Imagine having cats called Mulder and Scully

Imagine having cats called Mulder and Scully

This was the thought I had upon finding a picture of a tall lanky black cat next to a small ginger tabby. The X-Files never leaves you, and my muse was happy to imagine a life with these cats.

Scully would eat regular meals. I’d assume someone else fed Mulder as I’d never see him eat, or he’d be putting things in his mouth that I’d rather he didn’t, as he’d be throwing them up later. Mulder would sprawl on the sofa in the please-put-some-pants-on way. Scully would be comfortably arranged in the middle of my bed. I’d tell them human guests were coming around. Scully would elegantly stretch, wash her face and come into the front room. Mulder would look at me with disgust, and then look at Scully asking if she was coming with him. She’d decline to follow, so he’d slink off and go and play with balls.

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Temple Dragon: Origins

I was recently at a National Geographic Magazine photo gallery viewing. It was a private invite, and I used my pen name for the guest list – Temple Dragon. Having used this name since 2010, I don’t think anything of it any more. But the hosts were intrigued. They thought I either had epic parents, or I was a hard core gamer. The origin and significance of the names are from this story.

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Don’t Give Up on My Struggle: Referencing Modern Television Fiction to Explain What’s Wrong with The X-Files and Why It’s Important That We Fix It

Don’t Give Up on My Struggle: Referencing Modern Television Fiction to Explain What’s Wrong with The X-Files and Why It’s Important That We Fix It

Once Upon A Time I watched Doctor Who. This was during my illness and I had to be very selective about how I spent my energy. I was captivated by the storyline of the Tenth Doctor and the portrayal of the characters of the Doctor and Rose Tyler by David Tennant and Billie Piper. The relaunch of the show in 2005 gave the Doctor feelings and personal motivation rather than being a benevolent old man giving humans a history lesson. The concept of a “normal life” as a human would consider was introduced with the Ninth Doctor, and this aspect was made romantic in the Tenth Doctor era. It was well paced and considered over a season, and ended with the characters being separated in a way the canon set up that they couldn’t be reunited (Doomsday) – parallel universes where travel between them would be catastrophic. If there was any chance these characters could be together, they would.

The second season of the Tenth Doctor had the Doctor moping, comparing his new travelling companion Martha Jones with Rose Tyler in an unfavourable way. It was awkward to watch this unrequited love story, as the Doctor is set up as heroic and I don’t see heroism in continually undermining someone’s abilities with comparison to an off screen character. The fourth season removed the unrequited love story with a best-friends-forever dynamic between the leads, and it was fun. The character of Donna Noble had her heart in the right place, and she knew what Rose Tyler meant to the Doctor. After three seasons of the Tenth Doctor talking about a normal life and Rose Tyler, it seemed to satisfy the narrative that Rose Tyler would be returning to the show, and then the Doctor would have a “normal life” with someone he loved. The first part was true. The second part went horribly wrong.

In Journey’s End, story elements were largely tied up, and characters important to the Tenth Doctor’s life made a cameo contribution to Saving The Day. This story included a mortal version of the Doctor being made due to an encounter with Donna Noble, a process that also made her part Time Lord. Previously, technology that allowed a consciousness to be stored and transferred between bodies had been introduced – a fob watch. I fully expected the alien Doctor to swap his consciousness into the human body, so he could live a short, happy human life with someone he loved and then die in this parallel universe off screen. This new-Doctor, now in an alien immortal (via regeneration) body, was the closest thing to a canon clean slate a new writing team could ever wish to have. Any fans that didn’t like the romance aspect to new Doctor Who could say goodbye to it, and people that did like it could be happy that the story was satisfied. I also expected Donna to be protected from her head exploding from Time Lord Knowledge with the excess information being stored in the fob watch. None of this happened.

What happened was character assassination. Rose Tyler let the Doctor she loved walk away, after she ripped a hole between universes to save the day. She does kiss this human Doctor, when she had previously demonstrated being a companion to the Ninth Doctor that it wasn’t his body but who he was inside that she loved. The Doctor is visibly pained that she kisses the other one, and he walks away. She looks back as if the kiss didn’t mean anything to her, but it’s too late. Donna Noble then has her memories taken from her without her consent under the pretence that it’s for her own good. The Doctor spends a further five episodes moping on his own in space before changing bodies. I was very happy to see him go.

