Posts Tagged With: fish fingers and custard

Fish Custard: Reversed

I walked into the study on Monday morning to find the boys watching a Lazy Town video. Backwards.

It beats the hell out of some of the stuff I find in the internet history. I mean, I love YouTube. It’s a wealth of fantastic, entertaining material. It has recipes, educational videos, how-to guides and interviews. It’s enabled me to see programmes I haven’t seen in years and ones I’d forgotten about completely. It’s connected me with musical artists in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible, shown me ideas and concepts I could never have imagined and, for all the idiocy and bigotry, generally broadened my horizons.

And what were my kids watching the other week? Fucking Crazy Frog. Backwards.

It’s hardly Twin Peaks, is it? It’s quite amusing to watch Sportacus climb back into his cage while Robbie and his clones skip backwards over the wall, but you wonder what the point was. And then you look at the other stuff on the channel and you notice a pattern in the titles –

weare

HOW THE HELL HAS THIS GUY GOT SO MANY HITS? Do people like Lazy Town that much? Or is this another artificial inflation scam like the VEVO incident? I mean, here’s me, scrabbling for social media coverage, begging and borrowing and promoting like crazy just to creep into the hundreds, and this guy’s presumably living off his monetization. It’s enough to make you weep for the future of humanity; it really is.

The definitive use of reversed footage, of course, is in Red Dwarf, in an episode that isn’t really as funny as we’d like to think (gimmicky episodes seldom are, as ‘Gunmen of the Apocalypse’ proves in abundance). There are amusing moments in ‘Backwards’ but the best of the humour stems from Lister’s reactions (“Santa Claus – what a bastard!”), as well as that single shot of Cat, springing up from the bushes. But a better episode that series is ‘Marooned’, which is almost a two-hander, but which has some of the best gags in the history of the show. ‘Backwards’ has Lister falling off a bicycle. ‘Marooned’ has Rimmer doing the funniest Richard III you’ll ever see. Case closed.

catbackwards

Anyway, I started to think about whether I could take anything from Doctor Who and run it backwards. I’ve occasionally reversed small clips in isolation – the Beckett video springs to mind – but was there any merit in anything longer? The problem was picking an appropriate scene, and seeing that inspiration was lacking I decided to ask Facebook. Someone suggested Clara’s death scene. “Anything with the Weeping Angels”, said someone else. “It’s just them backing away from people.”

There’s a lot of mileage in a scene like that but one obvious example – inspired, in part, by the scene in Red Dwarf where Rimmer and Kryten observe a woman regurgitating a cream cake – was the Fish Fingers and Custard sequence. Because it’s a wonderful moment that’s been done to death and had all the life sucked out of it with subsequent references (Why, in the name of sanity, does the TARDIS interface say ‘Fish fingers and custard’ to the Doctor when he’s lying on the floor halfway through ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’?). There is absolutely nothing new I can bring to that scene apart from reverse it and witness the Doctor’s telekinetic summoning of a reassembling plate across the garden, before sucking baked beans back into his mouth.

But what’s most striking about it is how similar it sounds to Nordic noir. As I was watching it – and particularly after I’d dropped in the background ambience, which comes courtesy of the lovely people at Cryo Chamber – it felt like I was watching a scene from The Bridge, or Modus, or Wallander (I assume; that’s one I’ve not seen yet). The analogy’s far from perfect, of course. Amelia’s house isn’t nearly Nordic enough. There’s not a single glass wall. She doesn’t even have decking. Nonetheless, the vibe is there. It’s the dialogue: it all sounds like Swedish.

And that’s given me another idea, but you’re going to have to let me finish it first…

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The New Who Top Ten: #4

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Number Four: ‘The Eleventh Hour’ (2010)

God, he looks young. I mean, the Eleventh Doctor always did. That was the main hook; this youthful, spritely thing, this man who simultaneously carried buckets of energy and centuries of experience. Women wanted to shag him. He would careen about the TARDIS like one of the stars of Swan Lake. He was an extremely physical Doctor, for all the verbal diarrhoea – certainly more physical than either of his immediate predecessors, and perhaps on a par with Pertwee. The karate was gone, but the dancing was a welcome substitute.

I know a number of Cambridge graduates, and it strikes me that there’s always been something quite Eleventh Doctor about most of them. They are brilliant and clever and (mostly) fun to be with, but at the same time you get the feeling that they are on a different level to the rest of us, one we’ll never quite reach. There is something almost unassailable about them. Oh, they don’t talk down to you. I never felt as if I was being patronised or ridiculed. But I always got the feeling I was in the presence of extremely clever people. They didn’t bask in their cleverness, but neither did they hide it under a bushel.

