The Rematerialisation Of A Writerly Icon

The man who saved Doctor Who from obscurity returns to his throne. But how good an idea is that?

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies is returning to the world of Doctor Who.

This is, to put it mildly, an interesting development. Davies’s absence from the Doctor Who world, after standing down alongside David Tennant back in 2008, has been fairly striking. Other than a brief, and really rather excellent, cameo during the (also rather excellent) The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, he was entirely in absentia from Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary shindigs. While some of that might simply be out of respect for his replacement, Steven Moffat, it’s still noticeable that the person responsible for guiding the show back from the Wilderness Years, and the person who single-handedly turned it into one of the most popular shows on television, was completely absent from the big party. Davies has done nothing for Big Finish at all, a company he claims to have been rather proud to have saved in the early days of the new show by quietly deflecting questions about licencing. And if ever there was a refuge for Doctor Who writers of the past, it’s Big Finish. There’s been the novelization of Rose, and it’s pretty good for what it is, but beyond that? Zip.

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1997 – Natalie Imbruglia, Torn

Nibbler

That career in pop music didn’t quite happen for Natalie Imbruglia. You can tell because, really, when was the last time you thought about Natalie Imbruglia? Exactly. The answer is almost certainly “the last time “Torn” came on the radio / was played in the mall”. We are firmly in one-hit wonder land and, you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not quite the whole story but let’s be honest, if anyone can name another song she recorded without having to Bing it then that would be pretty remarkable.

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Beatles Stuffology Podcast – Episode 2: P.S. I Love You

For our second episode of our podcast we dive into the B-side of the first entry, which means we’re covering P.S. I Love You. How does the song compare to its A-Side? Does the structure hang together? And just why do the Chipmonks intrude on the conversation?

Click Here To Listen

eMail: beatlesstuffology@gmail.com

Twitter: @beatles_ology

1996 – A Design For Life, Manic Street Preachers

While you could never claim that the Manic Street Preachers were a Britpop band – certainly not the way that Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Suede et al were – there’s no denying that their fourth album, Everything Must Go, slots terribly well into that genre. Right place, right time, right approach. It stands in stark contrast to the Manics previous album, The Holy Bible, which was full of bleak, disconcerting lyrics and stark, under-produced songs. It’s a strange, distant and powerful piece, and is an excellent summary of one phase of the band.

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1995 – Common People, Pulp

Bar Italia?

The biggest cliché of Britpop is that the correct answer to the question, “who’s better, Blur or Oasis?” is Pulp. And, indeed, it’s true. Clichés tend to become clichés because they have a grain of truth in them, so while Blur and Oasis were battling it out at the top of the charts with “Country House” and “Roll With It” respectively – a chart battle largely invented by and for the music press, subsequently fuelled by members of both bands – Pulp had already won the war with “Common People”. In the end Blur won the battle of the singles, with “Country House” (an unremarkable but entertaining slab of Kinks-derived pop) beating Oasis’s “Roll With It” (an unremarkable but entertaining slab of Beatles-derived pop) to the Number 1 spot. 

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Green Grow The Rashes

For the first time, the Green Party in Scotland have entered power. But what does it mean?

Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, co-leaders of the Green party in Scotland

Over the last week or two, there’s been quite the rash of articles about the fact that the Green party have, for the first time in both Scottish and UK political history, gained a modicum of power. That’s in the Scottish Parliament, to be clear, where the party has entered into a co-operation pact with the SNP – not a formal coalition, but an agreed arrangement based on a similar model in New Zealand, whereby the Greens will support the SNP in some things but are free to criticise others . This has seen the two co-leaders of the party, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, appointed cabinet ministers. Specifically, Harvie has been appointed Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights while Slater has been made Minister for Green Skills, the Circular Economy and Biodiversity. These are non-trivial roles, and their appointment is a non-trivial event. And, rather importantly, they are new cabinet positions.

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The Protégé

Or, Why Is It So Hard To Find A Good Starring Vehicle For Maggie Q?

What’s The Movie? The Protégé

What’s It All About, JG? Mostly, figuring out why the awesome Maggie Q is stuck in rote nonsense like this instead of having Michelle Yeoh’s career. But more specifically Anna (Maggie Q) is an assassin, rescued from Vietnam as a child after a massacre, who completes high-profile, high-target missions around the globe. Her rescuer/mentor, Moody (Samuel L Jackson), is killed after a mission and Anna seeks revenge. That’s it, basically. Oh wait, there’s Rembrandt, as played rather wonderfully by the always-excellent Michael Keaton, who has a fuck me/kill me thing going on with Anna, and who works for the person she suspects of killing Moody. They flirt, have sex, have gun battles, flirt a bit more… you know, standard relationship stuff. Eventually it turns our Moody’s not dead after all, and he sacrifices himself to take down Vohl, the movie’s Big Bad, apparently because he has a bit of a cough. The end.

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Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country

The final frontier beckons at long last – retirement.

After Shatner’s wobby-but-easy-to-appreciate take on the franchise we’re back with “safer” hands as Nicholas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy return to helm the TOS crew’s final outing. But will “safe” be a synonym for “dull” or will The Undiscovered Country deserve its place in the pantheon of good Star Trek films?

Pre-Existing Prejudices: Alongside The Wrath Of Khan this is, I know, generally regarded as the strongest of the TOS outings. It’s one I’ve always had a lot of appreciation for, though as with most of the TOS films it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen it so I’ve no idea whether my warm fuzzy memories are in any way justified.

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1994 – Confide In Me, Kylie Minogue

Eye see what you did there

Oh, Kylie.

I mean, where to even start? For anyone even faintly aware of music in the 80’s the idea that “indie Kylie” could be A Thing was so ludicrous as to be simply laughable. Kylie (rarely even gifted with a surname back in those days) was just another pathetic consequence of manufactured pop, another actor-turned-pop-star and a bit of musical sausage for the Stock, Aitken And Waterman meat grinder, capable of churning out a few disposable singles before fading back to obscurity. Ordinary voice, pretty-but-none-more-80’s looks, predicable dance move and bland songs. Come on. It’s Kylie (sometimes Minogue, occasionally “& Jason”)! She’s not ever going to amount to anything. Thus went the orthodoxy but it turned out Ms Minogue had other ideas.

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