Monday, 29 August 2011


I've been thinking of late a little bit about the latest series of Torchwood, subtitled Miracle Day.

It seems to me that when Torchwood was smaller, ie made exclusively by the BBC, it was somehow bigger and far more creative, had better aspirations than this new Startz co-production incarnation. I mean eight episodes in (and only two remaining) and we've mostly had exposition and run of the mill conspiracies which to be frank almost border on villain-of-the-week standard; there's not been a compelling narrative which has built the story week on week. Torchwood used to be about the aliens and monsters that lived amongst us, in the underworld and just out of sight or the occasional glimpse of the monster living inside each of us. We've had none of that. Just an undefined plodding lecture on how despite medical advances we really need people to die or else we face population explosion and all the hardships, strains on resources that will bring.

So what of the central character, Captain Jack Harkness? He's meant to be around 2000 years old, quite possibly immortal and above all a humanoid alien with quite different sexual desires to us. To be exact Jack is meant to be omnisexual. Not a word you tend to hear outside of the world of Torchwood and Doctor Who but basically means he is attracted to men, women and aliens and will bed any and all without a moments thought. Something of a sexual predator; he will happily stop in the middle of an adventure if someone/thing catches his eye. What exactly does this have to do with Miracle Day? Well he suddenly seems to have become exclusively Homosexual and us viewers have been "treated" to some pretty graphic sex scenes and references.

And do you know what? At the conclusion of episode eight the villain behind the so called miracle is revealed as a- conveniently just invented- spurned (homosexual) lover from the 1920's. Not very original and to be honest I'm not quite sure what the openly gay writer, Russell T Davies is saying here. Don't cross a gay man because he will never forget and will set out to wreck havoc in your life for years to come..? Please!

Team Torchwood as it used to be. Note the giant Phallic structure in the background. Made by BBC Wales dontchaknow.

Now what of some of the other characters in the series? The excellent Bill Pullman has produced a compellingly creepy character in the form of convicted paedophile Oswald Danes. Whether this character is essential to the story arc and part of the conspiracy or just a diversion is at this point unclear. Having escaped execution in the first episode and having travelled on some sort of personal journey towards public adulation (within the plot) it seems likely at the close, death will catch up with him. Equally Rex Matheson, played by Mekhi Phifer seems largely redundant and only there to serve as a moral opposite to the promiscuous Captain Jack. Having turned himself into a human kebab in the opener, he too will expire I am sure before the final credits. This much was obvious from the beginning therefore I haven't been able to invest in either of these characters.

The supporting female cast members seem to have come off worse. Eve Myles returns as Gwen Cooper playing the "heart and soul" of the piece and reminding us all that Torchwood is Welsh but has very little else to do. She frets over her baby and worries about her father who has had a fatal heart attack, so I think we can guess where that is going. Finally Alexa Havins seems largely along for the ride as CIA agent Esther Drummond. Obviously meant to be the new "eyes and ears" of the viewer to ask the who, what and why questions, she's avoided not dying but as an actress should be feeling poorly served by this opportunity.

All in all I think you can gather I'm not impressed with Torchwood: Miracle Day. To be honest the only miracle here is that anyone, myself included, is still watching.

End of Rant.

Oh by the way, wasn't it great to see new Doctor Who back on our screens this past weekend? That's how to tell a compelling story.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Soap Dodgers

Thank goodness very soon the great unwashed and other undesirables will be leaving the area for another year. Yes I am referring to the Reading Music Festival, held annually on the last weekend of August. 

Many residents find the town centre at daytime to be a no-go area over this period, myself included. This year the noise at night has been particularly unbearable until quite late. I live around 5 miles (about 7 km) from the main site, yet I could hear it all very well, thank you.

Despite Reading Council's annual protestations that they will be tough on the organisers, that the costs of policing and clearing up will not be met by Tax Payers and that sound levels will be closely controlled and monitored, I can't help suspect the Council find this event far too lucrative and nothing will change.

I think next year I will go away for the weekend.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cowboys And Buses

My recent life in brief...

  • Last night I met a friend at the cinema and we saw Cowboys and Aliens. Absolutely brilliant concept and really well executed. Couldn't quite believe it had such a low certificate mind you. Ford and Craig, almost but not quite a movie dream team.
  • Love the new series of "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • College beckons again. Seems like ages since I last had my hands in some clay.
  • I've recently found someone really important.
  • I have resumed work on the loft hatch cover. I intend to be snug this winter no matter how cold it gets.
  • After 8 months out of work, just like buses, two different job offers come along in one go. For the record it's not all about the money but the prospect of having to drive 200 miles (about 320 km) each way at least twice a week sure had something to do with my choice.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Picked my first crop of dwarf runner beans this afternoon and cooked a handful for dinner. Very tasty- the best way to eat produce is straight from the garden and into the kitchen. Of course you do realise you're invited round sometime if you fancy. Just let me know when you are free...

Oh and what's happened to Torchwood: Miracle Day? Six episodes in, lots of exposition and still no sign of a monster or alien. Mind you, finger's crossed for episode 7...

16 Aug Portsmouth 1 - 0 Reading
20 Aug Reading 1 - 2 Barnsley

Yesterday was the anniversary of mum dying. Miss her.

Friday, 19 August 2011


Have discovered this week that one of the office units near work has sub-let space on the ground floor to a Costa Coffee franchise. A couple of us paid a "fact finding" (LOL) trip this lunchtime. A large Latte is only £1.75 (about $2.60 US, $2.80 AU) and taste just great.

You shouldn't drink near expensive electronic equipment- don't worry this one was empty.

They even tried to ensnare me with the promise breakfast bacon butties. Sneaky don't you think? Given I drive past this unit on my way to the office, I think this might become a regular if I'm not too careful! Mmmm.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Friday saw me take a day off from work (so soon?!?) and take LL down to Highcliffe to visit his Grandad. Unexpectedly  he got to spend some quality time with one of his step-cousins (is there such a term?), very noisy and full-on. Later we cut over to Swanage where he is currently spending some time away with his mum.


13 Aug Leicester 0 - 2 Reading

Saturday, 6 August 2011

So Soon?

The new English football season started today.

It seems like only yesterday the whistle was blown in the final match of the 2010/2011 competition. Used to be football was a winter sport along with rugby, while in summer we had cricket and athletics. How things change.

Anyway the Royals kicked off their campaign at home to Millwall and a final score of 2 a piece.