Doctor Who – Twelfth Doctor – Femme Fatale?

The 32nd run of Doctor Who began April 23rd with the 771st episode (count them!) The Impossible Astronaut followed by this Day of The Moon episode.  And it was as riveting as most recent series have been with Matt Smith at the helm and Karen Gillan his charismatic companion. This episode was also a fitting and touching memorial to Elisabeth Sladen who died April 19th and who was former Doctor companion Sarah Jane Smith and then latterly star of the spin-off Sarah Jane Adventures.

The Eleventh Doctor

Doctor Who like much of the superhero genre appeals to young and old alike.  For the young there are the special powers and effects, monsters and other villains, costumes and other fantastical elements.  I have nieces that love the new Andrew Davies and Julie Gardner rejuvenation of it, Eccleston, Tennant and now Smith, as much as I did when I was their age in the early 1970’s with Pertwee and Baker at the helm.  And for the old there are the angsty existential themes of mortality and immortality, love and hate, peace and war of which to grapple with. Though in truth if we are young at heart we enjoy as much the special effects and monsters as these weightier themes!

Doctor Who is a bleak story and character.  He is timeless yet all his friends exist in time – they all die, he lives on, ultimately alone. Quite a secular tale too – aliens are eminently plausible but heavenly beings are mere poppycock. Matt Smith captures this existential situation very well.

Matt Smith is the Eleventh Doctor. The Doctor is a space-time traveller. Virginia Woolf’s Orlando did the same upon its Big Bang nearly a century ago in 1928. Orlando went one better than the Doctor though – the Doctor has not yet transformed his male physical anatomy into female form, Orlando did.

The Twelfth Doctor?

I had hoped that the Eleventh Doctor could have made this gender transformation.

Billie Piper would have been a candidate but alas has companion Rose to the Tenth Doctor David Tennant this would be a violation of a televisual scripture if not a temporal rule!

But come on – we Brits belatedly had a female Prime Minister yet still no female Doctor!

For the Twelfth Doctor I am hopeful.  Keeley Hawes would make a fabulous Time Lord. Sarah Parish I could also see the part as a brooding soul lost in time-space. Michelle Ryan had a super-hero role cut short as The Bionic Woman so perhaps the Doctor role would be a perfect reprieve for her. Though I now recall her as The Lady Christina de Souza in the ‘Planet of the Dead’ episode.  But cast aside the televisual scripture! – actors can be recast anew a thousand times at the hands of the casters and broadcasters!

Time for the Doctor to get in touch with his feminine side.


Dragon’s Den Online

One evolution of television due to the web is not just a website supporting its content or airing of that content again online but the airing of additional content not able to be shown on-air due to scheduling constraints.

Dragon’s Den Online is the web offshoot of the Sony originated and BBC Broadcast Dragon’s Den.

It is a similar format if just two dragons than the usual five. Currently these are charismatic and telegenic Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital and Shaf Rasul of E-Net Computers. And Dominic Byrne in the Evan Davies commentator role.

Another slight difference is that £50,000 is the ceiling for the capital investment.

Being online means that unlike the TV series you are able to choose the pitches you want to watch and I watched pitches by Gill Goodchild for Costume Workshop Direct and Ian Gallagher for Classic Sinatra.  We are also able to rate the pitches ourselves and see how others have rated them. We can also comment on them.

Summaries are available for each of the pitches including the dragon’s thoughts on them.

There is no dating of the particular pitches which I think is an oversight and the site itself does not have a very engaging or interactive feel beyond the online pitches themselves.

For the Online Den to be really invested in it needs to remain current and overseen by an active online production team. Nevertheless it is an interesting insight into new business ideas and the creative and financial planning requirements involved.

Taylor Momsen – Miss Nothing Unplugged

I am a latecomer to this NME TV video of Taylor Momsen’s band The Pretty Reckless with an unplugged version of their song Miss Nothing – recorded August 20 2010 at the Borderline London England.

Ben Phillips turns in a great rock’n’roll performance on acoustic guitar – guitar soundboard percussion too.

And Taylor soars along the melody of this song.

A slightly shy dressing-room performance but she still exudes star appeal whether she likes it or not – Courtney Love and Deborah Harry’s Sweet Rock Child – and again another actor trespassing on the rock pop music territory as if it were her own – think of Evan Rachel Wood Across the Universe in the Julie Taymor Beatles fantasy homage and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Gleeful Prince Kiss – what a pity that when singers turn to acting it is not usually this good.

But for Taylor Momsen this is more than just a flirting alliance – she seems heart and soul committed to it.  I will be interested how long she sticks on this path or turns back to Gossip Girl and other acting. I think she should stick with rock music while still young and return to the acting later – rock singers usually become less interesting as they get older – Neil Young being the exception list of one?!

But talk of this is ridiculous as I keep forgetting she is only 17!

And I look forward a few more ballads too. ‘You’ the final track on their 2010 Light Me Up album  was a beautiful soul number.

Shine On Miss Everything.

Voting in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections – for an Independent Green Scotland

The Scottish Parliamentary Elections for 2011 take place May 5.  Additionally there is the AV Referendum.

Will you be voting? Do you share who you vote for or believe it should be a secret? Certainly that is your constitutional right – usually exercised by Conservatives!

I voted today by post.  I am quite comfortable with voting this way – security is paramount and I believe that is as achievable by post as with the traditional ballot box.  I am pretty sure technological means would be as secure and more efficient.  I would have quite happily texted my vote today had I the opportunity.  Perhaps in the second half of this century we will get that opportunity.

