Outside the Government: The Sign of Three

We continue to count down towards the TARDIS Eruditorum relaunch on March 19th with revised versions of some old blog posts on SherlockProverbs of Hell will run its final two installments on Tuesday and Thursday this week.

It’s January 5th, 2014. Pitbull and Kesha are at number one with “Timber,” and while the rest of the charts are pretty similar to four days ago, we’ve got Avicii, Jason Derulo, Martin Garrix, and OneRepublic as artists we didn’t actually mention last week. News is about as sleepy as you’d expect for four days at the beginning of the year, although there’s some flooding in Wales, Scotland, and the west of England. On television, meanwhile, the third season of Sherlock continues its twelve day blitz with The Sign of Three.

Let’s talk about what Sherlock is. Although its main character is a detective, it is not quite a detective show, in that the solving of mysteries is not its main narrative engine. One suspects that had it been comprised of six hourlong episodes a season it would have been, as it would have had several filler episodes each run that would have ended up being case of the ...

Fromm Frankfurt With Love (Part 2)

Part 1 can be found here.


The religious world is but the reflex of the real world. And for a society based upon the production of commodities, in which the producers in general enter into social relations with one another by treating their products as commodities and values, whereby they reduce their individual private labour to the standard of homogeneous human labour – for such a society, Christianity with its cultus of abstract man, more especially in its bourgeois developments, Protestantism, Deism, &c., is the most fitting form of religion.

– Marx, Capital vol.1, Chapter 1, Section 4

It is an historical irony that, though they today seem to embody a view of life dear to the moralistic Right, the Puritans were the ‘Left’ in the great political debates of the era of the European transition from feudalism to capitalism.  But, while ironic, this is hardly accidental.  They were expressing the views and imperatives of the rising class of bourgeois, this class being both product and inheritor of what is now the capitalist system.  This is, of course, the very market system the Austrians (and those like them, because they are by no means as distinct as they ...

To Switch a Witch

With the re-release of her first two games on the Nintendo Switch, a third on the way and her creator already musing ideas for a fourth, Bayonetta is in the news again. And, as is typically the case with Bayonetta, she's drawn quite a crowd and her fair share of controversy and anger. But of course, you can't be a powerful, confident and self-assured woman and not.

Bayonetta is the modern day evolution of the archetype pioneered by Lara Croft and Rayne, and is the most honed, polished and refined version of that concept. She is an overwhelming, overclocked, unstoppable, inescapable feminine force of nature, and that confuses and frightens lesser people. The protagonist of an eponymous series of action games created by Hideki Kamiya and his studio Platinum Games (formerly Capcom Clover Studios), known for Resident Evil, Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry and Okami, Bayonetta is a witch who carves out her own niche in the war between Heaven and Hell by laying waste to legions of angels and demons as a one-woman mercenary army. She is pure magick, and, like all witches, she is liminal figure who stands outside of social norms and conventions. She makes ...

Outside the Government: The Empty Hearse

TARDIS Eruditorum will return on March 19th. But as a prelude, we're rerunning lightly edited versions of some old essays from the earliest days of the Patreon, now reskinned as the Outside the Government essays for Series 3 of Sherlock. I would also be remiss if I did not note that we are in the final 48 hours of the TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 7 Kickstarter, and it's a nailbiter whether we'll make all the stretch goals.
It's January 1st, 2014. Pharrell Williams's "Happy" has unseated Sam Bailey at number one, while Eminem and Rihanna, Lily Allen, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, and One Direction also chart. In the news, since Matt Smith got old and died it's been exceedingly quiet. Obama signed a budget deal, marijuana was legalized in Colorado, incandescent light bulbs became illegal to sell in the United States, and Latvia adopted the Euro. While on television, Sherlock informed the audience that it was going to lie to them, and then went on to do just that. It had, in the tradition of fair lies, given ample warning. "It's a trick. Just a magic trick." And so, of course, it was. Indeed ...

