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I don't usually post fanfic.

But I spent yesterday home sick with a head cold, thinking about The Day of the Doctor.

You can't sleep properly with a head cold. The snot keeps you awake. And, if you're me, you distract yourself thinking about what you wanted to see with John Hurt's War Doctor.

Arcadia Falls )
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(I meant to blog my thoughts about this episode. Then I wrote all this as a comment in a friend's journal, so I might as well post this.)

I enjoyed it, but I had very mixed feelings.

Spoilers... )

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Reading back over this journal, I realsied that I have almost no functioning memory of the past. If I don't write it down, I forget it ever happened.

So: a quick wrap up of last week.

TUESDAY: Art Spiegelman
Art Spiegleman gavea talk at the Melbourne Town Hall about the history of comics, and his involvement with them. It was a fantastic talk, illustrated with a huge variety of slides. Hard to sum up, though - the brilliance lay in the details.

WEDNESDAY: Françoise Mouly
Art editor for The New Yorker, and Spiegelman's wife, Mouly talked about how she met Spiegelman, buying her first printing press in the 70s, starting Raw Comics, her work at The New Yorker, and her new line of comics for younger readers. Particularly interesting was the section on New Yorker covers that she rejected, including one from Robert Crumb about gay marriage.

THURSDAY: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
This documentary is now screening at Cinema Nova. To celebrate, they had a discussion panel afterwards that included Karen Pickering from Chrechez La Femme..

SATURDAY: The Handsome Family
Weird Southern Gothic folk-band. Lots of fun. Had a running joke about koalas, hence A.'s drawing.

SUNDAY: Splendid Chaps
I don't listen to podcasts, but I very much enjoy going to the live recordings of this Doctor Who one. This episoe was about David Tennant, and the theme of sex.

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It's been a busy month or so. In lieu of a proper blog post, you're getting subheadings.

I was on four panels at Continuum 9. They all went really well, I think, including the one on cultural appropriation that I was most nervous about. I don't really remember much about what was said in my panels. The Plot 101 panel  started in one room, but it was too small, so we moved to a bigger room, then got kicked out of that one when the organisers needed it to set up for a speech, so we moved out and finished in the foyer. "It's a character journey," I quipped. "Beginning, middle and end."

I also won a free ticket to next year's Continuum, and am plotting panels.

Another production as part of MTC's Neon festival. 'By Their Own Hands' was a retelling of the Oedipus myth. Or more accurately: three retellings. Act one, the two actors invited the audience on to the stage, and told the myth as straight story-telling. Act two was a silent, visual retelling. Act three was just dialogue, the two actors standing at microphones and talking. It was fascinating to see the same story stripped down and retold different ways. But after embracing the audience in the first act, it felt distancing to be told to go sit back down in our seats.

Splendid Chaps is a podcast about Doctor Who by Ben McKenzie and John Richards. There were meant to be eleven episodes, one for each Doctor. But then they did all these side episodes, and then John Hurt happened, and now that plan has been abandoned. What's lovely about this podcast is that they record them in front of a live studio audience. I've been to several of them now, and hearing them talk so passionately about classic Who has finally inspired me to go back and watch some old episodes.

Some of the old episode are great. Some of them remind me why I decided not to rewatch them.

Joss Whedon's low budget indie version of the Shakespeare play. He shot it in two weeks while on a break from directing The Avengers, which has led to some peculiar cross-marketing: "Like superheroes and explosions! You've love a five hundred year old romantic comedy!"

It's fun, but slight. Oddly for Whedon, he never quite nails the emotional swerves. And the modern-dress, Californian bungalow setting is at odds with the play's obsession with maidenly virtue. Amy Acker is great, though.

My friend Alex Hammond has had his debut novel published by Penguin. It's called Blood Witness, and it's a crime/legal thriller set in Melbourne. There was a book launch last Tuesday at Readings, with Alan Brough interviewing Alex. I'm really excited for Alex: he's the hardest working writer I know, and it's fantastic to see his dedication pay off.

We've also been to Women of Letters, Melbourne Literary Salon, and I saw the Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures exhibition with my sister. I'm also way behind on blogging about my Project Read All the YA.

Right. Update over. Back to work, you lot.

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Just finished watching the Doctor Who episode "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS".

This isn't really a review. It's just some thoughts, about environment and imagination. But be warned:

Spoilers Follow... )

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If you're not reading Neil Gaiman's blog, well... I'm not really sure why I'm friends with you.

But he's posted an unused introduction he wrote for a Doctor Who novel. And in it, he nails exactly what it is l love about both Doctor Who and Gaiman's Neverwhere:

For a start, I had become infected by the idea that there are an infinite number of worlds, only a footstep away.

And another part of the meme was this: some things are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. And, perhaps, some people are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside, as well.


A final Dr Who connection – again, from the baggy-trousered Troughton era, when some things were more than true for me – showed itself, in retrospect, in my BBC TV series, Neverwhere.

Not in the obvious places – the BBC decision that Neverwhere had to be shot on video, in episodes half an hour long, for example. Not even in the character of the Marquis de Carabas, who I wrote – and Paterson Joseph performed – as if I were creating a Doctor from scratch, and wanted to make him someone as mysterious, as unreliable, and as quirky as the William Hartnell incarnation. But in the idea that there are worlds under this one, and that London itself is magical, and dangerous, and that the underground tunnels are every bit as remote and mysterious and likely to contain Yeti as the distant Himalayas...

An infinite number of worlds, only a footstep away...

Oh yes. Oooh yes.

I was always a daydreamer. In primary school, while the other kids were off playing kiss chasey, my small circle of friends and I would be huddled around an old tree stump, pretending it was the TARDIS console. The monkey-bars became the landing gear of a spacecraft. And there was a giant wooden climbing frame (seriously huge- twice the size of an adult) that became an alien pyramid on an alien world.

I once spent an entire weekend playing Lord of the Rings, incorporating everything into my game: chopping firewood, eating dinner, taking the dog for a walk. (I was the only one playing this game - imagination, like long-distance running - is a lonely sport.)

And that's why Neverwhere was so exciting when I first read it.

Because it's not set in some unattainable fantasyland. It's set in a real city, with real landmarks. The imagination is not some distant country. It radiates out from us, bathing the streets and train stations and office blocks of our everyday lives, and makes us see them in strange and dazzling new lights.


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July 2014

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