Cold Winter Morning

    I was never a huge Meat Loaf fan, but I always liked Bat Out of Hell, and of course enjoyed him in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. So I’m saddened to hear of his death.

    I’ll be playing Bat Out of Hell today.

    After the Money's Gone

    Robin Rendle raises a concern we should all (who write on the web) have:

    But if my URL is dead, my website dies with it.

    My work shouldn’t be presented in the Smithsonian behind glass or anything, I’m just pointing at this enormous flaw in the architecture of the web itself: you’re renting servers and renting URLs. Nothing is permanent because on the web we don’t really own any space, we’re just borrowing land temporarily.

    – Robin Rendle, Inheritance

    What happens to our websites after we’re gone? There needs to be a way to memorialise them, make sure they’re still around in some form. is great, but it doesn’t keep the canonical URLs alive. Famously, Tim Berners-Lee wrote, ‘Cool URIs Don’t Change.’ Disappearance is the biggest change of all.

    Although I see from there:

    Pretty much the only good reason for a document to disappear from the Web is that the company which owned the domain name went out of business or can no longer afford to keep the server running.

    – Tim Berners-Lee, Cool URIs Don’t Change

    Hmm, is that a good reason? and it’s surprisingly slanted towards companies, considering the origin of the web, and TBL’s place of work.

    (And speaking of cool URIs – or domains – That is fantastic!)

    Deeply saddened to learn that Mira Furlan, who played Delenn in Babylon 5, has died. Only 65.

    Over to JMS:

    A Special Way of Being Afraid

    I only know one other of Philip Larkin’s poems; it is about parents and children. This one — ‘Aubade’ — is the best poem about death I’ve ever read.

    A sample:

    That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
    No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
    Nothing to love or link with,
    The anaesthetic from which none come round.

    Raven and... What?

    Well. Well, well well.


    I have to say (and spoilers here for “Face the Raven”, if you haven’t seen it yet): that was companion-exit that guarantees they won’t be able to bring her back.

    OK, yes, nothing is forever in Doctor Who, and there are already rumours or suggestions that Clara will be appearing in flashbacks or similar in the next two episodes. But that really felt properly final.

    And I have to say, I hope it stays that way. Nothing against Clara, or Jenna Coleman – I think she was a good companion played by a very good actor – but it just feels that they’ve done too much of bringing companions back. Sure, we all love to see them again, but really? She’s gone out with a heroic and tragic last scene. It would cheapen it to bring her back.

    Unless there was a very good reason, of course.

    It occurs to me: if the planned new spinoff programme, Class, is to be set in and around Coal Hill School, where Clara was teaching: what does her death mean for that, for the characters in it? Presumably some of them will be her students, or teachers who knew her.

    Anyway, back to Clara, and the Raven. And maybe her death wish?

    I was pleased that she mentioned Danny Pink at the end, because I’ve been thinking that it was strange that neither she nor The Doctor had mentioned him in this season. It seemed that she really hadn’t had a chance go grieve properly – or hadn’t let herself do so.

    Though we don’t know how long is supposed to have passed. It could be a year, two, since the events of “Death in Heaven”. Which doesn’t mean she’d have stopped grieving – certainly not that she’d have forgotten him. But she could have got to a place where she could carry on without always thinking of him.

    But then there’s her mood this series, her mad drive for more adventures, her carelessness – best shown in this very episode with the way she hung out of the Tardis1

    So if we want to psychoanlayse her, we can say that she has spent the last ten episodes (and maybe longer) running away from Danny’s death, from her own feelings about it; or running towards her own eventual death, her sacrifice.

    This episode for me was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I was considered quite contentious in my family when I said I thought that the current season was the best of New-Who. That led to much discussion of other past seasons, and my eventual acquiescence into the idea that it’s mainly the best because it’s the one that’s happening now. Like my friend Paul said a while back: “My favourite episode of Doctor Who? The next one.”

    But I think the truth of it is that it has been a very even series: not great highs (except maybe this very episode) – no “Blink” or “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” or “Father’s Day”. But no real lows, either (arguably the previous episode, but I still think it was worthwhile.) An entire season (so far) of solid, strong episodes, leading to a climax like this – and who knows what will come next?

    I note in passing that this reviewer thinks like me.

    Anyway. There is much more I could say – like who are the “they” who have kidnapped The Doctor? The obvious answer would be Davros and the Daleks, possibly with help from Missy. That would bookend the season nicely, and make some sense of Ashildr asking for his “Confession Dial”. But that might be too obvious.

    But that’s enough for now. Quoth the Raven, “Neverwhere’s all about hidden London, isn’t it?"

    1. I can’t decide on whether to use the old-school all caps, since it’s an acronym, or the more modern approach of making it a standard word. I wonder: what would Nasa do? Oh. Yes. ↩︎

    Tony Benn

    This blog raises a fist and a glass and a helping hand in memory of Tony Benn. A true socialist and all-round good guy.

    Some People Left for Heaven Without Warning...

    Too many people died in 2013. So many, it seems, that when Philip Chevron of The Pogues died, I didn't get round to finishing my post. Here's what I wrote in October:

    ... Except there ain't no fucking heaven, and too damn many people have left for it this year. I hate 2013.

    If there’s one slightly positive thing about Philip Chevron dying two days ago for me, it’s that I was reminded that the box set Just Look Them Straight In The Eye And Say… Pogue Mahone! exists; and also that it is now available in an inexpensive format for about £14. I ordered it on Tuesday night, and it arrived today.

    I’ve been listening to it all afternoon. It’s a combination of outtakes, demos, live tracks and radio sessions, and it’s very good.

    One thing that stands out at the moment, though, is that their music is steeped in the imagery of death. “Some people left for heaven without warning” is a line from “Sally Maclennane”, of course.