I am a fan of Doctor Who. To my friends and family who are not part of the whole Doctor Who world, I seem a bit mad and eccentric. To the people who inhabit the Whoniverse with all the love, fervour and passion of Doctor Who fandom, I’m probably a bit of an amateur. But I am passionate, and I write weekly episode reviews for a culture ‘zine blog. I’ve also done a couple of reviews of Doctor Who audio adventures for the extremely well-regarded BlogtorWho website. An honour indeed.
As an occasional contributor to the BlogtorWho website, the Blogtor himself (Cameron K McEwan) sent me this book to review. The Dalek Generation is written by Doctor Who legend Nicholas Briggs, who among his many talents provides the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen in the TV series.
In a recent interview, Russell T Davies, the man who brought Doctor Who back to our TV screens in 2005, admitted that he wished he’d asked Briggs to write an episode when he, Davies, was the showrunner. And so as I read The Dalek Generation I wondered whether Davies’s faith in Briggs’s writing ability was justified.
Well, yes and no, to be honest, although when I submitted my review to BlogtorWho, I did feel as though I’d shot Santa or something equally awful. I loved the way Briggs’s love of the show dripped from the pages of the book, but the story itself felt a bit saggy round the middle (hey, don’t we all! – Ed).
The whole experience, though, was a really positive one and it’s a good thing for me to be trusted by someone I admire and respect to write something for a website that has, until quite recently, been run solely by him. It must have taken a big leap of faith for the Blogtor to trust me and a couple of others to write for his site, and one I hope I’ve done justice.
How good was Light Night? Bloody good, is the answer.
LightNight is Liverpool’s one-night arts and culture festival, which took place on Friday night. Over 50 city centre organisations kept their galleries, museums and venues open until late, staging around 100 special cultural events for visitors of all ages.
This year, visitors were able to enjoy the launch of LOOK/13 Liverpool International Photography Festival, the public reopening of Central Library as part of the In Other Words festival, spectacular light projections, street theatre, and a vibrant myriad of walking tours, open studios, live music, hands-on workshops and much more.
I set off on Friday night with Johny, my favourite plus one, Vickie, and him indoors to see what was on offer.
We started with one of the most amazing things this city has witnessed for a long time. The opening of our magnificent new central Library. A glory of the age, the library celebrated its opening on LightNight. I’d been shown around as part of the press launch, but seeing it with people thronged around it was something else altogether. From the moment I saw one of my eldest child’s school chums doing her biology revision in a little corner, I knew that this place is going to be well-loved and well-used as a place of learning.
From there we pootled over to see Izzy Major from Hope Street Ltd performing the Open Culture commissioned “Bookworm.” Izzy was surrounded by books and positively encouraged audience participation, even getting Johny up to read from The Wizard of Oz to the delight of everyone who watched, if not Johny himself.
We headed over to the Baltic Creative to see Made Here, a pop-up shop selling locally made artwork and spent a lovely bit of time talking to Andrew Beattie of Give Me Soul Ltd about the upcoming Liverpool Craft Beer festival (more to follow on that one!) and Doctor Who. Always good to meet a fellow fan.
We then headed to cafe 51 just in time to see the wonderful Kaya Hersted Carney of the Science of the Lamps performing a fantastic acoustic set. With time running out to see more, we headed round the corner to Arena Studios, where Paul Bywater’s Sergio Leone inspired exhibition was on show. Pencil drawings of spaghetti western-style characters adorned the gallery’s walls, but were well out of our budget!
Arena always embrace Light Night and we’ve never left empty handed, and this year was no different. Johny won a trophy playing the rather existentially titled “Mystical Duck Portal of Fate” game, or “Duck Chuck” as my young Arena chum, Flynn calls it. then we had a blind portrait done by Arena artist Carol Ramsay, where I ended up with a rather fetching goatee, which Carol insists was my scarf!
We set off to Camp & Furnace and saw images from the LOOK/13 photography exhibition, including images form my Threshold chum, Michael Kirkham, who is the second most Googled Michael Kirkham on the planet, fact fans.
Edging our way past Camp & Furnace’s enormous bouncers, we sat down for a well earned rest and a little tipple while we listened to some good, old-school dance tunes. It was most definitely a night to remember.
Enormous thanks and congratulations go to everyone who pulled their guts out to make this year’s Light Night so, so good. You are all heroes in our eyes.
With apologies for the quality, here’s some pictures of the night. Can’t wait for next year.
I started the 6 Book Challenge with the aim of reading authors and genres I hadn’t come across before. I sent word to all my friends that I was on the look-out for new material and I asked them to tell me about their much loved books. The response was overwhelming, in fact it was so overwhelming that I retreated to my default setting and chose a book by an author I’d come across before.
Niffenegger’s much-lauded ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ has been one of my favourite books of the last few years. Beautifully written with that old favourite of sci-fi aficionados – time travel – given a new edge, this book is very sweet, extremely sexy and I can’t recommend it highly enough. But that’s not what I’m discussing here.
‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ tells the rather odd tale of the newly-dead Elspeth, whose spirit now inhabits the flat where her living being once dwelled; now owned by her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. It’s written in a rather sad and mournful tone, which reflects the book’s setting in and around London’s Highgate cemetery.
As the tale of the three women unfolds, it intertwines with the stories of Robert, Elspeth’s lover, and Martin, her obsessive compulsive neighbour, and you wonder where on earth (or elsewhere) this story can go. The ending, which is both mad and nonsensical and yet within the context of this tale, strangely logical.
I wouldn’t say I loved ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, but it was certainly interesting and intriguing. If you don’t mind a bit of mad old nonsense in your reading materials, it’s well worth a go.