Friday, 14 April 2017

Spot the Time Lord...

Being a proper fan, I'm terribly excited as Doctor Who is back this Easter weekend! I love the series, and it's referenced in my work quite a bit. Why? Well, why not? It's fun and a bit cheeky - and highlights one of my favourite shows of all time!

To celebrate its imminent return here's every occurrence in my films, comics and prose!

(I'll try and update this in the days/weeks/months to come when I produce something new... but advanced apologises if I forget!)

April 3rd


Reference: A bit tenuous this one, but I attempt to mimic the accent of the Ninth Doctor (played by Salford lad Christoper Eccleston) at this point (3m05s in).

Self


Reference: The narrator - Horatio Maguire - talks about his childhood, and dreaming about defiant heroes... like the Doctor (David Tennant's version this time), taking down monsters like... the Daleks and Cybermen! I even found time to include a 'dashing sidekick' - Captain Jack Harkness, whom I was writing about in my TORCHWOOD.tv blog at the time!





Eyes Down

Nothing 'Who related in this one, but then again it's a documentary about my Dad and his drinking habits. Not the easiest subject matter to shoe-horn in something related to my favourite Time Lord!

Semblance Of Norm


Reference: The crazy hand gesture beginning at 2m05s is a callback to a Sylvester McCoy adventure, "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy" (where the Chief Clown does the exact same movement).



Also, although I don't think it's ever visible on screen, one of the newspaper clippings hanging on the background wall reads "Doctor who something something".

That Resolute Desk


Reference: Oh this one is littered with them.


First of all, there's prominent posters on the wall. The first is the poster for the 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie, which has had a permanent place on all my bedroom walls since then. The other is a tribute to companions the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen).

The character's Doctor Who DVD collection can also be seen.


Then, on my desk there are plenty of Doctor Who action figures - including the TARDIS, Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, River Song and villains the Ice Warriors! Various other toys crop up, in different combinations and poses, throughout.


There's a copy of April 2012's Doctor Who Magazine (announcing the arrival of Jenna Coleman's Clara) sitting on the character's desk, too - and at one point he drinks from a mug that is decorated with the 1980's neon style series logo.

That Resolute Desk: Seas Will Rise



Reference: Similar to That Resolute Desk, only now a sketched portrait of Matt Smith has been added to the wall, too. Plus on the bookshelf top left you can see a line-up of the first 11 Doctors in action figure form!

A Bedtime Story


Reference: Aside from what's seen in the background of my room (see That Resolute Desk) the story's villain is named Peledarna, in tribute to the planet Peledon from the 1970's Jon Pertwee era!

Plus I dress up in various Doctor Who costumes. The best example is when I take on the appearance of the Seventh Doctor...



"I Am A Vampire!"


Reference: The vampire states that he's 910 years old. The Doctor typically answers that he is around 900 years old (and is infact 910 himself in the show's 2011 series).

That Resolute Desk: Seven-Thirty



Reference: Tom Baker's 16-foot multicoloured scarf can be seen behind Jarvis, plus the Seventh Doctor's pull over ? jumper, and toy Daleks!

Ushers



Reference: A character sits reading an issue of Doctor Who Magazine in the staff room.

Lasagne



Reference: A TARDIS keychain has been left behind inside a Soho phone booth.

Fellow



Reference: At the very beginning of the piece Margot Shelley is seen sat in a park, reading an Eighth Doctor novel ("The Crooked World"). Horatio approaches, and asks her out. As seen in the first Horatio film - Self - he grew up loving Doctor Who, so it makes sense that he'd be attracted to a female fan of the show!

Later Horatio observes that his mum has redecorated and states "I don't like it" - which is a typical reaction from the Doctor, when learning that another of his incarnations has a new styled TARDIS!

Little Green Running Man

Reference: This...


It's a call back to the 1979 adventure "City of Death" where two characters (played by John Cleese and Eleanor Bron) mistakenly look at something that most definitely isn't art as if it was! The artist, Tiziana Ibba, even has them dressed identically!



