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A Line, a Loop, a Tangle of Timey-Wimeyness

The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film, or Sci-Fi-London is in its eleventh year, and I’ve never been to anything in it before. That’s kind of bad, isn’t it?

This week, though, I’ve been to the presentation of the Clarke Award, which is held in association with the festival, and at its main venue; and last night, the whole family went to the BFI (or the NFT, I can’t quite work out what its official name is these days) to see a film.

Which was Dimensions, a low-budget British film about time travel — or maybe dimension-hopping — which doesn’t even have a distributor yet.

Which is a great shame, because despite some flaws it is a very enjoyable piece. We were still talking about it at lunchtime today.

It’s also something of a costume drama, being set in the 1920s and 30s. The Sci-Fi-London page about it likens it to Merchant-Ivory.

It did show its low-budget nature in one or two places, but nothing that destroys the overall effect. The couple who made it (Ant Neely wrote and composed the original music, and Sloane U’Ren directed and did much else) had to sell their house to fund it, so almost anything can be forgiven.

I won’t say too much more about it here, but if you ever get a chance to see it, you should take it.

There was a Q&A with writer, director, lead actor & editor after the screening, which was very interesting. I was geared up to ask a question, which would have gone something like this: “When you make a time-travel story, especially in Britain, you’re walking among some long shadows, especially Wells and Doctor Who; to what extent would you acknowledge those as influences?” I had my hand up to speak, when the interviewer asked a question touching on exactly those points. So I didn’t ask. Pity. I would also have mentioned the fact that they have a mysterious wise man know only as “the Professor”.

Anyway, lots of fun: highly recommended.

Voting Time Again

Time to hit the polling booths again. Doesn’t seem that long since the last one. But it’s a lot easier to decide this time. Brian Paddick’s a decent guy, but the Lib Dems have shown they can’t be trusted over the last two years.

Boris hasn’t been quite the disaster we feared four years ago, but he still cares more about the richer members of society than everyone else. Plus, he’s a Tory. But I repeat myself.

Ken seems kind of past his peak, but he’s still the one for the job. Though I might give Jenny Jones my first vote and Ken my second. I think that’s what I did last time, come to think o it.

For the Assembly it’s going to be Labour all the way. I’m not impressed with how they’re doing in opposition at Westminster: the Tories are down, but they don’t seem to be kicking. Kick harder, Milliband! But to run London? Obviously it’s got to be the (relatively) good guys.

What’s surprising and slightly scary is the number of extreme-right parties who have put candidates up. obviously there’s the BNP and UKIP: but who knew the National Front were still around? Then there’s ones with names like England First and Christians Against Marriage Equality. (Those names may not be exact, but I’m on the Tube at the time of writing, so I can’t check; but you get the gist.)

Anyway, that’s where we are today. Don’t forget to vote if you can, folks.

Weird Law-Enforcement Things

There were three slightly weird law-enforcement- or intelligence-related stories in the news today:

  • Two jailed in Northern Ireland over police officer’s murder. I heard the policeman’s wife on the radio. She spoke calmly about how getting the murderers off the streets was good for the community, and positively about the people who had bravely given evidence (at least one had to be given protection). The odd, disturbing, and intelligence-community-related thing is that army intelligence had a tracker device in the car of one of the murderers, and at first they refused to reveal its details to the police undertaking the investigation. The police had to threaten to get a warrant. Then when they did provide the data, it turned out to have sections mysteriously missing. You have to sympathise with the PSNI here: they had both the Continuity IRA bampots and the army working against them.
  • Dark Arts’ involved in MI6 officer’s death. So what, this GCHQ codebreaker on secondment locked himself inside a bag using magic? I’m surprised that they’re even considering that it might not be murder here; or at least that someone has covered something up. More importantly, there’s the fact that the DNA evidence got messed up by a typo. Surely there’s got to be a better way?

  • Police officers deleted records of crime gangs And then there’s this business about the corruption in the Met. Evidence allegedly deleted on the orders of crime gangs? That’s some scary stuff. I’m pretty sure that when the Serious Organised Crime Agency was set up, it was meant to be anti-organised crime.

No real connection between these, I just heard about them all today.