Thursday, July 26, 2007

I've finished re-reading Deathly Hallows - I'm suffering a revulsion of feeling for the big finish. Everything up to and including The Prince's Tale is as good as it was last time. Everything after that seems to have been written with the future screenplay in mind, particularly the Molly Weasley/Bellatrix duel. I actually couldn't bear to read that bit again. Same goes for the epilogue.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump

A fitting successor to the other Ron moments - as much fun as his delight in the 50-pence piece or his vain attempts to make the West Ham posters move.

The only one I never quite liked was his suspicion of doctors ('those Muggle nutters who cut people up') in Order of the Phoenix, but I suspect I'm not supposed to - it's like the lame brand names and wooden wirelesses, one of the uneasy things about wizarding culture that prevents it from becoming too cosy.
Woke up from a nightmare last night yelling 'Avada Kedavra!'. I was trying to kill some dream students who were after me because I'd grassed on them for throwing water bombs at me. I didn't even have a wand, but green light came out of my fingers and everything.

I only hope the neighbours didn't hear.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I was also right about one of the deaths. Good choice to pick one of a pair of interchangeable characters. Also nice to see a pair of redemptions, one comic, one very sad. I can't say I particularly liked the coda, not on first reading anyway. In fact I think I felt my teeth rotting from the sweetness as I read it.
Having got to page 289 I'm pleased to say I was right about everything except Regulus' middle name, which I guessed was Alphard (after his uncle) rather than Arcturus. The locket was indeed the one 'which none of them could open' that they found at Grimmauld Place in Order of the Phoenix, it certainly was saved from the rubbish sack by Kreacher and it was, as predicted, subsequently nicked by Mundungus Fletcher.

Talking of Order of the Phoenix, JKR obviously wanted to avoid writing another book with a long slow start. Deathly Hallows positively explodes with action early on. I haven't been so beset by so many catastrophes in such a short time since I first watched Buffy episode 5.20, Spiral, where Buffs' plan to hide from Glory goes awry in successively more dreadful ways.

Still room for some humour though. Uncle Vernon obviously still reads the Daily Mail, as his suspicions that Harry wants to get his hands on the equity in 4 Privet Drive show. Interesting, btw, to see that Rowling avoids the easy option of showing the Dursleys as Muggle racists. You'd've thought a black wizard would be a Mail reader's worst nightmare.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Which none of them could open

After re-reading all the Harry Potter books in preparation for July 21st, and not reading any spoilers at all, I've worked out where the real Horcrux locket is, and who swapped it for the fake.

But it occurs to me that, if it's not uncommon for wizards to have two Muggle parents, but it's quite rare for wizarding parents to have a Squib, then the wizarding population should long ago have outnumbered the Muggles, particularly as Squibs are still part of wizarding society. I'm surprised that there are any pure-blood Muggles left at all, in fact.

Nice to see, by the way, that, when Snape talks about Wormtail, he starts channelling Saruman talking about Wormtongue. 'He has taken to listening at doors lately' recalls 'Worm has been very hungry lately.'

Friday, June 29, 2007

Doctor Who spin-offs no. 6

Round The Vaughn

Much loved sixties radio show featuring well-spoken straight man Tobias Vaughn and famous characters Cyber-Julian and Cyber-Sandy ('He's fully cybernetic, and I've been converted.' 'Converted.') Music from Scottish singing quartet the Frazer Hines Four.

Doctor Who spin-offs no. 5


Social experiment where young kids spend a year in a closed environment with wind chimes and lots of Swiss cheese plants, exposed to periodic rants from Simon Rouse.

Doctor Who spin-offs no. 4

Drahvin Miss Daisy

Tender flashbackathon where Jessica Tandy gradually opens up to chauffeur Morgan Freeman, confiding that she is, in truth, Maaga, who escaped from the doomed planet just in time and has been in hiding on Earth ever since. Freeman's sympathy enables her to ultimately come to terms with all the evil deeds she committed back in Galaxy Four.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I've assembled myself a tape of blocking songs. My new neighbours are mostly very quiet, but occasionally they put gangsta rap on, and I'm not sitting listening to that while I'm trying to read.

So a group of songs are required which have enough authority to cover up the noise coming through the wall, but which aren't so noisy as to be irritate me themselves.