Pfft... Queues!

Still in production!

Reference: It's set in a supermarket called Ice World (like 1987's "Dragonfire"), and the script states that children run around the story, playing with sonic screwdrivers.

Dead Stock 

Still in production!

Reference: The script states that a shop full of Egyptian items contains something from the 1975 Tom Baker adventure "Pyramids of Mars".

The Beautiful Ones: King Of Wank!

Still in production!

Reference: At the beginning of the strip, the group of characters walk along a London high street. In the script one of the shops seen in the background is called Meglos Books - after the 1980 story, "Meglos"!

Starship S.O.S.!

Still in production!

Reference: The Captain of the other ship is called Zoe Herriot, after the Second Doctor's companion of the same name.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Smile: Time After Time

It's become a tradition: Every April I plonk myself down in front of my TV and photograph myself pointing at myself, on the screen.

Don't ask, just look...

2011


2012


2013 (shot by Tohko Kanzaki)


2014


2015 (Shot by Gabby Kere)


2016 (Shot by Sarunas Berinas)


2017 (Shot by Jack Porter)


Alternative title: Watch Me Age (Oh God)!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Look Out... It's March 31st!

We're in April!

Before I reached the new month, however, I had a list of things that needed to be concluded. It felt like lots of things were all piling up, sharing a deadline of March 31st. First of all, in the last week of March I still had my 2x 22 page comics to write, as I had put them off all month long, until it became unavoidable that the 2 comics would have to be written back to back, in quick succession. Could it be done?

Then there was my entry into the FutureQuake comic competition. Now this was only a short 5 page story, but again... I'd delayed writing it for no good reason, and so it combined with my 2x 22 page comics... leaving me with nigh-on 50 pages to write in just a week before April hit!

Finally, I found a job perfect for me with the closing date on the application being, yes, that same March 31st. D'oh! So now, on to of all that comic book writing I also had to find time to put together not just a suitable job application... but a bloody great one, that would hopefully grab the attention of the recruitment manager, and demand that they interview me.

I'm happy to report... I did it! All of it.

I'm really proud of that fact.

In order to do so I really had to knuckle down, and commit myself to everything. For the comics, I was lucky in that I had already plotted the FutureQuake idea, and made my usual doodles. It's called Starship S.O.S.! and features a little girl playing in her pretend spaceship when... well, that would be telling! Let's hope it's accepted by FutureQuake, and published at some point next year, or possibly in 2019.

With that in mind, it was a case of typing up what I'd written for it - which took longer than I thought (as ever, I questioned the quality and meaning of everything I wrote) but eventually it was done, and I even managed to submit it into the competition a full day before the deadline.

Moving onto the job application, I also got lucky as my CV only needed minor updates. My Cover Letter was, however, written from scratch - but seeing as though I really want this job, and do feel I'd be a perfect fit for it, it actually turned out to be a relatively easy task to write it up. Again satisfied with my work, I sent the application off - pretty much meeting the 5pm deadline of March 31st.

No question then that the hardest task was writing those 2x 22 page comics. This consisted of two issues of Darkened Avenue - 034, "Orpheus" and 035, "Purgatory". Of the two, "Orpheus" was pretty standard fare - a set-up for a new drugs related storyline, featuring all of the regular cast. The hardest part of putting this issue together was just how I built up to the cliffhanger I had planned. Eventually it clicked, and in 3 days "Orpheus" was complete.

But then came "Purgatory". Oh boy...

This one drove me crazy! Literally, it must rank as one of the hardest things I've ever written. The story is pretty simple - the main hero, Quinn, wakes and finds himself in a strange place, from where he cannot escape. Usually other characters would feature, either interacting with Quinn, or we'd cut to other scenes/locations. However here... nope. We stick on Quinn, alone throughout. In addition, the journey Quinn goes on exhausts him, drives him crazy and has him questioning everything. Confined to one location, I had all that to tell without him interacting with anybody... anything else. It was incredibly hard to plot ahead, as if I had to live the madness of the script myself before I could commit to paper what Quinn would do next.

