Ho ho ho here I am in chi chi chic Coal Yard London, so hipsterly couture you need fingerless hands in your fingerless mittens to fit in. It is so shallowly pointlessly hard-stoop erstatz inspired it gently appalls. My father owns the sheep on a thousand hills and as regards the rest, well I lived in real designer land for 30 years, so for me their fabulous Tomorrowland is so passé. This place is gentrified to the point of desertification. The Kingdom of Heaven on the other hand, is the real thing, whereas this place is just the sad worldly imitation.
So week 3 of Jodie Whittaker’s Dr Who. Is it political correctness to do a Rosa Parks story? Well sure it can be seen that way, but do we have a powerful moving story and are we doing the classic time travel be careful about changing history trope? Well yes we are and Dr Who is supposed to do the time travel classic history jeopardy stories occasionally because doh, she’s a time traveller and Dr Who does them. It’s an obligation in the classic Whoniverse. So what we have is classic absolutely top class Dr Who. I require excellent entertainment that excites and interests and even moves me to some thoughtfulness, all to be in perfect accord with long held fan expectations of Whoniversal productions. Wow I got it! Political correctness? That might just have been the butterfly wing but these writers steered that perturbation to whip up a perfect hurricane of totally classic Dr Who. I am so way past caring about some of the underlying motives now to the Beeb’s new Who. All I care is it’s delivering utterly brilliant classic Dr Whi better than we have had for so so long. Thank you BBC for bringing me some entertainment that both satisfies us ancient only guys that have been watching since episode 001 and satisfies mostly our contemporary world. I would love to see disabled folk in there too. Could we have someone in a wheelchair or with a learning disability or a sensory impairment have adventures too? C’mon, BBC you managed it brilliantly in Silent Witness. Let’s get fully representstive here and make it even more fun so even more people can identify and feel they have a stake in the fantasy. Wow did I just catch myself saying the political correctness hasn’t yet gone far enough?
You know, when opening the doors brings in so much good stuff, you just can’t help wanting to open it even further. It’s quite infectious really. That’s what happens when something works. In the end we judge by results and this Who simply is a stunningly good show. If the PC foundation is what it was built on, what ho, it works so well dramatically it has not just saved Who, it really has regenerated it for all generations. Loved episode 3. Total classic.
So we have now seen week 2 of Jodie Whittaker’s Dr Who. There is a sense in which week 2 is even more important than week 1. We expect week 1 to be great, but week 2 tells you a lot about how the series might feel going forward, and whether it will sustain.
My only qualification as a Dr Who critic is that I am a life-long fan. I watched episode one when it aired, as a kid. IMHO the new Doctor is excellent. Her performance in episode 2 was great. It is noticeable that she has excellent support from Bradley Walsh. Would it work quite as well without him? – hmm, honestly maybe not quite. This production feels just a bit more of a team effort. There’s not quite such a focus on the Doctor’s performance alone. Is that the beeb playing it safe? Is it the new writing? Whatever, it’s just fine. Having strong characters around the Doctor is welcome and it works well.
Next week we have Rosa Parks. This, you could be forgiven for thinking is a PC motivated inclusion, but perhaps surprisingly, I would disagree with you if you thought that. Remember Rosa figured in American history and the BBC needs to sell this series in the American market. Rosa Parks is an icon to many who do know her story, and this is an interesting part of history, worth telling and not very well-known to a large part of the British audience. The show is avoiding the same-old same-old routine cameo historical figures and going with something a bit different, interesting, powerful, true, and for many new.
So what about the actual political correctness. There is absolutely no doubt that for whatever reason, the BBC occasionally test us up to the overdose limit. I don’t mean the actors or the subjects or the plots – the whole balance in Dr Who now seems quite good, although I don’t see many disabled people. It’s the obvious almost non sequiteur injection into the dialogue. One “throwaway” line felt so shoe-horned in. A clunky, clumsy, motivated line. Purhleease! Talking about disability – did I see a hidden hearing aid in the Doctor’s ear or is that one of those things they wear to get directions when acting?
