Good Times! #5 DWASocial 5 and Fan Aid 1985

DWASocial 5 (originally published in The MLG Megazine 1985. Extra material 2016)
One month after joining the DWAS exec commitee along came DWASocial 5, an event on a much larger scale than usual, due to the titanic efforts of Gordon Roxburgh, who was looking after most things while Paul Zeus gets to grips with the forthcoming three day summer PanoptiCon. Apart from discovering that a lot of dashing about is required, I also found out something which I may not have otherwise, while stuck in my usual clique, which was the warmth and friendliness of the majority of members within the society who are really a very interesting bunch often contemptuously dismissed as plebs(unfairly). Hopefully I can help change that attitude amongst some of the bigger names in the society. 


Don't Shoot- He's British Part 4

Apprehensions of national identity and the Doctor by Matthew Kilburn

Doctor Who survived its end of history moment. The last three years of its first run saw a refocusing on the postwar Britain of paternalist, class-led social democracy not as the present or near future, but as the past just gone. The pastiche of Paradise Towers is drawn from the 1970s with its acknowledgements of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise and Monty Python’s Flying Circus’s architect sketch, but collides with a design aesthetic which doesn’t know how to navigate the fashions of the 1980s let alone reconcile them with the script, and consequently any statement on society which Paradise Towers makes is stifled. The first story to explicitly explore this new hinterland of the newly-lost present with some success is Delta and the Bannermen


Pyramids of Mars - the prequel!

It is a quiet Tuesday in the Pyramid of Mars. Sutekh is asleep snoring loudly under his helmet when the door slides open and a rather stout cleaner sporting gingham overalls and with her hair in a tight bun enters. She is carrying a mop and bucket which she places with a clang on the floor, splashing soapy water in the vicinity. She roughly picks up the mop and starts mopping.

Sutekh stirs on his throne.

“Scarman?” he intones in a sonorous voice.

The cleaner carries on her work but replies, “Oh ‘ello love. Sorry to disturb.”

“Where is Scarman?” demands Sutekh.

“Oh I dunno about that, luv. I don’t normally do this room but Marj is off to the Azores this week so I’m filling in. I won’t be two tics then you can get back to your forty winks.”

“I am Sutekh the Destroyer.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Ethel the cleaner.”


Good Times! #4 The Anniversary Party 1983 & Interface 3 1984

The Doctor Who Anniversary Party (review published in `Shada` 1984) 
Who would have thought that when Doctor Who began all those years ago in grainy monochrome as a children's show that, some twenty years later it would have provided the impetus for an event like the Anniversary Party, held at the Grand Hotel Birmingham on September 3/4 1983. It's one of the greatest achievements of television that it has brought together as many people from different areas of the country who might not have otherwise crossed paths and if I'm getting unusually philosophical its probably because I'm still recovering from the sheer gut wrenching horror of the Demon Driver, Steve Mercer, speeding out of Brum at the weekend's conclusion as if we were being chased by a dozen homing missiles; hapless onlookers diving for cover. Not that I exaggerate, though if I told the truth about some of the things which went on that weekend, you wouldn't believe a word. So here goes with the (relatively) censored version.


Don't Shoot- He's British Part 3

Apprehensions of national identity and the Doctor by Matthew Kilburn

Specific models of Britishness were important to a series which was beginning to be marketed more consciously and more aggressively towards stations in the United States. In 1978 Tom Baker was pictured at the head of a queue of monsters in front of the US visa applications office in Grosvenor Square, London. The launch of Doctor Who Weekly by Marvel UK in 1979 was presented as the meeting of a distinctively British hero, cerebral and eccentric, with the marketing values of the costumed American superhero. This was in part a misrepresentation, given how far Dez Skinn’s Marvel UK sought to assimilate American characters and storytelling to British comic traditions, and how the Doctor’s British identity and perceived eccentricity depended upon subtler layering than reporting suggested. However, the tone of the campaign may have influenced the fashioning of the Doctor’s identity in the ensuing decade.


Good Times! #3 PanoptiCon 5 and DWASocial 3 (1982)

PanioptiCon 5  (Originally published in `Shada` 1982)

What a hotel Birmingham's Grand is! Full of huge oak doors, ornate chandeliers, detailed carvings, rich deep carpets and long rather disconcerting mirrors. Totally different from the usual semi-modern University set ups of old, and no doubt light years away from that Battesea Church Hall where the first Convention was held in '77.  


Don't Shoot - He's British! Part Two

Apprehensions of national identity and the Doctor by Matthew Kilburn

It’s in the third Doctor’s period that the programme makes its most deliberate critical allusion to British imperial history. In The Mutants, the Doctor’s mission to Solos and his conduct represents one strand of British establishment thinking, the civilized British administrator as liberal interventionist. The Marshal and his regime embody the grubby reality of exploitation and subjugation. The Doctor’s open-mindedness and persistence leads him to play his part with Sondergaard and crucially the Solonians in the restoration of an all-but-obliterated Solonian culture and self-knowledge. One thinks of British anthropologists and ethnologists reaching in the late imperial and immediate post-imperial phase to demonstrate appreciation of the cultures which had previously been officially dismissed.


Good Times! #2 DWASocial 2 (1981) & Interface 2 (1982)

Over 21 years from 1981 to 2002 I attended dozens of Doctor Who conventions and events reviewing many of them at the time for various print fanzines. In this series of posts I’m reproducing some of those reviews which hopefully capture the spirit and flavour of what conventions and also smaller events were like. They remain largely unedited except for anything completely embarrassing! These are very much personal opinions of the events, what I saw and the people I shared them with.
(Originally published in 1982 in `Frontier Worlds`)
In late November, Edinburgh played host to the second social of 1981, and those who attended enjoyed themselves a great deal. Set in the impressive structures of the University, the formal side of things kicked off with a showing of `Beyond the Sun`. a story which perhaps lacked pace but certainly fell in no way short on drama. It was an opportunity that gave the cast a chance to stretch out a bit (yes, they all got to lie on the floor) and a tense atmosphere was quickly attained by the increasing tension between just the main four characters. Some scenes were literally gripping - such as Susan running riot with a pair of scissors, and Ian trying to throttle the Doctor, who himself has a blazing row with Barbara. As the story went on, there was a gradual change from confusion to fear and finally hope. When their problems were at last over, the relief flooded over to the audience such had been the conviction of the acting and script. Definitely an adult story, though, which probably lost the younger audience at the time.