This Week’s Gaming Vids

I started a new (short) series of a playthrough of the CLASSIC 1992 RPG/strategy game Dune, based on the book (and heavily influenced by David Lynch’s movie). It’s an AWESOME game. And also if you search “the spice must flow” on YouTube I’m number 18. (My most successful tag to date is “you have died of dysentery” where I’ve reached the Dizzying Heights of number 4 for this vid.)

My attempt to finish Skyrim continues with a trip to the Thalmor Embassy in the sixth ep of my Let’s Play Skyrim.

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Saturday Yayfulness Links

I did not do Terribly Well with keeping up with lovely weekly links of YAYFUL THINGS that happened that week last year, but FORWARDS. Here is a round-up of STUFF that I found QUITE LOVELY this week:

1 – Actual local news! There’s been a rather nifty archeological discovery where I live, where archeologists seem to have found the royal seat of a sixth century kingdom known as Rheged, previously thought to be a bit further south in Cumbria.

2 – James Frain has been cast as Sarek in the new Star Trek telly. I love Sarek. By which I mean Mark Lenard’s Sarek. And in principle the idea of recasting the part ANNOYS, especially because I was thoroughly unimpressed with the reboot Sarek. HOWEVER James Frain is actually one of my very favourite actors (I adored his performance as Cromwell in The Tudors and have more or less followed all the stuff he’s done since then) and is in the category of “yes, I will watch this terrible non-genre telly because you are in it” SO I am actually quite sold on the idea now. Shallowly.

3 –Bryan Cranston joins the new Power Rangers movie, and after reading him talking about why and trusting VAGUELY that Cranston knows a good script when he sees one I am..sort of excited about the new Power Rangers movie? SHHHHH. I’M SORRY. But also I was a wee kid when the very first Power Rangers was on the telly and IT WAS RLY COOL, OKAY? Ahem.

4 – This MAGNFICIENT Star Trek fanvid by shinyjenni which brings ALL THE HAPPY FEELS. (Which reminds I haven’t actually seen the new Star Trek movie yet, I should do that.)

5 – The Woman’s March has expanded to all seven continents of the world. Love and support to everyone marching today.

Five Tom Baker Stories Every Doctor Who Fan Should Watch

I say “should”, but y’know, I don’t want to gatekeep or the like; you might really not like the Fourth Doctor, in which case, sure, I JUDGE you, but I don’t want you to be miserable watching Fourth Doctor stories when you could be having a yayful time watching Pertwee or the Other Baker or Eccleston or such. SO. With that DUBIOUS excusing of the title of the post out of the way, it’s Tom Baker’s birthday! He’s Eleventy Hundred or something and is going to live forever! And here are five Doctor Who stories what he did where he was the most marvellous Tom Baker that Tom Baker can be.

Genesis of the Daleks – An obvious pick but DAMMIT, it’s obvious for a reason. It’s freaking GREAT. Don’t say Genesis isn’t great, it is; the only reason it might not FEEL great is because you’ve been told it’s great so many times that you built up some sort of televisual tolerance to its greatness. This is Doctor Who at Allegorical Best. It’s not subtle, but it doesn’t need to be subtle. It doesn’t WANT to be subtle. It wants to be the Doctor fighting fascism where there is a cause of death round every radioactive corner and you’re half-convinced no-one is going to get out of this mess alive. It’s about MORALITY, and how the right thing might not be the good thing, and there can be no good choices, but maybe there are cheats and temporary fixes, and oh God, WHILE THERE’S LIFE THERE’S HOPE. Also, there’s THE SCENE. “Would you do it?” It’s a great scene. A stupendous scene. Don’t ever diss the scene. (Alternatively, pick out ANY story from Season Eleven aka Tom Baker’s first year; they are all GOLD. (Yes, even Revenge, stfu haters). Tom Baker may not having a clue what the fuck he is doing but he is doing it MARVELLOUSLY. There is, arguably, no better season of Who, ever.)

The Deadly Assassin – I hate to rec this story, I do. It gets recced for terrible reasons, like “the Master is scary” or “the Master’s motivation makes sense.” WHATEVER. IMO, this is the very worst Master story BAR NONE (yeah, I said it, if we’re talking Master stories, I prefer End of Time to this, and I bloody hate End of Time) BUT as a Tom Baker story it is THE TOP. And I don’t say that just cause we get Tom Baker running around the place in boots and a very fetching poet shirt, though frankly, that is a plus. The Doctor is often tasked to outwit his opponent, and we are PRETTY CONFIDENT almost all of the time that the Doctor is smarter, and has more experience, and he will figure a way out. The great thing about Assassin is, sure, it’s his brain fighting, but what we see is the Doctor physically tested. He has to run all around a quarry TRYING TO KILL HIM, and get hunted in a jungle, drowned in a swamp, run over by a train, AND HE STILL KEEPS FIGHTING. We are getting a WHOLE OTHER WARDROBE of acting choices from Baker here, stuff with despair and exhaustion,  desperation and fear that are so very rare for any Doctor. Also, Bob Holmes writes much more interesting Time Lords than we’ve seen so far. INTERESTING IS GOOD. AND they get the shiny skull caps and big collars and cloaks. What more does anyone want.