As to the second show itself – there were several moments that felt absolutely classic Who. Bradley Walsh is giving brilliant performances that really gel together the rest of the cast. The EMP blast was an FX whammy – lovely. The scene of the Doctor walking across the hill toward her TARDIS felt very classic. The kind of moments you watch Who for. Niggles about clunky shoe-horning aside, the show so far is proper Who and very good to watch.
So let’s run that again..
“The scene of the Doctor walking across the hill toward her TARDIS…”
Do you know how natural writing “her” that felt? It didn’t feel even a tiny bit weird. Saying “her” for Dr Who feels normal, for a nearly 60 year-old guy that only ever saw male Who’s after just two episodes. Talk about nailed it! Jodie Whittaker is well on the way to being not just a Dr Who (as we know there were several that were awful, and thankfully barely memorable) but to being a CLASSIC Dr Who, up there with Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, Baker (Tom), and Tennant.
There was a nice display in our local bookshop window. Wow I didn’t know they made Jodie dolls already. Cool. I mean that is actually the coolest doll ever. Like are boys gonna want one for Xmas, like more than an Action Man? Excellent! Like I am a guy that never wanted a female doll (no adult jokes please) but I would have wanted one of these when I was a kid. Tough girls are cool – think Ripley in Alien.
So how did the new Dr do? Action-packed, nice lovable characters, some real sad bits, some humour, some good references to earlier Doctors. Great monsters. Really everything you could ask for. Of course a show can have everything and yet lack something, but this one lacked nothing. Dr Who was my joint top show (alongside Thunderbirds) as a kid ever since it started in the 60’s. I watched episode 1, when it aired, so I know my Who’s and I am a grumpy old critical bloke.
Jodie is a great Doctor Who. I totally approve of the gender change, it was indeed about time, The old formula had got so tired if it didn’t change the show was going to die forever. It really needed a change like this to revitalise the show. Jodi and the new writing has regenerated this show totally. In fact I think she really has saved it. And its no small things that now little girls can enjoy what I enjoyed as a kid, and that’s about time too. No really, we should celebrate this kind of equality – sharing the fun and excitement for girls as well as boys.
Well done BBC for taking Dr Who to the next level. Really nice adventure TV for all ages and genders that absolutely keeps true to what we original old fans really love. Brilliant and inspired. Thank you for saving Dr Who for even more people now to enjoy. Yay!
Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.
It would be fair to say, a lot of philosophers, theologists, linguists, psychologists, neurologists and other accidental or deliberate ontologists have expended a great deal of time, thought, ink and small patches of electromagnetic difference on this topic.
The current secular physiological stand is roughly that a complex patternated network of neurons with differentiated potential transmission capabilities along the pathways within it, gradually forms in response to stimuli and that this is a knowledge representation of the world, in which the constant activity eventually also forms a representation of the self as part of this world-model. The relating of the self-portion of the model to the rest of the world-model, constantly necessitated through the interactive experience of agency (tocsin – reticulating actions in babies*) as part of this learning of the self), causes the emergent phenomenon we call consious experience.
This is of course a wholly self-referential system. As such it gives me some cause to question whether such a flying by pulling on ones bootlaces model is really sufficient to explain consciousness. Is it rather that the current theory just cobbles together the few bits of information it has into a partial theory that scientists hope is right and hope to be able to make more robust as more evidence, hopefully supporting it, comes along. Well of course it is, as that is what all scientific theories do. However, as such incomplete things, all scientific theories also have to suffer the slings and arrows of logical objections picking them apart, offering alternative explanations, and demanding a re-think. I present my slings, arrows and demand.
The self-referential emergence (I’ll shorten that to SRE) theory of consciousness does not really drill down into that nub of the question we all really want to get at: Who or what is it that experiences being? SRE just says, in effect, “It is me that experiences being me.” This kind of answer does not satisfy, me.
Generally wholly self-referential answers are deprecated in science, logic and philosophy. The whole thrust of these branches of enquiry is to constantly seek what the next underpinning layer is, with perhaps some vague vain hope that eventually there will be some irrefutably logical underlying truth. The secular scientists of today hope of course that this will not turn out to be some supreme deity forever beyond their understanding. That would bring a whole heap of consequences that society after thousands of years has only just managed to stop worrying about.
