May 12th, 2021


Whoniversaries 12 May

i) births and deaths

12 May 1968: birth of Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble in New Who from 2006 to 2010.

12 May 2001: death of Norman Kay, who composed the incidental music for An Unearthly Child (1963), The Keys of Marinus (1964) and The Sensorites (1964).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

12 May 1973: broadcast of sixth episode of Planet of the Daleks. The Doctor, Jo and the Thals trap the Daleks in the ice volcano.

12 May 1996: first broadcast of Doctor Who: The Movie on a local cable channel in Edmonton, Canada. Canonical release date is 14 May so I'll do the picture then.

12 May 2007: no Doctor Who episode shown today, the series taking a break for the Eurovision Song contest between The Lazarus Experiment and 42. The winner was the Serbian entry "Molitva", which lays its cards pretty clearly on the table.

iii) date specified in canon

12 May 1999: birth of Adelaide Brooke, who we meet in The Waters of Mars (2009).

My tweets


May 2011 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

The big adventure of May 2011 - ten years ago this month! - was the triple vote in Northern Ireland, for the Assembly, the 26 local councils and the UK-wide referendum on the Alternative Vote. (Yes, the AV referendum - remember that?) It started with an extraordinary conversation with a Belfast taxi driver.

I was in the studio for four days, I think, and still recovering from my minor but painful operation which made me a bit grumpy at times. You can see me looking uncomforatble at 1:29 here:

In the Assembly elections twelve seats out of 108 changed hands, the DUP and Sinn Fein holding their vote and ganing four and two seats respectively, and the UUP and SDLP slipping with Alliance gaining.

The only other trip was a family visit to a menhir (which I went back to last November).

In the wider world, Garret Fizgerald died and Ratko Mladic was arrested. Back in 2003, Garret came to the launch of the book I had jointly written with the late great Noel Whelan, spotted that one of the tables had been left blank in the rushed editorial proces, sat down and filled it in correctly.

I read only 14 books:

Non-fiction 4 (YTD 27)
The Alexiad, by Anna Comnena
Age of Atrocity, edited by David Edwards, Pádraig Lenihan and Clodagh Tait
The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain
Who On Earth Is Tom Baker? An Autobiography

Fiction (non-SF) 2 (YTD 21)
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder

SF (non-Who) 4 (YTD 29)
Speaking in Tongues, by Ian McDonald
The Shaping of Middle-Earth, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lifecycle of Software Objects, by Ted Chiang
Feed, by Mira Grant

Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sarah Jane, K9 2 (YTD 33)
The Dimension Riders, by Daniel Blythe
Doctor Who Annual 1984

Comics 2 (YTD 8)
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers vol. 4, by Fumi Yoshinaga
Fables vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover, by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges

~4,500 pages (YTD ~33,300)
5/14 (YTD 19/118) by women (Comnena, Tait, Lahiri, Grant, Yoshinaga)
3/14 (YTD 9/118) by PoC (Lahiri, Chiang, Yoshinaga)

Standout book of the month for me was Ted Chiang's The Lifecycle of Software Objects, which you can get in the Exhalation collection, followed by Tom Baker's autobiography, which you can get here, essays on violence in early modern Ireland, which you can get here, and Ian McDonald's short story collection, which you can get here. Nothing particularly awful for a change.