THE BANE OF MY LIFE

A little lyrical nonsense I've come up, re-writing Nellie The Elephant in recognition of the change of US presidency. You all know the tune, so do please sing along!


One dark day A troubled old circus clown Managed to win an election campaign and Donald was his name Four years on His dream went down the drain Fingers crossed, now he has lost, he’ll never be seen again


Donald the petulant packed his trunk And said goodbye to the White House Off he sulked, Donald trumpety Trump Trump Trump Trump Oh Donald the petulant packed his trunk And trundled back to his golf course Good riddance Donald trumpety Trump Trump Trump Trump


The new head of state was waiting ‘Biden’, his time Don had enough and left in a huff Joe said “the job is mine”


Donald the petulant packed his trunk And said goodbye to the White House Off he sulked, Donald trumpety Trump Trump Trump Trump


Votes were cast Don said “I won’t concede. “It’s fake news ‘cause I didn’t lose, Joe did not beat me.” No Trump cards For Donald left to play The chips were down and the orange clown was sent off on his way


Donald the petulant packed his trunk And said goodbye to the White House Off he sulked, Donald trumpety Trump Trump Trump Trump Oh Donald the petulant packed his trunk And trundled back to his golf course Good riddance Donald trumpety Trump Trump Trump Trump


The new head of state was waiting ‘Biden’, his time Don had enough and left in a huff Joe said “the job is mine”


Donald the petulant packed his trunk And said goodbye to the White House You’ve been trumped, Donald trumpety Trump Trumped! Trumped! Trumped!!!!!




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2021 had the potential to get off to a cracking start, with the screening of an all-new episode of Doctor Who. That potential became even more apparent when the trailer dropped, and revealed a tweaked design to what looked like some kick-ass Daleks.


Sadly, the ass-kicking ability of Skaro's finest was abhorrently absent, and the tremendous potential was totally unfilled. The new Daleks looked great; it was genuinely nice to see Captain Jack back, and - fleetingly - a few more familiar faces in the space prison. But the episode plodded along, took far too long to get to the action scenes, which were then all over far too quickly. And, in a blink and you miss it travesty, suddenly there is one "new" Dalek left; ALL the others had already been oblitered (mostly off-screen).


Then came the much-previewed "emotional" departure of two companions, which apparently had cast and crew in tears while being filmed. I felt cheated and underwhelmed.


I LOVE Doctor Who. And I continue watching. And I WILL continue watching. I was against a female Doctor - not because I'm old-fashioned or sexist, but because if the Doctor had the ability of change gender, what are the odds on it being a man for 13 times in a row (Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, Baker T, Davison, Baker C, McCoy, McGann, Hurt, Ecclestone, Tennant, Smith, Capaldi)? BUT I will say that Jodie has done a decent job, and I've come to accept that 'she' was once all the others. HOWEVER, I slapped my forehead in despair at the whole "Timeless child" malarkey. What? Hartnell was NOT the first version of our beloved hero, who is not even from Gallifrey!


BUT, with rumours now rife about Jodie departing at the end of the series currently being filmed, I've come up with a way to salvage the situation and retcon the timeless child malarkey. If you're sitting comfortably, here goes: (Are you listening, Mr Chibnall?)


Jodie's Doctor remains traumatised and mentally tortured by the questions over her own identity/past following the timeless child revelations. She regenerations - into Jo Martin's black female Doctor, who we saw in the last series. This would solve the riddle of why the Judoon were chasing Jo Martin in that episode (she was on the run, having been sprung from jail by Captain Jack in the Revolution of the Daleks episode. And, of course, Jo Martin's 'debut' in series 12 also featured a Captain Jack cameo, so it all nicely comes full circle). It also solves the following discrepancy: if Jo Martin was a past incarnation of the Doctor who pre-dated Hartnell, why did she have a Tardis in the shape of the Police Box? This shape was taken on by the chameleon circuit when Hartnell landed in that junk yard in Totters Lane in 1963 - and then the circuit jammed. Why didn't Jo Martin confess to Jodie to being her immediate future incarnation? Because we've been told time and time again that it's perilous for anyone, let alone a time traveller, to have foreknowledge of their own future. So Jo Martin clearly decided everything had been complicated enough, so she chose not to reveal that she was the next Doctor. (There is another discrepancy: we are led to believe that Jo IS a past incarnation, quite possibly pre-Hartnell, and that the timeless child had many lives (as seen in Brain of Morbius) before adopting the title of The Doctor, which was done for the first time. So why, if Jo Martin was PRE-HARTNELL, would she still be calling herself the Doctor? She wouldn't. BUT take on my idea, and make Jo Martin the next Doctor, and she CAN then legitimately call herself the Doctor. She just chose not to reveal to Jodie that she was the next.


