Ten Things for the Weekend: Valentine Edition

Okay, so nothing particularly romantic about this weekends Things, but I like a theme. Before we get to that, however...

The Week in Follyfoot.

The latest edition of The Word Magazine includes a piece where Giles Smith shows his kids the various 1970s TV shows featured on the new Look Back at '70s Telly DVD from Network (who also do a Complete Follyfoot, I note). Said kids are all sarcastic about what they see. Until, I quote: '"Well, obviously the horse is going to live," said my ten-year-old. For several minutes after the vet had done his business with the gun, a cold silence hung in the room... When was the last time a sore-ridden horse got taken out and shot on Drake & Josh?' (Sorry, perhaps I should have said, spoilers for 1971.)

And on that cheery note, to the Ten Things:

1: The World Science Fiction Convention in Reno in 2011 has announced a reduced Young Adult Membership Rate, making access to the SF community a lot easier for the very people we should be appealing to. Colin Harris tells me that the 2014 bid for a UK Worldcon will also be offering a cheap YA rate. And mention must be made of the campaigning James Bacon's been doing on this issue, and on the bigger matter of getting more people, and especially young people, to come to Worldcon, the heart of the genre. Well done, everyone.

2: Dragon Heir is Emma Vieceli's ongoing comic project, drawn in a manga-influenced style, now up to nine issues, with the first six collected. As part of the Sweatdrop Collective, Emma is one of Britain's leading comic artists drawing in that style, and this is her labour of love. Summing up the series, she tells me: 'Protus, one of four Dragon Heirs, sets out on a journey to gather the Heirs and take them all to the location chosen for Spiratu's Ritual of Transcendence. This act will leave the four young men free of the dangerous Dragon Spirits they have harboured since birth, and free to begin their mortal lives with Spiratu's blessing. However, in a world where fate has spawned not one but two sets of Dragon Heirs, what guarantee is there that a prophecy so ancient can be fulfilled at all? For the Heirs, it's a race against the powerful spirits that consume them each from within, but when the very foundations of a society's faith and structure are threatened, the true consequences of failure could be far greater than any of the prophecy's players can imagine.' If you enjoy manga and high fantasy, it's well worth a look.

3: My friend Gerard Johnson, who plays keyboards, engineers for, and hangs out with Saint Etienne, and has recently been working with former members of Yes in The Syn, has a new project, The Electric Opera, electronically funky, in a bit of a Daft Punk way. You can hear tracks on this rather fine site, get downloads from Gerard's previous outfit, Funky Monkey, and generally access The Electric Opera's groovy world.

4: Reminded by the free transfers on the front of Vworp Vworp, I want out in search of previous such Doctor Who ephemera. Proustian rush ahoy for anyone of a certain age, with these Background Scenes and Boards and Game Pieces from Weetabix's two Doctor Who promotions, around which my world revolved for a few months in the mid '70s. 'Speared by Blor, miss two goes!'

5: Similarly, but dealing in the nostalgia of the future, Doctor Who Figures Online aims to be a one stop resource for everyone who enjoys the little fellows, and perhaps has a spare Tom Baker head. The design's a bit busy, but it's all there, with a forum, checklist, figure reviews and... photo comic strips made with figures! Including the Ninth Doctor on a motorcycle! Ah, if only they'd had this sort of stuff back in the days when I had to eat so much Weetabix.

6: And Ainah, in a heartwarming 'love letter to Doctor Who' has had rather a large Tardis Tattoo inscribed on her back. Let's hope the BBC lawyers don't go after that one. Messy.

7: Acclaimed British SF critic Niall Harrison has seen fit to include my BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Iain Banks' The State of the Art on his Draft Hugo Ballot but that kind gesture apart, it gives, like John Scalzi's Award Suggestions From Readers a sense of what people are considering for the Nebulas and Hugos.

8: Mark Clapham is a critic and writer whose work covers comics, TV and prose. But his latest project is Story Game Reviews where he considers computer games that make especial use of narrative. It's what I most enjoy in games, playing Dragon Age: Origins as I am with great joy at the moment (though my character, with his huge ginger beard and staring sunken eyes, looks like he's just wandered in off the street and is continually surprised to find himself in armour), and trying not to learn too much of the plot of Mass Effect 2 while my wife massacres aliens over my shoulder. It's an important area for Mark to keep up with, and I look forward to his recommendations.

9: The Black Widow: Deadly Origin Premiere Hardcover is out on March 4th, and Forbidden Planet are doing a deal, on that link, whereby you can get it for just over a tenner. A bargain, I think. But then, I would.

10: And finally, the Horse Related TV Show of the Week is White Horses the video for which unfortunately can't be embedded here, but is behind the link. I loved this when I was a little gir - boy, I mean. It was originally a German/Yugoslavian co-production, shown on the BBC in a dubbed (rather than, as often happened with BBC foreign imports for children, a narrator talking over the original dialogue) version. It wasn't quite as passionate (or bleak) as Follyfoot, but then, what is? The tune makes Brits of a certain age think of summer holidays, and all sorts of cover versions, from the likes of Cerys Matthews, have appeared. The original singer was Jackie Lee, who also has our Proustian Proverbials in her grasp with her Rupert The Bear theme. There's a grand sort of yearning to it, that speaks of the British urge for the Golden Age in the countryside in a rather surprising way for something that's attached to something so continental.

Do you know, judging by previous viewings, I rather fear what putting Black Widow and White Horses in the same post will do to my search results. If you've come here for, shall we say, a combination of those two things, I hope we didn't disappoint too much.

Until next time, then, Cheerio!

16 Response to "Ten Things for the Weekend: Valentine Edition"

  • Lilian Edwards Says:

    Oh I loved White Horses. I was unbelievably happy when the theme music turned up as an original 7 inch single insome charity shop long ago and I cherish i to this day :-) Follyfoot OTOH never did it for me!!

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Sheer heresy, Lilian. I once found The Dalek Outer Space Pocket Book for 50p in a junk shop in Bognor Regis, you know.

  • Seth Says:

    You had me at "Saint Etienne". I'm making that album my Valentine's Day present to myself, since nobody else is going to give me one. Er, a present, that is. Ahem.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Aww, Seth, I don't know if you're a regular here, but you should know, one of our aims is to get every Commenter married. Everyone: would anyone like to marry Seth?

  • Ian Cullen Says:

    Thinks he should start making himself scarce from here. Doesn't like the idea of winding up married.

    Marriage is an institution and I'm far to young to be institutionalized.

    Also. No one would have me anyway lol.. I'm to much of a handful. I'm grumpy in the mornings, never do what am told. Plus I dream about Smoke Monsters, and Polar Bears in Tu's Tu's. Not sure what thats about.

    Since when has Valentines day been a giving holiday. I got an ex a machine gun. I was trying to be topical. Plus I thought it would come in handy for that time when East Enders had become to depressing for her.

    Do you think I should have given her a choice between the red and blue pill maybe:)

    Paul: I've just started reading British Summer Time. Sorry its took me awhile to get to it. But I got sucked into a load of Alan Moore and other good stuff.

    Thus far I like it. Only through the first three or four chapters because I'm a slow reader. However I did like the dream sequence with Judas and the disciples. I've often wondered about what must have gone through their minds in that gap of time between the last supper and Jesus capture.

    I also like how Judas is questioning his own actions throughout that chapter as well, like anyone in the same situation probably would.

    Anyway, sorry for waffling on.

  • Teresa Says:

    Ian - I've actually just ordered British Summertime from a local bookstore! I look forward to catching up to you (so keep reading slow!). It should be coming in Tuesday or Wednesday, and then we can start comparing notes!

    Also, you just made me spew out some coffee with your "getting an ex a machine gun to be topical" bit. :) Also, I want to get "Marriage is an institution and I'm far to young to be institutionalized" on a t-shirt now. I like humor in a future husband! We should totally get married RIGHT NOW! ;)

    Seth, are you funny? You can compete with Ian for my affections.

  • Ian Cullen Says:

    Sure Teresa,

    We can compare notes on BTS. I'm guessing that if I read at a fair lick. I'll be about halfway through by the time you pick it up.

    As to my humour. I just really hate the commercialism of things like Valentines day.

    My humour often gets me into trouble because I tend to just let rip with whats on my mind. Though have been trying to hold that flippant side of my nature back. Flipping hard work though.

  • Seth Says:

    Paul: of course I'm aware of your aim. It's the only reason I visit the blog. ;)
    Teresa: funny ha-ha, or funny peculiar? My comedy heroes are an unholy combination of the Carry On team and the writers behind The Onion; and I like to think I am just unusual enough to be interesting, but admit it's a fine line.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I'm glad to hear there's a British Summertime book club going on. I have mixed feelings about the book. It's not '25 words or less' enough for me. But people have been very kind about it recently, so maybe it's got better with age.

  • Teresa Says:

    Ian - "flipping hard work"? You can do better than that. :) Actually, I've just started reading a book called "The Sparrow" on the recommendation of, um, THE WORLD. Though I'm known for reading 2-3 books at once, so I'll probably be starting BS (heh, that's quite an acronym) when I get it anyway.

    Seth - ha-ha OR peculiar? Why should I have to choose? :) The fact that you like The Onion is a good sign!

    Paul - Obviously you've progressed as a writer...is that what it is? That you've outgrown your own book? In any case, don't let British Summertime hear you express favoritism toward your younger novels. It'll only develop a complex and need therapy later. ;)

  • Gary Fitzgerald Says:

    the ONLY thing I remember about white horses is the theme tune..
    and what was that chevalier proggy that was set during a war between the french and the spanish? great theme tune.. "you've got to fight for what you want.. for all that you believe.. " etc...? dashing blade?

  • Ian Cullen Says:

    Teresa: How you know I can flipping, flip, flap and faff around better than I do. Are you that undercover stalker that the Onion Rings warned me about while I was in a state of semi alcoholism the other day. Oh never mind.

    Paul: Loving the book so far.

    A little different to what I'd normally read. Which is good because since moving a little away from the Star Trek tie in books. Have been trying a few different things. Even read a bit of Dan Brown, but can't say I was that enthused by his work. Puzzles are way to easy to figure out.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Ter: I'm proud of all my children. Just... some more than others. Gary: we'll be getting to that one! Ian: it's definitely not Dan Brown, for good or ill.

  • Ian Cullen Says:

    No. BS is better because I can't see or predict what's around the corner.

    It's fun not knowing, or not being able to guess whats coming next.

  • Aligubbs Says:

    I loved White Horses, dare I say more than Follyfoot or Black Beauty? Maybe I was a proto-Europhile in training, I don't know. Vague recollections of an episode involving truffles. Hmmmm.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Oh, yes, I remember the truffle episode too! I think that was my favourite.