Archive for July, 2009

Hello Again!

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Hello Internet!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’m sure you haven’t missed me at all, but I’ve been rather busy. Here are the things that I didn’t blog about over the past while.

  • Being a puppeteer.
    Our church was looking for a bit of gimmick for our children’s club and we hit on the idea of using puppets. So Christine and I duly spent over a week putting together scripts for nightly sketches, plus a big sketch for use in the local schools, and a final sketch for church on Sunday. It was hard work! But in the week before the club, we did our puppet show in front of over a thousand children, as we were able to get into all of the Primary schools in Craigavon, where we got a great reception. We then had a very successful kids club, and one of the most unusual church services we’ve ever had.
  • Having a sore finger.
    I know it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I hurt my finger playing basketball over a week and a half ago at our teenager’s club, and it’s still a bit stiff and sore. I always said no good would come of playing sports.
  • The changing mobile phone market.
    It’s offical – I can’t have an iphone. Because my contract has several months to run, O2 have no intention of letting me upgrade my phone. And they told my brother in law the same thing when he tried to blag an upgrade. Changed times in the mobile phone market, when they used to be very keen to give you new toys as long as you spent more money with them. Oh well. I’ll just have to be patient.
  • Andrew’s wedding.
    My old school-friend Andrew got married a few weeks ago. It was a great day, and the most unusual wedding I’ve ever been to – very customised. But what was most strange was that no-one mentioned his tendency to break things (for which he was truly legendary during his school and university days). I guess he got better as he got older.

Torchwood – Children of Earth

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

The past week saw the return of Torchwood, for a special 5 day run on BBC1. Torchwood is one of those things that I quite enjoy, but I have to admit that I didn’t have very high hopes for this. I was wrong. It was good tv.
Since folks may not have caught up with it yet, I’m going to avoid any significant spoilers, but here were the highlights for me:

  • It retained its sense of humour. Admittedly, less so as the week went on, but there were still some good funny moments that were in keeping with the show.
  • The scenes with the cabinet, where they tried to work out what to do about the alien’s demands. I know that public opinion of our politicions is at an all-time low, but I think it was a fair reflection of what could happen in such an impossible situation.
  • It retained it’s Britishness. Right from the start, the look of the camerawork said BBC drama. With Torchwood being so successful in the US, it was possible that they might have watered down some of the local feel, but it was still there, with great lines like “Otherwise, what use are league tables?”
  • The big reveal of why the aliens wanted the children was really good. Really chilling. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, it did. That explanation put other things into context too, like why there were no sleek and gleaming alien battleships, for instance.
  • And a nice role for Nicholas Briggs, who normally voices the Daleks, and here managed to get an on-screen role, playing an equally nasty piece of work in the cabinet.

The other thing that interests me is that, although I don’t think that it looked cheap in any way, it did not go over the top with the special effects. The children were eery, but did not require any special effects, just acting. Likewise the 456 themselves, who by appearing in clouds of chemical mist never needed to be done with sophisticated prosthetics. I can’t help thinking that this is a return to traditional values in a way, and showing that good stuff can be done with creativity and imagination, rather than lots of money and computers.

Because of how things ended up, I don’t think that Torchwood will be back after this. And yet its huge success in America makes it almost certain that the BBC would want to keep it going for as long as possible. So it will be interesting to see what happens next on that front.

But if it is the end, I think it had a great finish – a drama that raised moral questions about prices that are and are not worth paying for peace. And in a one-liner by the 456, it asked an even better question – why we would fight so hard for one set of children, while another group of children die every day, in the real world.