ambitions achieved and of opportunities missed.

So here we are again, taking stock of where we are, and of where we would like to be, both as individuals and as a country. Personally, I keep having flashbacks to 1997, and not merely because of the most memorable election result in recent times. In January that year, I was a single parent with a four-year-old daughter, teaching part-time but living mainly on benefits, in a rented flat. Eleven months later, I was a published author who had secured a lucrative publishing deal in the US, and bought my first ever property: a three-bedroom house with a garden.

I had become a single mother when my first marriage split up in 1993. In one devastating stroke, I became a hate figure to a certain section of the press, and a bogeyman to the Tory Government. Peter Lilley, then Secretary of State at the DSS, had recently entertained the Conservative Party conference with a spoof Gilbert and Sullivan number, in which he decried “young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing list”. The Secretary of State for Wales, John Redwood, castigated single-parent families from St Mellons, Cardiff, as “one of the biggest social problems of our day”. (John Redwood has since divorced the mother of his children.) Women like me (for it is a curious fact that lone male parents are generally portrayed as heroes, whereas women left holding the baby are vilified) were, according to popular myth, a prime cause of social breakdown, and in it for all we could get: free money, state-funded accommodation, an easy life.

An easy life. Between 1993 and 1997 I did the job of two parents, qualified and then worked as a secondary school teacher, wrote one and a half novels and did the planning for a further five. For a while, I was clinically depressed. To be told, over and over again, that I was feckless, lazy — even immoral — did not help.

The new Labour landslide marked a cessation in government hostilities towards families like mine. The change in tone was very welcome, but substance is, of course, more important than style. Labour had great ambitions for eradicating child poverty and while it succeeded, initially, in reversing the downward trend that had continued uninterrupted under Tory rule, it has not reached its own targets. There remains much more to be done.

This is not to say that there have not been real innovations to help lone-parent families. First, childcare tax credits were introduced by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor, which were a meaningful way of addressing the fact that the single biggest obstacle for lone parents returning to work was not innate slothfulness but the near-impossibility of affording adequate childcare.

Then came Sure Start centres, of which there are now more than 3,000 across the UK: service centres where families with children under 5 can receive integrated service and information. Unless you have previously grappled with the separate agencies involved in housing, education and childcare, you might not be able to appreciate what a great innovation these centres are. They link to Jobcentres, offering help to secure employment, and give advice on parenting, childcare, education, specialist services and even health. A National Audit Office memorandum published last January found that the overall effectiveness of 98 per cent of the childcare offered was judged to be “good or outstanding”.

So here we are, in 2010, with what promises to be another memorable election in the offing. Gingerbread (now amalgamated with the National Council for One Parent Families), keen to forestall the mud-slinging of the early Nineties, recently urged Messrs Brown, Cameron and Clegg to sign up to a campaign called Let’s Lose the Labels, which aims to fight negative stereotyping of lone parents. Here are just a few of the facts that sometimes get lost on the way to an easy story, or a glib stump speech: only 13 per cent of single parents are under 25 years old, the average age being 36. Fifty-two per cent live below the breadline and 26 per cent in “non-decent” housing. Single-parent families are more likely than couple families to have a member with a disability, which gives some idea of the strains that cause family break up. In spite of all the obstacles, 56.3 per cent of lone parents are in paid employment.

As there are 1.9 million single-parent votes up for grabs, it ought not to surprise anyone that all three leaders of the main political parties agreed to sign up to Gingerbread’s campaign. For David Cameron, however, this surely involves a difficult straddling act.

Yesterday’s Conservative manifesto makes it clear that the Tories aim for less governmental support for the needy, and more input from the “third sector”: charity. It also reiterates the flagship policy so proudly defended by David Cameron last weekend, that of “sticking up for marriage”. To this end, they promise a half-a-billion pound tax break for lower-income married couples, working out at £150 per annum.

I accept that my friends and I might be atypical. Maybe you know people who would legally bind themselves to another human being, for life, for an extra £150 a year? Perhaps you were contemplating leaving a loveless or abusive marriage, but underwent a change of heart on hearing about a possible £150 tax break? Anything is possible; but somehow, I doubt it. Even Mr Cameron seems to admit that he is offering nothing more than a token gesture when he tells us “it’s not the money, it’s the message”.

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Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Monday, April 12, 2010

TPASS - This week: "I Just Don't Get It".

This week's question comes via Peter Neill, who says:

The music quiz "All the way to Memphis" once asked the panelists to name a pop music icon who they "just didn't get". I'm asking you to do the same in the world of media. A person or programme or film or book hailed as a genius/masterpiece, but which means nothing at all to you personally.