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I got that vibe about the Eleventh Doctor from the moment we saw him. There’s an immediate sense of detachment that you never felt with Tennant, who was always giving whatever was happening his full concentration. The moment in ‘The Hungry Earth’ where Elliott wanders off, neglected by a distracted Doctor, would never have happened on Tennant’s watch. He always seemed so focused. Smith’s Doctor, on the other hand, always seemed to have other things on his mind, as if constantly trying to consolidate Fermat’s last theorem, or remember where he left his passport.

This was Moffat’s first episode in charge, and it shows. Stylistically it is bold and innovative, from the Blade Runner-esque fast rewind through the Doctor’s memory as he struggles to remember what he saw on the green, through the fast cutting that would become a staple of this series, up to the moment he penetrates the fourth wall on the hospital roof. Adam Smith directs with flair, and Murray Gold introduces a whole string of new motifs. Moffat cleverly introduces the village of Leadworth (Ambridge to the Powell Estate’s Albert Square) and a whole host of supporting characters, most of whom we don’t see again, simply because this is all about the Doctor and Amy.

The Eleventh Hour

The episode spawned a host of catchphrases, and is arguably most notorious for the fish custard scene – an amusing joke that, like the Weeping Angels, should only ever have been employed once, and suffered with every repeat appearance. But in this scene, in which the Doctor is basically playing Tigger, it’s quite wonderful. Post-regeneration fallout hasn’t been this ridiculous since 1974, and while Smith stops short of the clown outfit, he is still just as manic, at least until he examines the crack in the bedroom wall. It took us nearly four years to get to the bottom of that crack, and it would be lovely to say that it was worth the effort – but this was one of the few times when its appearance didn’t grate, and for that would should be grateful pleased.

If the shapeshifting monster is slightly second-rate, and the Atraxi not much better, the cast more than make up for it. Darvill infuses Rory with a genial, bumbling personality that would harden later on under the Doctor’s influence, while Gillan is a vulnerable, damaged Amy, all suspicious eyes and panic – her sense of bewildered trust / mistrust is a recurring theme throughout, and the moment in the closing scenes in which she becomes overwhelmed inside the TARDIS is genuinely brilliant acting. Supporting turns from the likes of Olivia “I’m in everything!” Coleman and Annette Crosbie add flavour, but never get in the way of Smith, who is never less than compelling in every single one of his scenes.

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I don’t want to be too hyperbolic about ‘The Eleventh Hour’, because that would imply that it was a plateau. And as great as it was, things got even better – as we’ll see over the next few days – before they slumped. But this was that rare beast, a post-regeneration story that was not only good (and they’re few and far between, if you actually look at the list) but really good. From the Doctor’s first, gasping crawl over the edge of the wrecked TARDIS, desperately seeking fruit, to the moment when he informs Amy that yes, he is definitely a madman with a box, this is an episode that amuses, delights and dazzles in all the best ways. It’s not the best episode ever, or even the best Smith episode ever. But it’s a hell of an opener.

Cameron’s Episode: Vincent and the Doctor

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I. DRINK. YOUR. MILKSHAKE.

“Josh, have a fish finger,” Emily was saying. “Daniel’s not eating them.”

Eldest child rummaged in the paper bag that had come out of the Happy Meal box. “Thanks. Do they come with free custard?”

“No,” was the response from my other half. “But you have some milkshake left, so you could dip it in there.”

I rolled my eyes. “See, that was on the tip of my tongue. But if I’d said it, you’d have said that it was irresponsible parenting.”

Emily giggled. “At least Daniel’s eating it now.”

And it’s true, he was.

Milkshake

Coming up next on Brian of Morbius: ruminations from Gareth. But first, here’s a little music.

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The Great Doctor Who Party (ii)

(If you’ve missed out on the earlier bits of this little saga, they’re available here. And here. And, if you’re really bored, here.) Let’s start with the suit, which we bought on Ebay.

That buffet, then.

“HI- I- AM-HERE-TO-FIX-YOUR-TAR-DIS.”

 

I’d much rather forget the entirety of this one, but you can’t have a children’s party without pink wafers. It isn’t wrong, but we just don’t do it.

Job well done, I think. I can take no credit for this; I did the labels and took the photos. My other half did all the work.

As I may have mentioned, the Musical Weeping Angels was a non-starter, but everyone went for the find-the-monster quiz – even though we think it was sabotaged by the eventual winners, whom I’ve now decided hid the Empty Child picture after making a note of the number, which would explain why no one else could find the damned thing. Well, you can’t win ’em all. Literally, as it turns out.

