Wednesday 15 January 2014

The Jealousy of the Doctor

The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand.
- Lewis Thomas


Reality is not digital, an on-off state, but analogue. Something gradual. In other words, reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess, say, weight. Some people are more real than others, for example. It has been estimated that there are only about five hundred real people on any given planet, which is why they keep unexpectedly running into one another all the time.
- Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

I think there’s a fox living in the garden. 

That’s not how I was originally planning to start this entry but seeing as the animal in question keeps distracting me I thought it only fair to give them a mention.  And, let’s be fair, it’s pretty cool.  Well, it is if you like foxes anyway.

For a while now I’ve been livening up the rolling-stock sections of my commute by texting ludicrous and unfounded observations to the blameless folks at the Blue Box Podcast, Starburst’s Doctor Who audio conversation.  Often, they’ve been good enough to read them out.1  More on this in a bit - I’ve got to officially declare a conflict of interest3 but that can wait for a few paragraphs.

I’ve been hinting obliquely about other projects for the last few months.  Both of them are going to be fun, and one of them is something that I’m very excited about indeed.  I’ve started the research stage and done some groundwork.  It’s already led to the Forbidden Books section of one major library as well as a psychogeographical4 field trip disguised as a genuine vampire hunt.  I’m fired up and ready to go but there’s been a problem.  Every time I’ve freed space to work on these alternate avenues, the Doctor’s thwarted my plans.  Seriously, you’d think I was Davros or something.  I’m beginning to wonder if he’s a bit, y’know, possessive.

In the aftermath of 2013’s regeneration, I was able to excavate a long blocked-off section of the nostalgia mine I’ve uncovered in Cardiff.  I didn’t find what I was looking for, which means that it’s gone forever, as unobtainable as yesterday or childhood.4  However, I did find some other things, including the first issue of Starburst that I ever read.  You’ll notice I didn’t say ‘owned’ there.  That’s because, technically, it’s not mine – having been accidentally left in my past by a neighbour’s grandson.  

The first Starburst Three.
 My relationship with Starburst had been pretty stand-offish up until last week, despite it springing from the same explosive imagination as Warrior and Doctor Who Comic.5  (Dez Skinn is a bit like John McShane in that he keeps making unexpected guest appearances when I’m researching things.)6  As is usually the way, our weird sideways glances and awkward shuffles are all my fault.  Starburst wasn’t – and isn’t – a comic.  When I was still forming, this was an important factor in whether or not something cultural grafted successfully onto my personality.  Of course, we change our priorities and opinions over the decades, but let’s not go into that here.

When the Him encouraged me into submitting essays to You and Who: Contact Has Been Made (posts passim) I didn’t realise there was any connection to Starburst and I certainly didn’t expect to find myself as a guest percentage on a podcast as a demonstration of synchronicity in action.7

Click Me.
I always get nervous before a performance.  Always have and hopefully always will.  After all, if you aren’t sweating fear bullets then you either don’t care enough to be doing it, or you’re just going through the motions.  The panel on the above link consists of me, Doc Whom and the Reverend Captain Hullo Porro (known from this point on as the Reverend)8 – with Talent-taming courtesy of J. R. Southall.9 

We recorded the podcast nine days ago; earlier today it went live, Warrior’s M*****man finally got republished and this escaped into the wild:

Epipod the First: Journey Into Terror

 I think there’s a fox living in the garden.

1. But you already know this because you’ve been following us on Facebook and Twitter, ain’t that right?2

2.  Yes, both of you.

3.  It’s an old tradition, or a charter, or something.4

Doctor Who Comic yesterday.
4.  Yeah, yeah.

5.  I wrote a true and accurate history of Doctor Who Comic4 for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.  Go on, treat yourself.

6.  Apophenia the Library Angel is also going to be popping up a lot through 2014.  Clang! goes another name.

7.  A percentage that sounds more like the correct speed to play Jeff Wayne’s Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds at that.4

8.  No, not that one.

9.  His debut gig story is the second coolest one I’ve ever heard.10 

10.  Correct at time of typing.

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