Posts Tagged With: cthulhu

Yip yip yip, exterminate

Here’s an upsetting thing I realised a couple of years ago. Somewhere in New York, there’s a disorientated fifty-year-old vagrant wandering around with a permanently bewildered expression, asking anyone who will listen “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”. No one will tell him, because no one knows the answer. A few people with good memories tell him to follow his nose until the air is sweet, but you really have to go out of town for that sort of sensation, so he wanders, aimless, mumbling. (Actually, even though Sesame Street was set in New York, the vagrant is probably in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is full of people like that.)

We have been watching a lot of Sesame Street this past week, largely because Thomas has taken a sudden interest. I’m glad. Sesame Street was essential viewing when I was his age, but it occurs to me now – living in the UK, where it is no longer shown – that there is a generation of children growing up who have no real awareness of the adventures of Bert, Ernie and Mr Snufilop Snuffalop Snuphalop – oh, the mammoth. Sometimes you reach a point where you assume that everyone has a similar level of knowledge about various cultural icons, and it comes as something of a shock to discover that no, the kids can’t name a single Beatles song, nor do they know what a record player is. You get round this – at least I get round this – by playing YouTube videos of ‘Monster in the Mirror‘ every chance you get, if only because it features Jeff Goldblum.

Coincidentally, I also combined last night’s hour ironing session with the second half of ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’. If you haven’t seen this one, it features a sinister minister who – if you’re of a certain age – cannot be taken truly seriously once you learn his name.

Even without the presence of Charles Grover, ‘Invasion’ is ridiculous. It is full of people who are either in on the conspiracy or too blind to see that the conspiracy exists. The colonists who are sitting in a ‘spacecraft’ that’s actually three rooms in an underground bunker and thus not vibrating at all are so colossally stupid you cannot imagine how anyone could ever have thought that they were the creme de la creme of what 1970s / 1980s* society had to offer. There is the sad and somewhat unjust fall of Mike Yates. There is the bunker map and its unfortunate visual resemblance to a Cluedo board. There is the wildly implausible idea of rolling back the world to the Jurassic era in order to start again, although one of the offending scientists is played by Martin Jarvis, which means I’m prepared to be a little more accommodating than usual.

* see UNIT dating controversy.

It’s a shame, because the cast in general is great, with Pertwee on fine form and some wonderful scenes with Benton and the Brigadier. But in fandom this is one of those stories that is remembered largely for its ropy effects (indeed, that seems to be Lis Sladen’s overriding memory of things, from what I can remember of her autobiography). Allowances do need to be made for the passing of time, but in this case the criticism has weight – the dinosaurs in ‘Invasion’ are like the England football team, in that they actually look reasonably effective until they have to start moving. There is a fight in Smithfield Market between a brontosaurus and a T-Rex that borders on laughable, but even this is eclipsed by the scene in which the Doctor fights off a swarm of pterodactyls with a mop – a scene that might have worked if  they’d manage to source some decent sound effects, rather than having the puppeteer shouting “Caw! Caw!” just off camera.

I mean they should have done this. This would have worked.

“I think,” says Bob, “that this could be the bestimost story ev-”

Look, I was talking about Sesame Street. I was struggling a little with the obvious crossovers. You will recall, of course, the Martians who appeared out of thin shimmery air in order to look at household objects (and, occasionally, sing about babies). I asked Gareth if they reminded him of anything, and his initial answer was the Axons, “but it’s not that close”. And it isn’t, but if we add the Ood, and a certain Lovecraftian eater of worlds –

Martian_Sesame

 

Elsewhere, there is Sam the Robot, who is convinced he’s actually on Mulberry Street, rather than Sesame Street. “My first thought was that it was a bit like a Mechanoid, but not much,” says Gareth. “And then I thought no, if anything, it’s much more like the TARDIS console”. And indeed, it is.

 

Sam_Sesame

But it’s left to the cast themselves to drop in a direct reference to Doctor Who, courtesy once more of Grover:

Anyway, I was thinking about all this the other day when the boys were watching a classic Sesame Street sketch in which Ernie makes a statue of Bert, and – well…

Bert-Ernie-statue

Me: Look! What’s wrong with the statue?

Daniel: He’s got no nose!

Me: Right! How will he smell?

Thomas: He can’t. He’s a statue.

Me: Ha ha.

Thomas: Unless he’s a Weeping Angel or something.

 

“Whatever you do,” said Gareth, “don’t stink.”

Categories: Classic Who, Crossovers | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interlude

All right, Edward. Seeing as you won’t let me build a magnetic Dalek without ripping it to pieces, I’m going to stomp all over one of your favourite nursery rhymes.

 

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God is in the detail (viii)

Notes on ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’

OK, this was a tricky one. The TARDIS – for a sentient, labyrinth-like spacecraft possessing an entire room dedicated to building “anything you could want” – does seem to have an awful lot of nondescript corridors. Nonetheless there were clues this week, if you look for them, and without further ado here is the latest installment of SEEMINGLY TRIVIAL THINGS THAT WILL TURN OUT TO BE VITALLY IMPORTANT. (Remember, dear reader, that if you attempt this sort of scrutiny at home you do so at your own risk. I watched this episode twice so you don’t have to.)

