December 2nd, 2020


Whoniversaries 2 December: Ice Warriors #4, Androids of Tara #2; It Takes You Away

i) births and deaths

2 December 1920: birth of Alec Wallis, who played Leading Telegraphist Bowman in The Sea Devils (Third Doctor, 1972) and Warner in Revenge of the Cybermen (Fourth Doctor, 1975).

2 December 2002: death of John Baker, who played a Time Lord in Colony in Space (Third Doctor, 1972) and Ralph the servant, one of several characters killed off early in the first episode of The Visitation (Fifth Doctor, 1982).

2 December 2014: death of Ian Fairbairn, who played Questor in The Macra Terror (Second Doctor, 1967), Mark Gregory in The Invasion (Second Doctor, 1968), both John Bromleys in Inferno (Third Doctor, 1970) and Chester in The Seeds of Doom (Fourth Doctor, 1976).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

2 December 1967: broadcast of fourth episode of The Ice Warriors. Victoria is recaptured by the Ice Warriors; the Doctor also falls into their clutches.

2 December 1978: broadcast of second episode of The Androids of Tara. The King's android double is crowned; the Doctor apparently kills Princess Strella.

2 December 2018: broadcast of It Takes You Away. In an isolated house in the Norwegian fjords, a scared girl hides alone, waiting for her father to return. In the distance, a monster comes to take people away. And for some reason, one mirror is not working as it should. The Thirteenth Doctor and her friends must battle their own desires to work out what is going on.

My tweets

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260 days of plague: running away from the Rue des Pierres

So, before I get to the serious stuff, the Brussels bubble today is full of the news that a Hungarian MEP was apprehended by police as one of 25 men fleeing a police raid on a sex party - not that gay sex parties are per se illegal in Belgium, but this was a flagrant breach of public safety regulations. In general I take a dim view of salacious coverage of what poltiicans choose to do in bed, but the MEP in question, József Szájer, is notorious as one of the authors of the Hungarian constitution, which defines marriage as purely between a man and a woman. In my view, MEPs have the same right to go to sex parties as any of us do, but those rights are suspended at the moment as for any gathering of people in pandemic times; and while everyone has the right to a private life, the hypocrisy of those who break the rules that they impose on others is always worth exposing. The organiser of the party said it was all OK as all guests had already had coronavirus. (Yes, really.) There will be more fallout - at least two of the other guests are being described as EU diplomats (which could mean anything within the bubble, really).

The target numbers for a relaxation of restrictions are 800 new infections and 75 hospital admissions per day. At current rates of decline, that's only three or four weeks away. One can expect a blip for Christmas, I suspect, but people are getting the message that this isn't going to be a big party season.

And the news of vaccines in the last couple of weeks does seem to be turning things around. POLITICO last night ran a very interesting piece mapping out how the USA will return to normalcy over the next year. Similar pieces could by now be written about every country. Prime Minister De Croo announced today that (assuming the EU approves) vaccination will start in Belgium on 5 January. As an over-50, but with no underlying health problems other than corona kilos (as my doctor tactfully put it), I don't expect to be first in the queue but I don't expect to be last either. So travel may become a thing again, perhaps even by Eastercon time.

Work continues remotely. After a slack couple of weeks, several things have come in over the last few days which kept me very busy and working late into the evening - which feels a bit weird when you've been at home all day anyway. I have another scheduled meeting in-person with a Brussels-based diplomat next week, which again I'm unreasonably excited about.

Meanwhile I did manage to see B with Anne the other day, and we took her to the Gardens of Hoegaarden, where she has a special love for the bust of the late King Boudewijn/Baudouin.