(Week 36: September 1 – 7)
Terrace Dicks died this week, and considering the indirect, and yet rather huge influence he had on me, it seemed appropriate to write a few words about him.
Back in the 1970s, Dicks along with fellow Doctor Who writer Malcolm Hulke, wrote a book called The Making Of Doctor Who. I discovered this in my primary school library and read it, developing an immediate fascination with this show that had already seen the lead character change four times, that had daleks and cybermen, that could go anywhere in space and time; basically I got hooked on the mythology right away.
With no cable channels, no internet, and Doctor Who repeats being virtually non-existent, my only way of further exploring the show was through the series of novelisations, many of which were written by Terrance Dicks.
Dicks was never a writer to challenge with his prose style, but he is rightfully credited for the role he played in British literacy. As a nine-year-old I used to read constantly, and much of that was Doctor Who books. Dicks had an easy writing style that brought stories to life without ever getting in the way or drawing attention to itself. He gets criticism for the simplicity and brevity of his writing (including from me at various points in the past), but in recent years there’s been a reappraisal of his talents, his contribution to Doctor Who, and the broader role he has played in keeping the show alive and aiding development of literacy. I’m glad he stayed around long enough to hear some of that.
This week, the Elderbeast and I finished watching The Godfather. It remains a classic, but a long and rambling one, with a narrative that often assumes the audience has preternatural knowledge of the proceedings. I’ve seen it many times over the years (albeit not for some decades) and this is the first viewing where I can confidently say I followed everything. I can’t, however, say with great confidence that I learned anything about storytelling from this viewing; I guess this movie is a classic example of how your audience will forgive you taking them on a long journey, so long as you have vision, and strong characters, and there’s a worthwhile story to be told along that journey.
Friday’s horror movie continued our exploration of the Friday The 13th films with Friday The 13th Part 2. This is a pretty worthy sequel, though the extended recap of the first movie combined with the otherwise unconnected opening scene to despatch the remaining survivor makes for an odd start. The Elderbeast found Jason, with his sack-head, dungarees and deep fear of chainsaws, particularly amusing in this film which also added to our enjoyment.
This week I listened to an awesome Audible show called It Burns. I’m not sure if it’s a podcast or a series, but it was basically a five-part documentary exploring the world of super hot chilies. I grabbed it because I’m mildly intrigued by super-hot chilies, but the show ended up being as much about the psychology of eating disorders as it was about the surprisingly competitive and vicious world of child-growing. In short, it was a story that started by focusing on one tiny (literally) thing, but ended up revealing a whole world of fascination.
Unfortunately, I think Audible is the only place that this show is available, but I highly recommended it if you’re able to give it a listen.