Let’s start here.

Tardis_Detail_4

Think those protruding white tubes in the background are loose cables? Think again. That’s clearly an emulation of the tentacles of an Ood. OR IS IT? Well, you’d better hope so. Because the alternative is ghastly.

Cthulhu, yesterday.

Cthulhu, yesterday.

Conclusions: the fearsome one is set to make its demonic return. Which is bad news for all concerned. Unless it’s this one, of course, which is quite cute.

knit

Plus it would look good perched on the shoulder of the Fourth Doctor, right next to his scarf.

(As an aside, why hasn’t there been a Whovian-Lovecraft crossover outside the realms of fanfiction? I think we should be told.)

Moving on to something slightly less sinister but no less important, let’s take another look at that exploding engine.

Tardis_Detail_1

Ah, but look. Look closer. There’s a bit that stands out. It’s the big catapult-shaped thing on the centre-right. Only it’s not a catapult. It’s a letter ‘y’. Or, to be more specific, ‘Why’. Which is as CLEAR AN INDICATION AS YOU’RE EVER GOING TO GET THAT THEY WILL BE CHANGING THE TITLE OF THE SHOW. Come November, and the anniversary edition, it’s going to become Doctor Why. And why is this going to happen? Because Moffat will be answering the first question in a few weeks, that’s all, and the whole mystery of the Doctor will change from Who he is to Why he is. Trust me. You know I’m right. And stick with me because further down, as a worldwide you-heard-it-here-first-exclusive,  I’m going to reveal his name.

Of note: ‘Why’ is only one letter away from ‘Who’, and if you take the letters O and Y and reverse them you get the acronym Y.O., or Yarn Over, which is a knitting reference and thus unambiguously linked to the Fourth Doctor (see above).

Next:

Tardis_Detail_3

If you read the God is in the detail post I did for ‘The Bells of Saint John’ you’ll note there was a lot of stuff in there about other Doctors and their companions – the surviving companions of dead Doctors, and the return of Doctors who were still kicking around, although thicker of waist. Ignore Clara and her tedious running from that insufferable lava monster. Look at the bookcase, and the hardback tomes that are stacked on their side. No, it’s nothing to do with the rather awkward design of a second-rate Ikea do-it-yourself – these five books (note: five) have clearly been left like that for a reason. Again, please note: five. On their SIDE. And how do parallel lines work? Yes, they’re SIDE by SIDE. And what inhabits a PARALLEL TIMELINE? Yes, the Fifth Doctor. You see where I’m going, can’t you? Ah, Steven, you thought you’d slipped this one past us, but WE WILL NOT BE FOOLED.

OK, now it’s time to bring out the big guns.

Tardis_Detail_2

The first time I saw this, I was so busy trying to work out the backwards writing that I missed Clara’s three rings. Note: three rings. You’re thinking about Tolkien, aren’t you? So was I, at first. But that’s a clear red herring. No, think about this: Three rings. Where Three is a proper noun. As in Doctor number Three, ringing on the TARDIS phone.

“But Jon Pertwee’s dead!” I hear you cry. To which I say, Aha!

Still, that’s not the big reveal. For that, we have to look at the very beginning of the episode, in a blink-and-you’ll miss it panel on the side of the salvaging ship. Have a look.

Tardis_Detail_5

You’ll have guessed that this is to do with those letters and numbers, right? Right. Specifically, it’s to do with 0989, which may be translated as September 1989. Historians of Classic Who will know that this was the month in which ‘Battlefield’ saw its first terrestrial broadcast on British television. Said story saw the Doctor and Ace encounter all manner of Arthurian characters, and it was strongly implied that the Doctor would some day find his way into the history books and fables, playing the role of a rather famous wizard.

The Doctor’s real name is Merlin.

That’s what Clara read in The History of the Time War. Strewth, even River Song pretty much said it out loud when she admitted in ‘The Pandorica Opens’ that she always hates old wizards in fairy tales, because “they always turn out to be him”. Think it’s too simple? Too obvious? Go and read Digital Fortress. Sometimes simple and obvious is what works. This may seem overconfident, but if I’m wrong about this, I’ll buy Tom Baker’s hat on Ebay and eat it.

Speaking of Tom Baker…as an unconnected aside, presumably designed to throw us off the scent, the other number on that panel – A89 – clearly alludes to ‘The Face of Evil’, listed as no.89 in the serial chronology of Who television stories, in which the Doctor met Leela, and in which the two of them ventured inside a gigantic cliff-based sculpture of the Doctor’s head.

doctor-who-the-face-of-evil-statue

Which is appropriate, given that Moffat’s spent the last three years disappearing up his own arsehole.

Categories: God is in the Detail, New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Starry Starry Night IN ARKHAM

A friend of mine has just shared details of a framed print of Van Gogh’s exploding TARDIS portrait, which is really rather lovely.

It is not, however, the coolest thing I have seen today. This is.

Cthulhu Ski Mask. Because you know you want one.

Said ski mask is available from Cthulhu Lives for the bargain price of $60.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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