I managed it though, and in all honesty... I think "Purgatory" might just be brilliant! Mad, but brilliant. I dunno - maybe I'm wrong and it's a steaming pile of dog shite, who knows?!

So, as March neared it's end... I was able to sit back, let out a sigh of relax and...

...Well, realise that as soon as April hits, I have more new comics to write... and I know I'll probably leave it all to the last minute again!

D'oh.

Here's to the new month!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Dad's 2017 Visit

This past weekend was fun, as Dad visited me in London. Over the years he's done so before - once to drop my possessions off in November 2010, then half a dozen times over 2011-2013. Every year since then he's visited once a year, and it's always an interesting experience.

This time around he arrived on Friday night, and left again on Sunday (we were joined by my step-mum Penny from the Saturday). It was nice to catch-up with him on the Friday as he gave me various updates about his life (his work, his health, what he's been up to, other family members) and I updated him about mine. We had food from the local chippy for dinner, and then headed to the Prince Charles Cinema in Central London to watch the next film in their Wes Anderson season - The Royal Tenenbaums. It was risky; I wasn't sure of Dad's relationship with Wes Anderson films. As it turned out, he liked the film a lot, and it was a great evening.

On Saturday we met my step-mum in Central London, and then headed to the Hunterian Musumn for a look around there as, after I visited the place myself last week, I thought it would right up my parents' street. It was! They loved it, and found the exhibitions fascinating. Afterwards we headed into my old stomping ground, Shepherds Bush, where we watched the latest X-Men movie Logan. I thought it was great! A perfect way to round out Hugh Jackman's 17-year stint as Wolverine.

For dinner on the Saturday we headed to Nandos (which I haven't had for months, and not suffered cravings for!) and then we headed home where we played lots of Sporcle quizzes, and my parents enjoyed a drink.

The next day we visited Greenwich, a place my step-mum loved. We drank coffee, looked around the Cutty Sark, walked up to the observatory, and then walked a strange underground tunnel that goes the length of the Thames, from bank to bank. Time defeated us after that, and we headed to Euston where the pair of them took the train home again.

As usual, it was great that they made the effort to see me, and I enjoyed their company. Yes, Dad embellished many-a-story, which you have to take with a pinch of salt - but that's just his character, and as much as it can grate you do get use to it. Overall then, a great weekend!

Mum's scheduled to visit in June, and my sister Sarah has said she'd like to visit soon too. I look forward to both - as well as Dad's next trip here!

Friday, 3 March 2017

My Sister Donna

It's a happy birthday to my sister Donna, who turns 27 today!


To mark the occasion I thought I'd write a few words about her, and share my love for the woman she's become.


Donna was born just over a year after me, in 1990. Being so close in age meant we had a lot in common, and it's true to say that we shared a great many experiences and grew up together. As adults I think we have a very similar thought process - although that's not to pretend there's differences too.

For starters, Donna has settled down in her life. She has a partner, kids, a house, even dogs. She's been in her job for years, and progressed up the career ladder. I, meanwhile, haven't achieved any of that. It means I'm a lot more of a free spirit, and she's the more mature, thoughtful one. I respect that about her.


Above: Me & Donna's daughter, Brooke.

One of the other things I respect a lot is her dedication to family. It sometimes seems to me that everything she does revolves around her family in some way. She is very selfless with her children, and me when I visit - always going that extra mile to make time for me, when I know she must have a busy life to lead, and going above/beyond, like when she picks me up at 11pm when I get into the train station!

Of course, I can talk to her about most things, and trust her. Yes, we disagree - but that is perfectly healthy, and it strikes me that Donna - perhaps - has much in common with the very best of my friends. By that, I enjoy her company a lot, and it's mutual. We enjoy talking, and learning more about one another. We like to make journeys together, and miss one another when we're not around.

Going off that, then - Donna is my longest friend.

Since 1990!

Here's to many more years.