The Pirate Planet -WHAT?! Yes, I know, why didn’t I say The Ribos Operation, or City of Death? Well, yes, you should watch them too, they’re amazing. But I wanted to step OUTSIDE THE OBVIOUS BOX for a second to rec one of my beloved faves. It is forever written on my heart for the moment we get the full Tom Baker Doctor fury of “THEN WHAT’S IT FOR?” Rarely has a Doctor been so angry, so morally outraged, so MAGNIFICENT onscreen. It is worth watching for those seconds alone, dammit. It’s also got a lot of DELIGHTFUL SILLINESS. And if you enjoy this combo of drama and silly then you are WELL SET UP for enjoying practically any Doctor Who story.  Also the Captain has a ROBOT PARROT. And there is a shoot off betwen the robot parrot and the Doctor’s robot dog. Oh, Doctor Who.

Horror of Fang Rock – The QUINTESSENTIAL Doctor Who story. Closer to the Platonic ideal than any other seventies Who story. It is MAGNIFICENT. A period piece,  in a lighthouse, with an ever decreasing cast as the looming threat circles closer, and ALIENS of DUBIOUS DESIGN. This is a story to be CHERISHED. Obviously some fans may not enjoy it, sure, but try to argue this is a bad story TRY IT. YOU CAN’T, not unless you want to be a disengenous cabbage. It’s not just great Doctor Who, it’s top seventies British telly. Also, good game: which is the best directed Doctor Who story, Horror of Fang Rock or Heaven Sent? I DON’T KNOW.

Logopolis – Ah, the swan song. Tom Baker’s final year was a year of sadness, of doom, of heart-wrenching break-up with Romana. Sure, Logopolis has its flaws – an eighties computer can save the universe…hang on, I LOVE THAT, that’s not a flaw, that’s lolarious. But there is that bit with the Master and the tape recorder. Let’s ignore that, and focus on Tom Baker, who is magnificent, and commanding, and DOOMED, and he knows it. There is a majesty to his final performance, an invulnerability even as he knows he’s going to die. Sure it’s not a perfect story, there are messy bits, Adric is there, but there is a GREATNESS to it. It’s a final salute not just to this incarntion of the Doctor but, in many ways, to THE DOCTOR. And I say that with Troughton as my fave and Capaldi and Smith fighting it out with Baker for second place. No other actor so indelibly stamped the role as his, (the fact is, none of the New Series ones CAN atm, as we simply don’t know if they will stand the test of forty years, but Tom Baker has) and it is a heartwrenching farewell to a truly great Doctor.

And that’s the lot! Happy birthday, Tom Baker, and thank you for making my childhood that little bit more magical!

Two podcasts and an article

Hello, Tuesday, a day of much mist and rain which was LOVELY…it’s not quite windy enough to be a STORM but it is getting there. But, yes, things! I was on a couple of podcasts recently, which were tremendous fun and hopefully Quite Nice to listen to: the latest Low Definition, one of the Incomparable network’s game shows where I think I acquitted myself MAGNIFICENTLY in the field of song-writing. And on the rather spiffy Tangential Deviation Christmas Special where we totally talk about lovely festive things the whole time and no-one mentions Doctor Who *eye-dart*.

And Verity! podcast is in Doctor Who magazine this month! In a smashing feature about podcasts, which is rather spiffy. There are some extras bits that the feature writer, Graham Kibble-White, has put up on his blog over here.New Doctor Who is VERY SOON. Just in case you didn’t know that.

Doctor Who Buckety List

I failed to make a Friday Flail list so instead (and I totally started writing this on Friday, so it somehow counts against not failing at regular blogging) I give you my DOCTOR WHO BUCKETY LIST. It was supposed to be Bucket List but I typoed and then thought I liked the typo better. ANYWAYS. This is a list of everything I would like to see in (proper, meaning telly) Doctor Who before I DIE. Several things to bear in mind as you, no doubt a reader of fine taste and grand intellect, peruse this list (1) I consider the Time Monster to be top notch Who (2) I’m writing this inbetween gaming where  I’m in the midst of a miserable losing streak and this does not make me cheery (3) I’m quite tired, it’s almost midnight (4) I’m making this up as I go along.

The list!

