Monday, November 29, 2004
Just a quick note ... I was going to post some comments on some WHO stuff here, but came down with a wicked cold at the weekend ... all sneezing, coughing, muzzy head stuffed with cotton and blocked ears ... not nice. So I'm dosed up to the eyeballs and slobbing around at home until I feel better. Until then
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Sunday, November 07, 2004
It's hard to believe that it's the 25th anniversary of Doctor Who Magazine. I still remember getting the weekly issues way back in 1979, and I have every issue since. It's certainly grown and expanded since then, and today is an impressive magazine, well designed and put together and still containing some fabulous writing. To celebrate the 25th anniversary, which coincided with the 350th issue, we had a party last night up in London at the Motion Club on the banks of the Thames by Embankment Tube. It seemed that anyone who had ever had anything to do with the Magazine were invited and the smallish venue soon filled up to oxygen depravation levels. It was an amazing assortment of people who all started out as Doctor Who fans in some sense, but who had moved onwards and upwards and who were now influencing and creating their own visions or working on the show itself. The roll call is far too many to mention everyone, but here's a few of the people I remember seeing there (and sorry in advance if I miss anyone as I'm bound to do so). Clayton Hickman, the current editor was there of course, as was Gary Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery, India Fisher, Stephen James Walker, James Goss, Rob Francis, Ann Kelly (who I called Jane for some reason when I first saw her there - I was having a lot of problems with names all night), Stephen Payne, Jan Vincent-Rudzki, Mark Wyman, Peter Darvill-Evans, Rebecca Levene, Alister Pearson, Daniel O'Mahony, Paul and Caroline Cornell, Rob Shearman, Steve Roberts, Sue Cowley, Paul Vanesis, Ed Stradling, Steve Lyons, Chris Howarth, Michele and Colin Howard, Dicky Howitt, Jeremy and Paula Bentham, Kevin Davies, Peter and Jo Ware, Tom Spilsbury, Gordon Blows, Andrew Cartmel, Marcus Hearn, Mark Ayres, Richard Landen, Richard Marson, Patrick Mulkern, Nick Briggs, Robin Pritchard, Steve Cook ... and many, many more. The drink was free, the music was loud, and it was a superb evening. I met so many people from my life in the last 25 years it was untrue ... and slightly scary ... There was a massive cake that I couldn't see for people, and the celebrations were led by Nicholas Courtney, looking as dapper as ever - we all sang 'Happy Birthday' to Doctor Who Magazine and then downed glasses of Champagne to celebrate. Here's to the next 25 years.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Sunday last (which was also Halloween) I spent a very pleasant evening at the annual Sutton Film Festival, organised by Marq English. Marq had invited me along as he was showing DAEMOS RISING (the Doctor Who/Daemons spin off film I scripted for Reeltime Pictures). The venue was the UCI Cinema in Sutton - one of the big multiplexes and we had Screen 3 for the duration. The films on show ranged from the short (3 minutes was the shortest) to the long (at 52 minutes, DAEMOS RISING was the longest) and everything in between. What impressed me the most was the sheer quality of the films. The direction, lighting, camerawork, editing and acting in practically all of them was top notch, and the ideas were also inspiring. Among my favourites was HOLLY BOLLY - hard to explain, but it's sort of the story of two filmmakers who want to make a film, but the only finance they can get is from some porn film distributor who wants a sort of Hollywood/Bollywood blockbuster but has no idea how to go about it. The laugh out loud scenes included hard-men dancing Bangra style, and the realisation that songs were needed! THE OTHER SHOE is one of those deceptively simple ideas: a woman at a bus stop has just one shoe on, and so the other people at the bus stop imagine how this might be (including a theory from a dog!). The actual reason is inspired. F.I.S.T. was a trailer for a full length science fiction action blockbuster which looks very impressive indeed - apparently it's nearly complete now. THE DAY BIFFO WOULDN'T WAKE UP is an achingly funny cartoon about a boy and his dog, who dies one day and comes back as a zombie. Done in the style of the old 'Charlie Says' road safety adverts of the 70s, this was inspired lunacy. I also loved GOODBYE, a tale of a man trying to move on to date other women, all the time egged on by his girlfriend who he really loves ... it's a poignant film and certainly brought a lump to my throat. Finally of mention is THE CAVENDISH PRINCIPLE, a clever, clever little drama about police investigating child abduction with a wicked twist. Extremely professionally put together, this one featured top actor Julian Glover in a cameo. There were some spoofs, some Doctor Who related tomfoolery, some films which were unsettling (one about an evil landlord certainly had some moments of effective terror) some which were just plain strange (one about a woman made of cheese and officious MIB-like officials who clamp your feet together in a forest!). There was even a sex comedy about a man who is subjected to a sex ray and becomes instantly attractive to all sexes. Overall, there were 21 films on show, and the cinema was packed out for most of them. If this is the quality of film making we can expect from the next generation, then it's in safe hands indeed. For more information on the festival, check out the website at http://www.mevproductions.co.uk/filmfestival.html