Daddy Daughter Day Out

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Today I got to spend the day with my absolute favourite person in the entire world, my daughter Marianna. Now how is this different to any other day you ask? Well in truth it wasn’t that different, I spend most days with my daughter, but today, rather than just be sat around the house all day with her entertaining herself and me busying myself with housework or actual work, Marianna and I put on our outdoor clothes and hopped on a bus to my home town of Newport.

Whilst in Newport we took in the sights of the High Street and the still new looking Friars Walk, before adorning to Greggs Bakery where we had a sandwich and Marianna had a gingerbread man. We then rounded the trip off with a rather expensive visit to Sin City Comics where I picked up my almost 10 month backlog of comics, and because Marianna was such a good girl I let her pick a toy for herself, she chose a Funko Pop Dalek, because she really is my child.

We then got the bus back, seeing some cows in a field on the way back Marianna then recited a list of the various dairy and meat products that come from cows. When we got home we found that my new hat had arrived, then Marianna had a nap whilst I did a lot of housework, before my parents came to pay us a visit this evening. After that Marianna helped (well she didn’t hinder which is almost the same thing) me to make a chicken stir fry for dinner, we then played  bit before I put her to bed and resumed binge watching the new series of House Of Cards.

Events Committee

Today was the Events and Community Projects Committee of Cwmbran Community Council. It was a pretty short meeting lasting only about 20 minuets, all that was really discussed was the programme of events for the coming 12 months. The next one is on Saturday The 10th Of June, where Cwmbran will be playing host to the Big Event.

After the meeting I went for a quick pint, then came home to put Marianna to bed.

The History Of My Beard

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This week I have been listening to an amazing band, called The Beards  they are an Australian rock band who sing exclusively about beards (the facial hair kind, not the Taylor Swift kind).

They sing of the power of beards and of personal struggles faced by men (and women) with beards, but most of all they teach you to be proud of you facial follicles and revel in your beardy manliness. So here is the story of my beard.

My beard began its life in the winter of 2010. until this point I had always been a clean shaven killer of beards. It started following a break up with a young lady, I took the following year to discover many things about myself, and one of the things I discovered pretty early on, is that I can rock a pretty awesome goatee.  It was this beard that led me to become comfortable with my looks, it covered the cleft pallet scar under my nose as well as the acne scars left as the last laugh of puberty and drew attention away from my double chin.

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The Goatee

It wasn’t long before me beard style changed though, I added a moustache and the two combined to form a pretty awesome Van-Dyke that served me well for half a decade.

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The Van Dyke

For the late last year I decided to change things up a little bit, taking my trusted beard trimmer, I severed the ties of moustache and beard, and wound up with a Balbo , which is a combination beard and moustache, but the two do not meet.

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The Balbo

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of my beard.

Doctor Who? The Wilderness Years Part Two

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After the commercial failure of the Doctor Who Movie, fans of the show were once again cast out into the wilderness. And the really hardcore fans had to find their own way to once again fill the gap that the show had left, and ease the disappointment that came from being teased with the slightest hope of a rebirth before it was snatched away from them once again. The best examples of these attempts to fill the gap came from BBC books and from Big Finish Productions.

BBC Books

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After the 1996 Movie came out the BBC decided that it would not continue its license with Virgin publishing and so in 1997 began publishing two lines of books that followed similar formats to the Virgin Missing and New Adventures. They were entitled The Past Doctor Adventures which each month focused on an adventure had by doctors 1-7 set mainly between serials of the original run of the program. The Second Range was entitled the Eighth Doctor Adventures which focused, as the name would suggest, on the ongoing adventures of the Eighth Doctor as portrayed by Paul McGann set immediately after the events of the TV movie and before the events depicted in the revived series of 2005.

both ranges ran for 8 years and produced more that 70 books and added a wealth of material that expanded the entire whoniverse and dealt with the various characters that the Doctor has been throughout his lives as well as greatly expanding the relationships with his friends and enemies, and while the past enemies such as the Master and the Cybermen featured, the Two series weren’t dependant on dredging up past monsters and villains, The Daleks featured only twice over the course of both series. Introducing a fearsome cabal of villains such as the time travelling voodoo cult Faction Paradox (who survive in prose, comic books and audio drama’s to this day) these series, in the vein of the previous series from Virgin did serve to right many continuity errors from the original run of the show and the movie itself.

