Showing posts with label doctor who. Show all posts
Showing posts with label doctor who. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


1 February 1946 – 19 April 2011
   I sincerely doubt that there is a single soul amongst the Doctor Who fandom that did not like Elisabeth Sladen, even to varying degrees, nor is there one who is not at least disappointed that she is gone so suddenly, in the midst of a renewed career and popularity, no less. No wonder she was brought back so often in the revived series and made the headliner of her own show; she made rapport look simple and easy. It must be said, the cancer has so much to answer for

   I think it was that simple-yet-complex, intrinsic quality of hers that made her more or less the most popular of the series' "classic" companions; her character Sarah Jane Smith partnered the John Pertwee and Tom Baker incarnations of the Doctor and along with her brief appearances alongside the Patrick Troughton and Peter Davison versions, her enduring appeal - an appealing merger of sass, intuition, enthusiasm, chemistry and independence - ensured an iconic standard was made. Her first guest appearance alongside David Tennant's Doctor in 2006 could have been done by few other previous Who companions, really - when one has lived down an increasingly absurd selection of clear practical jokes played by the BBC's 1970s wardrobe department  (who wants to look back on their (at the time) final appearance and note how Andy Pandy-like their outfit is?) and remained a fandom star, then there's no doubting the welcome impact of a brief reprise

   Sladen was in the midst of capturing a new audience of once and future Whofen with as the headliner of spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures, where her ability to sync with any and all co-stars remained appreciable; she was reunited with fellow 1970s Who staple Nicholas Courtney (whose aborted Mode Parade posthumous tribute this past February would have been entitled "Five Rounds Rapid", probably. Sorry, Brigadier) and most memorably performed alongside the current - and for my money, most enjoyable modern - Doctor, Matt Smith, and her predecessor as Pertwee's girl, Katy Manning, late last year. She also made her ongoing teamup with her much younger co-stars, Tommy Knight, Yasmin Page, Daniel Langer and Anjli Mohindra, seem like the most natural companions a middle aged weird happenings fighter should want to surround herself with

   To quote your sadly (and ironically) apposite final story's title, "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith." I should think it's going to be very hard to forget you now

Friday, 11 March 2011


   Whilst the font is on the uninspiring side and the CGI glow that adorns our tweed-clad hero is rather unappealing - even if it is in reference to his alien nature and upcoming Roswell adventure - this is reasonably effective in drawing attention to the imminence of Doctor Who's sixth season

   My semi-regular readers probably dreaded some sort of recap of last year's successes, since they are really here to see some dork with a baby Afro attempt to to adorn himself in style and present himself as "witty" to the 39 people foolhardy enough to follow him. And of course, there are dedicated Who blogs and columns; no one really requires an analysis of the show written in the most grandiloquent style possible

   So, here is all that needs to be known - it is the wittiest, frothiest and gosh darn best adventure series going, starring a Brummie with a long nose, the prettiest willowy redhead this side of Lily Cole and a very talented fellow with a funny face who may have finally upgraded to self tying bow ties and can hold his own in performance with the likes of Michael Gambon. And to top it off, they will be promoting the almighty Stetson:

   April 23rd cannot come soon enough

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Covetous Post

   I'm feeling yearnful:


Holga D Digital Camera

Gaziano & Girling bespoke stingray wholecuts, made for a Forvm member

Junya Watanabe S/S10 Blouson (for my Dressed Down Days)

Taschen's Favourite Hotels

Ettinger Bridle Hide Billfold, via Unabashedly Prep

A boat cloak, opera cloak or Inverness cape

 The most aureate car I've ever ridden in: the Mercedes Benz 600 Grosser


Friday, 25 June 2010

Doctorin' The Penzance - Colin Baker Sings Gilbert and Sullivan

As special as this ditty is, I still wonder if there exists a disclaimer apologising to Messrs G & S somewhere. I may come to like this as much as the Animaniacs parody

No other words are necessary. Except for these:

I-iiiiiiiii--am the very model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer.
I've information on all things a Gallifreyan holds most dear.
I've linked into the Matrix through its exitonic circuitry,
I understand dimensional and relative chronometry.
I'm very well acquainted too with matters of the Capitol,
I'll give you verse and chapter on Panopticonian protocol,
I've been into the Death Zone and I've played the Game of Rassilon--
(Rassilon? Assilon, Bassilon-- ah ha!)
With pestilential monsters that I got a lot of hassle from!

[With pestilential monsters that he got a lot of hassle from!
With pestilential monsters that he got a lot of hassle from!!
With pestilential monsters that he got a lot of hassle-assle from!!!]

I understand each language and I speak every vernacular.
I'll conjugate each verb obscure, decline each line irregular.
In short in every matter that a Gallifreyan holds most dear,
I am the very model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer.

[In short in every matter that a Gallifreyan holds most dear,
he is the very model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer!]

I've tackled shady Castellans with devious behavior.
I've sparred with Time Lord chancellors like Thalia, Goth or Flavia.
In fact on some occasions I've held office Presidentally,
'though maybe I won't mention I was ousted out eventually.

I know just how it feels to be a wanted man and on the run,
but wouldn't leave the carefree buccaneering life for anyone.
Though sometimes my adventures seem absurdly operatical--
(Operatical? Hatical... patical-- ah ha!)
With ups and down and twists and turns and incidents fanatical.

[With ups and down and twists and turns and incidents fanatical!
With ups and down and twists and turns and incidents fanatical!!
With ups and down and twists and turns and incidents fanatical!!!]

I've sailed the seven seas of Earth and all the oceans of the Moon,
my trusty true Type-40 is my Gallifreyan picaroon.
But is this really what the average Gallifreyan holds most dear?
I wonder what they think about this Gallifreyan Buccaneer.

[But is this really what the average Gallifreyan holds most dear!
We wonder what they think about this Gallifreyan Buccaneer!]

I've defeated evil robots such as Daleks, Quarks, and Cybermen.
I've overthrown dictators from Tobias Vaughn to Mavic Chen.
I've rescued helpless maidens from the devestating Viking hordes.
Vanquished Autons.... Axons... Daemons... Krotons.... Monoids, Vampires, Voords.
I've liberated planets and delivered them from total war.
Saved Earth, Manussa, Dulkis, Skonnos, Earth, Tigella, Earth once more.
In short I know I am the truest Rassilonian legate
(Legate? Decate...Hecate...Hecate?? Mm. Not sure if that's canonical. Ah ha, I have it!)
And so to Time Lords all I say remember me to Gallifrey!

[A sentiment we all agree, remember him to Gallifrey!
A sentiment we all agree, remember him to Gallifrey!!
A sentiment we all agree, remember him to Galli-gallifrey!!]

I'm not content to just observe, I am a bold adventurer.
Though other Time Lords mock this Gallifreyan interventioner.
I know in every matter that a Time Lord really should hold dear
I am the very model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer.

[We know in every matter that a Time Lord really should hold dear,
He is the very model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer!]

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Faculty, Or, "... But I Play One on TV"

I don't know who devised this, but s/he may now be a new favourite human of mine

Monday, 3 May 2010

These Popular Cultural Things

  •    To begin, Godspeed, Lynn Redgrave. I'll always recall Gods and Monsters and The Virgin Soldiers with a certain fondness

  •    To the surprise of few, the Doctor has raised bow tie sales, albeit of the pre-tied kind - again, to the surprise of few. At least Matt Smith's choice in decorative neckwear is emblematic of the character he is currently crafting and honing to increasing approbation each week; Élan will not easily be acquired by his followers, but it will be entertaining to peruse the results

  •    Turnbull & Asser, perhaps in search of the potent tastemaking cachet they previously wielded in the past through engendering the career of Michael Fish and providing haberdashery to 007, opted to seat Pharrell Williams as a collaborator in shirt design. Pondering the timepiece print, the design and the questionable pricing, my thoughts are thus: "Cui bono?"

    The watch so happens to be upside-down
  •    I rather like the look of Shanghai's Expo 2010, featuring Singing Jackie Chan. Spectacle done well can often enthrall me:

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

My Impeccable Sense of Haute Couture

   So, the livery of Britain's Favourite Alien©; almost always of a kind that is definably oddball, outward and outré

   Informing today's title are the early words of the seventh incarnation of the Doctor, as embodied by the peculiar showman's élan and mobile visage of Sylvester McCoy. The character's current, eleventh persona has deftly created warring camps with his attire - "Bow ties are cool" is the diktat from his  recent debut episode itself - yet I've perennially found myself on the side of the 1987-9 model, not only for his meddlesome, obfuscatory, warm and ruthless persona but his offbeat formality. Such whimsy, a lasting influence? And yet an evaluation of the hero of a world-recognised adventure series from a sartorial standpoint could not be more germane to this column's mandate

   Forgiving the branding-motivated question marked apparel - although, that said, it is quite the endearing personalised umbrella - McCoy's costume is cleverer than received wisdom would have it. Hewn closely to the producers' conception of an appearance thought of as normal from afar and stranger under scrutiny,  I'll restrict myself to 1989's brown jacket model over the more familiar cream. It was to represent the devious and darker undertones of the character's progression; in practice, it veers the outfit's previous spring associations towards the autumnal and better melds its elements together, muting the fair isle-inspired vest and picking out the brown tones of the rather classical correspondent shoes. And the jacket is better cut, to boot, tightening up the well considered silhouette of proportioned garments and full cut trousers that assist in exuding the comfort and theatricality of McCoy's character. A sort of playful John Steed, perhaps

