Sex, Death and Rock ‘n’ Roll – Part 2
(Part 1 can be found here.)
Some disjointed observations about ‘Revelation of the Daleks’; fragments of a larger and uncompleted essay that’s been in the draft drawer for ages… just so that I can say I’ve served up more this month than an off-the-cuff whinge about how much I hated P.E. lessons.
Hang the D.J.
He skulks in his private studio. He almost prefigures RTD’s quasi-fan characters. He’s a geek, a dweeby enthusiast. He sits alone, watches TV, greets a visitor very shyly and comes alive when given a chance to enthuse about his pet obsession: the old style D.J.s and music of America. When he learns that Peri is really American, he reacts like… well, like a Who fan meeting Nicola Bryant. You get the feeling that he might ask for her autograph. He’s almost a parody of the nerdacious loner. He has little or no direct contact with any of the other characters. Apart from Peri, he’s only ever seen with Jobel – and they don’t speak to each other. One gets the sense of someone asocial and detached, always watching the goings on around him but never getting personally involved. In a way, he’s like an anti-Davros. Both are holed up in their personal hideaways, watching everything via cameras, commenting on the action like choruses… but from different perspectives. Where Davros schemes and snarls and giggles at the suffering of others, the D.J. takes the piss out of his place of employment and plays around with words, songs and personas.
(There are a lot of these chorus/voyeur characters in 80s Who, from Arak and Etta in ‘Varos’ up to the culmination of the trend in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, which sees the Doctor himself become a member of the audience watching his own adventures on television!)
The other thing the D.J. does is play. He plays records, plays at disguise, plays at dressing up, plays at accents and attitudes and styles. This seems to be partly for his audience and partly for his own amusement. He comes over as a childman, an innocent. He’s not unaware of “the humanoid female form” but mentions it to “those of you who appreciate” it. He’s not personally interested, or his desire is submerged, or he’s too shy. His reaction to Peri is appreciative, but the oily, wandering-handed, heavy-breathing, harassing lust of Jobel is a counterpoint that throws the D.J.’s childish reaction into sharp relief.
Mind you, he’s not so innocent that he doesn’t know what’s going on and he clearly has no vociferous loyalty to his employers. He finds the notion of bodysnatchers making away with a cadaver rather funny and makes no effort to report them to his superiors. His off-mic comments to himself about George’s wife show that he’s savvy about the kinds of people his workplace caters for. To him, Tranquil Repose is a job. Okay, it’s a job that he has somehow managed to warp around his own personality and in which he plainly finds some pleasure, but essentially this guy is a working stiff.…