Radio Prague - OMD (melodic distortion to help me get the right volume level)
The Shouty Track - Lemon Jelly (the blocking song where all other blocking songs begin. It was with this that I used to signal to my Polish upstairs neighbours that I had had enough thumping on my ceiling for one afternoon)
Aphrodite - Paris and Sharp (nice bit of trance with wonderful tuneful bangy bit at the end)
The Private Psychedelic Reel - Chemical Brothers
Trance Shapes - Robert Miles (the track that first showed me the virtues of trance)
Sploosh! - Ozric Tentacles
Hey Boy, Hey Girl - Chemical Brothers (vocals for a change)
Walking Distance - Buzzcocks (guitarry instrumental)
Waterfall - Atlantic Ocean
To The Shock Of Miss Louise - Thomas Newman (nothing says 'Please stop playing gangsta rap now' like a bit of steam organ)
Late For The Train - Buzzcocks (drum-tastic train imitation to round things off)

Monday, April 30, 2007

First cuckoo of spring this morning.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There are about the same number of astronomical units in a light year as there are inches in a mile. (63,240 against 63,360, a difference of 0.2% .)

So if you made a scale model of the solar system with the Earth one inch from the Sun, Alpha Centauri would be over 4 miles away.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

An augury

Got home from town and was just turning into my front path, when a hawk flew down with a smaller bird in its talons, and landed on the lawn. The hawk clawed at its prey for a couple of seconds, but must have been put off by my presence, because the small bird escaped and flew off. The hawk pursued it, but it got away.

This means something good, right?

Friday, February 23, 2007

First daffodils spotted.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

So it's come to this - overheard on a bus

Male student: ..I'm not liking this new job, I get oil all over my hands
Female student: You want to get some Swarfayga
Male student: What's that then?
Female student: It's not very nice, like green jelly, smells funny, but it gets oil and stuff right off your skin
Male student: Where'd I get that from?
Female student: Any cleaning shop. Swarfayga, s-w-a-r-f-e-g-a
Male student: Yeah, I'll get some of that then, I need some of that in my house

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Doctor Who spin-offs no.3

Vorg v the Borg

/DW crossover in the Allo Allo vein of badly misjudged comedy treatment of extreme evil.

As the Borg run rampant through the galaxy, a bureacratic mixup leaves the defence in the hands of showman Vorg and his assistant Shirna. Each week they blunder their way to defeat, escaping assimilation by the skin of their teeth.

I see a kind of Prisoner style meta-drama where Leslie Dwyer assumes narrative control, resulting in an increasingly dark series 2 where Vorg is driven mad by his experiences, and an ambiguous conclusion where he rips off a Borg's prostheses to reveal the mocking face of Pletrac. Other clues - maintain fans - hint that the whole thing took place while Vorg had his head stuck inside the Miniscope.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Doctor Who spin-offs no. 2


Groundbreaking split-screen Ed Wood homage following the adventures of a Mongol warlord who secretly dresses as a flight attendant, and a DW companion/flight attendant who secretly dresses as a Mongol warlord.

Watch out for the hilarious Christmas episode where the two meet - on the same night that Tegan's boss, and Tegana's war-overlord, are coming to dinner!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Doctor Who spin-offs no.1

Eldrad, Eldrad and the Eldreds

Family sitcom starring the female and male versions of the Kastrian anarch. Strong Big John, Little John vibe with Eldrad changing helplessly between sexes at inopportune moments.

Light relief provided by Saxon Eldred from Time Meddler as their inept son, Prof Eldred from Seeds of Death as cantankerous old Grandad, and Sophie Aldred as their comedy rebellious teenage daughter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Face of Evil

I've just finished watching for the first time The Face of Evil, which has always been one of my favourite Targets. The Doctor's musings about Sarah! The Horda! The black wall! The ultrabeam accelerator! The vast carving of the Doctor's face! The moment where the Sevateem finally gaze on the plain beyond the mountains, where lies Paradise!

Musings - absent. Horda - rubber. Black wall - plastic (I was at least expecting a CSO effect). Carving - too small. Plain - too briefly glimpsed. And the Tesh were very silly indeed.

Things which worked. The Sevateem - reasonably convincing, tho Neeva was balder than I imagined. Leela - tops from the word go. The 'invisible monsters have Doctor's face' - a lot better than I expected by that point. Xoanon's voices - not at all bad. Doctor/Leela final scene - if anything, better than the book, where the Doctor's 'but I don't cart them round the universe with me' comes across as rather harsh and cold, but on screen has much more warmth.