The problem is that firstly there is unlikley to be any end to the secular process of scientific burrowing because the answer would need to be sustained by logic and the question is then: “But what sustains logic?”
Are we to arrive at yet another self-referential answer – logic sustains logic? This would seem very unsatisfactory. Despite many attempts to burrow to the bottom, nothing more fundamental has yet been obtained.
We are given clues however. The problem is these clues point to the theistic explanation. One such clue is the etymology of the word we use “logic.” This greek word means “that which is spoken; the word.”
We are burrowing down to look for the bedrock, the underlying truth, the progenitor of being, the foundation upon which logic itself rests.
Let me tell you, anyone that is willing to hear to the (initially) difficult (in terms of personal and social consequences), THIS truth. We have arrived at the bedrock!
It is there written for all to see. Logic (the word) you seek. The spark of being that experiences consciousness you seek. The basic original progenitor you seek. Your answer was already written with absolute clarity by the man who was given all the answers 2000 years ago. He was told to tell them to us. His name was John and he tells you what he was told to tell you, then he tells you who he is, that he is just an ordinary man given a mission to hear the truth and pass it on, then he explains why people will find it hard to believe him. He does not say anything in this immediate answer part, about the consequences of you knowing this truth (that information comes later), he simply answers these ultimate existential queries that we all harbour.
John 1 King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
You can stop digging only if you are prepared to yield that there is a God, that God underpins everything, including space and time so you cannot ask what was before God or where did God come from. The answer is not however self-referential for us, as it refers us and our world to something beyond. It refers us to God. God may seem self-referential to God, but we cannot apply logic to God as God is logic.
If you seek some Biblical confirmation – you will find that important things are usually stated in the Bible more than once – I can refer you to:
Colossians 1:17 King James Version (KJV)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
There are numerous cross-references of course:
John 8:58 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Proverbs 8:22,23 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old…
Isaiah 43:11-13 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior…
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, …
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Revelation 1:8,11,17 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, …
Psalm 75:3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up …
John 5:17,18 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work…
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also …
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …
Finally, why am I spending my time telling you this? Because all my nearly 60 years I have enjoyed having an enquiring mind. “Why, why, why?” has been my way of thinking. Finally God came into my life and supplied answers. Incredible answers. Answers to questions that everybody asks. Answers that can be very hard to beleive, but there they are anyway. Finding answers is joyful and it is my joy to share them. In Mathew 7:7 you find the famous “Seek and ye shall find” passage. Matthew actually tells you that if you seek answers from God, He will give you them. John actually told you the answers already because God knew you would ask those questions. There of course many other questions people have, some very philosophical, some personal, some socio-political, some moral and ethical, and some very scientific. Pretty-much the answers to these are actually already in the Bible, and usually in shockingly more detail than you might suppose.
Today, instead of being in Sunday morning church (usually I am but not today), I have instead read some Bible and chosen to pass on some information, in the hope it might bring joy, enlightenment and blessing into your life. I cannot think of a better thing to do with that freely given by God than to share it.
Enjoy Being as God intended.
God Bless You. Amen.
* The presence of repetitive movements, described as the repetition of the same movement multiple times, is considered a necessary step for the development of voluntary purposeful movements and seems to have an adaptive role during limited temporal windows of psychomotor development.
(Thelen E. (1979). Rhythmical stereotypies in normal human infants.
Anim. Behav. 27 699–715. 10.1016/0003-3472(79)90006-X [PubMed] [Cross Ref])
Here is another “episode” of Disappearing Cambridge, again in Mill Road – place of my birth. In a private courtyard at the end of the road near the centre of town, just about opposite the swimming pool, there were two mosaics. Sadly one is almost completely worn away and the other is in a very poor state. Given the condition of this art I think it will not be there much longer. They were commissioned from a world-renowned specialist mosaic artist in 2004. I can find no photograph of them in original condition online. Here they are as of now, sadly. Based on the one still visible, I think they had real class.
Isleham Baptist (High Street Church) new Church building “The Ark” is approaching second fix stage – interior ironmongery, lights, switches, although there is still some panelling/ dry-lining/ partitioning to do.
