Thursday, 23 June 2011

THE LENS OF LUCID FRENZY HITS BEXHILL ON SEA! visit the John Cage exhibition (which I will blog about soon as I get the chance, honest)! But I also took a few photos in honour of the modernist palace that is The De la Warr Pavilion. Plus the International Alternative Press Fair in London. These photos and more viewable on my Flickr page.


  1. Andrew Stevens26 June 2011 at 01:39

    Off topic, but I wanted to remind you that you were going to watch The Gunfighters and let me know what you think. It came out in the UK five days ago.

  2. Hadn't forgotten! In fact still intend writing a series of posts on the Hartnell era, and have already watched 'The Gunfighters'. But as I haven't actually finished watching the Hartnells and already have a backlog of other stuff to post, I have to admit I have no idea when that will be going up!

    I was thinking of then progressing to the Troughton era which, at my current rate, I'll have finished about the time I start collecting my pension! To get to Sylvester McCoy I will probably need to live forever...

  3. Andrew Stevens27 June 2011 at 00:01

    If you're watching the reconstructions as well, I'm not surprised. Some stories I really enjoy are reconstructions, but they're always a chore, frankly. I experience a palpable sense of relief when I come to the stories that still exist. If you're not watching the reconstructions, well, you can get through Troughton in a matter of months even at a ridiculously slow pace, since almost all of Troughton's first couple of seasons were obliterated. Pertwee might take you to your pension though.

  4. Out of some fundamentalist instinct, I'm not dallying with the reconstructions. Instead I'm reading the scripts then watching the sequenced stills, which have survived from almost all episodes. (And are normally on YouTube or the like, presumably the BBC feels less propriertorial about them.)

    ...which means of course it takes longer to see the episodes that don't exist than the ones which do!

    If Pertwee takes me to my pension, I'll need to be reincarnated for Baker. (Wasn't he the longest-serving Doctor?)

    In all honesty, I don't know when I'll start posting them. Certainly not before the Autumn.

  5. Andrew Stevens28 June 2011 at 17:31

    By that method, Troughton will take forever, you're right. The very first time I watched through the whole series, I did it your way because good reconstructions didn't yet exist. The BBC is actually pretty lenient about the reconstructions: they have left alone the creators as long as they don't try to profit from them. However, out of courtesy, the creators have traditionally refused to release them on DVD or similar high-quality media so as not to compete with anything the BBC may eventually offer. I do like the reconstructions because you can hear the performances that were actually given, but it's still a chore. (I'm not a fan of audio dramas, even when they're meant to be audio dramas.)

    Yes, Baker is the longest running Doctor, but by your method, Troughton will probably take longer than anyone else.

  6. I'm a fan of audio dramas. 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide' is better on audio, that's not just fannish snobbery. But I do prefer them when they're meant to be audio dramas, yes.

    Added to which, the stills were taken not at significant moments but at regulated intervals. Sometimes they don't seem to change at all for minutes, then something important is skipped over!

    I've always imagined the no DVDs rule signified a hardening of the BBC's attitude. I mean, they were originally released on video because that was the only available format, weren't they? It also means they will eventually become essentially unavailable, as the last VCRs go out of circulation. (On the other hand, I still have one!)

    Just out of curiousity, is there a particularly good reconstruction crew?

  7. Andrew Stevens28 June 2011 at 23:08

    Hitch-Hiker's Guide is one of the rare exceptions I will grant. (I do prefer the books, but it's only a slight preference and I think that's my own prejudice and that you're correct - the audios are actually better.)

    Absolutely right about the stills and there are some stories for which stills are practically non-existent as well. For long stretches, the reconstructions are just a bunch of repetitive photographs, but the best reconstructions offer text subtitles narrating the action when appropriate and throughout you get the audio performances of the actual cast, which isn't to be sniffed at.

    I don't know if the no-DVD rule was BBC or self-imposed. It was probably a tightening because the BBC included a shortened reconstruction of Marco Polo on one of their DVDs and may have had plans to create their own reconstructions on DVD at one point (and perhaps they still do).

    Best reconstruction crew, hands down, is Loose Cannon at At least one of the members assisted the BBC in their reconstruction of Marco Polo in the In the Beginning boxset. It looks like Loose Cannon hasn't done anything new in a couple of years, based on their website, but their stuff was top shelf, especially the later stuff.

  8. I think 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide' shows radio working at it's best. The daft ideas and crazy sound effects conjure up a better picture in your head than anything you could put on a screen.

    Thanks for the link to the Loose Cannon site. However, it looked like the only way to see any was to send them a blank VHS tape, which all seemed a bit labour-intensive, so I may stick to YouTube!

    Incidentally, "top shelf" is one of those divided-by-a-common-language expressions. I think in the States it refers to bars, and the best alcohol being kept on the top? But here the predominant meaning is pornography! I had to point that one out to Top Shelf comix when they started. But then they later went on to publish 'Lost Girls', so I suppose it all worked out...

  9. Andrew Stevens30 June 2011 at 05:02

    Agreed on Hitch-Hiker.

    I did a whole bunch in one go and was fortunate enough to find a gentleman in New Jersey who was happy to accept a check which reimbursed him for the videotapes rather than requiring me to ship the blank cassettes to him.

    I didn't know about the UK use of the term. I think the best guess for the US origin is what you say - the best liquor was kept on the top shelf. I didn't mean that Loose Cannon included pictures of Katy Manning posing with Daleks.

  10. Brett Warnock, who originally founded Top Shelf, worked as a bartender, which is where he picked up the phrase. The first 'Top Shelf' anthology even had a kind of self-portrait on the cover.

  11. "I didn't mean that Loose Cannon included pictures of Katy Manning posing with Daleks."

    I never understood why the Daleks didn't get naked in those pictures.