Summer holidays can’t last forever (sadly)

The student that I am had such high hopes for this summer – get a job nice and quickly, work lots then have plenty of money for travels and shopping.  But of course that didn’t happen.  I got all the jobs in the last couple of weeks plus lots of shifts at the theatre so haven’t had any money until now.  Which meant that last week I was able to take some well deserved time off and head up north to see the Bearded One and chill out before my final year at uni begins.

Rufford Old Hall, Preston

Rufford Old Hall, Ormskirk


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The new Doctor Who, and breaking your own rules

Today was announced the latest in a long line of Doctors. For some, the only doctor that matters. Indeed, I am talking about the long running BBC series Doctor Who. I have been a huge fan of the series since it was revamped in 2005 and Christopher Ecclestone was announced as the ninth doctor. Personally I think Ecclestone was a great doctor, possible one of the best, and I think that was largely because he was fairly unknown at the time. He wasn’t judged on anything he had done before and it was a real shame he only stayed for one series. But he did make way for Tennant, so many people’s favourite.

David Tennant was again fairly unknown when he was announced, and he really made the role his own. For many of the young people who now follow the series he is the epitome of Doctor Who. He was young, enthusiastic and had some of the most wonderful relationships with his companions (his interactions with Catherine Tate were a personal highlight). He ruled the Tardis for four wonderful years before hanging up his screwdriver and passing the torch to newcomer Matt Smith.

Smith quickly warmed to the part and stood his ground against the still loyal Tennant fanbase. His departure will be a sad day but he has quite a man taking his place – Doctor Who veteran Peter Capaldi.

Yes you heard me, veteran. Not only has Capaldi been in a Doctor Who episode, The Fires of Pompeiii, but he played a crucial role in Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, The Children of Earth. This isn’t the first time they have taken actors from their stock and recast them, but perhaps this is the most ridiculous of recastings. Previous actors who have been seen more than once include:
Eve Myles – first seen in The Unquiet Dead (DW) as Gwyneth, returned as regular character Gwen Cooper in Torchwood
Freema Agyeman – first appearance in Army of Ghosts (DW) before coming back as the doctor’s assistant, Martha Jones (also DW)
These are just the biggest three, but believe me when I say there are countless others who have been recast and reused throughout the new series. What really gets my goat this time is that they are reusing someone to be the doctor himself.

With all of the countless young actors out there more than capable of inhabiting this role, they have a chosen an older, albeit very talented actor, instead. It cannot be denied that Doctor Who belongs to the younger fans now. I fear this new casting will only cause the series to flounder. I hope they work their way around the double casting, for the sake of the show and its loyal followers, but I worry about the plausibility of any reasoning they can come up with.

Being inspired by others

There are times when, despite all the work I seem to do on my writing or knitting or blogging, I feel like I could be doing more, and indeed should be doing more. Despite not showing this blog to any of my friends (I feel I should be able to get views without their help) I think I’m doing pretty well for views and likes on this blog. Still, I find myself unhappy with the amount of exposure I get.

Reading other people’s blogs can really help when I start to feel this way. This evening I’ve managed to find a great link on Victoria Grefer’s blog detailing her own thoughts on this very issue. Not only were her words helpful but so were some of the comments people put on the article.

Reading this has actually made me want to write more often. While I’m not working and until university starts again I will try and write more often. It’s always a struggle for me to write ‘article’ style posts rather than reviews or creative writing but this summer I have been aiming to improve my skills and this will be another way to do this.

Book review – Burnt Island by Alice Thompson

There are few things in the world that make me happier than new books. A cup of tea after a long day, fancy stationary, and a hug from the Bearded One may beat it, but not by much. So when I woke up to a copy of Burnt Island on my doormat from Salt Publishing I was one happy bunny. Though new to her writing I was nevertheless eager to get my teeth into some fun, non-university reading.

Though Thompson’s latest book far from fun, it is a riveting puzzle full of darkness and intrigue. Described as ‘an ironic satire on literary ambition’ it both enthralled and baffled the hell out of me throughout. My first experience with this author, I am intrigued to read more of her work so see how else she can move me.

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The first few chapters are slow moving, carrying you along on a gentle tide with little exposition or explanation of plot, characters or indeed backstory. It is, in its way, incredibly refreshing not to be spoon-fed every little piece of information about your character in the first few pages and it certainly keeps you reading past the first chapters.

The prologue immediately tells us that our protagonist, Max, is dealing with some kind of issues as he discusses his feelings with his therapist. Despite this, he seems like a fairly normal guy during his arrival and first days on the setting of the title, Burnt Island. His gradual descent into madness is chronicled well, illusion blending with reality to leave the reader as disorientated as the increasingly desperate narrator.

As a writer myself I found myself empathising with the dreaded writer’s block suffered by both authors in the book. Though I have never felt the need to plagiarise others work I can certainly see where the motivation for such a vile action could come from. Though this blatant ‘twist’ is immediately apparent to the audience, Max’s skewed perception of reality stops him from seeing it until it is too late for him and he succumbs to the strange effect of the island on his already damaged psyche.

This books is a great read and just right for a creepy horror/mystery story that will keep you interested until the very end. A great mix of good, bad and interestingly complex characters keep it feeling very real and the pace is fast and almost a little disconcerting, adding to the overall tone of the novel. I would recommend, and have indeed already told the Bearded One it should be next on his reading list.