Saturday Waffling (August 24th, 2013)

(32 comments)

Just finished off the week's blogging, setting me up for nine straight days of mucking about with books. If all goes well Hartnell v2 will be almost wrapped up at the end of it, barring the essays that are about things coming out in November. Six to write, which is a little ambitious for nine days when doing the reading/listening for them is counted as part of the time, but it's not impossible.

The next bunch of paragraphs are about Last War in Albion. But for the sizable chunk of readers who are only in it for Doctor Who stuff, there's a Doctor Who question at the very end of the post you can skip to.

Last War in Albion continues to be very fun. If you haven't grabbed the ebook of Chapters 1 and 2, please do consider doing so to support the project. I suppose I should talk briefly about some of my plans there. At the moment I'm planning on running it on Thursdays for remainder of TARDIS Eruditorum. After this set of five entries it'll go to Chapter Three, which is about Alan Moore's earliest work. After that we finally get to stuff that isn't spectacularly obscure, at which point hopefully people will read it.

Obviously, as I've said, the format of Last War in Albion is a bit challenging. I stand by my reasons for writing it the way I am - I think I absolutely had to get away from the "episode guide" structure of TARDIS Eruditorum, for one thing. For another, Last War in Albion is about the implications of the comics it covers as much as it's about what's in them. The notion of the War is a conscious nod to Faction Paradox, and particularly The Book of the War. Part of the point, in other words, is how hard the War is to pin down.

I recognize, of course, that this makes some aspects of it tougher to follow. I've tried to smooth that out a bit in Chapter Two - I'm being a bit less ostentatiously aggressive in where I cut the chapters, and, since the idea of serializing the story this way is in part modeled on comics, I've nicked the idea of a recap page. The real problem, though, is figuring out how to make money off of it. Because this is a job, and I need to do that.

As I said, the ebook singles are one idea. And they're an important one - just getting Last War in Albion to provide a steady month-in/month-out income stream would be a big deal. So, again, please think about grabbing them on the basic logic that kicking me $1.50 or so every 10,000 words or so is something that helps keep the project running. So again, please do think about buying it. Here it is on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords.

But they are just one idea, and this seems like a good idea to at least talk about some of the other things I'd like to do. As I said, The Book of the War was one of the major inspirations in Last War in Albion. And one thing I'd like to eventually do is rework the project into an encyclopedia version - something that allows topics in the War to be covered hypertextually instead of as part of a linear narrative. There's scads of technical details to figure out, but my rough thought is a community editable Wiki that incorporates the blog material, but also allows readers to expand on it. Probably I'll start that with some sort of Kickstarter after Eruditorum wraps up.

My absolute pie-in-the-sky idea would be to do a televisual version of it that tells the story as a documentary series on the history of British comics, which I think would be fantastically interesting and also expensive and terrifying and in no way something I'm ready to do more than think about in a "wouldn't that be nice" sort of way.

But I'm open to other ideas. Clearly Last War in Albion has a reasonably sized community of people who like it - I think its comments to page views ratio is just about the highest of anything I post. Which suggests a small audience of people who are passionate about it. So I turn to all of you - what do you think I can do, within how the project is shaping up, to make it something that makes money? Or, alternatively, what would help get you to financially support it? Cheaper ebooks? T-shirts saying "Team Bald" and "Team Beard?" Just slapping up a tip jar and letting you drop money in it?

To be clear, I love the project. I'm having the time of my life writing it, and there's no chance I'm ending it any time soon. Certainly it's not going anywhere until I've seen what covering things like Swamp Thing, Halo Jones, and V for Vendetta does in terms of numbers and digital sales. But I'm conscious of the fact that I've painted myself into a (largely necessary) corner in some ways with it, and want to think about how to keep from it becoming a terrifyingly time-consuming hobby.

Right. Doctor Who stuff. So, my wife and I did a nice watch through of stuff with Peter Capaldi in it - several episodes of The Thick of It (marvelous but not my thing), his scenes in Neverwhere (still great, despite its flaws), and The Crow Road (holy crap that was good). And our conclusion was that he was a terrifyingly flexible actor and that any guesses as to what his Doctor would be like were almost certainly wrong. All of which said, where do you think the show will go with him? What sort of Doctor will he be? And what are your favorite bits of his past work that aren't The Thick of It?