You can submit your replies at the bottom, send them to The Usual Address, at the latest Google Wave or @spikester.

Also, last chance until summer to send your comments and/or questions to Old Spike. Feel free to ask him anything, but be advised that the show might be held up for a five minute laugh break if you start your comment with "hotaaaay".

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"The Human Centipede" Believe It!

I heard about this movie, and figured it had to be a joke.

Then, I saw the trailer, and I thought maybe it was a parody.

Then, I did a little digging and found out that it's a real, genuine, honest-to-goodness movie, being released this year.

I have to see this movie. Oh. Emm. Gee.

For those unable to click (for whatever reason), let me outline the plot: two moderately attractive ladies on the loose, looking for a good time in a foreign country, get a flat tire and run through the rain (eh, lads) looking for help.

They stumble upon the only house for miles, which happens to be inhabited by an older gentleman who is... cue trailer:

A DEMENTED SURGEON!

(who) WILL WIELD ANY INSTRUMENT!

TO PERFORM THE UNSPEAKABLE!

What's "the unspeakable" of which the trailer yells in all-caps? How about sew the two women (and previously captured bloke) together, bahookie-to-mouth, in order to create... A HUMAN CENTIPEDE!!! FOR SOME REASON!

The theory being that the front man gets fed, and his poo feeds the second in command, whose poo feeds the third, which keeps the unit alive. And then, the human centipede has to crawl around and... um.... well, who knows? I think the writer had a moderately interesting high-concept idea that would make for "DUDEWTF?"-style discussions online (see: this blog post), wrap it in a thousand horror movie cliches, throw in some nudity and... profit! It's "Snakes On A Plane", but with blood, tits, and poo for dinner.

....what's not to like?

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tell Me More...

A short and unmissably hilarious snippet of the new and experimental Tommy Boyd "pubcast", which you can find here.  Tommy shares his programme ideas, as pitched to Channel 4 some fifteen years ago, including the Emma Freud-fronted celebrity quiz show "Is He Dead Yet?" and "Reverse Stalking with Ulrika Johnsson":

 

Listen!

 

Download the whole boozed-up pubcast, featuring Boyd blog caretaker Mark B, Matt Hollick and the legendary Richard Cartridge, by right-clicking here.

Posted via web from Spike's posterous

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

How To Write A Nicholas Sparks Movie...

The Best (and most honest) Review Of The Dr Who Season Premiere You'll Read.

April 07, 2010

Up to Eleven...

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour

11_dThe opening sequence didn't exactly bode well for this so-called "new era" of Doctor Who. As an exercise in managing my expectations they couldn't have released a better clip if they'd tried. Within seconds I had been traumatised by Murray Gold's unmistakable brand of schmaltzy razzmatazz which heralded the appearance of a comedic TARDIS special effect that looked utterly ridiculous. In short, it was wholly in-keeping with what I've come to expect from this show. So much for a change in direction, then.

Matters didn't improve when our hero was almost castrated by Big Ben in a stunt Harold Lloyd would have balked at on the grounds of artistic integrity. In fact, the only thing missing from this Bedknobs and Broomsticks-style introduction was a flying London bus from Planet of the Dead. Or maybe the Titanic. Had Russell really left the building? Or was this a clever homage to an era literally going up in flames?

And then the titles kicked in. Sadly, while they're an improvement on the last five years, they're still an aching disappointment. The sort of disappointment that only a fanboy can appreciate. The lightning bolts suggest an degree of danger and mystery but the tunnel of fire suggests a bout of chronic indigestion. The TARDIS spinning out of the logo is a nice touch, but I miss the promise of a large face looming out of the vortex. You can't beat a nice, looming face. And I bet Matt has a perfect face when it comes to looming. Sigh.

11_aThe disappointing visuals aren't helped by a new arrangement of the theme tune, which is - and I don't think I'm being controversial when I say this - bloody terrible. I was hoping for something moody, mechanical, and above all odd, but instead we got a superfluous Debneyesque intro which is followed by a weedy electronic whine that fights a losing battle against some bombastic strings and brass that I've grown to loathe with a passion that occasionally teeters into obsession. The theme music should be one of the most frightening elements of the show; it should unnerve you, it shouldn't make you want to victoriously punch the air or march in time like a bloody majorette.

I could feel my hopes slowly ebbing away and the programme hadn't even started properly yet...

And then Steven Moffat's name appeared in the credits and - as if by magic - I suddenly felt OK again.

The tone of the episode changed immediately. All that grandstanding spectacle replaced by a solitary child's voice and a spooky undercurrent of doom. The colour palette had shifted to a darker, colder blue and that eerie tracking shot was a million miles away from the wham-bam montages we've grown accustomed to of late. And then we got to enjoy an exta special treat: we were allowed to spend some quality time with two characters for what felt like, in modern television terms at least, an eternity.

