This week I bought one of these 100 Movies Bucket List scratch off posters with the intention of watching every film on it in the coming few months. There are plenty of films that I’ve already seen and a fair few that I haven’t. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not a massive fan of horror films so there’s more than a few classic horrors that I’ll have to force myself to watch. I’m thinking of making it a blog thing so I can keep updating my progress as we go along but we’ll see. As of this moment, I have only scratched off one panel and that’s only because I promised myself I was never going to watch Dirty Dancing again. I know people adore it but that film did nothing for me. I just found it irritating and silly. Although, I do admit, that the final dance sequence is something I like to watch on YouTube every now and then but I’ve always been a sucker for a good dance sequence in a film. It’ll probably be slow going but 100 films doesn’t seem like such a terrible undertaking. We’ll see how much it affects my reading.
Weekly Bookish Post
Okay, hands up, I didn’t write anything this week because I didn’t have a topic in mind. I want to start writing better posts so I didn’t want to start a habit of posting because I have to. I’ll spend some time thinking of my next one and, fingers crossed, will come up with something useful and interesting.
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
So, strictly speaking, I haven’t finished this yet but I intend to complete it tonight. It’s been wonderful going back over this tale. It really is one of the greatest pieces of crime fiction that’s ever been written. Agatha Christie really still is the Queen of Crime and this book is a masterpiece. Everything slots into place and it keeps people guessing til the end… unless you’ve already read it obviously. Then it’s just fun picking up on all the things that become so obvious when you know.
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Still put this on hold. Still trying to stop myself buying the Waterstones special edition hardback. Probably going to buy it.
- No Art: Poems by Ben Lerner
I had a random bookshop trip whilst waiting for a train the other day and I decided I was in the mood to buy some poetry. I’m a student of Romantic literature so I, understandly, love reading a bit of poetry but I tend to read less of it these days. Especially contemporary poetry. Most of the time I find it a bit too hipster-y for my liking. Like Milk and Honey. I so wanted to like the collection, and I mostly do, but a lot of it just felt silly… or pointless. I don’t know. But I decided to give Ben Lerner’s poetry a try based on the cover alone. I’ve heard a lot about Lerner but never read anything by him. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes.
- Undying: A Love Story by Michel Faber
Another collection of poetry added to my library. This time I thought it would be good to see what I thought of Michel Faber’s poetry. It also helps that the quote on the cover is from Ian McEwan, someone who I once considered my favourite contemporary writer. I admit that, even thought I like to act the big cynic, I’m a bit of an old romantic at heart so I do love poetry about love. Especially when it shows the realistic nature of human emotions. We’ll have to see if Faber can deliver.
- The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin
My final new purchase is a book that I’ve wanted for ages but one I’ve bought in a different edition than I’ve seen. So, no matter how excited I am that I now own it, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with the way it looks. Anyway, this is one of those fun little books that I just adored the sound of. It suggests reading material that is suitable for whatever malady you are inflicted with. What an adorable idea.
- Netflix Binges: Stranger Things
Stranger Things 2 came to Netflix on Friday. By the time I went to bed on Friday night (before a 7am start at work) I had watched all but 1 episode. This is something that my coworkers judged me on but I couldn’t stop. It was such a good season. Not sure it was as good as the first but it definitely wasn’t a let down. Now I want to go back through from the very beginning and watch both seasons in a row. Yes, there are things that didn’t quite work or needed a bit of tweaking but this show is still pheneomenal. Roll on Stranger Things 3.
Thanks to BBC iPlayer I’ve now watched all three episodes of the BBC’s gruesome drama about the gunpowder plot. I absolutely loved the first episode when I watched it. It was dark, yes, but it was dramatic. I can see why people complained about the violence: it all got a bit much at times. Unfortunately, it didn’t really move beyond violence as the episodes went on. I understand that the underlying historical basis is there but it felt like this show had little else to fall back on. I found myself bored for the most part and, let’s be honest, this isn’t a boring story. Yes, we all know how it ends but that shouldn’t mean it couldn’t be exciting. It felt like Kit Harrington and co didn’t really understand their purpose. For the most part they’re trying to justify the attempted murder but then it doesn’t really delve any deeper than the torture scenes. It all feels like a wasted opportunity to make something really good with really great actors.
