At long last, here is Part 1 of an extra-special Shabcast, in which I am joined by the brilliant Sam Keeper, of Storming the Ivory Tower, to chat about Star Wars, with particular emphasis on Rogue One.
Very pleased with this one. There were some technical difficulties with it, but I've hammered it into eminently listenable shape.
Part 2 next week.
Here are Sam's articles on Rogue One:
and here is her announcement of the upcoming (expanded and revised) collection of these essays (plus bonus content).
I sit down with one of my favorite nonfiction writers, John Higgs, to talk about The Doctor Falls. Then, after a brief secret message from the future, I interview him about his new book Watling Street: Travels Through Britain and its Ever-Present Past, a psychogeographic tour of the oldest road in Britain. One that, notably, runs up Shooter's Hill and through Northampton. You can download that here, and you can buy Watling Street on Amazon here. It's not got a US publisher, so if you're US based you'll have to import it. It's worth it.
Cheating a little bit this week as I teased and released this video two weeks back, but because of E3, the Elder Kings livestream and Zelda (not to mention the effort it took to record this video), plus some personal stuff, I couldn't get a second video out in time for today. I wanted to do a video on Titanic: Honor and Glory's new demo, which just came out, but given that thing is 6 gigabytes and I have joke Internet, downloading, installing and learning it in time to record, edit and upload a video on it wasn't going to happen in a week. Did get some stuff on the Steam Summer Sale, and hopefully some of that will show up on the channel someday soon.
But hey, this should still be new to many of you.
A "superplay" is what we used to call a tool-assisted speedrun without the tool assits. It's what we did to hone our focus back before people could add hacking tools to video games. It is a finely tuned runthrough of a video game level based on personal familiarity with and mastery of a game's mechanics and layout ...
I first encountered the work of Rian Johnson while reading about Terry Gilliam’s My Neighbor Totoro remake Tideland on Wikipedia, where I stumbled across the factoid that Johnson had declared it and Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain to be the two best films of 2006. This claim was notable for being A) self-evidently correct and B) a completely insane statement that nobody but me would actually make. And so I was immediately fascinated by this previously unheard of filmmaker and decided that, on the basis of his taste alone, I’d check out his existent film, a high school noir called Brick. (Also, it was only like $5 on Amazon.) Since then I’ve followed his career on the general logic that he was going to get really big some day. Which, sure enough, he did, so let’s put that knowledge to populist use. (And I’ll just spoil it up front, my favorite Johnson film is The Brothers Bloom, my least favorite is Looper.)
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Brick is that it isn’t funny. Sure, there are moments that are humorous - the recurring urgent discussions about who people eat lunch with, for instance, or any scene whatsoever with the Pin’s mother ...
There’s probably a few people who wanted something more like Blink (or, more plausibly, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang) out of Moffat’s last finale, but it’s hard to imagine what more you could actually ask from it. It’s an episode that has at least one big moment catering to virtually every sensible aesthetic of Doctor Who and one or two of the dumb ones too - the rare thing that manages to solidly delight both GallifreyBase fandom and queer Tumblr fandom. (Although the Moffat Hate crowd is managing to treat Harold’s misogyny as the voice of the author because of course they are.) Entirely separate from any questions of ranking or comparison, it’s self-evidently successful as a finale, anchoring Series 10 as firmly in the “good” column.
Now for comparisons. The obvious point of comparison is The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, the equivalent “finale before the era-ending regeneration” story from the Davies era. It’s not that it’s quiet per se - it’s a multi-Master story, after all. But it’s quiet in comparison. Its defining decision, in many ways, is having the Doctor’s big speech be delivered to Missy and Harold, a quiet speech about kindness and decency in which the Doctor ...
I've got nothing today. I was trying to get something written about Wonder Woman but it's not ready yet, and may not be good (or tactful) enough to publish anyway. Meanwhile, a podcast I'm editing is presenting big audio-quality problems. So, yeah, coupled with other stuff going on IRL... I ran out of time. Sorry everybody.
So instead, here is a little round-up of stuff I've been reading lately.
Here's Andrew Hickey saying important stuff about Autism and Empathy.
Josh was kind enough to send me this interesting article in the New Yorker about 'the occult roots of modernism'. Essential for modernism geeks.
Cameron L. Fantastic wrote a review of Zero Books' much-anticipated Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle... and it's not pretty. I have to say, my hopes weren't high because I think Nagle is overrated. Her Jacobin articles have been okay(ish) but shot through with frankly bizarre problems. I can't say Mr Fantastic (?) is right about Nagle's new book, because I haven't read it, but if half of what he says about it is true then it's a ...
Do you ever wonder why Celtic music always sounds so sad? Because it is always lamenting something it lost so long ago it can't even remember what it is longing for anymore.
The Celtic-infused sea shanty that scores the intro sequence to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the overture. Singing its own microcosm, The Wind Waker's opening gives way to a declaration of its rights and standings amongst the unfolding Legend. A tapestry of recap. No mere retelling, this Legend. This is the next part of an unbroken, continuous story. A serial. “Act 3, Scene 1” is written on the script of our experiential lives.
Sure, this is a Legend that has been passed down “from generation to generation”. All Legends must be. But this Legend is specifically The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Elevated to the status of myth itself, Ocarina of Time's version of The Legend of Zelda has become a story from a distant Golden Age. The new Ur-Zelda and its vaunted status etched into the fabric of the Legend itself. But of course, it would be. Why wouldn't it be? Ocarina of Time was the greatest and ...