Stand Out Stories

  1. The Eight Doctors: This was the first book of the Eighth Doctor Adventures and takes place immediately after the events of the Television Movie, it  sees the Doctor rendered amnesiac by one last trap of the Masters, and then sees the Doctor travelling back along his own timestream to meet his past selves in order to regain his memories, this one book alone irons out many continuity questions from the show, relating to the Valeyard, the Masters own death on Skarro and many other facets of the shows history.
  2. The Infinity Doctors: This book was the 17th release of the Past Doctor Adventures series and is set on the Doctors home world, and it sees an unidentified Doctor (I like to think it was the First Doctor before leaving Gallifrey) caught up in a peace conference between the Rutan Host and the Glorious Sontaran Empire, whose leaders, after millennia, settle their differences by after being locked in a Tardis together.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. Kursaal: You would think a werewolf curse at a theme park would be a good romp, but this story felt like something that even Hammer Horror would have passed up on, the Writing was amateurish and the story felt somewhat feeble.

Big Finish Productions

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Big Finish productions really are the biggest success story of the Doctor Who’s time off the airwaves, by the end of 2017 over 700 doctor who audio drama’s will have been released featuring stories from all 12 of the 13 Doctors. Many were full cast audio drama’s and spanned many series, A monthly range focusing of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, as well as other ranges focusing on the further adventures of the Eighth and Fourth Doctors. There were also many series focusing on the villains of the classic series ( I Davros, Dalek Empire and Cybermen)  and many series focusing on the friends and former companions of the Doctor (Gallifrey, Bernice Summerfield, UNIT, Torchwood, Sarah Jane Smith and Jago and Litefoot).

Stand Out Stories

  1. The Trial Of The Valeyard: The Doctor must defend the villainous Valeyard from a crime so heinous that he isn’t even allowed to know what it is. This story begins to look at who and what the Valeyard is in relation to the Doctor and is Just plain fun.
  2. The Sixth Doctor: Last Adventure: Continuing from the Trial of The Valeyard it shows the Valeyard’s plans for the Doctor unfolding across time and then leads to a long awaited scene. Colin Baker finally got his regeneration scene.
  3. Jago and Litefoot and Strax: Jago and Litefoot were the victorian sleuths the Doctor encountered in the Fourth Doctor serial The Talons Of Weng Chiang, they have had many adventures as investigators of the infernal, and in this adventure are joined by Strax, the Sontaran butler to the Paternoster Street team of Madam Vastra and her wife Jenny, this is a mad cap adventure that sees the belligerent butler teaming up with his new found friends to investigate a haunted house.
  4. I Davros: A look at the life of the creator of the Daleks from his childhood on Skaro, to the moment that creating the Daleks seems like a good idea, it explores his life from his school days to his military service to winding up a cripple in the science elite, it answers every question you could ever want to know about the history of the man behind the Daleks.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. Iris Wildthyme: Its very difficult to find a weak link amongst the ranges produced by Big Finish Productions but this was the one series that I couldn’t get on board with, and I think it was more to do with the accent that Doctor Who veteran Katy Manning puts on in order to play the irascible Ms Wildthyme.

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is part of a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Doctor Who? The Eighth Doctor

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After its long hiatus of 7 years Doctor Who fans finally got what they wanted, a new Doctor Who that was made by the BBC (this time with 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios as well). In May 1996 we finally saw the regeneration of Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy into a new younger Doctor portrayed by Paul McGann

The Eighth Doctor 

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The Eighth Doctor

Travelling alone this doctor comes into being on new years eve 1999 after being shot multiple times in a gangland shooting in San Francisco, here he meets surgeon Dr Grace Holloway and the two become entangled in a plot of he doctors old adversary the Master, who using the Tardis’ link to the eye of harmony on Gallifrey seeks to take all the Doctors remaining regeneration’s for himself.  At the end of his lives the master inhabits the body of an unsuspecting paramedic, in much the way he inhabited the body of the Trakenite Tremas.