The theme should unnerve you, it shouldn't make you want to punch the air...

11_bIt's rapidly becoming a cliche to exclaim that Matt Smith nails the part as soon as he looms into view (see, I told you) but he really does. I had expected to spend a whole hour over-analysing his every move for signs of uncertainty or overacting but I was carried away by his performance as soon as he opened that funny looking mouth of his. He is the Doctor. It really is as simple as that.

I never once felt that Smith was trying too hard: his madness and eccentricity was never forced and he never looked self-conscious or uncomfortable. Even when the Doctor's actions bordered on the absurd (and he sailed pretty close to the the wind in those first ten minutes) there's was still an effortless charm underpinning the performance. His insanity looked positively naturalistic at times.

Another cliche doing the rounds is that you can't take your eyes off him. This also happens to be true. Every gesture, every facial expression, every action Smith performs is a delightful to watch. He's just so... alien. Just look at the way he empties that glass of water or eats those fish fingers. Oh boy, he's going to be good.

And whereas previous Doctors have tended to spend a considerable amount of time immediately following a regeneration unconscious or in hospital (occasionally both) the Eleventh is up and about, kicking arse and saving the planet, before he's even had time to change his clothes. There's no angst ridden mooching about or instability to contend with here. He doesn't make a run for the zero room and he doesn't conk out at a critical juncture. He doesn't even try to kill his companion. Sure, he acts a bit loopy in that initial food scene but he's still trying to define himself there ("I'm funny. Funny's good."). In fact, aside from the odd bit of cramp he's basically the Doctor within minutes of turning up to the party.

It doesn't hurt to get some bloody great lines too: "I've put a lot of work into it" - "You're Scottish, fry something" - "Basically...run". It's great, quotable stuff and a massive step up from yelling in French or burping whilst talking.

The Eleventh Doctor is up and about, kicking arse and saving the planet, before he's even had time to change his clothes...

11_cIt's just a shame that the episode goes to such ridiculous lengths to reassure you that this is still the same Doctor we know and love, even if he does have a wonky chin and silly hair. He had me with the apple - I didn't need a roll-call of ex-Doctors to ram the point home. Oh go on then, I'm a sucker for some old-school wibbly-wobbly flashbacking, if you really insist.

However, I was a little perplexed by the choice of foes in those flashbacks. Exactly when did the Hath pose a threat to this planet? Or the Ood, come to think of it. Where's Ian Levine when you need him? But I had to laugh when the aliens decided that we weren't that much of a threat, despite all the clips of war, death and destruction that un-spooled before their, erm, eye. Just think, if this had been Star Trek the whole thing might have kicked off again.

Anyway, once Matt had successfully put me at my ease I was free to worry about everyone else. And once again I really needn't have bothered.

Karen Gillan was just as compelling as Smith. In fact, when they share the same screen it's difficult to know where to look. She has a pout that by rights should annoy me but it's accompanied by a brooding, scornful intensity that hints at so much buried hurt and disappointment it's impossible not be entranced. Karen delivers her lines perfectly too, exhibiting just the right amount of damage/aggression/childlike wonder. Sometimes in the same sentence. It's a hell of a juggling act to pull off but Gillan rises to the challenge magnificently.

Exactly when did the Hath pose a threat to this planet? Or the Ood, come to think of it.

11_eOf course the performances are helped by the glorious set-up because as far as Doctor - Companion introductions go this one's a belter. Amy's entire personality has been shaped by her initial encounter with this strange man. It sent her insane. For years her family have "humoured her" while the hapless Rory has even dressed up as him for her. Whether this practice continued beyond childhood isn't specified but given her penchant for dressing up and acting out fantasies for a living it's difficult to say how deep her problems run. She's even been writing some fan fiction by the look of it. She's probably beyond hope.

You could also claim that Amy helped shape the Doctor's new personality, being there at the critical moment when he was still coming to terms with who he was. It's ripe for psychoanalysis (not to mention fliking) and this could be the first time we've had a situation where the Doctor and the companion are both completely bonkers.

I actually laughed out loud when we discovered that the Doctor had arrived a further two years too late after a quick sojourn on the moon. It's such a clever conceit, especially because it comes out of nowhere and you can't quite believe that Moffat had the audacity to pull the same stunt twice. But when you stop to think about the consequences of that second delay you are left with even more disturbing images of emotional damage and pent-up resentment. And then there's the wedding dress to consider. What happened in those intervening years? If she was crazy before, what on earth is she like now?

