Doctor Who Jr

26-year-old Matt Smith has been named the new Doctor Who. He’ll be taking over from David Tennant in Spring 2010. Comments on Twitter went from ‘OMG he looks 12′, to ‘The new doctor is emo!’ and ‘Breaking news: Doctor Who moves to CBBC.’

I really like my Who to be someone to 1. look up to and (alright, shallow) 2. fanciable. 3. Preferably 40+. I thought David Tennant was too young to float my boat, but he proved me wrong and kind of is my favourite Doctor now. But a 26-year-old? Can’t really look up to him. As for the second point? Well, I’ve always been into older guys. Also.. he’s not much of a looker, is he? Well, not my type anyway.

Mr Hg thinks it’s a brave choice. Hmm. I think it’s a cynical BBC plot to haul in the teeny boppers emo kids.

OK Matt, prove this agist wrong.

Always on

Thanks to Hg for alerting me to the new Action Stream plugin for Movable Type, enabling you to aggregate your virtual presence around the web. In the left hand side you’ll find list of recent updates. Unfortunately, the styling looks a bit pants on MSIE. If you don’t see icons and the text looks a bit large, do a shift-reload to refresh the stylesheet.

Grand Tour of Little Britain

Trainman

Just when we we were getting very bored with Stratford-upon-Avon (at 11am on our second day) we came across this man whose name we may never find out. He built a miniature version of Stratford junction as it would have looked a long time ago and has opened his house to show it. I was a little startled when he suddenly appeared amidst the trains and started telling us all about his work there and upstairs, where he was working on a even smaller scale version. While Hg diverted his attention, I snapped a few shots of him and his pride and joy.

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I’m it

Crikey, looks like I’m going to flex my withering writing muscle. I’ve been tagged by Mr Hg with The Book Title Meme.

(update: It’s taken me a month to get it together.)

1. Briefly describe an aspect of your life for which ‘The Dying Of Delight’ would be an apt title.

Delightful aspects have been sadly missing from my life. No dying, no death, not even little ones. Not a whole lot gives me pleasure at the moment. Even my appetite is lacking, so the pleasure of food has diminished somewhat. I blame the diabetes. It’s good to have something to blame.

2. Pick another book whose title has some resonance in your life, and write a little about it.

I could pick ‘The Light and Dark‘, but that would be too self-centered, even for me.

Looking at the books on my shelves, nothing really resonates until I hit Brendan Kennelly’s epic ‘Poetry my arse‘.

But I don’t want to make things too easy for anyone who picks up this meme from me, so I’ll choose MeFite John Bennett’s ‘Sea Otters gambolling in the wild, wild surf, which is the type of book you’d tell anyone they ‘must read’, because it’s dead funny and it might give them a few hours of that elusive thing, delight’.

Whatever.

I hear the Dutch title of this book will be ‘Dartelende zeeotters in de wilde, wilde, branding’, and it will be out in September this year. That’s for the benefit of any Dutch readers I might have.

3. Write one more short personal piece – one which matches the book title chosen (in part 2) by the person who tagged you.

So that would be ‘Saturday Night & Sunday Morning’.

That title means nothing to me. They’re just days. Parts of the weekend. Only slightly different from weekdays for the fact that I usually do not have to work. But sometimes I do.

I’m sure couples have their weekend rituals and younger folk are all about the Saturday Night out, and the Sunday Morning hangover. I’m too old for that now and every day is like Sunday.

4. Take your favourite little-known book and plug it to your readers. Authors need incomes, and word of mouth is one of the best ways to sell books.

John Banville may have won the Booker Prize for ‘The Sea’, but he isn’t particularly well known here in the Netherlands. ‘The Untouchable‘ is quite possibly my favourite book in the whole wide world. can’t say that everybody should read it, it’s not that type of book. If you identify with aging men (and for some reason I do), it may appeal. ‘The Untouchable’ is based on the life of Anthony Blunt, one of the Cambridge spies, and it deals with betrayal. Of country, of marriage, of friendship, of self.

5. Sit back and marvel at the magnificence of this meme. It was brought to you by an out-of-breath author, reduced (on account of her publisher* having expired) to trundling copies of her book across the internet on a rusty old trolley with one wheel missing, sweating and shouting “Buy me book, Gov?” Now visit www.TheDyingOfDelight.co.uk and see if you’d like a copy for yourself. I

There is something about this viral/meme that makes me uncomfortable and that’s probably why it took so long for me to finish the questionnaire. This last bit, #5, just annoys me a little. With apologies to the original author. I have no idea who you are. Please forgive me for not having the energy to find out. If I knew you, I might like the meme better, but perhaps this is one that doesn’t work beyond a blog’s regular readers. Or maybe it does and I’m just being my usual misanthropist self. Anyway, thanks for dropping by earlier.

6. Tag five people with this meme.

Nah. But anyone who reads me who hasn’t already done this, please, meme on.

Scouse encounter



Pointing my camera upward at the licence on the Lion Tavern a voice from behind says: “Sorry, can I ask ya wha’rre you taking pictures of tha’ pub for?”

It’s my first real introduction to the Scouse accent. It’s funny and I rewind his words in my head.

I should be getting used to the question. Poiting your lens at walls, zooming in on details has a lot of people confused. But I haven’t really got a standard answer yet.

“Uhm, I’m just taking pictures…”

He’s not really listening. He’s one of those high energy blokes, a little too old to be called a young man. Jeans a little too snug, always a little fidgety.

“… because it’s funny, look: they’ve stuck the new owner’s name over the previous one.”

He looks at me a little surprised.

“What is that accent? Where are you from?”

I laugh.

“I’m Dutch.”

He doesn’t believe me.

“You’re joking. Dutch? I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

I explain I’ve spent a lot of time in Ireland.

“Yeah! Yeah! That’s it. You’ve a really funny accent!”

And off he goes before I can say anything, but I can hear him mutter to himself:

“There are better pubs to be taking pictures of, luv.”

Abbot Ale and Babaganoush

The weekend seemed short, but that’s probably because it was packed full of goodness even if it started with the nasty: on Friday evening, I found my virginal self subjected to a brutal rogering by Celebrity Big Brother.

A moment of silence, please. … Thank you.

My initial reaction to George Galloway pretending to lick milk from Rula Lenska’s hands was a firm ‘my eyes, my eyes!’. Now, of course, I’m fascinated and want to see the drama unfold. But I can’t quite bring myself to downloading this tripe. Mr Hg will have to provide daily updates.

Emotional

Saturday morning we were off to Ramsgate, birthplace of Tracey Emin, on the isle of Thanet (well, peninsula), East Kent. A seaside resort that manages to avoid the usual tackiness and instead presents a mostly unscathed, tidy waterfront. We arrived just in time to see the ferry leave port for Ostend and after some exploring tried the day’s catch in batter.

Back in the city we headed for the Barbican to see Breakfast on Pluto. I had succumbed to watching a DVD screener of it a week ago, but it was good to see it on a relatively large screen and take in other people’s response at the same time. I think we all agreed we would have cut a few scenes a little tighter, Stephen Rea’s wishy washy part in particular. Where on earth was he heading with that character?

Trouble in bubblin’ Dubbelin

The trouble with Dublin is the women scare me and the men drive me round the bend on a regular basis. It’s got fog that’s wetter than rain and the city reeks of burnt barley. The community is incestuous and has its own cultural maffia. It’s somehow both backward and too far ahead of itself. It accepts the filthy Corrs in its midst. When it stings, it stings you bad and when it asks for money, you end up broke.

But when it soothes, you don’t want it to end.

Perfect. That’s how I’d describe our little visit to Dublin last week. So perfect that coming home – normally a thing of beauty – pales in comparison and I’m having a hard time getting back into my groove.

Mr Hg and I flew in just before noon on Thursday. We checked into the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street. We grabbed excellent pub lunch (roast chicken & chips) at Davy Byrne’s and tried a new stout (Guinness Brew 39. Our verdict: watery, bland.). Got caffeined up at the Avoca café. Then saw Hazel O’Connor belt out a few old ones and a few new ones at Tower Records, hooked up with a friend on the spot, chatted with Ms O’Connor about mutual acquaintances and then sauntered down to the O’Reilly Theatre for Consigliere Friday’s outing with the Crash Ensemble and Gavin Bryars. Which was very, very good. Except for Bryars’ Jesus Blood Never Failed Me, which I’ve always detested. Die, tramp, die.

