Tuesday, 31 December 2019

My 2019

"So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun"

This has been an extraordinary year. Obviously, the most important and life-changing event all year was birth of my son. It was a wonderful thing that entirely turned our lives upside down. An impending birth really focusses the mind and in my case it made me want to redouble my efforts with my writing.

I wrote twenty articles for Hero Collector: Back In The Loop, Doctor Who: Twenty Years Of Fatal Death, Star Trek: The Many Deaths Of Janeway, Alien@40: Crew Expendable, Battlestar Galactica: The Finale@40, Star Trek DS9: What We Left Behind Review, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace@20, Battlestar Galactica: The 13th Colony, Top TV Body Swaps, Star Trek: 25 Years Of The Dominion, Over The Moon, Doctor Who: The Fourth Wall, Marvel@80: Forgotten Heroes, Marvel@80: Who Was That Masked Man?, Space Pirates Ahoy!, Spaced@20, Halloween On Screen, Tagline Top Tens, Gunslingers Of The Galaxy. and 2020 Vision.



Outside In Gains A Soul was published containing my essay, Under New Management.


I neglected this blog and things like the Carruthers Ten Year On posts made it very obvious that I had. After missing July altogether, I got back on track from August onwards with a post every three to six days or so. The Carruthers posts are now up to date and the Twitter Twatter posts are not far off.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

The Tweenies Blogfest Today

Today, is The Tweenies Blogfest where I invite you to tell me your favourite things from the Tweenies.


It's not too late to join in. Choose one thing from each year from 2010 to 2019, be it a film, a TV show, a radio show, a particular episode of a TV or radio show, a piece of theatre, a book, a comic, a piece of artwork, something online or something else entirely, and then tell us what you love about it.

Here are some of my favourite things from the Tweenies:

2010
Four Lions
A comedy about suicide bombers was always going to be controversial, but Four Lions deals with the challenging subject matter so well that it's easy to enjoy the comedy on its own merits. Riz Ahmed's performance grounds the action of his misguided contemporaries, with a special mention for Adeel Akhtar whose character is so endearing that it's easy to forget his intentions. This film will make a lot of people very uncomfortable and justifiably so, not because of any jumped up indignation over claims of Islamophobia, but actually because it asks more of its audience, challenges expectations and representations of Muslims in Britain. Chris Morris' suicide bomber buddy movie is easily the funniest film I have seen in years.


- - - - -
2011
The Martian by Andy Weir
This Robinson Crusoe on Mars story is elevated by its first person narrative delivered by a compelling character in an impossible situation. It's gripping, it's funny and it's geeky. I just couldn't put it down.


- - - - -

2012
The Cabin In The Woods
What begins as a slasher movie, blossoms into so much more. You think you've seen it all before and you have, but never this well executed or all at once. A horror movie with three dimensional characters is a rare treat and the cast are uniformly magnificent. The Cabin In The Woods has a script that earns both its jokes and its scares in equal measure. Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon deliver a movie that reappropriates all of the best and all of the worst horror movie tropes to make a genre-defining movie that takes on the fashion for torture porn and wins. The twists, the turns and the ending that you won't predict


- - - - -

2013
Utopia
The deservedly International Emmy Award winning and criminally cancelled Utopia was the jewel in Channel 4's crown. Brilliantly shot with a fantastic script, excellent performances across the board, but Alexandra Roach, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Adeel Akhtar, Neil Maskell, Paul Higgins, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Oliver Woollford, Paul Ready, Geraldine James and Emilia Jones were so great I'm going to list them all anyway. The deepening conspiracy, the spectacular visuals and the shocking occulectomy, Utopia is never less than enthralling.



- - - - -

2014
Fargo
Arguably the greatest film ever made gives us a phenomenal television sequel.



- - - - -

2015
Inside No 9: The 12 Days Of Christine
Sheridan Smith is wonderful in this tale told through a dozen vignettes. Emotionally exhausting, which is in itself an amazing concept for half an hour of comedy with a twist ending. A twist by the way that is brilliantly alluded to, so that while you know there is one coming you probably won't work out what it will be.


- - - - -

2016
Arrival
These days alien encounter movies need amazing visuals and Arrival delivers these in spades, but at its core is a really smart film that attempts to show just difficult communication would be. It asks big questions about existence and perception. Staggering.


- - - - -

2017
Dark TV show
This German language TV show is a densely-plotted time travel masterpiece. The casting of myriad characters at multiple points in their lives 33 years apart is an astonishing achievement in itself. If you have access to Netflix, can read and aren't watching Dark you are wasting your life.


- - - - -

2018
Doctor Who: Rosa
This is a phenomenal episode of television. To take the story of Rosa Parks refusal to change seats on a bus and make it accessible as an adventurous episode of family friendly telly is an extraordinary achievement, but to take that story and have the recently widowed white husband of a black woman forced to sit so that her heroine must stand or be arrested is incredibly brave. Required viewing.