   There is a confluence of designs that allows much to be gotten away with; a veritable rainbow of colour alongside a cornucopia of pattern. That the most obtrusive component remains the lurid, questionably designed, as opposed to questionably hued, question mark vest - disdained by the actor to the extent that he once tried to arrange its absence for an entire serial - is a testament to paying attention to an era of considered combinations (the 1930s) in an era of neon excess (the 1980s). Strip the outfit down a tad and one would be golfing in St. Andrew's 70 years ago. This is also cogent to its wearer; McCoy beat David Tennant to becoming the first Scottish Doctor, behind the scenes and in front of the camera, sporting plaid, tartan and paisley and deploying his own accent throughout his tenure. Thus far, this remains the only portrayal in which the Doctor was definably not the model of a very English alien

   The accessorising similarly straddles the line of over-application. A paisley scarf under the lapels is perhaps the height of stylish scarf use and a segment of today's Italian dressers favour such an adornment in the pockets of their coats these days, or is that merely Lino Ieluzzi? Then there is the manner in which McCoy's fob chain was pinned to his lapel, which strikes me as a somewhat patrician affectation and is certainly my preference for its more statement-based positioning over the more familiar waistcoat placement. Finally, McCoy is inarguably a hat person, to the extent that the incongruity of a straw with a self-tied band - achievable with a pocket square - accompanying cooler weather wear simply merits my admiration

   Such a mix is certainly not for the undexterous, which makes it rather iconic as a presentation for a physical performer of McCoy's abilities. If not for this concept, this ensemble may never have come about. For lessons learned, it speaks for itself

   Inspiring, but not as one would expect

Monday, 22 March 2010


   There are some things in life that I look forward to. Here are some of them:

   This may need subtitles, post haste:

Monday, 20 July 2009

Pop Culture Thumbs-Down 20/07/09

   It's heavily dismaying to learn that Adam 'MCA' Yauch, Beastie Boy founder, campaigner for a free Tibet, and America's premier Buddhist Rhyme King, has been diagnosed with cancer. The band has been one of my largest musical pleasures and inspirations, particularly when I was learning music programming way back when - indeed, I'd say that they "saved" this angst-ridden teenager once upon a time, and my thoughts are with him, his family and his fellow Beasties. I hope he'll beat this

   This is only a Thumbs-Down because I'm tainting this post with a link to The Sun, but photos of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond have emerged as they film episodes of next year's Doctor Who. I'm particularly interested to learn what the sartorialists among us consider as to the new Doctor's outfit, which appears to be a compromise between the outfits of the previous two lead actors but, it must be said, rather lacks the personalisations of his previous selves, rolled hems and boots aside (yes, it does remind me of a certain designer I mention too often, but done on the cheap. And yes, it's more than a little bit 70s). I presume that the academic look, Harris Tweed included, is meant to counter the Time Lord's most youthful physiognomy yet, but they should have just run with it as was done for Doctors Five and Ten (points for the (clip-on, unfortunately) bow tie - it was about time the character started wearing them again). And as far as a professorial, 30s-inspired Doctor goes, it's truly hard to beat the creative whimsicality of Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy's ensemble; an imaginative mix-and-match combination that continues to influence me to this day. Still, a couple of tweaks here and there would make the new outfit rather memorable

   Meanwhile, JLS is currently at no.1 in the UK's pop singles chart. It doesn't even merit a link, but it's the UK lionising yet another bland boyband, so there you have it

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Pop Culture Thumbs-Up - 31/05/09

   This is Karen Gillan, the first companion for the Eleventh Doctor in next year's all-new Doctor Who series. I approve. I can imagine the trickle of information increasing over the summer to maintain interest in the remaining specials and beyond

   Hickey A/W09, via A Continuous Lean - worth a glance to see one of the most striking Sartorialist subjects take the stage as Hickey's mannequin

   Much as I maintain a healthy disinterest in Britain's Got Talent, I must approve of the winners - who doesn't love a dance crew?

   Observant as ever, Bill Cunningham does one of his sporadic weigh-ins on NYC men's outfits in a slideshow entitled 'Boundless.' In the microcosm of the world's cultural capital, dressing up is king

   "I'm extravagant in ways that relate to my heritage" - celebrated man of letters Gay Talese on his love affair with suiting. It truly is all in the details. If that quote does not become his epitaph - I'm sure he's said better - then I'd like it to be mine

   UK-specific - Sky1 stealthily nabbed House season 5 whilst Channel 5 was procrastinating and episode one went out earlier tonight. It's an uneven season, but stick with it - the highs are as emotive and hilarious and thought-provoking as ever, and if you're at all emotionally invested in the Damaged Doctor, the finale just might crack your heart

   Late addendum: Eminem vs. Bruno. Nothing distracts from the ills of the world like a gross-out moment on national TV that will probably lead to a major vendetta (as long as it really was unscripted, of course. Which it wasn't)