So I’ve just finished the first episode of Season 7 of Game of Thrones and I have so many thoughts buzzing through my brain. Which is why I’m not trying to get an early night ahead of my 7 am start tomorrow morning. Instead I wanted to write a quick post in response to yesterday’s announcement about the new Doctor Who as there has been so much controversy. Naturally, people have a lot of feelings on the matter… but that’s hardly new. Every regeneration has had some amount of hatred. Even the amazing Peter Capaldi still has his doubters as I discovered today when a female coworker proudly proclaimed that she hated him. I really had to bite my tongue at that moment. Capaldi has suffered because of terrible writing but has done wonders with the character. His version of the Doctor is one of the best we’ve had in years but his stories haven’t served him well enough. I have nothing against Matt Smith or David Tennant but Capaldi tried to do something different with the character and I will defend him to anyone. I imagine that the people who dislike him are also the same stupid people that fail to accept that Donna was the best companion. I reckon they’re all fans of David Tennant and Billie Piper and just can’t move on. Speaking of moving on…
After the men’s finals as Wimbledon yesterday, the BBC annonced that Jodie Whittaker will take over from Peter Capaldi and become the next Doctor Who. Yes, the new Doctor is a woman and I’m pissed off. Why? Because I wanted to be the first female Doctor. But I’m not an actor and have never wanted to be so that’s fucking crazy. So, putting those jealous feelings to one side, I’ve decided I’m okay with it… but I have some provisos. As a proud feminist, I’m all for better representation of women on television and better roles for women. As a fan of pop culture, I’m also all for making sure this happens organically and not for the sake of it. I understand why people are so excited that after 50 plus years the Doctor will be played by a women but I also worry about permanently tying the news to some sort of political benchmark. It should be about making sure the transition is handled correctly. Which is where I really worry.
In my opinion, Doctor Who has been steadily declining in quality since the fourth season. That’s not to say before then was all stellar but it’s undoubtedly gone to the dogs since Russell T’s final episodes. I can barely remember anything about Matt Smith’s first two series and the first two with Capaldi were abysmal. Moffat can crank out astonishing one-off episodes but, when it came to his time as showrunner, he’s allowed a lot of shitty episodes to make their way on screen. If Jodie Whittaker’s entrance is handled that same way Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi’s were then we’re in trouble because she’ll fail to make an impression. If the switch is handled for laughs then it will play into the naysayers hands. Whittaker needs to be given a well-defined and new characterisation of this well-known character. It’s going to be tricky.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t think it should happen. I love the idea of a female Doctor and I think Whittaker is a great actress. I’m remaining hopeful that this could be the best thing ever. Even now, as a 29 year old woman, I’m excited to see this character that I grew up watching is becoming someone I can relate to more. The image I have of Doctor Who from my childhood is Jon Pertwee’s face. Doctor Who has always been a white haired, white skinned man. Maybe this is why the show didn’t really stay with me as I grew up? Well, that and the fact that the older series were so rarely shown. When it came back in 2005 I watched it and loved it but it was always lacking. There was no really powerful female presence. I know people loved Rose but she didn’t cut it for me. Especially when she started going ga-ga over Tennant. That’s why Donna, so underrated, is my fave. She’s a genuinely strong and independent female who shows real growth. We need a female Doctor who takes after Donna.
And we do need a female Doctor. The show gets a lot of views and has a young audience. It is right that we show young people that women can take roles like this. It’s wonderful to see the reactions of young girls or parents who are rejoicing that their Doctor is a women. In the same way that we needed someone like Rey to be the hero of the new Star Wars films. It’s important and is everything this show has been about. The Doctor has never been about a specific gender but more about the ethos that has stayed with every incarnation. It’s about this good being who wants to explore and helps people along the way. The show has always been trying to encourage it’s audience into taking an interest in science and the universe around them but it’s always been a very traditional take on that world. The older male scientist and his sexy young assistant. It needed to be changed to reflect the real world.
And, no matter what the majority of angry fans are saying, there has always been room to make this work. The Doctor is an alien being who travels in time and changes his face every few years. If you can accept that but can’t accept that he can change into a woman then you really are a narrow-minded fuckwit.