Comments

Kit 3 years, 11 months ago

Local Hero and Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life.

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David Anderson 3 years, 11 months ago

I was given the Local Hero DVD for my birthday earlier this year. I really should get around to watching it.

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Mike 3 years, 11 months ago

He directed, wrote and starred in a fantastic programme called The Cricklewood Greats. I stumbed onto it on BBC 4 and briefly thought it was a genuine documentary until he said "I'm going on a journey" in a brilliantly knowing way.

A really great parody of those sorts of documentaries which was just a complete triumph.

Apart from Thick of It, his performance in Torchwood was just astonishing, the first time I'd seen him in anything and subsequently he became someone I have looked forward to seeing turn up in things since.

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Nick Smale 3 years, 11 months ago

I don't know that looking at Capaldi's previous performances really helps us in predicting what his Doctor will be like; that tells us is that he's an excellent actor who will skill-fully play whatever material is given him, but it doesn't tell us what that material will be.

It might be more useful to ponder Moffat; he's already created one Doctor, his second is likely to be very different. So if Smith's Doctor is at one pole of his work (maybe the same playfully irresponsible one occupied by Jeff and Jane in Coupling or Spike in Press Gang... or even Hyde?) then what is the other pole? Jekyll/Lynda Day/Steve?

One thought though: Capaldi isn't only an actor, but also a director, indeed he's won an Oscar as such; is it possible that he might become the first Doctor to also direct an episode?

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timber-munki 3 years, 11 months ago

In terms of Capaldi's work I'd second Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life, also The Crow Road.

As to the sort of Doctor he'll be, I'd like him to use his natural accent. His relationship with his companion(s) is going to be different by dint of the age difference. As to his temperament, I hope they don't go for something similar to Malcolm Tucker volcanic explosions because without the inventive swearing it will come across as very neutered and Capaldi is capable of more than that style of performance.

As to appearance, a sharp 3 piece suit & tie all in the same colour (black) and a manicured beard/moustache.

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C. 3 years, 11 months ago

Phil--

have you done any research into what it would cost to reprint artwork (once we get past the utterly obscure Morrison stuff---thinking about Marvelman and Swamp Thing)? I think a book/film would be far more appealing if you could at least use a panel of art from a comic for illustrative purposes (is that considered fair use?) But I can imagine it could be a licensing headache, too, esp. when dealing with the morass of Marvelman/Miracleman rights

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dm 3 years, 11 months ago

The first thing I would have seen him in would have been Neverwhere, where I found his performance beautiful. Local Hero is, to my mind, the best thing he's been in, but I consider it one of the best films I've ever seen. He is also fantastic as Sid's dad in Skins. Other than that, I adore Thick of It. If he's in it, I tend to watch it.

Really, I cannot recommend Local Hero enough, Philip. I can't see you watching it and not wanting to write an essay on it.

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Alex Antonijevic 3 years, 11 months ago

All I've seen from Peter Capaldi is the Fires of Pompeii and Children of Earth, plus some clips of him swearing. Probably not going to delve too much further until I see him play the Doctor.

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reservoirdogs 3 years, 11 months ago

I would personally be interested in a visual representation of the Last War in Abilon. Sort of like, off the top of my head, Morrison and Moore at whatever devices they use for writing (be it a computer or typewriter or whatever) while above them (in sort of a shared thought balloon coming from the writing devices) is a war with both writers coming at each other with the elements of their writing styles personified by characters they have written. Or something to that effect.

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Monicker 3 years, 11 months ago

I would also like to recommend Local Hero. Haven't watched it for years now, possibly not even since the 80s, but it's a lovely film, and worth watching in its own right anyway. Very nice performance from Fulton MacKay too, as I recall.

Cricklewood Greats, a parody of documentaries on the British film industry, is worth trying too.

There's also an hour long play he did for television with Sarah Parish in 2006, Aftersun, which is about a married couple whose children pay for a holiday in Spain they can go on for their twenty fifth wedding anniversary. The play details their experiences and tensions during their first few days there. Both actors feature in it extensively, so it's quite a good way of seeing them at work on something that isn't heavily plot reliant.

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David Anderson 3 years, 11 months ago

I imagine that one of the things Capaldi will want to do with the role is do something completely different from Malcolm Tucker. The spate of Malcolm Tucker as the Doctor sketches after the announcement was sufficient that the Guardian's version ended with the Doctor abusing the camera for ignoring everything else he'd been in.