So to sum up, the two leads are magnificent and that's what counts. They have a weird chemistry and one of the most screwed-up dynamics of all time. How they'll develop from here is anyone's guess, but I can't wait to find out.

She's been writing some fan fiction by the look of it. She's probably beyond hope.

11_g The only times The Eleventh Hour didn't really do it for me is when it harked back to the RTD era with a reverence that genuinely surprised me. I've already mentioned the gaudy opening sequence, but there's also a pointless celebrity cameo where Patrick Moore makes a complete tit of himself, a handy video conferencing solution, the return of the all-too-convenient psychic paper and sonic screwdriver, an annoying catchphrase and a threat to contemporary Earth (even if it emanates from a country village and not a housing estate in Central London). Even the "running about music" is exactly the same.

It certainly isn't the clean break some of us had been hoping for. Even the best bits of this hark back to Moffat's earlier work under RTD. As Tom pointed out in his review there's a shopping list of tried and tested Moffatisms if you care look for them (if you are going to steal then steal from the best) but perhaps, as Damon suggests, the reset signalled by the Doctor at the end of this adventure isn't merely a literal one, it is also the final curtain for this type of adventure for quite some time. I do hope so.

Murray Gold's music, which is probably the most contentious holdover from the RTD years, might contain the biggest clue of all. For large swathes of the opening 45 minutes Murray plunders quite happily from his own back catalogue with themes harking back to The Runaway Bride, Utopia, The End of Time and many, many more. At first I thought this was laziness on his part but in retrospect it appears that Murray was attempting to provide a transitional score that doesn't exert its own personality until the final confrontation. It implies that the Eleventh Doctor would take 50 minutes or so to settle down into his new persona, which also implies that Smith nailed things a bit too early for the conceit to work, but either way there's a sense that things are moving on. I really like Amy's theme and the Doctor's new motif is undeniably infectious.

Amy's entire personality has been shaped by her initial encounter with the Doctor. It sent her insane.

11_fI've taken up far too much room and there's still loads of good stuff to talk about. Prisoner Zero's freaky inability to mimic its victims correctly is a clever twist on the standard possession threat, while the giant eyeballs perfectly encapsulate the fairytale aesthetic that we've been hearing so much about recently, conjuring up images of Tolkien and Roger Dean's album covers as they hovered menacing in space in much the same way that bricks don't. There's some not-so-good stuff too: the Doctor's photographic memory is a nice idea but did we really need to see it? I just hope this doesn't become a regular "super-power" any time soon.

The new TARDIS deserves a special mention. Just like the titles, it doesn't break away from the past quite enough for my liking, and while the extra levels and space are welcome additions (and the windows are the right size for a change) the interior is still a bit too orange for me. Thankfully, the console remains cheerfully haphazard and Heath Robinsonesque, and some the incidental details are definitely fun to spot, like the drum pedals, the bath taps and the giant glass dildo. That thrusts up and down. And is it just me or is did that big round lava lamp/visualiser in the corner of the room dredge up memories of Zen from Blake's 7 and TIM from The Tomorrow People for anyone else?

All this and Moffat still finds the time to sow the seeds to a story arc that will hopefully exceed the on-the-hoof name dropping and blatant franchise advertising we've had to endure in the past. This one looks like it might actually pay off. There's ominous talk of cracks in the fabric of the universe (mirrored on the Bakelite TARDIS scanner), silence falling (I originally misheard the prophecy as "science will fall", which I thought sounded incredibly cool), and something called the Pandorica that probably shouldn't be opened but almost certainly will. In episode 12, I bet.

I think that covers it. On this evidence alone, my favourite television show just became my favourite television show again. And it's about time.

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

This Week's, um, Like, uh, Question. Y'Know?

Umms, Errss, Likes, Y'knows.... those little extra added value parts of people's speech patterns that we love, hate or love to hate.  Which ones do you use and wish you didn't?  Which ones do you hate to hear other people use?  Have you ever known anyone who used an unusual one?  Let us know below, at The Usual Address at the Google Wave, or at Twitter.com/spikester.

Also, this week marks the triumphant return of Old Spike.  Got any questions or comments for him?  He loves to hear from y'awl, so have at it!

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

This Week's, um, Like, uh, Question. Y'Know?

Umms, Errss, Likes, Y'knows.... those little extra added value parts of people's speech patterns that we love, hate or love to hate.  Which ones do you use and wish you didn't?  Which ones do you hate to hear other people use?  Have you ever known anyone who used an unusual one?  Let us know below, at The Usual Address at the Google Wave, or at Twitter.com/spikester.

Also, this week marks the triumphant return of Old Spike.  Got any questions or comments for him?  He loves to hear from y'awl, so have at it!

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show