Started around 2009 on donated land, built in English vernacular wooden-frame style (Tudor!) wholly hand-made from New Forest hand-picked individually felled 150-200 year old Oak trees, without officially any architect, all designed by volunteer master carpenters. Everything is hand made bespoke. Basically only some sanitary-ware and second fixings are proprietary.
It is about three to four stories high with double and treble hammer-beam almost gothic roofing. It is HUGE. The car park is gigantic. There are many large classrooms (enough that it could be school), 2 huge refrectories (eating rooms) and a full size commercial kitchen. There is of course a baptismal pool. There is room after stunning room, balconies, a courtyard, cloisters and minstrel galleries. All wired CAT6 for ITC. Check out the herringbone brickwork. This is Hampton Court (Royal Palace) level work, just a half-century later!
The price is so low due to donations and volunteer work that my Quantity Surveyor friends cannot believe it is so far only £3m. This is about as incredible as the mosque I am working on and about the same size, but around order of magnitude less cost. Wow!
Enjoy a few pictures. Remember all is hand-made bespoke.
All photography in this article is my own Copyright©2018 kevintangodance not to be used without my prior permission.
Being a global citizen is simply a matter of being British. To succeed in the world, act British. Discuss.
I am British (you guessed already), quite specifically born 1959 English in Cambridge, UK. That has shaped a lot of my outlook. Post-war (WW2) post-Empire post-Cold-War and brought up with and amidst USAF people stationed in the UK at the time of the moon-landings. Add in 44 years of UK EU membership and travelling Europe extensively in my twenties. Those factors and an enquiring mind have given me a somewhat international outlook.
Here we used to look to the USA for the wow factor. Europe was a bit exotic too. We Brits felt a sense of great history and entitlement, technological, cultural and military superiority. Now we look to China for wow factor and wonder what our trade, prosperity, ease of travel and future will be. Yet, I feel my country will ultimately benefit from the forthcoming Brexit shock to make it strive again to be the exciting prosperous place it has shown in the past it can be.
Mine is the country that did the industrial revolution, invented the internet, jet engine, railways, maglev trains and phones, designed the mallard, spitfire, e-type, harrier, mini, miniskirt and half of Concorde and the channel tunnel, as well as giving the world Shakespeare, the best translation of the Bible into English (partly by Shakespeare) and at least half of pop music. I want us to put the Great back into Great Britain so it not just the geographic descriptor for these islands.
This is I feel, necessarily about us as individuals. I am too small to steer history in any meaningful way whatsoever and nor do I seek to, but I can still be a butterfly wing beating out fractal consequences, cheerleading and hoping for a nascent hurricane. I define myself as and enjoy being a global citizen and urge my fellow Brits to delight in being multicultural, outward-looking and to play and shine on the stage that is the world.
I watch La Tour, support the Baltimore Orioles, listen William Gibson audiobooks, wear a Mondaine Swiss watch (or “for best” my 1942 limited edition Juvenia), cheer England in the world cup, suck a Ricola, enjoy a McDonalds breakfast (still miss the old Big Breakfast), drive a (unique special edition – one-only OEM) Smart car, listen to (South African) Kaya FM, work for a global construction consultancy headquartered in North America with internationally known architects, read Monocle, Flipboard and Cool Hunting, watch Paul Begley, New China TV, SerpentZA and Naomi Sexy Cyborg, on my many different Apple, Windows and Android devices of course. I sponsor two children in Kenya and enjoy Scandinavian, French and German TV crime dramas. I dance Tango and listen to Jazz and Classical from everywhere. I eat British, Indian, Chinese, North-African, Middle-Eastern, American, Thai, Polynesian, Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Italian food. I like root beer, British, green Sencha and Macha, Moroccan mint and lemon tea, coffee, beers, lagers, really fine French wines (Margaux), the very best Scottish single malt whiskies, Swedish Vodka and that French café speciality La Bomba (Cognac in hot chocolate). I snack on corn chips, pretzel sticks, and peanut puffs. I love merguez, belly pork, falafel and Singapore fried rice. For chocolate probably Rittersport tops it. I am a born-again Christian helping construct a mosque designed by a Jew, sponsored by Turks, fabricated and assembled by Swiss, Irish and Greek people.