Anyway, it all went off swimmingly, and himself enjoyed it tremendously. And that, of course, is the only thing that really counts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this:

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The often-lethal Mercurian boomerang spoon

Posted on by reverend61

In other news: Joshua wants a Doctor Who-themed birthday party.

I am excited. It’s not until June, but any excuse to start planning, right? There will be pin-the-tail-on-the-werewolf. There will be a puppet show, almost certainly with Ice Warriors. There will be costumes. I will probably go as a Slitheen. I already have the build.

Emily and I have been racking our brains to find appropriate foods. Thus far, and with more than a little help from Gareth, this is what we’ve come up with.

Savouries

Sweet stuff

For the adults (because we will need it in the evening)

I fear a little refining may be in order, but what the hell, we’ve got three months. In the meantime I draw inspiration from last year, when (on a sunny afternoon when the warm weather went to our heads a bit) we combined the remnant’s of Daniel’s Makka Pakka cake with what was left of the TARDIS cake that one of Emily’s old friends – who was visiting – had made the day before. The results were intriguing:

You see what I mean. It’s like something out of MechWarrior, as imagined by a five-year-old. Tasted nice, though.

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You’re Scottish. Fry something.

Posted on by reverend61

After yesterday’s comments about salami and oversized food, Gareth ran a Google search for ‘Doctor Who food’. And this, courtesy of Deviant Art, is what he found.

(The spelling error is unfortunate, but arguably adds to the effect…)

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In which the Doctor is unbounced

Posted on by reverend61

A conversation with my children this morning about unusual food combinations (jelly with onions, sausages filled with cake) led me to revisiting this:

Josh hasn’t yet experienced any Eleventh Doctor stories (although I am assured that ‘The Death of the Doctor’ is approaching in the Sarah Jane Adventures playlist he’s working through with his mother). But everyone – including my father – is familiar with this. It’s one of my favourite scenes with Matt Smith, back when Moffatt’s irreverence was still relatively fresh, and before it started to come across as inevitably gimmicky. Tennant’s Doctor – while admirable in many respects – had become almost too human by the end of his run, and even his arrogant godlike demeanour was an enhanced form of humanity. The Tenth Doctor, like the Ninth, had never been particularly eccentric, being content with a sort of know-it-all smugness instead, and I’d felt for a while that the show had needed a more alien Doctor – a Doctor who admired humanity, but who had trouble relating to it.

It’s a shame, really, that the Beeb didn’t include the beginning of this scene, which sees a sopping wet Doctor (who’s just climbed out of the library, which was in the swimming pool) chomp on an apple before spitting it out with the words “That’s disgusting. I hate apples. Apples are rubbish”. The current Doctor’s little foibles are starting to grate a bit now, which is by no means the fault of the actor, but is rather down to some annoying recurring themes (yes, we understand the irony of a twenty-nine-year-old saying “Oh, I’m so old”, but we don’t need to keep hearing it). But this was back when everything was new and exciting and we were shaking off the post-Davies blues and hoping that the show would stop being so overblown and melodramatic (it hasn’t, but it’s easier to take under Moffatt’s penmanship).

Thus I’m perhaps inclined to give ‘The Eleventh Hour’ more credence than it ultimately deserves, because it launched a new era for the show in which a lot of the problems it had been having were fixed (only for new ones to crop up, but that’s for another day). They were still working out the Eleventh Doctor’s characterisation at this point and I suspect many people watching – perhaps those who weren’t familiar with Baker (i) or Troughton, whose eccentricities Smith mimics – wondered what on earth they were watching. But the source of Moffatt’s inspiration actually goes back much further than the 60s and 70s – the parallels are obvious to anyone who remembers The House at Pooh Corner, and the first time we watched this, Emily’s response was “Right, so he’s Tigger, then?”.

The sadist within me would dearly love to think that shooting this was as tortuous for Matt Smith as the sprout-eating contest was for Dawn French in the Christmas episode of The Vicar of Dibley – during filming, James Fleet and Gary Waldhorn would repeatedly (and deliberately) mess up their lines, forcing endless retakes and more and more sprouts for the unfortunate French. I’m told, in fact, that Matt Smith ate eleven fish fingers when they were shooting the sequence in Amelia Pond’s kitchen, and enjoyed every one – symptomatic, perhaps, of an actor who’s every bit as youthful and fun-loving as the character he portrays. And that has to be a good thing.

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