  1. Doctor-Master bodyswap with Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi. Cause who DOESN’T want to see them play the other part?? No-one. The correct answer is no-one.
  2. Patrick Stewart as the Meddling Monk. Ah, the one rumour that I really had my HEART SET ON. And yet it’s not that ridic. Ian McKellen was in it, why wouldn’t PT want to? Apart from time. And money. And maybe hating Doctor Who, I don’t know. But it would be GREAT.
  3. A WOMAN DOCTOR. I’ll tell you who I want to be the Doctor more than anyone else on the planet: Alice Krige. If you don’t know who that is (AND WHY NOT??) she’s actually my very favourite (living) actor and South African so TECHNICALLY ineligible to play the Doctor but sod that, she’d be amazing (she was the Borg Queen, okay? DON’T JUDGE HER BASED ON THAT. Watch Children of Dune and judge her on that.) Actually, Anna Maxwell Martin would also be perfect and wonderful and I’d love her like pie AND she’s even been in the show already (The Long Game) so that means she’s practically got the job.
  4. Gel Guards. A big fuck off army of Gel Guards. So many classic Who monsters have returned, mostly not all that well, but how could ANYONE get Gel Guards wrong? Exactly. It literally COULDN’T happen.
  5. Ooh, Raston Warrior Robot. Yeah. God, they’d probably make it CGI, DON’T DO THAT. Non-CGI Raston Warrior Robot.
  6. The Rani. If only cause then you have to pretend in promos and shit that Time and the Rani is amazing (IT IS). But actually yeah, New Who’s pretty decent with female villains, bring back THE BEST ONE.
  7. You’re probably reading this thinking “dear God, doesn’t she want anything cool and new and original instead of just a lot of recycled old tat from the classic series?” And you know what, reader, YOU’RE RIGHT. That is basically all I want.
  8. NIMON. Another classic monster that it’s literally impossible to get wrong. FACT.
  9. Okay, actually I want some cool FUTURE EARTH stuff where this are GALACTIC POLITICS and interplanetary diplomacy with Ice Warriors on Mars, and Draconians, and it’s all just a THIN ALLEGORY of EU politics. (Yes, I know we had that before and one of the results was Monster of Peladon, but there is NO WAY a show could make something as tedious as Monster of Peladon TWICE…oh, wait, Voyage of the Damned, never mind. No, wait, there’s no way they could do it a third time. NO TELLY COULD BE THAT UNLUCKY.)
  10. Actually, sod it, it’s my list, I’d like a remix of Season 17. For the lols. My lols. No-one else’s probably.

Right, I have to go pretend I know about Star Trek on a podcast.

My Amazing Not the Least Bit Embarassing Christmas Playlist

I don’t have to make excuses for any of this, even though the desire is strong, IT’S CHRISTMAS. And this is the playlist I listen to (a work-in-progress of MANY YEARS):

1: Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) (The Darkness) – Probably my favourite Christmas song. I’m not sure how that happened, but yeah, there it is.

2: Do They Know It’s (Snoopy’s) Christmas (The Kustard Kings) – So, like many people, I have a completely rational strong dislike to bloody “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Because of course they fucking know. Fuck’s sake. Now, you might say, it’s just song lyrics. Sure. Song lyrics that REALLY ANNOY ME and patronise a whole continent, and that’s not the sort of thing I want to hear ever or at Christmas. HOWEVER, remove the lyrics and add a healthy dose of Peanuts and suddenly it’s awesomesauce.

3: Fairytale of New York (The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl)– When I was very young I did not get that this was not a happy song.

4: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Bing Crosby)

5: Here Comes Santa Claus (Doris Day)

6: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (Wizzard) – I was going to say I wasn’t actually terribly fond of this, but it just started playing and actually it is QUITE GREAT when it comes after the sombre God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and the more upbeat but much slower, less sparkly Here Comes Santa Claus. Yay, context!

7: In the Bleak Midwinter (Julie Andrews) – This actually makes me cry, shusht.

8: Is Christmas Only A Tree? (Bing Crosby) – I only know Bing Crosby via Christmas songs but I do love his Christmas songs.

9: Is This Christmas? (The Wombats) – I find this immensely cheering; I love a proper sparkly Christmas song, but I’ve plenty of room left for the angry, depressed ones too.

10:It Must Be Santa (Bob Dylan)

11: Jingle Bells (Duke Ellington and His Orchestra) – One where I listened to SO MANY VERSION to decide my favourite for THE PLAYLIST and this was the one I liked best.

12: The Little Drummer Boy (Christopher Lee) – No Christmas playlist is complete without some heavy metal from Christopher Lee. FACT.

13: Carol of the Bells (Exultate Choir and Orchestra) – I’m not entirely satisfied with this version as it’s not scary enough, but it’s pretty decent.

14: Deck the Halls (Vic Damone) – I really seem to like quite old American singers for Christmas songs.

15: Good King Wenceslas (The Ames Brothers) – I learned the Other Verses so I could sing along to this.

16: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Mahalia Jackson)

17: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland)

18: We Three Kings of Orient Are (Mario Lanza) – The dude calling out the names of the kings is the best. BALTHAZAR!!

19: Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms)

20: Silent Night (Eva Cassidy)

21: Cool Yule (Bette Midler)

And that’s my Christmas playlist!