Almost everything in my homeland’s culture including food, language and genetics result from us invading others or others invading (or trying to invade) us – mutual assimilation. We are perfect mongrels on a just-enough-isolated island that has made us fiercely independent seafarers, traders, invaders, exploiters, explorers, colonisers and conquerors. Romans, Saxons, Angles, Vikings, Normans, the Crusades, the Empire, the Napoleonic, two World Wars and numerous other wars have made us rich, strong and diverse. Our history is certainly not all noble but the result is incontrovertible. To me Jamaican is a very British accent, curry is a typical British dish, American English is just an old Elizabethan accent, the best bridge in France was designed by one of my countrymen and so were all those lovely Apple computers. Brits are the Borg – we assimilate everything. If we invade you when we eventually leave we take all you had that was good and leave you our language and culture which is also quite good, if you invade us we assimilate your language and culture and eventually you simply become us.
It is however not now simply about looking back, sitting on laurels and past glories – those things past are just examples of what we are capable of time and again at every point in our history, I believe because the psychosocial identity we share as a nation. Right now we are the financial capital of the world and we will not let the EU steal that. We lead in satellites and are global players in aerospace, defence (defense), energy, biotech, physics, pharma and have Oxford and Cambridge amongst our universities. We are a nuclear power and sit on the UN Security Council. We are the fifth or sixth largest economy on the planet (argue amongst yourselves while we make more money by inventing insurance – oh we already did that). We will play every advantage we have. We will no longer be contained and constrained by a couple of rich old rivals in Europe keeping us from competing with them too well by getting us to pay for all the poor countries they have appended.
I notice that Britain never really got the Marshall Plan money after WWII – our share was more than cancelled out by lend-lease war debts to the USA. How convenient. Europe and Japan got all the help, then as we started to get out of the economic dip we got lured into the EC. A very good way for competing economies to keep us down post-Empire (I think they were scared of our capacity to dominate the world and conspired to keep us down to their advantage). Imperial competition between Britain and German led to WWI and on to WWII. The Japan-US Pacific conflict of WWII was also a trade war. The USA wanted to be the next empire, economically if not territorially, so keeping the UK away from the money and playing Europe and Japan made sense. Getting the EU to mop up Eastern Europe post USSR was also a cheap way for the USA to counter Russia. Britain has been paying a good bit of that bill for a long time. That era has ended. Europe is falling apart. America is receding, China is rising. India is a player too. Africa is the next sleeping giant and China already can see it. It is time for a newly free from the EU Britain to carve its own path again. Not the old path, although strangely there is a tiny little space for a new British Empire in there – countries in our Commonwealth that might ask for a really close relationship with us in return for stability and protection from terrorising neighbours – much as China is subtly offering some African states already. So something new, something better, something great. An international multicultural future beckons.
The future belongs to the brave, so confidence is all important. On the past 2000 years’ form – taking the long view – I think have every reason to be confident.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start.
(Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act III)
“Trollbeads” the very idiosyncratic jewellery (faux) Art Nouveau-fronted shop is no longer there. Perhaps the lovely shop front will be retained if the unit can be let, although the number of empty shops even in prosperous Cambridge centre is now quite scary – feels like 5%. It is true that Main Street / The High Street shopping is dying as clicks overtake bricks – sad and horrible, because “going shopping” is something fun to do even if one is only “window shopping.” Therein of course lies the problem.
Do this one if you can. This gallery is so aesthetically and architecturally well-curated it is almost too much off a good thing. As engineering, Gormley’ installations, as his sculptures of necessity are, impress. Floating man, warp speed space cube thing, laser-like representations of the three dimensions. This is a very nice couple of hours in a very well-manicured corner of Cambridge. Gormley never fails to entertain. Sure he does all the arty philosophical deep semiotic sociological psychobabble stuff, but he cannot do other than entertain. A welder-showman building big dippers for folks’ heads to ride. As a tanguero might put it, “This is serious fun.”
The floating baby on the gallery’s toilet sign seems strangely prescient today…
All pictures in this blog article are photographs Copyright 2018 by me kevintangodance, of works created by the artist Antony Gormley and displayed at Kettles Yard Gallery. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without my permission. All Rights Reserved.