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2019
Years And Years
Russell T. Davies takes on the family saga that is a staple of television, but rather than focussing on the past here he shows us how the future affects the Lyons family. The phrase 'ripped from the headlines' doesn't do Years And Years justice, but rather the predictions are startlingly accurate: the political attempts to appeal lowest common denominator populism, the rise of xenophobia and concentration camps in the Western world. The central characters are so likeable that they get us through the bleak nature of the world ahead of us.


- - - - -

Here are the details on how to take part:

• Leave your name and link on the linky below.

• Feel free to publicise the blogfest on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc and post the above image on your blog if you wish.

• On the 28th of December (that's today) post a favourite something for each year 2010-2019, and tell us what you love about each of them.

• Leave a comment here, so that we know that you have posted your efforts for all to see.

• Visit as many other participating bloggers as you can on the list below. Compare, contrast and comment on their choices.





Join us...

Friday, 27 December 2019

The Tweenies Blogfest Tomorrow

Here's a little reminder that The Tweenies Blogfest is taking place tomorrow. Here are the details on how to take part:

• Leave your name and link on the linky below.

• Feel free to publicise the blogfest on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc and post the above image on your blog if you wish.

• On the 28th of December (that's tomorrow) post a favourite something for each year 2010-2019, and tell us what you love about each of them.

• Visit as many other participating bloggers as you can. Compare, contrast and comment on their choices.





Join us...

Monday, 23 December 2019

Twitter Twatter #71

June 2019 on Twitter












Friday, 20 December 2019

Wild, Wild West

Sooner or later, most science fiction television series will dress up as cowboys and have a go at a western episode. The characters will swap space helmets, ray guns and uniform insignia for Stetsons, shooters and sheriff's badges. They mostly reach for and rely on the same set of Western tropes: main street shootouts, prison breakouts, drunk dentistry and the like.



I wrote this for Hero Collector about TV science fiction western episodes. What could be more Christmassy than that?

Monday, 16 December 2019

Twitter Twatter #70

Twitter May 2019:
















Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Twitter Twatter #69

Twitter April 2018:



















Saturday, 7 December 2019

The Tweenies Blogfest

As this decade draws to a close, it's inevitable that people take stock. A few years ago I ran The Noughties Blogfest and The Nineties Blogfest, in that order. I had written Review-Of-The-Year type posts of my favourite Films/TV/Music/Books/Comics etc from the years that make up those decades and invited people to suggest a favourite thing from each year.

So I am announcing today that on the 28th of December I will be holding The Tweenies Blogfest. I've decided that the Tweenies is the perfect name for the decade between the Noughties and the Twenties and I'm sticking with it.


On the 28th of December I invite you to tell me about your favourite things from the last decade. Choose one thing from each year from 2010 to 2019, be it a film, a TV show, a radio show, a particular episode of a TV or radio show, a piece of theatre, a book, a comic, a song, an album, a gig, a piece of artwork, something online or something else entirely, and then tell us what you love about it.

Here are the details on how to take part:

• Leave your name and link on the linky below.

• Feel free to publicise the blogfest on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc and post the above image on your blog if you wish.

• On the 28th of December post a favourite something for each year 2010-2019, and tell us what you love about each of them.

• Visit as many other participating bloggers as you can. Compare, contrast and comment on their choices.





Join us...

Friday, 6 December 2019

Carruthers Ten Years On: December 2009

As 2009 drew to a close, I was pretty pleased with the sitcom porn Christmas specials and this Ding Dong joke, while Igloo seems more topical than it ever did in 2009.

I love absolutely everything about this post.


Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Twitter Twatter #68

March 2019:






















Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Twitter Twatter #67

February 2018's Twitterings:








Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Twitter Twatter #66

January 2018 on Twitter:







































Sunday, 17 November 2019

AK-27

It's been a while since I've posted an acting post. It's time to change that.

In 2007, I took part in the New Factory of the Eccentric Actor's production of AK-27. The play concerned the 1927 visit to Mexico by Russian revolutionary, Alexandra Kollontai. Hence the name. Kollontai was only the third woman to serve as a diplomat in modern times. She was made Chargรฉ d'affaires, a diplomat who runs an embassy but is not a formal ambassador, to Mexico. Alexandra was payed by Penny Dimond, who had made something of a career of playing her in a number of plays sets at different stages throughout her life.

Here's the flyer:


I played her son, Mikhail Alekseevich Domontovich, known throughout as Mischa. Due to the nature of her work, she was a largely absent figure during his childhood and he was raised mostly by his grandparents. Later, during the First World War, she used her position to help him avoid conscription. In 1927, Mischa was aged 33, while I was a sprightly 26.

This was the first New Factory production that I took part in at the Torriano Meeting House. Previously, I had only known it as a rehearsal space. It's a small venue which New Factory shows manage to cram with people testing the fire regulations to their limits. During one of these 'standing room only' performances I was waiting outside for my entrance through the front door, when Jeremy Corbyn showed up to see a huddle of people trying to watch the show through the window. Someone offered to get him in, but he refused to jump the queue. It was a brief conversation, but I was very impressed with his demeanour and principled reaction.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Twitter Twatter #65

December 2018 on the Twitter: