THE MIND PROBE

It's a Doctor Who blog.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Guns

I'm writing a lot of Doctor Who stuff for Cultbox now, so may I present an article about guns which is probably making a point of some kind.



Wednesday, 11 October 2017

wiv da angles now

cw/ Contains a hot take. Also mentions Harvey Weinstein.

You may have seen this tweet going around.

So I prepared a quote retweet, started thinking about which stories I'd choose (and which ones I'd watched with Ali) when it occurred to me that The Caves of Androzani's gender politics feel like they're increasingly relevant.

It's been noted that only the female characters survive, and all the male characters die. Also worth noting, and what leapt out at me in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein news is that the Fifth Doctor's heroism is in sharp contrast to the fact that he's been kinda useless recently. It reminded me of male celebrities 'Now I have a daughter'-ing in the wake of sexual assault charges against friends or colleagues.

The Fifth Doctor is a nice man, probably. It doesn't really work out for him, though, and he's actually consistently sarcastic and rude to his friends and politer to strangers. Then he wonders why nothing goes his way. The Fifth Doctor is Scott Pilgrim.

Then, once hundreds of people have died and he's been left with Peri - who quickly describes him as a pain - he gets to finally be a hero. He saves her life, although as with many tales of heroism a huge part of the obstacle is caused by the hero themselves (see: every movie with Iron Man in it).

The impact of this on screen is that the heroism looks very much like HEROISM, the contrast and determination to get out of this situation marked. It's not an invasion from some stoned underwater lizards, just some backwater planet where some horrible people are fighting over a wonder drug that isn't really that impressive anyway. Everything that went before is contrasted here, but the angle that struck me just now is how this echoes being rewarded for failure.

You know that thing where white male directors get given huge blockbuster movies after making one moderately successful indie drama, tank a few franchises but then make an acclaimed mid-price movie that is 'my most personal project'? That, basically.

Back to the original tweet, I'm still going to put The Caves of Androzani in my list of five. After all, I am a straight white cis guy. It is kinda reflective of me.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

a brief flurry of headcanon

So Sutekth the Destroyer and The Beast have a very similar voice. The Doctor ponders all these images of Satanic entities looking similar, that they perhaps come from one focal point of influence. Possibly this includes the voice, but I have decided that its because the TARDIS translation circuits have a huge but limited number of voices to give to the people the Doctor meets. Thus, the voices of Sutekh and the Beast are modelled on a Gallifreyan super shit from the Dark Times, one who was massively into the Death Zone and may have Runcibled over a few commentaries. His voice print will be kicking about in the Matrix somewhere, and the TARDIS defaults to him whenever it encounters some huge bassy looking radge.

This does rely on the Beast only being able to communicate once the TARDIS arrives, meaning the Doctor has yet again killed people by virtue of just turning up.

Just thought I'd share that.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The cry of two birds wheeling in alien skies and one stone

I don't exercise much. I take a walk at lunch and occasionally play football (but in goal, so I can't really sprint further than 18 yards before I feel tired).

I also have wanted, since I rewatched all the Fifth Doctor stories, to experience all of Doctor Who in broadcast order.

Who has the time to do all these things? How do people have the time to do anything?


There's an exercise bike in our flat. This has been there for around eight months and I've never used it. The thought has been at the back of my mind that it's entire purpose is to do exercise in the comfort of your own home without committing to gym membership and the feeling of discomfort among strangers. 

Also, watching the whole of Doctor Who is quite a big time commitment. Maybe I'd blog about it, but frankly everyone's done that. I don't know if I have any special insights into Doctor Who, or anything worth being recorded, so I'd just be doing this for me. 

I read that you're supposed to do at least half an hour's worth of exercise every day. Walks at lunch weren't really enough to get my heart rate up. Cycling would do it, and Ali tends to watch sitcoms while cycling to relieve the monotony. I, too, had an idea of something to watch. Something that lasted around 25 minutes and that I had plans to rewatch anyway.

So this is a thing I'm trying. Watching all of Doctor Who in order while cycling. Mainly because I've had indigestion and exercise is meant to relieve that to be honest, but sources of inspiration aren't really up to you are they?






So I'm up to the first episode of The Daleks. I've got up earlier to do this, which has made me tired initially but I do feel much better overall. 

Plus I'm watching all of Doctor Who, and by the time the forty five minute episodes kick in, I'll be totally ready for them.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Doctor Who Emergency Fanwank Hotline

This comes up if you search 'Doctor Who fanwank', just so you know.
I used to run this group on Facebook, which might still be there come to think of it, which I updated after a new episode was broadcast. It was in the style of an automated call line with 'Press 1 if...' style options about petty fan concerns.

Cultbox have let me bring this back for Series 10, and I'll do another one at Christmas. Here's the twelve from the last series.
  1. The Pilot
  2. Smile
  3. Thin Ice
  4. Knock Knock
  5. Oxygen
  6. Extremis
  7. The Pyramid at the End of the World
  8. The Lie of the Land
  9. Empress of Mars
  10. The Eaters of Light
  11. World Enough and Time
  12. The Doctor Falls

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

When I was a child, I rated episodes on Gallifrey Base as a child

I don't know exactly when I first watched a whole Doctor Who story.

My first episode was Part Two of The Happiness Patrol. I lasted about five minutes before being freaked out at the shrieking, terrifying weirdness of the Candyman. I definitely caught parts of Planet of the Daleks and Pyramids of Mars on BBC 2 in the early Nineties. They were, again, unsettling and I didn't linger.

My brother bought Logopolis and The Caves of Androzani first, I think, but this may have come after we got Spearhead from Space out of the video shop near my grandparents in Hereford. We used to get Tom & Jerry and Tom & Jerry Kids out, and everyone put up with that, and then we got the omnibus edition of Spearhead.

This would have been some time around 1994, I think. Everything about it is now firmly ensconced in the past. You don't get omnibus editions. You don't get videos or video shops. I don't get to witness Doctor Who like that anymore, it's never going to be as weird and strange again for me.

My Grandad died at the start of the month. Gran died in 1997.

We were down in Hereford for his funeral, staying in their house. The video shop is a newsagent now, but I couldn't remember how to walk there. The house, a place we went on holiday, where the temperatures seemed dizzyingly high to a pale boy dwelling in Lanarkshire, wasn't the version I held in my head. It was a house that had been lived in for thirty five years.

I'd largely forgotten about the omnibus edition of Spearhead from Space to be honest, even though I remember the feeling when Ransome is disintegrated. I was already barely holding it together but when the 'Total Destruct' occurs, and he just vanishes, I shut down for a minute. I couldn't cope with the idea that you could just be utterly gone. Plus first you had to be shot. Really hard.

Doctor Who doesn't do the same thing for me now. I'm a 31 year old man, so there's a strong argument that it shouldn't have to do that much anyway. This means I've got at least three different versions of Spearhead from Space in my memory: the first time, the Hereford video shop time, on holiday at my grandparents; the first time after 2005, when I rediscovered fandom; the last time I watched it.

I looked up a blu-ray review I don't remember writing, where I mention watching the video in 1994. I assume, at this point, I'd have been looking at picture quality and bonus features, looking specifically at the aspects of the release that might make someone buy it yet again.

Context, essentially, is everything.


Loss, nostalgia, and the rarity of it – for me – means the context where I watched it with my family as a child, that's the best one. That's the one you're supposed to have for Doctor Who isn't it? That's partly it, but also it's that sense of surprise, of not knowing what Doctor Who was yet. It's when the show is most exciting - before the toys get put back in the box.