After defeating the Master and trapping him in the eye of harmony, the Doctor begins travelling alone again, leaving Grace to remain on Earth.

This version of the Doctor was not seen again on television for 17 years (8 years after the shows second revival in 2005) however his adventures where chronicled in a series of books published by BBC books and several series of audio dramas produce by Big Finish Productions (to be explored in Doctor Who? The Wilderness Years Part Two), however this Doctor became embroiled in the events of the Last Great Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords, attempting to save a young gun ship operator named Cass, whose ship was damaged as a result of skirmish between the two warring factions, the Doctor crash lands on the planet Karn. Upon being revived by The Sisterhood of Karn, the keepers of eternal life, they implore the Doctor to take up arms to save the universe from both sides of the war, The Doctor agrees and the sisterhood trigger his regeneration and he becomes the Doctor No More

Stand Out Stories

  1. The Movie: I first saw the movie in the cinema when it was released and being 7 I thought it was a good film, this was the first (official) Doctor Who to be released in my lifetime and even at 7 I was already enamoured of the TV show, and then this new film came along with even more action, motorcycle chases, gunfights and explosions, and it has a real nostalgia value for me, so even when watching it again as an adult I still love it, even though the script is not fantastic and some of the cast members acting was truly awful. Paul McGann makes the role his own and is sadly underrated, I think he was fantastic in the role and I would have loved to have seen more of him on screen (even if he was equally fantastic in the Big Finish Audios)
  2. The Night Of The Doctor: 17 years after the TV move the Eighth Doctor finally got a regeneration story and it was probably one of the most powerful performances ever seen in Doctor who, the fact that this all happened in a six minuet episode is just another astounding feat that I have come to expect from Paul McGann.

 

Dishonourable Mention 

  1. America/Americanisation: The main problem with the 1996 movie was that it was made for American’s and it lost something of its Doctor Whoiness, Doctor Who after all is a British institution, and whilst car chases and shoot outs appealed to the seven year old me, but it doesn’t really do much for me at this age.

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is part of a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Light In The Darkness

Its all a bit doom and gloom lately what with the general election and the terrorist attack in Manchester, not to mention a bomb scare in my home town yesterday ,so here are some snippets of good news from my life to brighten your day:
1: I was last week appointed as vice chair of the policy and finance committee of Cwmbran Community Council
2: I managed to find a feast bar in Asda, having lived in Cwmbran for 2 and half years this is the first time I’ve seen one.
3: This week my daughter counted from 1 to 10 successfully for the first time.
4. The pain I have been suffering due to an inflamed tendon in my foot has begun to subside.
5: The mother of my child was this week announced as Mayor of Torfaen and I will be acting as her official consort.
6: We are less than a week away from a new series of House of Cards.
7: This week I have finally made headway into the novel I’ve always dreamed of writing.
8: Over the last month I’ve lost over a stone in weight.

I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I do think that it is important to maintain a little light amidst the gloom.

Happy Towel Day !

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HAPPY TOWEL DAY!!!

Towel day is celebrated every year on the 25th of May in celebration of the life and works of author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). Douglas Adams was the genius behind The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series as well as the two novels which made up the Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency series which comprised the Salmon of Doubt and The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul.

As if these accomplishments weren’t enough to warrant an international holiday, Douglas Adams also served as a writer and later script editor on my favourite television show, Doctor Who, Writing the Fourth Doctor serials, The Pirate Planet, The City Of Death and Shada, with Adam’s proposed film Doctor Who and The Krikkitmen being released as a novel posthumously later this year.

Douglas Adams created many worlds and races that spoke to the imagination of peoples all over the globe, he shone lights on the absurdities of life the universe and everything, he was a modern day philosopher, whose works show that even if we were given the meaning of life on a plate, we still wouldn’t have a clue what that meaning actually was. His works will endure for centuries as hallmarks of both science fiction and social commentary.

Now grab your towel and don’t panic.