- That buffet, then.
Job well done, I think. I can take no credit for this; I did the labels and took the photos. My other half did all the work.
As I may have mentioned, the Musical Weeping Angels was a non-starter, but everyone went for the find-the-monster quiz – even though we think it was sabotaged by the eventual winners, whom I’ve now decided hid the Empty Child picture after making a note of the number, which would explain why no one else could find the damned thing. Well, you can’t win ’em all. Literally, as it turns out.
Anyway, it all went off swimmingly, and himself enjoyed it tremendously. And that, of course, is the only thing that really counts.
I will post food pictures tomorrow; I’m still optimising them. Suffice to say it was a success: thirteen children running riot round an Oxfordshire bungalow. One of the visiting sprogs has a two-tier volume setting: window-shattering and avalanche-inducing. My ears bled, but it was fun. I am paying the price for the late nights – plus my body appeared to have been holding out against the sickness bug doing the rounds in our family until the last child had gone home, at which point I was ready to collapse.
Anyway, despite things going swimmingly we were rather disappointed that the puzzle sheets I spent ages preparing went somewhat under the radar:
(The 910-year-old thing is a source of contention, of course, given that the Doctor says his current age is 1103 – more of that below – but it was a catchy title.)
I’d sourced a mixture of online materials and scanned magazine pieces (even going so far as to rewrite half the word search when Gareth pointed out that the author had misspelled Gallifrey), but no one did them – they were having too much fun with the Slitheen! Likewise the colouring pages – there were 72 of them, and by the end of the party there were 71, Daniel having decided to turn a Cyberman bright orange and pink, which improved it immeasurably. Considerably more successful were the laminated cards I prepped, having figured out that while a considerable number of generally culture-aware children were coming to our house to attend a Doctor Who party, their own knowledge of the show – based on what I hear in the playground – is somewhat limited. (Joshua knows all about it, of course, but he’s the son of two self-confessed geeks. He never really stood a chance.)
So I typed up a series of flash cards (all right, they’re not exactly flash cards, given that you have to stop and read them, but you get the point) and sat in front of a laminator the other evening, and this was the result.
(I would never be so bold as to presume you would, but if anyone wants the source material for this lot, get in touch with me and we can talk about it.)
I make no apology for the occasional factual error or inconsistency or ambiguity (the Doctor’s age, for example, which is such a source of debate that it’s not worth arguing about – you might as well pluck a figure out of the air, or at least make an educated guess) – I did the thing in a hurry. Gareth was invaluable in clearing up some of it but any mistakes in there are mine. Besides, the intended audience was seven. They’re not going to question, or at least if they do and you turn out to be wrong they won’t leave three paragraphs of inflammatory abuse on your blog.
Then we stuck them in here.
The party bag designs were Emily’s idea. I knew all those old issues of Doctor Who Adventures would come in useful…
(Update 29 June: the second (and final) part is now available – foody goodness awaits!)
Subversive things to do at a Doctor Who-themed birthday party:
1. Give every new arrival a gas mask and when there are four or five, have them all wait in silence in the lounge. Now every time the doorbell rings, you usher the next guest into the hall and have everyone groan “Muuuuuummmmyyyyyyy…….”
2. Go as the Master, then shave your beard off halfway through, before re-emerging from the bathroom announcing you’ve regenerated.
3. Serve actual fish fingers with a custard dip. Right before home time.
I have been vetoed from item three. Item one would have been the most fun, but gas masks are extremely hard to come by unless you have the cash, or access to a community theatre group who’ve just put doneOh! What a Lovely War. Item two is, of course, my choice completely, but even after scouring all the charity shops in town I can’t find a black turtle neck that’s going for less than thirteen quid – and given that I’m never going to wear the thing again, it seems like a bit of a waste. I love Josh dearly, but even I have my limits.
We will have to make do with this. Less daring, but it should keep them quiet.
And so on. Said images – four of which are included below – will be stuck around the house.
You get the idea. The numbers, by the way, are – well, you’ll figure it out. Really they’re just there to make sure the kids actually play the game properly, rather than just spending the first two minutes working out that the answer is ‘Sonic Screwdriver’. You have to fill up the time…
(We’re also going to play Musical Weeping Angels, which is like Musical Statues, except – well, you’ll figure it out. I promise photos.)
The spread below was in this week’s Doctor Who Adventures. It tickled me enough to make me want to share it.
Oh God. I really should stop with the anagram generator.
Word games are endemic in New Who. There was Doctor Who >> Torchwood, for a start. Then there was Mister Saxon >> Master No. Six, which Davies maintained was a coincidence but which did, in any case, provide a convenient point of explanation for Josh when we got to the culmination of the series 3 story arc. More recently, and on a related note, I worked out that ‘James Moriarty’ is an anagram of ‘Majority Master’, which is funny when you consider the introduction of the Master as a Moriarty to Pertwee’s Holmes (as Terrence Dicks is fond of re-establishing in pretty much every 2 Entertain commentary). I even got an entire Who / Sherlock pastiche out of it.
