November 14th, 2020


Whoniversaries 14 November: Paul McGann, Planet of Giants #3, Night of the Doctor, Sleep No More

i) births and deaths

14 November 1959: birth of Paul McGann, who played the Eighth Doctor in Doctor Who - The Movie (1996) and The Night of the Doctor (2013) - see below.

ii) broadcast anniversaries

14 November 1964: broadcast of "Crisis", third episode of the story we now call Planet of Giants. Barbara is poisoned; the Doctor starts a fire to draw attention to what is going on; and all ends well.

14 November 2013: release of The Night of the Doctor. Took me by surprise!

14 November 2015: broadcast of Sleep No More. The Le Verrier space station fell silent only a day ago. No-one really knows what happened. However, some footage of the attempted rescue mission was found. The station appears empty, except for two nosy time travellers: the Doctor and Clara.

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gerald ford

Jean-Michel Folon at Villers Abbey

A couple of months ago, Anne and I went to the Fondation Folon in La Hulpe to see the art of Jean-Michel Folon on display. Like all other indoor cultural attractions, the Fondation is closed at the moment; but if you're in central Belgium and you feel like sampling his work, you can see a number of his sculptures on display at Villers Abbey, no reservation necessary, last admission at 4pm, get there before 21 February.

The biggest of the installations is the Alley of Thoughts, eight sculptures from the late 1990s, set up in the nave of the ruined Abbey church.

In the south transept you'll find Folon's Everyman as a guardian angel.

In the gardens he is carrying fish.

There are real fish too.

Like all of us, he's ready for a journey.

But what's in his case? The journey itself?

Or the destination? (Note the birds flying out of the suitcase towards me.)

This was Folon's final sculpture.

Even without Folon, the abbey is tremendously atmospheric.

It's only 45 minutes by car from Brussels, and for a bonus you can take a short detour to the Pierre-Qui-Tourne at Court-Saint-Étienne. Well worth a trip in these darker times.