Listening To The Doctor Who Radio Hour

Actually an hour and eleven minutes. My newest obsession has moved into a new medium with release of the first CD of Hornet’s Nest entitled “The Stuff of Nightmares“. The BBC has found a way to get Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, to record audio plays 28 years after his last appearance on the TV show. I read about it in the last DWM, one of the more successful spin-offs itself.

I used to like radio plays quite a bit – especially rebroadcasts of BBC whodunnits. That was until the CBC started trying to make them and sapped my will to go on. Every broadcast out of Toronto seemed to require overdone ray guns or minutes long sweaty orgasms. No one told the CBC apparently that porn has never worked on the radio. With some hope of a better outcome, I bought an earlier Who audio play CD a few months ago about Leela on Gallifrey but it didn’t catch me either. Too much of an in-joke. Needing a web concordance to figure out what was going on.

None of that in this case. Baker’s fourth Doctor leans heavily on Sherlock Holmes and works in a familiar way, a way that works on radio. Baker keep his Who in a certain scope that is quite unlike the recent Messianic versions. He once questioned whether he had the right to kill off the Daleks – something the Ninth and Tenth would not so much as blink at… perhaps with good reason.

Maybe it’s just the tone of voice that works in this one for me. I watched one of the special extras on the Key To Time last night after the kids were all asleep. It was one of a number of episode of Late Night Story with Baker back in 1978 sitting at a desk in a study at night reading a nightmarish tale of a boy about to die. Grim and creepy. “The Stuff of Nightmares” has that, too.


The Last Friday Bullets Of This Summer

I wore a sweater to work yesterday. I should have stung like it was rinsed in acid but I settled into place. I used to not like summer so much. But that was when it meant summer job labour camps and the days before controlling my own air conditioning unit. Say what you like about the miseries of owning a house, not owning one was not as good. But now it’s the cold that gets to you. I used to aspire to being outdoorsy but I realize now that I am destined to be indoorsy. Climate controlled.

  • So when do we actually get tax and duty free border crossing?
  • Diplomatic celebrity“? How can that be anything but an oxymoron. Telling that both parties wanted him. It’s a lot like living in a disfunctional one party state.
  • Do they have body bags in storage for you, too?
  • Like others, I have watched Leno. I have enjoyed watching Leno. The comedy is 75% on which is better than usual and the musical guests are OK, though last night’s Clapton and Hornsby combo was a bit weird, many due to the free form jazz selection.
  • Morton still awful.
  • Three-billion-to-one? Add in the fact that a 34 year old can golf three times in a week on weekdays when not on an annual holiday and make it more like an ad for Canada’s regional development subsidization policies.
  • So Brian has been the only Tory majority leader in 50 years. And he left the party with 2 seats and two decades in the wilderness.
  • Think I will write a book on the 4375 beers to drink before you die. Inflation is affecting beer books. Time was 50 was enough. Or maybe 300 was the required number.

The gaping maw of the weekend stands before us. Have I mowed may last mow already? Will I find a way to get off the sofa?


Group Project: Now Eight Years Have Passed

No glib snark today. No bullet points. Where are you eight years later? I wrote this in 2003. Five years ago, I posted my comments from three years earlier made at my pal Steve’s blog, Acts of Volition. Here they are again:

Alan McLeod
[7:48 AM September 17, 2001]

I have found myself, like everyone else, having been staring at the TV in a daze for days. I was in the middle of a presentation at the curling rink in Summerside last Tuesday when someone came into the room to tell what was going on. I drove home at lunch and the TV has seemingly been on ever since. One thing that has happened here in New Glasgow, PEI is that there are no passenger jets overhead flying between Europe and the US east coast. Usually there are 5 to 10 in the sky at any one time. You notice the silence. I have seen two con-trails but am reliably told that it is likely a US military refueling tanker. Moncton airport apparently has about 5 US jets operating out of it now, according to a PEI air traffic controller.

I flew the flag at half mast. Most people did around here. I have thought alot about the bit of business I have done in the US on four trips in the last year and the people I have met. I thought about the road in Connecticut I drove down with Dan and Nathan after getting a bit lost one evening trying to find the sea from a place near Hartford. The road was parallel to the one we wanted as it turned out. It was fifty miles of large homes on forested lots – multi-car garages, guest houses. As we drove south cars passed us going north, going home for the night. When we hit the coast road, the commuter train station was full of people heading for what looked to us Maritimers as luxery cars, coming home from a workday in the City, in Manhattan. The next day, I bought a big Connecticut flag – like I like to wherever I travel. I flew it at half mast Sunday.

Alan McLeod
[7:56 AM September 19, 2001]

I was interested in reading Peter’s comments as a first crisis as a Dad. The same is true for me. I have these echoes of war in the past that the 1990’s had silenced. When I was a child in suburban Ontario in the late 60’s I remember asking my mom if we were at war. We were watching Vietnam on TV. I remember having bombing dreams after Dad told me for the millionth time that when he was my age, Hitler carpet bombed his grannies house along with their whole town – Greenock, Scotland – for three days. I remember heading about the fall of Saigon on the school bus heading to junior high. I remember the fear in high school and undergrad that Ronnie R. and Leonid B. would vaporize us all. I remember in law school wondering with the rest of the team if the intermural basketball game should go on given that the US had just started bombing Bagdad. And Rwanda and Bosnia…and then nothing… No big events for eight years. Relatively speaking peace was breaking out, the UN acted in Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo. Things were being handled. I moved into a good career, got married, got a mortgage and a couple of kids. Then the buildings fell down…Driving to work the other day I actually got a start when I saw, coming down the Brackley Road, low on the horizon a Dash Eight coming into land at the airport. I saw in my mind that building. One one hand, we gen’ x’ers have some experience of this stuff. On the other hand, we gen’ x’ers have some experience of this stuff…

