Monday, July 7, 2008

The last Episode of Doctor Who

This weekend was the last episode of Doctor who for ages… not just the end of the series, but no series next year, so just the odd special before David Tennant is replaced as the Doctor…

Massive hype for this last episode, and even the press weren’t allowed to see previews so that the Russel T Davies rumour mill could play havoc churning out wild speculation all over the Internet and the media.

Added to that, the return of Davros and a huge cast list of current and historical companions and stars returning and the spinoff series’ Torchwood and Sarah Jane Smith combining in this huge finale.

In other words, as a fan, I was quite keen to watch it.

The Mighty Boosh
It was on on Saturday night, and Saturday we went to the Mighty Boosh Festival… a collection of bizarre musicians including Garry Numan… and a collection of bizarre comedians including Ross Noble came together to entertain an even more bizarre crowd of people dressed as futuristic prostitutes (not including us). That meant I was going to have to wait for Sunday for the final episode…

Anyway, the promised rain never showed up, so it was a great day which we (Lisa, George, Sam and I) used as an extended picnic.

I think festivals are getting better and better organised. Toilets are now approachable, the food is varied and not entirely “freezer to fryer”, everything that can be recycled is and there are even inflatable sofas on sale for those visitors who don’t want to sit on the grass…

On second thoughts, maybe they’re not getting better organised. Maybe they’re just going middle class… instead of serving one type of canned lager, you now get a choice of wines or a recycled plastic jug of Pimms. Instead of ultra-processed zebu offal burger, you now get tempura or Napolitana pizza.

This was an “alternative” festival – and that used to mean the audience was living or exploring alternative lifestyles – society was being challenged by “alternatives” that nobody quite understood… you didn’t used to be able to move without being offered CND badges, signing anti-aphartied petitions or buying a copy of the Socialist Worker.

Now, alternative means just watching somebody else – and they don’t even have to be alternative – they just need to pretend to be alternative in a post modern ironic sort of way. You can be alternative by putting on a gold leotard or a funny hat. You don’t actually need to do or commit to anything. You can just watch.

It’s a lot easier…. and it’s fun. Zimbabwe and the food crisis don’t impinge on a good rock festival…

The young folks of today, eh? Don’t know they’re born…

The happiest baby in the world
Speaking of the young, George managed to make it through the whole day (up to about 11pm) with just a little nap at 7pm. He absolutely loved the acts – especially the mighty Boosh themselves who came on at 9:30. he laughed and clapped and giggled and despite having to be held up by us (we all came away feeling like we’d had a workout) he didn’t cry at all.

In fact, George is generally happy most of the time… OK, he does cry when he’s tired, or in pain, or when he’s being neglected, and he doesn’t always have good nights, but his crying just seems to be punctuation in a general mood that’s surprisingly bright and cheerful most of the time.

Even the people at the nursery are constantly telling Lisa that they want to adopt him.

I think we may have the happiest baby in the world.

Of course the one thing I’ve learnt over the last 9 months is that nothing stays the same. He’s constantly changing and every week he learns something new. Right now, I can say he started smiling at a few weeks old and hasn’t stopped since. However, it may just be that his misery genes haven’t yet kicked in and that as soon as he works out what life is all about, he’ll fall into a deep morose.

He’s just on the verge of learning to move around on his own and that might trigger a whole world of things he discovers he doesn’t like…

The reactionary
This week’s discovery has been the idea that it’s other people’s reactions rather than just things that happen that’s important.

He’s started to, when he encounters something new, check my or Lisa’s reaction to it before deciding what he’s going to do himself. If he goes to pick something up, he doesn’t know what to do with, he’ll quite often look around to one of us to see what we think about it before deciding what he’s going to do.

Of course, it doesn’t usually matter what we do – he’ll mostly just put the thing in his mouth, or bang it on the floor and then giggle – but it’s nice to see he’s realised that other humans have reactions just like he does and that most of the time, people are more interesting than things anyway.

At least that’s my take.

Having missed Doctor Who on Saturday I decided to watch the repeat on Sunday night.

Sunday we had a gentle day, working up to a late lunch with Lisa’s parents in Sam’s new kitchen – Sam’s kitchen seems always to have been in a state of flux with experimental work surfaces and layouts going in and out of vogue, sinks appearing in dining tables, then moving around the room and Sam’s hatred of kitchen units causing wave after wave of welsh dressers, 70’s style sideboards, and shelving to sweep through the room in disruptive waves of chipped Formica.

This latest incarnation offers room for a proper dining table and to celebrate this, she invited us all round for a roast heart (except me – I had a veggie alternative). The one constant in Sam’s ever changing kitchen is the slow cooking pots of offal.

Anyway, Lunch went on late, and melded into the men’s single’s final at Wimbledon. This turned out to be the best (and longest) tennis match ever played… apparently… and ended with Federer loosing to Nadal in a nail biting finish.

The main nail-biting from my point of view was the tension of whether we’d get home in time for the repeat of the final episode of Doctor Who. In the event we left just as they were going into the last few games, and got home at 7:35 – fine because Doctor Who started at 8pm.

Except that they’d moved it, so it in fact started at 7:30… no point watching if I missed the first 5 minutes, so I went upstairs to download the episode and put it onto DVD.

Unfortunately, this process for some reason took until 10pm – and we ended up watching the remainder of the tennis followed by Midsommer Murders… Ahh!

Of course, we could have put it on at 10… but Lisa had to get up at 5:30 – so that was a no go….

In other words, as I write, it’s half six on Monday night, and I still haven’t watched it.

Which would be fine – except I can’t open emails because all my friends are Doctor Who fans and talking about it… I can’t open a newspaper… I can’t turn the radio or TV on… in fact just by looking out of the window, I risk finding out what happened…

Doctor Who is the most popular programme on British TV – which, although it means I’m no longer a pariah for being a fan, also means avoiding finding out what happened is a bit like trying to get through the 1966 world cup final weekend without knowing the result.

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