In the context of the real world, David Tennant had taken a break from Doctor Who to play Hamlet in theatre. I happened to be in the audience when Doctor Who Co-Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner were also there. Meeting them was quite a highlight, having spent a bum and mind numbing four hours watching a character be miserable, contemplate life, push someone he loved away from him in a Quest he didn’t want, and then die. In hindsight, I think the writers took one look at how emo David Tennant could act, and decided it would be cool for the Doctor to do the same. This resulted in character assassination, badly paced plot, relying on the Big Bad to pop up to compensate for lack of plot and emotional development, lazy removal of characters when actors were leaving, fan service cameos. I think the crew knew something had gone wrong, and everyone bailed. Even the booklet to Murray Gold’s Soundtrack CD to the Specials was the sound of running, when the previous CDs for the show were poignant in description.

Enter Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, and Steven Moffat as Head Writer. The show had previously set up that this new face was still the Doctor, so I struggled to reconcile this childish enthusiasm with what had gone before. I had no emotional investment in the show, as the Emotional Reset Button was in constant use. The plots became as convoluted as modern Sherlock (same writer), and money was offered to the altar of the Terry Nation estate for the Daleks. Something is only a surprise once. Success isn’t how many people watch an episode when it first airs – that’s anticipation. Success is how many people watch the repeat on BBC 3. At some point I realised a change of cast and crew couldn’t fix the problem, and casually I’ve watched Doctor Who slip into unimportance after the milestone of the 50th anniversary had propped up general interest.

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Women in Fiction

Has anyone else had this week?

Starting with Mother’s Day last Sunday, and my realisation about the lifelong impact of The X-Files on my life (see previous post), the week has been a very feminine and fictional one. Tuesday was International Women’s Day 2016. I opened my tablet to 10.13am again, and just got the screencap as I had before. After The X-Files, Xena: Warrior Princess was my next teenage show. It was the only image of actresses I saw on social media that day. Sneak in an overnight eclipse. Skip forward another two days, and it’s an anniversary of the start of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Guess what? Another show with a female lead that I watched as a teenager. Another two days, and I’m in London for a conference about synchronicity. The actress who played the lead female in the Harry Potter films is on the front cover of the event magazine.

 

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Mother’s Day Meta

Happy Mother’s Day to the mum of my teen years. AKA Scully of The X Files.

I’m in a B&B in Stratford Upon Avon. Normally I’d be at home, but because of unwanted visitors, I implemented self-respect and decided to leave. I had intended to use the time to get previously published books self-published after the demise of the publisher. Normally, I’d be staying in Cardiff at my friends’ B&B, but being Mother’s Day and rugby season they aren’t free for my last minute choice. While I was initially sad at not seeing my friends, I rationalised that I wouldn’t get much work done as I’d be too busy laughing in front of a log fire with them. And, Stratford is renowned for a particular playwright – if I’m not inspired to publish here, I’m due for a career change. Or a mid-life crisis in the shadow of an eclipse.

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Reliving the ’90s in Romania

A trip involving sausages, pancakes, hot chocolate, an impossible schedule, a booklet of mis-information, reliving the 1990s, and that the cold never bothered me anyway.

 

Tuesday February 9th 2016

 

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Imbolc 2016

Imbolc Blessings to you all. Personally, I celebrate on the new moon, which is also Chinese New Year.

What’s Imbolc to me? The start of spring. The earth is getting warmer, and the force awakens. It’s a slow and gentle process. It’s still dark (though tell that to my cat who wants to go out at the dawn chorus), and a time to recuperate our energies. Yet, small flower bulbs are pushing through, as they are fully charged on their energy reserves. Snowdrops, crocuses. Even some daffodils.

If spring seems early to you on a Gregorian calendar, it’s because Easter is early (it’s the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox). There’s a sense of completing things quicker. I’ve already pulled out my seed packets to start sowing in the greenhouse. But I won’t be planting them for another ten days. Why the wait?

I managed to book a last minute holiday to Romania, that starts on Pancake Day and finishes on Valentine’s Day. I understand now why it was so cheap. So people will be treated to my epic pancake skills a day early. My permanent positive change period is also upon us. Lent 2014 I gave up saying sorry. Last year, I gave up the guilty obligation words of should, ought and must. This year, in the spirit of completion, I intend to self publish my three short stories. Two are Silver orphans. One is new. I find that once I finish something, I have a lot more energy. It’s like having lots of Internet tabs open – the sooner you close them, the quicker the processing.

Do you celebrate Pancake Day? Do you change things at Lent, and are they temporary or permanent? Do you find unfinished tasks a drain?

 

 

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