December 22nd, 2010

politics

Delicious LiveJournal Links for 12-22-2010

orac

Most commented posts of the last year

The 32 posts on this journal since my last tally which got more than 15 comments (I've lowered the bar - last time, 42 posts had more than 20 comments, this time it was only 14, which no doubt reflects the general migration to Twitter and Facebook and perhaps my own less obsessive blogging this year). Top 17 in bold, top 8 and top 4 in larger fonts.

Collapse )

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments.
pointless, repression

This Sceptred Isle - Empire

In the gaps between Doctor Who audios for the last couple of months, I've been listening to "This Sceptred Isle - Empire", a series of 90 short radio programmes about the history of the British Empire, narrated by Juliet Stevenson with additional voice work by Christopher Ecclestone, Anna Massey, Jack Davenport, and others, a sequel to the earlier This Sceptred Isle which dealt with the history of Britain in the same way.

I was a bit underwhelmed, to be honest. I suspect that the subject is too big to treat in this way; I had picked it up in the first place to listen to the bits about Ireland, which for the earlier period were fairly decent, but rather tailed off towards the end (Irish history apparently stopped in 1916), and the other ex-colonies I've dealt with professionally (Cyprus, Somaliland) were barely mentioned. The focus of the narrative was generally, though not always, on the effect that the colonies and colonised had on the British rather than the other way round. I was particularly frustrated by the sections about Warren Hastings, which lionised him as an innocent hero without making it terribly clear why he was anything more than a venal administrator set up by rivals in office politics who played hardball. Macaulay was much clearer (if more long-winded), but I missed really any Indian account of whether Hastings was any good.

There are also serious limitations to the straight narrative-with-actors style. Probably if I'd been listening to it at a rate of one instalment every day or so, rather than in bursts of several at a time, it might not have irritated me as much. But I've now started the more recent and excellent History Of The World In 100 Objects, and I'm stunned by how dull the format of Scepterd Isle is, in comparison. It would hardly have killed the producers to include, like, music, or even original sound tracks in the later period when they become available.

So, all in all, not really recommended listening.
tardis

The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories

This month's main sequence Big Finish release, a set of four Fifth Doctor / Nyssa single-episode stories, each of which is independent (the last has very vague links to the first). They are all basically good single-shot tales, the second ("The Entropy Composition" by Rick Briggs) having been pulled from hundreds of submissions to an open request frm Big Finish;' the standout is certainly the fourth, "Special Features" by John Dorney, which is set in a recording booth where the Doctor and other former cast members are recording a DVD commentary for a 1970s horror film, which will certainly appeal to those of us who love the DVD commentary tracks for, oh, any other 1970s shows.