    Pointless note: the last entry in this column was on the 13th. How palindromic

Monday, 13 April 2009

Doctor Who and the Planet of the Dead

   Cue heavy linkage:

   I'm pretty certain a spin-off fiction Time Lady used a TARDIS disguised as a bus to get around. But then, the Easter special of Britain's Favourite Alien and his adventures was quite a self-referential affair, particularly if you're deeply immersed in the franchise. A one-off companion with thieving tendencies and infiltration skills - they would have done that in 1990 if not for the show's cancellation. Insectoid aliens - hugely common in sci fi, most recently seen in the series in 2007's 'Utopia'. A predatory, swarming species that devours anything and everything in its path, reducing its prey to practically nothing - the Vashta Nerada from 'Silence In The Library' and 'Forest (wait for it...) of the Dead', 2008. The companion-less Doctor on a damaged bus with human passengers, menaced by a mysterious, malevolent entity with panic and confusion in the air, as well as a black woman who turns out to be the other most important passenger aboard - the man himself compared it to the events of 'Midnight' (last year again). Is there any reason I'm mentioning all this besides flexing my keen eye for cannibalisation?

   Well, only because while traditionally, Doctor Who has channelled influences from other works, genres and stories, it tends to do something special with the result. It's somewhat rare for the show to eat itself, and the regurgitation didn't necessarily amount to much except window dressing. The most recent attempt was actually the aforementioned 'Library' story, but while that ultimately felt like incoming showrunner Stephen Moffat reaffirming and closing the book (doyousee?) on his prior themes, it's generally thought of in the fandom that anything he can do, outgoing showrunner Russel T Davies... can't. While 'Planet of the Dead' was ultimately entertaining, it was also painfully obvious most of the time, to the extent that the sacrificial lamb character was dead within the first 10 minutes and the friendly aliens should have been wearing red shirts. The central concept - Doctor Who does Pitch Black does Flight of the Phoenix (and that's not even mentioning the combo of wacky scientist, trainers-wearing pretty boy, flying automobile and a time machine) - would have been better executed back in the 2005 series when the Doctor was discussing the morality of execution over steaks, emphasising the importance of accepting mortality, showing total comfort over pansexuality and facing up to the consequences of genocide. With one exception, the series' Christmas specials have even featured some dark moments and a high death toll, whereas this was as safe as, well, the last Christmas special, with a similar "hero moment" of the Doctor high up in the sky, saving the day in an unusual mode of transport (because in the nu-Whoniverse, the least likely can become the saviour of the world, much like a certain shopgirl that Russel T pushes as The Most Important Character in the Series Besides the Doctor)

   I think I liked this better than other formulaic Russel-penned special tales like 'Voyage of the Damned' and 'The Christmas Invasion' because luckily, there was a certain sense of restraint - maybe co-writer Gareth Roberts has a calmer penhand than his caper-based stories would lead one to believe. The potentially grating supporting cast stayed on the bus, far in the background of the Dubai sand. Tennant was reasonably toned down and was allowed to bond with the passengers in a way that rang true, being compassionately reassuring rather than babbling platitudes at 900mph. No one spoke "profoundly" about how special - and/or dangerous - the Doctor is (something that the old series showed far more than it dared talk about - adds to the mystery), and the gun-happy soldiers of UNIT waited until their cue to start blowing crap up. I won't bother delving into the upper class action woman thievery antics of Michelle Ryan's Lady Christina, which has a long fictional precedent, or her overly clipped accent, but as a companion, I rather liked her. Aside from refusing to fawn all over the Doctor, even in the rote Forced Sexual Tension Scenes, she was so blasé and occasionally amoral that she felt like the companion the Tenth Doctor has needed almost all along (Catherine Tate aside). Someone who likes the adventure and participates in it as much as possible while remaining just curious enough to be the audience surrogate. The production team described her as a "typical" companion in the old series sense, which seemed to be a tacit way of admitting they wanted to depict a woman not drowning in her own angst for once. Thanks for that

   The ending was actually the best part, with some well directed, if clichéd, portents of doom for the Doctor (yes, we know he's regenerating next year, but if the character himself doesn't treat them as deaths since he's essentially the same guy each time, then others shouldn't either), and a thrilling escape for Lady Christina with a pleasant parting between her and the Doctor for good measure. And especially because Lee Evans's ultra geek scientist (hopefully the apex of Evans's obsession with the name 'Malcolm') was finally shoved offscreen once he met the Doctor. Time was, the Doctor interacted with social misfits who were actually entertaining. And in the name of restraint, the Time Lord finally managed to sell the concept of his loneliness without utilising Tennant's sadface to get the point across. And I have a good feeling that the rejection scene between the two leads won't be the last acting high point of the specials, not by a longshot

   Maybe I'll go fire up the iPlayer again