December 29th, 2010
|07:21 pm - Aftermath|
I've been cooking for nineteen people and generally looking after them the last couple of days, seven stayed last night, and they have all gone now. I am exhausted. But it has been good. I didn't think we'd fit so many people in the house, but there was room for everyone. I generally had pretty straightforward food on the go more or less the whole time. We didn't do a sit-down meal, because I haven't got a big enough table.
I think this has been a very good break. It's not like you get a rest, but you do get to think about different smaller and more friendly problems for a week or so.
I am very pleased with my Kindle that I got for Christmas. I am currently reading Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe. There's a load of free texts available, and a lot of what I want to read is out of copyright anyway. I haven't quite got to the stage where navigating is intuitive, but I guess if I persist it will get easier. I like the facility to change the font, because I can move it up and down according to how tired my eyes are.
As well as 'whistle and I'll come to you' I watched one TV show all Christmas, and that was the Doctor Who Special. Hmm. Does any individual iteration have as much impact by this stage as the fact of its recurrence? As Marley said: 'Would you know the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!'
There's an entertaining comment by Russell T Davies (in "The Writer's Tale", I think) where he says that the first Christmas Special was risky and unprecedented, but by the time next Christmas rolled around it was regarded by the BBC as a firmly-established tradition that it was just assumed would keep happening every year.
Really? Yes, it does just seem natural. I do feel that Doctor Who in general now is bound by its own legacy, which it has to carry about hanging around it like a weight. Not just the legacy of Christmas Specials past but of its whole long chain.
Though that again is something that comes and goes.
In storytelling terms, Who really became weighed down by its legacy in the later Peter Davison and Colin Baker years, to the show's detriment. With a new Doctor (McCoy) and a new script editor (Andrew Cartmel) there was a conscious push to break away from continuity-heavy stories and into fresh new territory. This was successful insofar as it generated better stories, but you could argue that a reason why the show was cancelled despite this was the weight of public and (more importantly) institutional perception that had built up over the long years previously.
There were many problems with the 1996 TV movie, but the main one was that it wrapped itself so tightly in the chains of the past that it was bound to sink without trace.
By contrast, the new series in 2005 was determined to be fresh, new and continuity-light, stripping the show right back to its essentials for a new generation of viewers. It was, by any standards, a success.
But after five years, in which old traditions have gradually been reintroduced and new one established, perhaps it will soon be time to reinvent the show once more, ditching the accretions of the past. There's a good precedent in 1969 when, after six years of pop-art eccentricity, Doctor Who emerged in colour as a cross between Quatermass and an ITC adventure series.
I don't think we're likely to see such a change from Moffat, for all his virtues as a writer. He loves playing with continuity and tradition far too much to perform the kind of - let's call it a regeneration - that was done by Letts and Dicks in 1969, JNT and Cartmel in 1987, or Davies in 2005.
Perhaps it's a job for his eventual successor?
I have been thinking a lot that Moffatt is awed by tradition. This Special seemed to me to consist entirely of allusions to other things, like a pantomime. It's like all currents and no pudding.
That's quite a feat of hospitality! Having been a visitor there myself, I'm sure they had a great time; I hope you did, too.
I had the chance to play with a Kindle the other day, while round at a friend's house. I have to say I was impressed - far more than by the other readers that I've tried using in bookshops. The display seemed more readable, the controls easier to use, and the whole thing more responsive. I hope you carry on enjoying it.
Thanks glitterboy, I hope you had a great Christmas. I saw altariel and mraltariel's Kindles in October, and I wanted one from then on. My brother has something called i-river, which I've never heard of but seems pretty much the same in terms of usability.
You cook for 19 people? I'm incredibly impressed, since I can make scambled eggs for one, only. :)
I made a big chilli and a veggie chilli and a big ham and a cauliflower cheese and a shedload of bread, and bought a lot of cheese and pickles, and made baked potatoes and roast potatoes and then they had to work it out for themselves. It all disappeared, except I've still got some of the cheese.