Category Archives: Everything else

Death meets Terry Pratchett

When I was young, before your World Wide Webs and your Twitters, we used to have ‘newsgroups’—kind of Internet discussion forums. They were named like domain names, with dots: rec.arts.cycling, say, or

I subscribed to the Muppets one, and a few others, including and Douglas Adams (dns) used to pop in and say hello on his one occasionally (which was always promptly followed by a raft of newbies accusing the great man of being an imposter).

Terry Pratchett (pterry) was almost a permanent fixture of his. Amongst the silly chat, there were some in-jokes which occasionally made it into his books. He clearly loved his fans, and they loved him. You can’t fake that: he was generous of spirit. His books are influential; his books are imbued with a love of humanity reflecting his own, and his influence spread far beyond his books.

Plus, given the amount of good press he gave to Death, you’ve got to imagine that Death will be kind to him.



I’ve been pretty remiss about checking my comment queue for the last year, so quite a few comments were sitting waiting there unapproved. Fixed now. I probably should make this thing email me when people post comments. Probably.

The Immortal Memory

I was at a Burns Supper last night (and my hangover is only beginning to subside as I write), for which I was asked to give the Immortal Memory. I was only asked to do it last week, so it was a bit of a rush job (the tone and humour is uneven), but I learned a lot about Rabbie Burns.

For posterity, here is the text, not precisely as delivered of course. In fact it probably reads better than how I delivered it, since I did not have time to commit it to memory or work on the presentation. Continue reading

Prince: brilliant musician; funked-up brain

In other news, Prince is apparently actually my grandmother:

“They [computers and digital media] just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

His new album is available only on CD, and not iTunes, Amazon, eBay… and he’s closing (closed) down his own website (presumably because he doesn’t want to fill other people’s heads with numbers and thus contribute to the problem). So he’s promoting it on MTV? Ah, probably not, since MTV is ‘outdated’ the same way the Internets are.

So expect his ship-to-ship–semaphore–(or possibly telegram)–based marketing campaign to commence in 3… 2… 1…

(Good thing noone’s told him that CDs are digital.)

Incidentally, his cover of Radiohead’s Creep is brilliant.

Dr Who turns Universe into Cheese

I just watched The Stolen Earth (first episode of the two-parter Doctor Who season 4 finalé).


What a stinking cheese platter of overripe dramatic stilton.

Personally I lay full blame at the feet of series godfather and cheesemonger in residence, Russell T. Davies. Gaping plot-holes, magical mobile phones which work across the Universe, a key plot-point straight out of Lawnmower Man, pretentious, overblown orchestration, and seemingly an attempt to jam every single character and monster from the last 4 seasons, into a bloated 45 minutes of Whovian fanboy masturbation.

I liked one bit: the bit near the end, when Rose and The Doctor see each other for the first time in ages. That was lovely. However almost immediately afterwards the spell was broken, when they ran toward each other in a comically overextended ‘lovers’ cinematic run’ sequence which seemed to go on for about 5 minutes, (before a clichéd fucking Dalek clichédly shoots The Doctor, then a just-in-the-nick-of-clichéd-time Captain Clichéd Jack appears and clichédly shoots the Dalek).

And the Daleks… Basically they keep coming back from the dead in increasingly creative ways, just in time to threaten the Earth at the end of each season of Doctor Who. They’ve turned from a sinister surprise into an expected, end of season Very Special Guest Star.

Subspace WavesUgh. There’s only one way to save the Universe: quick, everybody dial The Doctor’s mobile phone number (07700 900461*—you may want to take a note of it in case your planet is ever in danger), thus boosting the subspace frequencies, routing it through every telephone exchange in the UK (which has the effect of, erm, not completely clogging the network, apparently), and causing big RKO-style circles to propagate out through space, thus alerting The Doctor that The Earth has been ‘hidden’ 1 second back in time. (Oddly, given that the TARDIS routinely pops back and forth in time by millennia, going back in time by 1 second causes the camera to shake and things to go on fire in a very dramatic manner.)

I can understand that Russell T. wanted to go out with a bang (he’s retiring as head writer), but he really should have smoked less crack while knocking off this piece of trite, disjointed, nonsensical, overblown, masturbatory, illogical, incoherent bollocks.

* Actually, I just tried phoning it. “This number is not recognised.” Thanks Doctor. (He must have changed his provider and not bothered moving his number over. Bloody disorganised Timelord.)