Tuesday, 14 October 2008


The Graham Norton Show
4x02 (9/10/08 edition, uncut repeat)

The Sandbaggers
1x04 The Most Suitable Person


Letters Between a Father and a Son (aka Between Father and Son: Family Letters) by V.S. Naipaul, edited by Gillon Aitken
Parts I - IV
The letters themselves begin when V.S. (aka Vido) was just 17, and it shows. Selfish, self-centred, snobbish, whiny, irritating, 'depressed', obsessed with girls... 60 years on, teenagers are exactly the same, only now they can't construct full sentences -- or even words, thanks to txt spk. By the end of the fourth part/chapter (they're merely numbered) he's 19, but he hasn't improved; if anything, time at Oxford has made him even more snobbish. Other than these unappealing characteristics, the letters are packed with the boring monotony of most letters -- family news, of interest only to particularly gossipy family members (though, amusingly, Vido criticises Jane Austen's Emma for being just that), and other random snippets of normal, boring life. Beyond a couple of worthwhile pieces of advice for writers, and the odd snippet of genuinely good or interesting writing, one has to wonder where the value lies in publishing these.


Apple laptops get $999 entry price, Nvidia chips by Jessica Mintz
(from Mail.com)
"Apple avoided a major price cut to the Macintosh line, though it did lower its least expensive computer, the existing version of the entry-level MacBook, by $100 to $999. For the updated MacBook and MacBook Pro machines, Apple gave them some of the high-end features that had been in the MacBook Air, including thinner laptop casings and a 'multitouch' track pad, which, like the iPhone, understands gestures for spinning and zooming... Apple switched from Intel Corp. to Nvidia Corp. as the supplier of the laptops' graphics chips. [Steve] Jobs said the change speeds up processing-intensive activities -- playing popular 3-D video games, for example -- as much as six-fold... The redesigned laptops are lighter than existing machines, and Apple touted a construction 'breakthrough' in the way the casings are cut and tooled from aluminum, without a stronger skeleton fused to the insides."

As Quantum of Solace edges closer (only 17 days to go!) there will surely be more and more articles about Bond. Here are a couple from today:

Bond is back... by Martyn Palmer, Charlie Higson & Danny Scott
(from Radio Times 18-24 October 2008, p.10-19)
Interviews with Daniel Craig (a surprisingly good one), producer Barbara Broccoli, and stuntmen Vic Armstrong and George Leech, plus an article by Charlie Higson looking back at previous Bonds (oft-trodden ground, well covered here). This is all thanks to a raft of TV specials about Bond next week -- a bit premature, it seems to me, as some are on almost two weeks before the film's release. Surely it would make more sense to show them in the week running up to October 31st?

James Bond Puts The Pressure On Marc Forster by Devin Zydel
(from CommanderBond.net)
Among other worthwhile comments from Bond 22's director, "It always comes up, this comparison [between James Bond and Jason Bourne...] I feel there’s a huge difference -- it’s like apples and oranges. Stylistically alone, Bond should never be in the Bourne vein. Bond has a different kind of quality. He can still transport you." Thank God for that. One of my greatest fears when Casino Royale turned up was they'd try to make it too much like Bourne (and everything on TV these days) -- hand held, shaky, grainy, "gritty". It works great for Bourne, in my opinion, but it's not Bond -- and, thankfully, Casino Royale didn't succumb to it. It's good to know they still haven't.

Also posted today, articles on a new series of Doctor Who books and the return of Red Dwarf in 2009.

Doctor Who: The Darksmith Legacy - Titles

Multi-Platform Book Range - Full List by John Bowman
(from The Doctor Who News Page)

For those who missed the initial announcement... this article handily recaps it!

"All the titles of the forthcoming 10-part multi-platform Doctor Who book project The Darksmith Legacy have been announced. As reported earlier this month by this site, the first two books will be out in January 2009, followed by a new "episode" every month after that. Published by BBC Children's Books in association with Penguin Books, they will offer the adventure of a book serialisation, complete with cliffhangers, plus interactivity and content that is only obtainable online."