But it turns out ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ can be rearranged to form ‘Doc screws in River’. Gareth pointed out that ‘Screwdriver’ more or less contains half this as is, so it’s not much of a stretch, but it’s still pretty lurid, and not something I should really be thinking about just before bed…
I don’t reblog. But I am, quite shamelessly, about to reprint a little text from one of the other blogs I follow, specifically a recent post on the Diamond Jubilee concert. I have already pointed out the uncanny resemblance between one veteran performer and a certain Who villain, but Mr Monsters (I don’t know what else to call him) has pointed out something else…text follows:
“The concert ended, oddly with the Queen accepting a fist-sized diamond which she used to activate a bizarre mechanism, to set a beacon alight, and finish the programme. I’m guessing that this is reference to the Doctor Who episode Tooth and Claw where her predecessor, Queen Victoria, used a fist-sized diamond to activate a bizarre mechanism, to set a room alight, defeat a werewolf, and finish the programme.
One of these is fanciful fiction… I think. At least one definitely happened.”
(The full thing is available here, and is well worth a read.)
The Doctor was standing on top of a balcony, overlooking a vast metropolis of futuristic-looking buildings that sat beneath a vanilla sky. It could have been anywhere in the universe, but he had Donna Noble with him, which would make it 2008 in real time (2009 in the Whoniverse, but we won’t get into that now). It was eerily quiet.
“You know what?” said the Doctor, after a moment. “This is the biggest library in the universe. So where is everyone? It’s silent.”
Thomas, sitting next to me on the sofa, said “Maybe it’s closed…”
For Thomas, this is a pretty sharp observation. It’s also astute political commentary, not only given the problems we’re having in this country but also coming the same day that a friend of mine informed me of a stunt to save a library in Michigan by staging a book-burning. (Make sure you watch the whole thing. The techniques used therein are somewhat underhand, but it worked, and it is nice to see the Tea Party get a kick up the backside occasionally.)
But I don’t do politics, at least not on this blog. Instead we watched an hour and a half of the Vashta Nerada (which, I’ve just Googled, can be rearranged to form ‘H: Data Save Ran’, which kind of fits with the episode. It has Alex Kingston before she became smug and irritating. It has Miss Evangelista, who gets processed and winds up looking like this:
Which freaked out Joshua no end. It has the usual Moffat preoccupation with interesting-scenes-delivered-through-technology, partly when Cal is speaking with the Doctor through the TV screen, and used to its greatest extent here:
MISS EVANGELISTA: Hello? Are you there?
Donna shakes her head in horror.
DOCTOR (whispering): Help her.
DONNA: She’s dead.
DOCTOR: Yeah. Help her.
MISS EVANGELISTA: Hello? Is that the nice woman?
DONNA: Yeah. Hello. Yeah, I’m, I’m… I’m here. You OK?
MISS EVANGELISTA: What I said before, about being stupid. Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.
DONNA: Course I won’t. Course I won’t tell them.
MISS EVANGELISTA: Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh…
DONNA: I won’t tell them. I said I won’t.
MISS EVANGELISTA: Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.
DONNA: I’m not going to tell them.
The lights of the neural relay are now blinking.
MISS EVANGELISTA: Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.
RIVER: She’s looping now. The pattern’s degrading.
MISS EVANGELISTA: I can’t think, I…don’t know, I… I… I… Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream.
She keeps repeating those words.
RIVER: Does anybody mind if I…?
She steps to the skeleton and turns off the relay.
DONNA: That was… that was horrible. That was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.
I maintain – even four years later – that this is the best scene Moffat’s written for the show, and the Doctor’s hardly in it at all.
So we watched the Doctor snap open the TARDIS doors, and River making kinky jokes about handcuffs (sadly marking, even at this early stage, the beginning of her decline into a sex-obsessed harpy) and another of Moffat’s Villains That Talk Without Moving Their Mouths:
In fairness, the Empty Child was probably speaking behind the mask. And in fairness, Moffat didn’t come up with the Ood, or the Host, or the Cybermen, for that matter, but you can see what I mean. I do love them, because they’re frightfully easy to dub, but they have become a bit of a Thing.
Anyway, the ‘next time’ trailer was for this:
As I recall this episode polarised people, but I confess I’ve always liked it. I always felt it would work well on stage: it has that kind of claustrophobic, dialogue driven compressed violence that is so common in theatre. The characterisation is reasonably strong for a forty-minute science fiction drama, and it’s nice to see the Doctor apparently facing genuine jeopardy for a change without having a companion on hand to save him.
The point of the teaser is just that – to tease – to the extent that the reveal only happens at the very end, if it happens at all. And of course, in ‘Midnight’, there’s nothing to reveal. Inevitably, this disappointed Joshua.
“Oh, but we didn’t see the monster.”
“No, we didn’t.”
“But what is it?”
“Please tell me.”
“You’ll have to wait.”
“Oh, all right,” I said, squatting on the floor and pressing the DVD back into its case. “I’ll tell you: I don’t know.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I don’t know. We never really find out.”
“So we don’t see it at all?”
“…Not really, no.”
“Because the writers thought it would be more fun that way.”
“Oh,” he said, confused.
“Come on. Time to sleep,” I said, leading them both down the corridor.
“Daddy, wait. Just stop. Turn around.”
“Just do it. Oh, phew. Only one shadow.”
“See, I was right there with that. It was going to be my next joke, and you got there first. Now: into bed,” I said, entering the darkened room. Before adding “Hey! Who turned out the lights!”
“Daddy, stop it.”
He didn’t go to sleep until gone ten. I am bowed down by guilt.