For the Alternative Vote Referendum I voted yes.  I am not going to rehash the arguments given in previous posts – I have heard nothing further to persuade me to change my opinion that we need to ditch First Past The Post – and AV is a first if tiny and imperfect step toward doing so.

For the Scottish Parliament I was more uncertain.  I decided to compare manifestos and found this tool on the BBC News website very helpful toward that end.

The Banking Crisis of 2008 was a seismic event – not just economically but politically. It really gave the lie to unfettered unregulated capitalism. And when it came to it that New Labour were every much signatories of Crony Capitalism as the Conservatives were.

Yet there seems to be only populist rhetoric against the banks by the mainstream parties not matched by very substantial actions.  As if they would wish the issue would go away – they have to play golf with these bankers after-all!  And this is reflected in their manifestos – I had to dig deep to find policies and comments on the banking crisis – it should not be tucked away but one of the main platforms of their manifestos. Only the Green Party manifesto addressed this issue in any substantial way.

The Scottish Parliament

For my Regional ballot though the Greens alas were not an available option.  It was a choice then between the SNP and Labour.  The key dividing issue for me here is Scottish Independence.  I have some ambivalence toward the issue – I live and work in Scotland and my father’s family are Scots.  My mother’s family on the other hand is English and Welsh and I was born and brought up in England.  I am in fact a typical Brit.  And I feel English and British as much as I feel Scottish.

However I do think that Scots should have the right to determine their own independence and to be asked by a referendum.  Scotland is traditionally Labour and yet many elections return Conservatives to Westminster – it is easy to see their frustration and disconnect with London and England.  Though on this basis the North of England could also consider independence!

I understand Scottish Labour’s opposition – it is Real Politiks – if Scotland is independent then a huge swathe of their vote is lost to the UK Parliament – an English Parliament is almost certainly Tory.

Scottish people do need to be asked about Scottish Independence – so then I voted for the SNP.

On the Constituency ballot I did have the option to vote Green.  Here I had to choose between them and the SNP.  I liked the SNP’s green policies too.  But as said felt the Green’s response to the banking crisis most chimed with my feelings.  I also liked their proposals to abolish the Council Tax and replace with a Land Value Tax. They also propose a small half-a-percent rise in tax which I felt was honest in the context of the voodoo economics of monetary debasement and or fiscal austerity of the other parties. We have a huge deficit caused by bailing out the banks and yet all the other parties focus mainly on cutting back services and not raising taxes in any substantive way.  I am not for over-burdening taxes either but feel we no longer have the balance right – the gap between rich and poor continues to widen – we cannot expect quality public services without being prepared to invest in them.  Low to zero taxes and quality public services is not a circle that squares.

Today is International Mother Earth Day – not a reason for voting Green of course – but it felt fitting too.

And of course because of the proportional voting system we have in Scotland I was able to vote for a smaller party knowing that my vote will still matter.  In the UK I have to vote Labour just to counter the Conservatives – that is a negative rather than positive vote.

You know – vote yes to AV!

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and boys with pink toe-nails

The Comedy Channel’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart in its episode of April 13 (and broadcast in the UK on More 4 on April 18) featured a piece on J.Crew’s Creative Director Jenna Lyon’s recent weekly Email ‘Saturday with Jenna’ featuring an article and photograph of her with her son sporting pink toe-nails and the line ‘Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favourite colour is pink’.

A touching scene but surely not controversial?

In the US it seems so.

The piece has been touted as symptomatic of gender confusion and the feminization of America!  If this were the response of a few bloggers here and there I would think nothing more of it.  The fact that Fox News took against it is also of no surprise but that mainstream channels such as CNN and ABC took up air-time to discuss this ‘story’ I find astounding if not shameful.

Are they for real?

If the photograph had featured a father with his daughter and she sporting a Groucho Marx moustache would we be subject to tirades about gender confusion and the masculinization of America?!

I very much doubt it.  This response is as much then about conservative male chauvinism.

Much ado about nail-varnish.  Words should fail me.

I can but wonder how bemused Jenna Lyons must feel.

Jon Stewart was agog and I share his agogness!

I apologize for re-producing the offending image in my post and hope it hasn’t disoriented your sense of gender identity too much!

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife?

Julianna Margulies red dressJulianna Margulies plays The Good Wife Alicia Florrick in this CBS commissioned court-room drama and currently aired in the UK on More 4.

But what of its tale of fidelity? Chris Noth as Peter Florrick is her husband – impeached and imprisoned former State’s Attorney and now released looking to rebrand himself to run for this office again – and the impression of fidelity at least is part of that spin.

The Good Wife should really anchor around Alicia Florrick but feels like any other good ensemble cast court-room drama – such as Shark and Silk – Alicia Florrick as The Good Advocate?

Her husband’s political campaign is ran by the Machiavellian Eli Gold played with relish by Alan Cumming – Alicia Florrick The Good Pawn?

Peter Florrick’s other guiding force is his mother Jackie played by Mary Beth Peil – Alicia The Good Daughter In Law?

Alicia’s daughter Grace played by Mackenzie Vega  is a rebel with a floating cause and met with infinite understanding by her mother – Alicia The Good Mom?

A stellar team at law firm Lockhart/Gardner with its partners Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner, and high-flying staffers Kalinda Sharma and Cary Agos – Alicia a star among other stars – the Good Work Colleague?

But the Good Wife?  This does not feel like a running motif rather an initial hook later forgotten if not abandoned.

The Good Wife is itself written by partners Michelle and Robert King no doubt a good wife and good husband.

Alicia Florrick a good wife certainly, but The Good Wife the series just another Good Courtroom Drama?  If a genre with, excuse the pun, a high bar.