Saturday Waffling (February 28th, 2015)

(48 comments)

Hey, so, first off, check out Ian McDuffie's Patreon for his webcomic FEELS. And, for that matter, his webcomic FEELS. Really nice, sweetly funny and dryly sad comics about people having emotions about one another.

In other news, barring an absolutely massive swath of votes in the final twenty-four hours, the next bonus post as voted on by Patreon backers will be on Russell T Davies's produce triptych Cucumber/Banana/Tofu. That'll be in just about two weeks, once the whole thing airs.

But man, if you're not watching it, check it out. It's really, really good. Episode 6 of Cucumber is titanically, breathtakingly good, although for the most part I think Banana has really been the best show.

So, given how good episode six of Cucumber was, let's have an open thread on it. I'll talk about it in detail in two weeks time, but for now I'll just say... holy shit that was amazing.

Also, if you missed it, the commentary track Jack Graham and I did for the second episode of The Rescue went up on Wednesday. These have gotten super low download numbers according to my stats tracker. Like, apparently only eleven people downloaded episode two, down from sixty-eight on episode one. Will at least do The Mind Robber, though will probably take a week off before that, and maybe a new series track to see if that does a bit better, but I'm officially flagging that project as in serious danger of cancellation. In case my stats tracking is wrong, though, if you downloaded episode two, please say so in comments.

Finally, there'll be a post on Tuesday this week. The title will be Recursive Book Launch.

Currently working on: A Brief Treatise on the Rules of Thrones 1.09: Baelor

Comments

Jarl 2 years ago

Personally, I'm looking forward to The Mind Robber because I can easily get access to that serial and thus enjoy it with the commentary.

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Morgan Davie 2 years ago

I downloaded episode 2!

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Steven 2 years ago

god it really was amazing right? Cucumber.

I've really liked Cucumber but you can't sit through episode 6 and think it was a normal episode of TV. For one of the first times I can ever recall I've sat there and realised, without even being more than half way through the episode, that i'm watching an absolute landmark entry into the medium.

RTD is already one of the most influential people in UK TV history but he eclipsed, in sheer quality, all he's ever done.

Sequencing of Banana helped also, as a basic piece of recognition that after sitting through that you deserve something sweet and warm.

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Daru 2 years ago

I downloaded both commentary tracks.

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Daru 2 years ago

Cucumber episode 6 - Just finished watching it now and I'm in compete shock and feel utterly blown away. Too deeply touched to my core to give an analytical response. Just wow.

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xec tilus 2 years ago

I had to sleep with the light on after that episode. Can't get those last few seconds out of my head, or Hazel's scene.

I've been googling, and is it me or are there hardly any reviews of this episode around yet? There's the Guardian's, Digital Spy, Radio Times, Cultbox...is that it? It's been two days since this phenomenal bit of telly, Twitter fucking exploded (when I looked at the UK trends afterwards, it was second only to The Dress!), so where's all the recognition? Are people still too traumatised to organise their thoughts properly or...?

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Frezno 2 years ago

I downloaded the commentaries, and I really do enjoy them. Looking forward to breaking out my Mind Robber DVD for the next one.

I dunno, maybe the numbers are low because people don't know that Dailymotion is your sketchy friend when it comes to classic Who.

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Daru 2 years ago

I'll be honest, I haven't looked. Often with an amazing episode such as this I would scour then net for responses, but in this case the effect was so powerful that I have just wanted to sit with it.

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years ago

Cucumber episode 6 - It was astonishing. There's a really fascinating Radio Times inteview where RTD talks about the episode (I find his thoughts on Hazel particularly fascinating):
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-02-26/russell-t-davies-id-long-wanted-to-write-a-death-that-feels-like-a-death
Re. commentaries: I really liked your and Jack Graham's commentaries on the Rescue (plus, I finally watched the Rescue because of them. It's really good.) So, yeah, would love to hear more of those, though I'd understand you not wanting to do more if there isn't enough interest.

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Daru 2 years ago

Thanks a lot for posting the link to the interview.

"So for a long time, I’d wanted to write a death that feels like a death."

This quote from RTD encapsulates exactly why I feel this episode touches so deep. I actually does for me capture the visceral visual sense of dying, and I don't know of many other example like this in the medium.

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Unknown 2 years ago

I downloaded both

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Unknown 2 years ago

I doubt I'm one of the only 11 people to find them, but it might not help that they're posted in waffles and comics reviews, which aren't things everyone who's interested in Doctor Who commentaries would necessarily check.

