Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Christians Against Everything

Morning everyone. My you look fine in those spectacles.

I've written a new poem and I thought I'd share it with you. I'm hoping it will make you love me more, and think of me as a deep, interesting, soulful kind of man. As opposed to the ramshackle-idiot-falling-down-a-hill that I actually am.

I wrote it for a charity gig I did on Saturday. That's right -charity! Not only am I a poet (amazing) but also I do things for charity (selfless). If you would like a picture of me to hang above your fireplace, I would totally understand.

The charity in question is called Christians Against Poverty. They help people get out of debt - people who might lose their homes, or wind up at food banks, that sort of thing. I'm not sure how they help. They don't give them money, I know that much. I think it's more to do with putting them in touch with the right people, writing letters, helping them plan finances - that kind of thing. It sounds hard, doesn't it? That's why I support them by showing off on a stage, which is loads easier.

Their website is here, if you're interested.

The name is weird, though, isn't it? Christians Against Poverty. It kind of suggests that there are some Christians out there who are very firmly in favour of poverty. Maybe there are. It's a funny old world. And Christians can be a right lot of jerks, much of the time. But these guys are good. They're what I think Christians probably should be like.

Here's the poem.

Christians Against Everything

The meeting of Christians Against Everything closes
With a list of the things they think Jesus opposes

There are Christians against dancing
There are Christians against joy
Christians against boys who would kiss other boys

Christians Against Fast Food
Christians Against Pride
Christians against Meetings - they sit outside

Christians Against Words like Nipple and Bum
There are Christians against everything under the sun

There’s the Christians against noise
And the Christians against silence
And they’re kept from fighting
By the Christians against violence

They meet once a week
With their various phobias
In a ten minute hate
That makes everything cosier

But tonight something happens that spoils all their fun
The door swings wide open
Just as the meeting is done

There stand some newcomers
A group everyone knows
And someone quite audibly whispers “Oh no”

It’s the Christians Against Poverty
Not them.

The Christians Against Confrontation try to creep out of the meeting
The Christians Against Swearing try to bite back expletives

The Christians Against Lateness point out the time
The Christians Against Noise do an elaborate mime

The message is clear, we don’t want to listen
To the things you guys hold in opposition

Cause the Christians Against Poverty aren’t like the rest of em
They’ve looked at the world and they’ve read the New Testament
They’ve come to the conclusion that yes, there are battles to fight
And it’s good to oppose things that clearly aren’t right

But if you’re in a fury at all the gays on TV
When there’s people at food banks just to get through the week

Then perhaps your priorities have gone somewhat astray
Between the things that should make you cry
And the things you just didn’t like anyway

The Christians Against Alcopops might have a point
But if there’s no anger at homelessness
That thinking’s out of joint

You can hate Iron Maiden if you think that will help
But there’s people in this city who can’t afford milk

The crowds at the meeting shuffle their feet
This kind of defiance isn’t easy or cheap

It’s not shouting at TV screens
Or ranting online
It’s giving. It’s feeling. It’s touching. It’s trying.

The hall slowly empties. The Christians Against Making Difficult Decisions went first.
A few stay behind and prepare for the worst.

The vision is clear. The vision is simple.
Christians Against Debt. Unemployment. Addiction.

Against a world where this isn’t everyone’s mission.
Against a world where
‘Against Poverty’
Needs to be added to the word Christian.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Time is Relative: Season 7. Part one.

I am watching all of Doctor Who, from the start. I've got to 1970. I deserve some kind of medal. But no-one will give me one, because the universe is cruel. Instead I've got this - a bunch of photos that I took while watching. Enjoy them with me, why don't you?

Spearhead From Space

When we last saw Doctor Who, he was small and looked like he might live in a skip. Now he's turned into this guy for a bit. He's quite striking, isn't he? And he's in colour now, which is a bonus. He's clearly quite startled that it's not in black and white any more. He's hoping there's isn't a test on all the new colours. Turquoise is the same as lavender, as far as he's concerned.

