bliss twig of ignorami
Chris Morris’ Blue Jam - radio at its very best

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Blue Jam is a lunatic’s blind dream, broadcast by the BBC so that we might all eavesdrop.

Between 1997 and 1999, three series of this experimental radio comedy slipped out in the early hours on a blanket of chilled and ambient music, from Amon Tobin and Air to Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot.

At the helm was one Christopher Morris, perhaps best known for his satirical work in Brass Eye and Four Lions, pitching Blue Jam as ‘a spooky-woosy thing’, ‘a show for when you’ve reached a stage of evolution where stumbling is more advanced than walking.’ As rightfully revered as he is for his satirical television, Blue Jam is perhaps Morris’ masterpiece.

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Chris Morris
& Kurt Cobain

In Center Parcs, where we lay our scene

I spent the pre-Christmas temporal ditch in Center Parcs with my family. A rowdy bunch, I immediately vacated their collective presence and made for the swimming facilities, where I would stay for most of the week, returning to base only for food and verruca socks. On my penultimate day in the Parcs, I plucked up the courage to try one of the big slides. After climbing to the top, and settling into a rubber ring, I found myself face-to-face with some I can only describe as a very attractive human female. I went to speak, but the lifeguard lashed out with a trainered foot and booted us into action.

We descended through the tunnel-slide, each twist and turn a fibreglass reflection of destiny’s intricate scheme. The water of a future unknown slapped me hard in the face as we crashed down into the pool, laughing and shy.

Chlorine stung my eyes, perhaps even to the point of ghastly redness, but I strained my vision through the haze, taking into register all the features of the face before me. I noticed that it was framed ‘twixt drapes of deep red hair, and set upon a neck so slender, so long, I might otherwise have guessed it to be that of a shaven baby giraffe. Her neck opened out, like a porcelain oak trunk, onto the plane of shoulders, and from these hung a pair of delicate arms, each hinged efficiently at the elbow. Her hands gripped the sides of our shared vehicle, and she lifted upwards like a six foot flesh rocket. Her chest was that of a woman, though obscured by the feminine cupping of a bikini top, and her abdomen, smooth, was an untouched yoghurt surface. O, how I longed to be her corner fruit. Suspended from her midsection were two elegant legs, slim like fighter jets, curving out into a pair of beautiful, wet feet. I struggled to introduce myself.

'I'm Shelagh,' she replied, climbing out of the ring. 'Shelagh Danube.' She shot me a smile so divine, so bright, it could have been a crescent moon cut out of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. I felt as though tendrils of paradise extended from each of her gleaming teeth, wrapping around my head and mind and brain. I followed her to the edge of the pool; or, rather, I was dragged there, trapped blissfully in the tangle of her metaphysical tentacles, like a dolphin in a trawler’s net. We got to know each other over poolside fried chicken and bendy fries, but her physical presence was too powerful for me to listen to much of what she was saying.

We made love that night - proper, actual sex, like Roger Moore and Grace Jones in A View to a Kill - and fell asleep on the forest floor. We couldn’t stay in our allocated cabins, two houses alike in dignity, because of family members, and so spent the night beneath the stars and chemtrails. I think she really had an orgasm.

In the morning we made for the beating heart of Center Parcs, that core hub of activity, and signed in for falconry. We, with ten other holidaymakers, filed onto a tennis court, where a gentleman waited with a hawk on his arm. On the adjacent court, a middle-class rabble dabbled in archery.

'That's a buzzard,' I identified smugly as we approached the handler, showing off for Shelagh. He corrected me but I pretended he was lying. We twelve amateur falconers lined up against the back wall and prepared for avian interaction. First came small birds, goldcrests and tits, followed by pigeons and a goose, before the handler introduced us to an enormous golden eagle. I readied my camera as the bird was balanced on Shelagh's begloved forearm. She smiled nervously and, on my photographer's command, held the beast out in front of her.

There came suddenly a whooshing sound, tailed by a cry of horror from next-door’s archery lesson. My camera’s flash illuminated the moment of incident.

The arrow pierced the feathered bulk on Shelagh’s arm, pinning the bird to her chest and her to the back wall. Cupid had misfired, and badly. Shelagh and the bird succumbed quickly to their predicament, a huge kebab of tragedy. Her last words came to me through feathers, an audio-illegible bleat of agony. As I cradled her as best I could - she remained in a standing position against the wall, the eagle stuck at her breast like a poppy - I pondered the nature of fate: it doth giveth, it doth taketh away, and it doth shooteth badly in Center Parcs archery lessons. The culprit, a mere child, was whisked away on its father’s hulking shoulders, and I, too, fled the scene; Shelagh’s strictly religious, and religiously strict, parents, who would no doubt swiftly be telegrammed, could not find out about our relationship. I watched from behind a plastic chair as her body was slid, like a shelf from a wall bracket, out of place and carried away. The eagle was kicked into a creek.

I treasure now my only photograph of Shelagh, for it is all the tangible evidence I have of our time together. Her face is masked by a frantic eagle wing, but, thanks to my registering of her features in the pool, and free online photofit software, I’ve managed to assemble a crude likeness that’ll see me through many dark nights of the soul.

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Why does the man behind ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’ still have a job?

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I’ve seen this going around a lot. Saw one posting of it with over 5,000 notes.