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years ago

Absolutely, the trip through Lance's increasingly chaotic consciousness was haunting and felt incredibly real. Though i do like RTD's interpretation of the whole episode being Lance's life flashing before his eyes. I just like that the story's about his life as well as his death.
And I loved both interpretations of Hazel - I'm torn about which one to pick.

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Steven 2 years ago

no reviews as no one's really been watching it. I've heard it described as a bit of a flop, which is a pity as it's some of the best british tv ever

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Ozy Jones 2 years ago

Downloaded both commentaries... by the sounds of it your figures are wrong somewhere...

A good listen, bye the way. thanks.

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Daru 2 years ago

Yes the article was a great read and I found the moments where RTD was revealing his feelings on the supernatural really interesting.

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nimonus 2 years ago

I think the commentaries are wonderful, and I have downloaded both, though to be honest I've been so swamped with work I haven't actually had the time to listen to the second one. But I fully intend to.

Commentaries I think are bound to have a different pattern of consumption than blog posts. I read your blog often in spare moments or during my office hours between classes. To watch a commentary, you really need a clean 25 minutes to sit down and digest it (and to monopolize the television, if you want to appreciate the 1960s TV in its fully restored glory).

Maybe they just need a different presentation, more amenable to people coming back and downloading at their leisure? Posting them as a single added line on the comics reviews does them a bit of a disservice, IMO. Maybe each time you upload a commentary, do it as a separate post, include a picture from the episode, and links to the previous commentaries?

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brownstudy 2 years ago

Agreed. I think giving a commentary its own post and title would make it easier to find for the folks who browse.

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JJ Gauthier 2 years ago

I was waiting to download it until I have a chance to rewatch The Rescue. Hopefully Monday. But I'm definitely looking forward to these commentaries.

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Pôl Jackson 2 years ago

You are correct, I did not know that. I've been waiting for the Mind Robber, 'cause that one is on Netflix. Thanks for the heads-up. :)

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Pôl Jackson 2 years ago

I have no idea what Cucumber/Banana/Tofu is, where it is airing, or how to watch it. Before I do a Google search that might produce (ha) inadvertent spoilers, would someone mind giving me the quick rundown?

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Mike 2 years ago

I listened to the first commentary and enjoyed it, but still haven't listened to the second. I think the problem that I have to solve is that I just don't have a habit of sitting at my computer and listening to things that I want to pay close attention to, and figured out how specifically I want to deal with having a loose MP3 file that I can listen to elsewhere.

I mean, seriously, solve-able problems, I just haven't figured out my best way to listen (or watch-and-listen).

I would be curious if Dropbox's download count is counting both actual downloads AND people listening to the file in their browser, and if it's counting people listening in their browser, how it's treating anything short of a complete listening.

I listened to the first commentary in my browser, so maybe I didn't increment the download counter at all!

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Steven 2 years ago

It's Russell T Davis' new three-strand series of programming about gay life.

Cucumber is its main thread - 8 part 40 minute comedy/drama about, basically, a middle aged sexually-frustrated gay man's attempt to understand what he wants from life and his relationship.

Banana is the second thread, 20 minute episodes which feed into and overlap with the main show (whole scenes reappear in different contexts) but spin off in different directions and focus on younger experiences of being queer. Each episode centres on a different person, some of them are supporting characters in Cucumber, others are basically extras or walk on parts. - I disagree with Phil here, episode 2 is brilliant but some of the rest have been throwaway, where as Banana is consistently great til episode 6 when it shifts gear into something genius.

Tofu is the first strand is the least essentially, as it's basically mildly diverting factual programming about sex or taboos, with the cast and crew talking about their approach to life and relationships.

They're all going out on Channel 4's channels, so 4, E4 and 4od.

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Steven 2 years ago

'Tofu is the first strand is the least essentially' doesnt make sense, meant to say its the third strand and least essential

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elvwood 2 years ago

Downloaded both commentaries, the second one yesterday so it should have been in your stats. I haven't listened to either yet because I am really struggling with watching TV at the moment, but I have recently listened to both you and Jane with the Pex Lives folks, and you with Jack Graham. All very thought-provoking!

Speaking of TV, is it a good idea to watch Cucumber episode 6 without having seen the first five, or should I just wait until I am more able and then watch them in order? (My daughter has been watching and enjoying them, but has I think only seen the first three of each so far.)

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elvwood 2 years ago

I meant to say, of course, you and Jack on the Shobogan Graffiti podcast, as opposed to the commentaries. D'oh!