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arcbeatle 3 years, 11 months ago

My family was watching Poirot the other day and we were shocked and overjoyed to see Peter Capaldi in a supporting role in it! What a treat!

Oh, and since this is Saturday Waffling, its probably okay for me to point out I'm running a Kickstarter for an episode guide for Doctor Who in the form of Poetry?
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcbeatle/an-eloquence-of-time-and-space-a-doctor-who-50th-p

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Corpus Christi Music Scene 3 years, 11 months ago

I first saw Capaldi in Prime Suspect 3.

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Scott 3 years, 11 months ago

There are reports coming out today that suggest that Capaldi will in fact be keeping his natural accent.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 11 months ago

Morrison and Moore at whatever devices they use for writing

Moore uses a pen dipped in his own blood.

Morrison uses a pen dipped in the blood of some tourist he has locked up in his basement.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 11 months ago

What sort of Doctor will he be?

That depends on whether he's the Valeyard. Which in turn depends on whether Matt is 11th or 12th. And on what exactly coming between the Doctor's 12th and final incarnations means. And on whether Moffat wants to do that story (it might be a now-prevented-and-cancelled future), though the mention in "Name" might mean that he does.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 11 months ago

Latest word from Moffat: Capaldi's Doctor will be trickier, fiercer, and Scottisher: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2401348/Peter-Capaldi-Scottish-accent-Doctor-Who.html

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BerserkRL 3 years, 11 months ago

He will also apparently be the "12th incantation." So, abra cadabra.

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Nyq Only 3 years, 11 months ago

I don't know what it would be like or who could possibly do the artwork for it but I would squeal in delight at the idea of a graphic novel format for the Last War in Albion.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 11 months ago

That could be interesting, yes.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 11 months ago

It's a tricky line. For the most part artwork reproduction, so long as it doesn't go beyond what's needed to illustrate the point, is covered by fair use, although copyright holders would love you to think otherwise. I'm fairly careful about it with Last War in Albion, actually - the actual reproduction of comics I use is tailored to be within what I believe to be fair use, though other images like the Rangers crest and Tom Baker are just there for flavor and are a bit cheeky.

The fact that such reproductions are fair use is something I feel very strongly about and would have no qualms about fighting in court if anyone decided to object. I categorically refuse to seek permissions for image used that way, on the grounds that asking wrongly implies that permission is required. And that absolutely applies to ever doing a filmed version.

That said, what the filmed version would really require is interviews.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 11 months ago

He only uses a tourist because Mark Millar finally escaped.

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nimonus 3 years, 11 months ago

And difficult, apparently: "People really love Jenna, so we make the Doctor quite difficult."

I hope he at least is still likable and compelling. Going for "difficult" with Colin was a big mistake.

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Theonlyspiral 3 years, 11 months ago

A cantankerous darker Doctor can work. Just because JNT screwed it up doesn't mean that Moffat and Capaldi can't do it right.

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Callum Leemkuil 3 years, 11 months ago

Well, he compared him to Tom Baker in Robot, which is a much more gentle and amusing sort of "difficult" than "angry murderous lunatic."

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Callum Leemkuil 3 years, 11 months ago

Capaldi appears to have reached the heights of his fandom with Pertwee and Tom Baker, so I would assume his performance would be more indebted to one of them (hopefully Baker). I could see Capaldi playing a Baker-esque Doctor and Moffat writing a Baker-esque Doctor working very well.

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 11 months ago

...no Sunday Pancaking? :-S

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 11 months ago

If you can get Kate Beaton, I'm in. :-D

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mengu 3 years, 11 months ago

A very long time ago, you said that The Runaway Bride resolves/addresses the issue of how the Doctor relates to money. Care to elaborate?

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 11 months ago

I did? I hate when I forget what sounds like a really interesting point. Link me to where I originally said it?

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Jenda 3 years, 11 months ago

http://www.philipsandifer.com/2011/01/does-it-need-saying-aztecs.html

"The Doctor, by definition, has no use for money. This tension will not be adequately addressed until December 25, 2009. Today, 45 years earlier and change, we have one of several colossally inadequate attempts at addressing it."

I'm still not sure what you meant by the statement, but it looks like it was The End of Time you were referring to.

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Katherine Sas 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure it has something to do with him taking money from the ATM.

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