He's also got a new assistant, since lovely Zoe went away at the end of the last season. This is Liz. She's positively charged with erotic energy. In this scene, she's going, "I don't care if your name is Doctor Who, this is my collection of wires and if you want to play with them, you'll have to do a dance for me!"

This is Mr. Channing. He's the bad guy for this story. He's awesome. He just stands in places, glaring at nothing, as if challenging the universe to a fight. The universe would be wise not to engage.

The guy behind him wants to know how long Mr. Channing is going to be staring into space like a murderer. The answer is "For as long as he damn well likes, foolish human!"


Hurray! It's the Brigadier. He's the Doctor's friend from ages ago. He's turned up to see if there's any evil going on. If there is, he'd like to shoot at it with guns. Liz has come with him and is looking around to see if there is anyone she'd like to take back for experiments.

Mr. Channing is hiding in the background, pretending to be 'not-evil'. He's quite alarmed at how confident the Brigadier is. Fighting the universe is one thing, but look at how cockily this guy is wearing his beret! Best not mess.

In the woods nearby, there are monsters. They are called Autons and they are utterly horrifying. Look at their faces! If you met one of these in the woods, you would do a wee, right there and then.

Autons are made of plastic. That's their main thing. It's not much of a disguise in the woods, I'll grant you.

Doctor Who and Liz do some experiments to find out about the Autons. The Brigadier has come to chat to them about how awesome he is. Neither of them want to know. They want to do experiments. They wish he'd go away.

Liz wants to bite Doctor Who's ear, just to see what he'd do. And maybe to see what it tastes like. She's a minx!

This guy goes to the plastic factory where the Autons live. I think he used to work there or something, and now he's wondering why the place is full of plastic murderer guys.

These dolls are not murderers. I don't think. I hope not. That would be too terrifying to even contemplate.

The Brigadier is still trying to help. You can tell from his face that he's having a lovely time in this adventure. It doesn't even bother him that Liz clearly wants him to go away. He finds it charming. I think he's just glad that Doctor Who is back. He's like his best friend.

Here's that Auton again. He's having a moment of quiet contemplation. He's wondering if there's an Auton afterlife. And, if there is, do phones and pens and things get to go there? And will he even be allowed in, what with all the murdering he keeps doing?

The Brigadier has decided to attack the Autons. This is his response to all things. He doesn't realise this, though. He thinks this is a fresh take. He's saying, "You know what, Captain? I think this calls for attacking the aliens with guns."

The Captain knew he would say this, because he always says it. But he pretends to be surprised anyway. It's nice when the Brigadier is happy, and he doesn't want to spoil it.

The Brigadier goes hunting for Mr. Channing. He finds him, hiding behind this door. However, Mr. Channing presents such a terrifying countenance that the Brigadier pretends to fall asleep until he goes away.
Later, the Brigadier will tell everyone that the Autons were out, and maybe they've just gone away altogether.

The Autons launch their big attack. Because they are plastic, they can hide in shops. This is a top idea, and surprises everyone big time. These Autons are delighted at how well the surprise has worked. Their hands have come off, too, and there are guns inside. Say what you like about the autons, but they've got a distinctive modus operandi.

And here's some more. This is a great bit of the story. I wish it would go on for ages.

Doctor Who defeats the Autons by wresting with their boss. Not Mr. Channing - he's just middle management, as it turns out, and his face melts off. This big tentacley thing is the boss. Doctor Who does not appear to be winning the fight, does he? But then he cheats and uses some kind of machine, and the Auton boss shrivels up in sadness.

This was a very enjoyable story. Everyone had a lovely time and the monsters were top.

The Silurians

This story is great as well. There are some underground monsters who live in caves. There's one, in the distance. The man in the foreground is  totally freaked out by this. He's right. If I saw that, I'd run right off. He doesn't run off. He shoots it with his gun.