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Steven 2 years ago

absolutely do not watch 6 out of order, it's a carefully structured series and pays off what it works to set up, i think :)

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Unknown 2 years ago

I listened to the commentary to the first episode of The Rescue in my browser and planned to do the same with the second, but haven't had a chance yet.

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Eric Gimlin 2 years ago

I've listened to both commentaries; the first one I actually downloaded but by the 2nd one I figured out it was easier for me to just let it run in my browser as I watched the episode. Not sure if that would skew the download numbers. Enjoyed them both a lot.

I do agree with the idea they deserve their own post & thread; they may be getting missed because of that.

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James Pearson 2 years ago

I downloaded, listened to and really enjoyed both commentaries. I downloaded on the day of release both times so I assume I have been counted in your statistics.

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arcbeatle 2 years ago

Cucumber is the best show on TV. Though to be honest I have trouble separating Cucumber and Banana as different shows, they feel like such compliments to each other I cannot compartmentalize them well.

I was shaking and crying when episode 6 finished. Good God.

From an academic perspective, I really like the forest symbolism as the world falls into chaos...

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Ken Finlayson 2 years ago

I'm trying to avoid the comments in this thread as I haven't seen C/B/T and I don't want any spoilers... but I did definitely download both Rescue commentary tracks, as soon as they came out. Yeah, I can't believe that 11 is the right number.

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We've Got Work To Do 2 years ago

I downloaded both commentary tracks, still looking for a spare moment to get to listen to them.

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Benjamin Mann 2 years ago

Downloaded both. (And found they actually work perfectly well as things to listen to without having to watch the footage, at least if you rewatched the story in question not too long ago so still have fresh memories of it.) Echo the observation about giving them their own posts, since I have zero interest in the Western comics industry, I only found out episode 2 was out through Shabogan Graffiti.

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elvwood 2 years ago

Ta!

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dm 2 years ago

Same here- listened to both in browser, also wondering about whether or not that counts.

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dm 2 years ago

I was unable to move beyond some weird shaking once the credits rolled on Cucumber 6. Tears were streaming down my face but I wasn't sad, it was genuine shock. My brain is kind of refusing to go there right now and think about it. A truly overwhelming moment. Kind of pissed all over the shocks that other series try to give us. The closest parallel in contemporary television would be Ginsberg's nipple in Mad Men.

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dm 2 years ago

Brilliant interview. I love reading Davies interviews with his voice in my head. I also love how often he's honest about the ambiguity in his work, he uses such a brave mix of the sort of carefully considered, thoroughly thought out structuring/plotting and sheer blind intuition. He'll throw things in and work out what they might mean later. It's the best kind of self-indulgence really, he's his own most obsessive fan, trying to work out what's going on and what it means as much as we are.

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ferret 2 years ago

I also had downloaded both.

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Wm Keith 2 years ago

Downloaded both and listened to them in the car.

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Ozy Jones 2 years ago

Ummmm... don't know if I should bring this up in such a classy and erudite crowd, but the initials CBT also have a specific fetish meaning.

Coincidence? or not, knowing RTD as we do.

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5tephe 2 years ago

Downloaded and listened to, and loved both.
But the second one I grabbed from Jack's blog - don't know if that shows up differently in your analytics package, or how you've organised it all.

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5tephe 2 years ago

Actually, I'll correct that: I DOWNLOADED the first, and listened to the second In Browser.

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Ombund 2 years ago

Sorry, late to commenting as I hadn't watched Russell T Davies' Cucumber yet and didn't want to see any spoilers. But my god, what an astonishing piece of television. Utterly devastating. I thought RTD would struggle to top episode 2 of Banana, but he's managed it just a few weeks later. I'd actually disagree with Phil and say that Cucumber is the stronger show, but Banana's great too so why quibble. And to echo what others have said that Radio Times interview is a must read. I love reading RTD talk about writing and I do hope there's another Writer's Tale from him and Benjamin Cook some day.

As for the commentaries, I've downloaded the first one but haven't had time to listen to it while watching the episode yet. I'm planning to download the second just as soon as I have. I have already listened to the Shabcast though and I really, really enjoyed that so I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from you and Jack Graham. I agree with others that a separate page on the website might help.

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What Happened To Robbie? 2 years ago

Have downloaded and listened to both commentaries. I'd personally love to hear more so hopefully your stats will creep up enough for them to be worth continuing with.

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encyclops 2 years ago

Downloaded both, but haven't had a chance to listen to either yet. Looking forward to it.

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Anthony Strand 2 years ago

Absolutely. I had no idea either had been posted because I was looking for posts announcing them.

Anyway, I've downloaded them both now.

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