Intriguing, eh? I'm intending to follow it, though I hope the online content isn't too essential -- especially if it includes silly games, tasks, or 'point gathering' thingies, because I'm not sure I can be bothered.

There are some pretty good titles in the series, in my opinion, so I've decided to list them below.

  • The Dust of Ages by Justin Richards
  • The Graves of Mordane by Colin Brake
  • The Colour of Darkness by Richard Dungworth
  • The Depths of Despair by Justin Richards
  • The Vampire of Paris by Steve Cole
  • The Game of Death by Trevor Baxendale
  • The Planet of Oblivion by Justin Richards
  • The Picture of Emptiness by Jacqueline Rayner
  • The Art of War by Mike Tucker
  • The End of Time by Justin Richards

  • Note several authors from the Decide Your Destiny series in that list -- clearly known to Penguin and/or deemed most capable of writing for children.

    Red Dwarf is coming back!

    I can't believe I hadn't heard this sooner, but Robert Llewellyn (aka Kryten) was on Loose Women today, where he revealed that there will be four new Red Dwarf specials next year! Yay!

    The full article from the official site is here, but to summarise:

  • The four specials will be produced next year, for the 21st anniversary, and premiere on Dave. Yes, Dave.
  • Co-creator Doug Naylor will oversee them and all the original cast will return. Hurrah!
  • Why's it taken so long? "Thanks to movie and broadcaster wrangles, Grant Naylor haven't been in a position to produce new Red Dwarf since Series VIII went out to audiences of over eight million in 1999."
  • This might not be the end! Depending on the success of these specials, now the rights are back in the hands of GNP there's always the potential for more.

  • The four specials aren't all brand-new episodes of Red Dwarf exactly, however. In fact, they break down as follows:

  • Show One: The Making Of The Specials
    "A highly entertaining look at what goes on behind the scenes on a Red Dwarf production."
  • Show Two: Red Dwarf Special: Part One
    "The cast get back into character, and costume, a decade on..."
  • Show Three: Red Dwarf Special: Part Two
    "The adventure continues..."
  • Show Four: A Clip Show With a Serious Difference
    "The cast do it their way. Red Dwarf as you have never, ever seen it before!"

  • Hurrah again! And we should finally get an answer to series eight's cliffhanger. We've only had to wait a decade! (At least, there bloody better be an answer...)

    shameless eBay self-promotion: update 2

    As you may know from Sunday, I'm selling a variety of items on eBay at the moment, so thought I'd bring them to the attention of anyone reading this. All are available as either auctions (with low low low starting prices) or Buy It Now prices (the latter disappears when someone bids, incidentally).

    Many items have sold already (anything sold from the last two days has been removed, anything sold since posting this is crossed out) while others are already being bid on (those are in bold) -- so act fast if you want anything!

  • Casino Royale 2-disc Collector's Edition
  • Doctor Who Complete Davros Collection box set (new)
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles with Richard Roxburgh, Ian Hart and Richard E. Grant
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking
  • The West Wing Season 1 Part 1
  • The West Wing Season 1 Part 2

  • Books
  • Casino Royale (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • Dr No (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • From Russia With Love (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • Goldfinger (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • Live and Let Die (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • Moonraker (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • Thunderball (Penguin Modern Classics edition)
  • You Only Live Twice (Penguin Modern Classics edition)

  • Toys
  • Doctor Who Micro-Universe: Captain Jack's Chula Ship (with exclusive Captain Jack mini-figure)

  • All these auctions end next weekend, with the exception of the two Holmes DVDs, which end on Monday -- provided none of them go for Buy It Now before then of course.

    I've still got one thing left to sell in this clear-out -- namely, a Doctor Who Empress of the Racnoss action figure -- but that's big and awkward to work out the postage on, so I'll list it when I can be bothered to sort that out.

    I'm liking selling stuff on eBay. Money is good, as is the space it creates. I'm quite tempted to trawl through my nearly-900-titles DVD collection and find other stuff I'm not really fussed about to flog; or perhaps some of my duplicate Who toys (damn box sets always including a Doctor).