Your Favourite Audio

I'm delighted to share the most exciting news of February. The eagerly awaited return of, and the link to, the new episode of Pex Lives.Kevin and I talk - for free, I'll remind you, we're just giving this stuff away - about the Peter Davison serial Kinda. Classic stuff to keep you company as you tidy that filthy hovel you call a home or commute to that job you can tolerate, or during the job itself, or however you listen to podcasts. i don't know, you can do as you please. But it is lovely to be able to continue to sit down with Kevin and still be chatting nonsense at eachother about our favourite show after all these years. In this episode, Kevin binds me to a promise to write erotic Tegan focused Dr Who fanfiction when I get 50 patreon supporters. So, that'll be a thing I spend my time doing.


Lee Russell is one of my best damn friends in the world and our Amicus podcast is excellent. Late last night, while recording an upcoming Wrong With Authority, my tongue slipped and I embarrassingly called him Lee Daniel ...

Shabcast 36 - Jack Gets Shipped With Seven

Yes, it's the long-awaited (by a tiny number of people) return of the Shabcast. 

And for my big relaunch I'm joined by a mystery returning guest who has a kickstarter going for a new book about the McCoy-era and Wilderness Years of Doctor Who, complete with some chat about the Virgin New Adventures, the new series, and sundry other inevitable digressions.  Because it's us. 

Bet you can't guess who my guest is.

That's a Kickstarter you should totally contribute to, by the way.  In fact I'd almost say you were morally obliged at this point. Here's the link.

And here's the new Shabcast.

And here's my Patreon.

Happy listening and pledging-of-money-to-Kickstarters-for-new-books-about-the-McCoy-era-and-possibly-also-to-my-Patreon.

(Plus, you can still buy our mystery guest's last book, to which I made a modest contribution.  It too was made possible because people funded a Kickstarter.)



Thoughts on Dynasty Warriors 9: The Blue Dragon

In order to understand what Dynasty Warriors is really trying to tell us, let's first get back to basics. Why is a video game series adapting the history of the Three Kingdoms, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms in particular, called musō (“unrivaled”) in the first place, and why would this be the game to pioneer “1 vs. 1000” combat mechanic it is so (in)famous for?
The mascot character for Dynasty Warriors has always been Zhao Yun, and I do not believe this is either accidental or arbitrary. Zhao Yun is known as one of the Five Tiger Generals, who were famed as the most loyal and revered generals of Shu. It is Shu's emperor, Liu Bei, who is generally considered to be the actual protagonist of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (if you had to pick one) at it's his exploits and deeds that are depicted in the most positive and sympathetic light. However while Liu Bei is certainly not a supporting character in Dynasty Warriors (especially if you choose to play as him), it's Zhao Yun who appears on the box art of all the mainline entries and who is oftentimes used ...

The Proverbs of Hell 37/39: And the Beast from the Sea

AND THE BEAST FROM THE SEA: The one painting in the series not to have a direct representation or invocation in the series. The tense sexuality that exists between the Dragon and the Sun-Clothed Woman is replaced here by a raw homoeroticism—a theme that is not entirely uncommon in Blake. (c.f. Object 47 of Milton a Poem) The Beast from the Sea appears in Revelation 13, one verse after the Dragon, and is said to be given his power by the Dragon, creating a sense of heritage or supplanting. In Blake, the Beast rises below the Dragon, but has clear dominion over him. Of course, that’s always how supplantation begins. 

ALANA BLOOM: Maybe he's trying to stop.

JACK CRAWFORD: You think there's any way to push him to be self-destructive?

ALANA BLOOM: Push him toward suicide?

JACK CRAWFORD: Suicide suits me just fine.

WILL GRAHAM: If he's really trying to stop, he's not going to kill himself. How could he be sure his death would affect whatever's inside him?

Will’s casual apprehension of the absurd logic of Dolarhyde’s difficulties in confronting the beast within is grimly funny. A crucial question, of course, is ...

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