The monster does not like being shot, so runs off across a field. This is a beautiful shot. It's like the monster is in a music video about falling in love on an Autumn evening. That would be great.

The monster meets Liz, who is mucking around in a barn for some reason. This shot is from the monster's point of view. He's got three eyes, you see.

Liz looks very annoyed that he's found her. She was probably up to something that normal society would frown upon. What if the monster tells everyone?

After a bit, Doctor Who meets the monsters, who - it turns out - are called Silurians. They look awesome, I think. Doctor Who is delighted to meet them. He likes monsters. That's why he's the hero. If he just cried or ran away or stabbed them in the head with a fork, he'd be less interesting to watch.

Doctor Who and Liz go underground to see where the Silurians live. It turns out they've imprisoned the guy from earlier on. He's saying, "These Silurians are jerks. Let me out." Doctor Who can't be bothered. He likes the Silurians and thinks that if they've locked this guy up, they probably have a good reason.

Brilliantly, a dinosaur lives with the Silurians. I can't remember what Doctor Who is saying here, but he's probably mansplaining dinosaurs to Liz. That's one of his main things, in this era of the show. Telling people stuff they already know.

One of the best things about this story is that Geoffrey Palmer is in it. He's a government guy, who's come to see what's going on with all the monsters and stuff. The guy in the background is saying "Everything's fine. Please go away." It's not fine. There's a dinosaur under their office. That's not 'fine'. Exciting, yes. But not fine.

Doctor Who comes back to the office and says, "It's brilliant down in the caves. If you like monsters and dinosaurs." The Brigadier is already thinking about shooting the monsters and dinosaurs. He's excited at the prospect. It will look great on his CV.

Doctor Who goes back down to the caves to tell the Silurians that the Brigadier is probably going to try to kill them all. They just shrug and start making a plague to kill all the humans. Doctor Who should probably have thought all this through, really. What did he expect them to do? dance about with delight?

Whenever Liz looks at something, I get the impression she wants to devour it. Here she's clearly considering pouncing on Geoffrey Palmer. The woman is insatiable.

Later, Geoffrey Palmer runs away to London. Possibly because of Liz, it's not clear. But - oh no! - he's got Silurian plague! I like this shot. It's very stylish.

It turns out you can't run away from plague. Geoffrey Palmer dies on a fence. But not before sneezing on everyone else, so they've got plague too! This bit is quite serious and adult. Which is quite something for a show that earlier featured an unconvincing pink dinosaur.

Doctor Who and Liz do some exciting science to cure the plague. I like this development. Doctor Who will spend a lot of time from now on making stuff work and thinking about things. When he was Doctor Who number 2, he just tended to run about panicking, before murdering the villains. Before that, when he was number 1, he would often simply fall asleep and take credit for everyone else's work. But now he really gets into things. It's fun.

Pow! That's a great shot, isn't it? The Silurians get wind that Doctor Who is trying to cure their plague. So they blow a hole in the wall and come to kidnap him. Now all the humans will die, and the show will be about Doctor Who defending the Silurians from alien invaders every week.

Avon, from Blake's 7, is in this too. Here he tries to rescue Doctor Who. His plan is to charge about firing guns at everything. The Brigadier would be delighted with this plan.

Doctor Who wins by turning on a big machine so that it will blow up. He tells the Silurians that they'd better scarper. So they do. Then he turns the machine off so it does not blow up. If he'd thought about doing this much earlier, loads of people would still be alive.

Doctor Who drives off, congratulating himself on his brilliant solution to everything. Then the Brigadier blows up the Silurians with bombs. Doctor Who is consumed with furious rage.  Liz looks at Doctor Who as if to say, "This is what the Brigadier does literally every time he meets something he doesn't like. Why are you still surprised?"

Then they drive off and the story ends.

That's all for now. There are two more stories in season 7, and I've reviewed them here.

And if you want to go back and look at earlier seasons, why not start with my review of Season 6, here?