Alan McLeod
[10:38 AM September 19, 2001]

A good reference but, for me, at 38, having lived my first 28 or so during the Cold war, the presence of war and the potential to be sucked into one personally was never “violence unthinkable” despite how the life of a Canadian 20-something gen’ x’er in Nova Scotia was so peaceful and fun. On top of the fears, I wrote about above, my folks moved in ’56 to avoid the Third World War believed coming due to Hungary, French-Indochina and the Suez. When I got my UK Right of Abode in 1981, my mother thought Maggie T. might draft me for the Falkins. The fear of the bomb. We were living in our own minds on borrowed time and as a result were in no rush to prepare for kids, mortgages and careers. My 20’s were different from your – perhaps until now. From the fall of the Wall until the falling of the WTC there was a period of freedom from “the bomb” that I think I will not experience for a while.

Alan McLeod [7:33 AM September 24, 2001]

Like everyone, I am still thinking about what has happened and how things have changed since 11 September. One thing I think has changed is that irony and cynicism as a guiding principle for one’s life has been severely undermined. In North American popular culture for 20 years or so, the ability to comment upon any proposition with a tongue in cheek reort has been acceptable, almost expected and often a winning point in a conversation. David Letterman was an early adherent. We were so witty that we could turn any philosophical proposition or political stance around to show its paradoxical components and therefore its lack of integrity. Few principles could sustain the probe – wealth was bad but being a bleeding heart helping the poor is pointless emotionality; liking art was lightheaded but disliking art was neanderthalic; being involved with politics was self-interested, not being involved…well that was OK because that serves irony. The dominance of irony seems to have been swept away this month. Friends, beauty, nature, reflection are all assets we are being told to lean upon to understand the world now. Causes are largely just, protests are mute and people have gotten nicer on the highways. Will it last? Will street people have enough coin to get things to eat? Will we like our new neighbours and ask to try their strange foods? Will we stop thinking about our own inadequacies at work or home and enjoy the day?

What has changed in my life since the attacks? I have made a point of being in the USA often, mostly across in New York. It started out in part because we are so near but also to make sure the kids see US soldiers in normal life like they see members of the Canadian military in our streets in Kingston in uniform… even in my living room and on our vintage baseball team and at the Royal Military College games. When you see a young family in a mall, the Mom or Dad or both with the cut or even uniform of the 10th Mountain division from nearby Fort Drum, NY they know who they are also seeing on the news. It also makes you feel old, knowing that people half you age are pulling your weigh. I constantly listen to, am slightly obsessed with and am an active member of a NPR station that even runs the feed of this blog on their website as part of figuring out what “regional” means.

And I also remember.

Vermont: Odd Notion Fall ’09, Magic Hat, SoBurl

If Google is anything to go by – and it might well turn out to be – then I have clearly had a fair number of beers by Magic Hat. Like the buttery goodness. Like the quirky branding. Like the experimentations. This beer is one of there recent Odd Notions and I am told it is a stout, which it is, but was not told to expect smoked malt. It’s like a black thick stout with about 10% rauchbier added. Quite yummy stuff. Pours deep dark with a thin deep brown rim. Fine mocha foam verging on the burgundy tinged. It gives scents of cream, dark plum as well as a little roastiness. These continue in the swish with cocoa, earthiness, smoke, date, and a whack of other dark favours all in a reasonably big body which is also moreish. Quite the nicest stout I have had in a while.

Three bottles in each mixed 12-pack this autumnal season. Best of their special brews which I have had yet. Plenty of BAer love though they call it a Belgian dark unlike the brewery.

Group Project: So If Doom ’09 Is Really Over…

Did the stimulus work? Here’s what you need to think… because that’s my job. Telling you what to think:

  • Why not say so? Why can’t we take a little pride in the fact that a little government intervention did the trick? Tax dollars in action.
  • What was the alternative? Did you really fall in with those dopes on the far right who wanted stimlus to fail? What would that do? Hurt your neighbour, your town, yourself? How far does the smug satisfaction of ideological purity get us all?
  • I want to look forward to the next new bubble economy. I want green cars and windmills not so much for what they do as what they provide – an active economy. If it were up to me, gas lawn mowers would be outlawed and everyone (else) would go buy a push mower. Open the push mower factory doors wide!
  • Do you really want a Federal election based on doubt and fear? Frankly, I am happy as all get out without a bunch of newbies getting into office for the next year or so. Sure lets have a fall 2010 election but that’s only two years for the Tories in office in Ottawa. They’ve even finally got the hang of playing a bit nice with Ontario. Look – they may be goofy and tick off Jay but they also seem harmless, right??
  • Best of all, we get to call out the naysayers and tell them that the economy works, that we are not facing the collapse of market based mixed socialist capitalism and that they are ‘fraidy cats. Nothing worse that economic friady cats.

We need post-recession street parties. Jingles about whipping the nation back into shape. Just like we live in a post-post 9/11 world, we also may be living in a post recession one, too, now. Bring back the happy songs. Bring back cake on Tuesdays at lunch.