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Hell yeah, you will

- Been obsessed with new Neil Diamond album 12 songs, ‘Captain of a shipwreck’ and ‘Evermore’ in particular. If Diamond hadn’t gone so Vegas in the 70s, he’d probably have near-Dylan status. He’s got the G-d issues that go with the honour. And the ego. ‘Evermore’ is Bonoesque in its grandiosity. Also check out ‘Hell yes’, a fabulous ‘My way’ for old folkies.
- I’m listening to the new Madonna album. Disco = Punk? C’mon, that’s an Iggy Pop riff in ‘I love New York’, ain’t it? I don’t drive, but this album sounds like the sound track to a great road trip.
- Thank heavens I’ll be in Dublin this Thursday and Friday.
- Traipsing around with Mr Hg, natch.
- To see Mr G at the O’Reilly Theatre…
- … and other Mr G at the Solomon Gallery…
- … and have swanky lunch.
- So, I really want to go back to New York and am also keen to see Rome or Florence.
- I should tell you all about the funeral, but don’t know how without being irreverent. Maybe later.

Don’t you know you’re driving your mammas and pappas insane?

A friend’s son turned 11 today and, spurred on by Mr Hg, I bought him his first David Bowie CD, fully intent on corrupting his young mind. I got him a Donald Duck comic and a scientific youth mag too, just to be on the safe side.

He’s growing up quite sheltered and seems petrified of going to high school next year, where there are ‘bigger boys with gel in their hair’. I don’t think he was ready for the CD, but his mum liked it. I had hoped he’d pick up on the ‘space’ theme and be intrigued by Major Tom, but I forgot he doesn’t understand English yet. Hopefully he’ll remember the CD is his and will come back to it in a year or two.

The two younger sisters asked me to teach them to eat with chopsticks, the minute I walked through the door. I think their hands were still a little too small to learn. Or I’m a crap teacher.

But I’d like to think I am a better teacher than their brother’s primary school ‘master’. I was shown one of this man’s hand outs, containing 25 ‘true/false’ statements about America. It was full of spelling mistakes and some very dubious questions. Sample question / spelling:

Q: ‘The Biggest park in New york is called Yellow stone Park’
A: True

The guy should be flogged. If I had kids, I’d only want the best of the best to teach them. Wouldn’t you?

There’s nowt wrong wi’ gala luncheons

Apparently Python’s out of fash’, Mr Hg informs me. No longer part of every day conversation and considered passed on, no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker in its country of origin. Fortunately we’ve been spared John Cleese’s corporate training videos and the larger part of Palin’s awful travel shows in my country so they haven’t had a chance to tarnish the memory. Unlike Polly, Python’s quite alive to me and a day after I had my Python talk with Mr Hg, a Python quote (‘… and now for something completely different.’) did pop up in conversation at work. Proof it’s still part of our Dutch collective concience.

Elvis Presley was a fan, apparently, and would quote the ‘Knights that say NI’ scene from The Holy Grail. My own Python-years came twice. Once during their first run on Dutch television. (Early Seventies?) The second time was when I went to college and a lot of the series were repeated on the BBC. I bought the transcript books then, which I’ve since sold since you can find everything online anyway.

These last two weeks I’ve been enjoying this their back catalogue whot I acquired both legally and illegally. Their DVD’s are filled to the brim with extra-funny, extra-unseen footage. The sketches still make me laugh and I’ve become quite fond of Gilliam’s animation. I didn’t like them much as a child. Too creepy, I think. Back then, ‘The Ministry of Silly walks’ and Cleese were my favourites, now I am quite keen on Terry Jones’s female impersonations (and his marvelously toff self) and Chapman’s mad genius.

If I could, I’d buy the 14 disc ‘The Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus Megaset’, but that’s a USA release only and I reckon Dutch customs would make me pay through the neck, so I made do with sharply priced (57 euro) The Best of Monty Python’s Flying Circus Volumes 1-3 which features all the ‘best’ sketches.

Quotes I still use or hear used:

‘She’s a witch, she’s made of wood!’
‘… and now for something completely different.’
‘NI!’
‘I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition!’
‘I’ve had a terrible feeling fo déjà vu!’
‘SPAM, SPAM, SPAM’
‘Mind if I call you Bruce?’

Some of my favourite sketches are: ‘The Bishop’, ‘Crunchy Frog’, ‘Dead Indian’, ‘The Masons’, ‘Northern Playwright’ and ‘Spanish Inquisition’. How about yours? (Look ‘em up.)

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