Now. Steven Moffat is not a perfect writer. I, too, can identify ‘problematic’ elements to his scripts. But if you’re going to criticise the man and his work, at least do it properly. None of this amateur misquoting, context-eradicating, voice-melding lark.  

What they’ve done here is the old English essay trick. Cut up a quote, be it dialogue, narration, or from the blurb (it doesn’t matter, as long as you can make it fit your argument), and build some unrelated sentence around it. 

Take this line, for example - ‘[…] her pregnancy was a scary time in his life that left him “pretty frightened” and “disgusted.”’

It’s a remix of - ‘If you take most men aside when their wives are pregnant, most men are pretty frightened and worried and faintly disgusted by the whole experience.’

I don’t know about ‘most men’ - a phrase like this, which can be made to seem heavy and political, is one of the quirks of spoken conversation -  but I’d imagine that a lot of partners are ‘pretty frightened’ and ‘worried’ (this word, you’ll note, happily skipped by the author of the article) and ‘faintly disgusted’ by the process. Not necessarily a moral disgust, or a sexist disgust towards women. I don’t know precisely what Moffat meant by this single word, but there it is in context. 

The soundbite about asexuality is taken out of context, too, as the provided link demonstrates, as is the line about homosexuality being a ‘phase.’ This one, in fact, is taken so out of context that it never even came out of Moffat’s mouth in the first place.

his gay characters are “going through a phase” anyway’, the author of the article writes. ‘Wow, he actually said that?’ we’re led to think. The link provided, however, takes us to a line uttered by Oswin Oswald in Doctor Who. It is a line uttered by one character, and about her own experience. Some people are gay, some people are straight, some people go through ‘phases.’ That one of his characters experiences the latter does not imply that Moffat thinks all homosexuality is a phase. This article is worse than even my English essays. It doesn’t even bother distinguishing between characters in its quoting of dialogue. As long as the words fit the argument, in they go. Steven Moffat wants to ‘exterminate’ the human race, and is always commanding fans not to ‘blink.’ What a bastard! 

Taking snippets from spoken interviews is a rubbish way to denigrate somebody, too. People don’t come with a tightly worded script. Jokes, slip-ups, sarcasm, irony - they can all be taken out of context, or simply misquoted, to paint you in a certain light. A cut-up soundbite from 2004 can be meshed with character dialogue from 2013 and voila, a brand new quote to splash around. 

The correction at the end demonstrates what was going on, to be fair:

Correction: This article originally gave a minor attribution to Moffat for a plot point that occurred slightly before his tenure as showrunner on Doctor Who.

A bit too excited scrabbling for Moffat hate, I suppose (and even if that’s not what was going on, I can quote it out of context and pretend, because that’s how judgement of character works round ‘ere)

I’ve read a lot of well-written criticism regarding Moffat’s work, and a lot of well-written stuff about the man himself. These varieties of criticism are not what I’m objecting to. But this article, a feeble, context-deleting smear, meshes the two together in a way unworthy of your time.

London’s ‘Faked Death Brooding Hero' building.

London’s ‘Faked Death Brooding Hero' building.

Doctor Who: a defence of confused canon

John Hurt, baffled by the continuity of Doctor Who.

John Hurt, baffled by the continuity of Doctor Who.

Unless you’ve been living with the Rock (who hates watching science fiction; ‘not in my name,’ he says), you’ll have seen the fiftieth anniversary special of Doctor Who last night.

Some people are angry that Moffat has ‘rewritten’ series 1-7. ‘He’s rewritten the canon!’ they cry. But I, brave heart Thomas, put forward that he hasn’t.

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Up and Down in Paris - a diary.

The Eiffel Tower was being dismantled for its yearly lamination. The tight plastic wrap is applied every September to prevent would-be climbers from getting a grip, and to facilitate the sliding-down of children from the play area at the top.’

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It’s really sad that the royal baby has been struck by lightning.

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Dab hand at writing? Then email contact [at] breadandcrows [dot] com with a bit about yourself and some examples of your work. 

Or just send me an inbox thing, if you’d rather. In fact, do that anyway. I’ve not had any messages for ages. 

Daniel Craig revealed as next Alan Partridge

It has been announced that this year’s Alan Partridge film, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, will be Steve Coogan’s final appearance as the character. 

When Partridge returns in Casino Royalan, a second film slated for release in 2015, he will be played by Daniel Craig.

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The portrayal of Alan Partridge by the incumbent Steve Coogan began in 1991, appearing as a hapless sports reporter in radio comedy series On the Hour.

He continued in this vein onscreen with The Day Today in 1994, with Austalian actor George Lazenby taking over for a short-lived stint as the character in the penultimate episode.

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splapp-me-do:

This fine pair of hardhatted crows are using their steel-tipped beaks to drill deep into the core of the internet. They’re gathering materials for the all-new Bread&Crows website. Godspeed, hardhatted crows.http://www.breadandcrows.com/

Want to write for it? Take a look at the stuff we’ve written before and email contact [at] breadandcrows [dot] com with a little bit about yourself and some examples of your work.

splapp-me-do:

This fine pair of hardhatted crows are using their steel-tipped beaks to drill deep into the core of the internet. They’re gathering materials for the all-new Bread&Crows website.

Godspeed, hardhatted crows.

http://www.breadandcrows.com/

Want to write for it? Take a look at the stuff we’ve written before and email contact [at] breadandcrows [dot] com with a little bit about yourself and some examples of your work.