And so, finally, to the wretched Timeless Child thing as a whole. I think this CAN be retconned. It can be attributed to a cunning conspiracy cooked up by The Master, in cahoots with the mighty Rassilon, who is still pretty miffed at the (Capaldi) Doctor for banishing him from Gallifrey, let alone ruining his big comeback to reality in his Dalton incarnation. Maybe even Omega can be thrown into the mix, too; a cunning plan, with seeds sown throughout time and space (like the first mention of timeless child, in Jodie's second episode), designed to undermine the Doctor's own self confidence/belief/esteem, and drive her out of her mind! It's just the sort of madcap thing the Master would do. He loves screwing with people's minds/sanity!


So then we can happily go back to William Hartnell being the first Doctor, as we've always believed. Perhaps an on-screen reunion with his grand-daughter, Carole-Ann Ford's Susan, to unlock all the mental malarkey created by the Master, and to enable the Doctor to not be driven insane, but to see the truth.


There, sorted. If Mr Chibnall, or any other far more talented writer than me, wants to crack on with it, please do. Just give me a "Based on an original idea by...." credit. I thank you. There will be no charge.


Oh, and we DO need to see the black with blue/red neon lighting, kick-ass Daleks, in action again. And restore the ability of the bronze Daleks to swivel their middle (gun and sucker) section through 180 degrees.


As they say in the world of the Mandalorian, I have spoken.


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Updated: Jan 11

With just a few hours to go until the final day of 2020, I find myself once again in reflective mood. I think it's fair to say that, this time last year I, like almost everybody else, didn't have the tiniest, faintest fraction of a mere notion about what awaited us. Sadly, like the previous decade, I fear that the lows outweighed the highs. But anyway, I'm doing this somewhat self-indulgent post in the hope that be outlining what I hope to achieve in 2021, I might find myself more motivated to actually realise at least some of the ambitions. But before I look forward, I guess I should look back:

REASONS TO BE GLAD TO SEE THE BACK OF 2020

1 Dementia. And all that comes with it; while I knew it was coming, March 2020 was the first time that my dad looked at me and told me he didn't know who I was. In my humble opinion, dementia is, without a shadow of a doubt, the very most cruel of conditions.

2 Losses. Two tragic losses, this year, neither of which were to Covid. My cousin Rob was taken far too soon. While he and I were not close (although we had become Facebook friends a short while before he passed), there was a heartbreaking impact on people who I am a lot closer to. Also, not long before Christmas, and again far too soon, my wife's best friend was taken by cancer. I met her once, during one of my trips to Canada, spoke to her several other times. She went to school with Debs and they stayed friends all this time. They also shared a birthday, and always used to speak to each other on Dec 19. RIP Rob and Patti.

3 Home. Being told back in January that we were going to have to leave our home of 18 years, as the landlord wants to sell in order to retire. And, because I'm so bloody useless with money (you know the phrase "money talks"? All mine ever says to me is 'goodbye'), the most realistic option was to apply to become council tenants. And the stress that this has caused has been unimaginable. Covid has delayed things, but the move will be happening in 2021.

4 Covid-19, and in particularly the impact on my dad's dementia, and the instability around job security, which then led to a few mental wobbles, which returned me to my mutually exclusive relationship with wealth, and the occasional panic attack about our long-term future, and my son's long-term future.

5 Miserably failing to lose weight.

6 Miserably being unable to publish, as I'd hoped, my second children's book, or the final part of my comedy trilogy - I managed to write 40,000 words, but had a huge crisis of confidence and belief in my own ability; plot and structure do not come naturally to me, and it frustrates the living daylights out of me.

7 Beating myself up because, while trying to learn some playing card manipulation techniques, it dawned on me that my hands are quite small and fingers quite short.

8 Invariably - and on the vast majority of occasions - being the one to initiate contact with my 'friends'.

POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT 2020

1 My immediate family steered clear of the virus.

2 Thanks in no small part to the efforts of my boss - for which I will always be grateful - I currently still have a job and a regular wage coming in.

3 My hockey captain is continuing to pick me to play for South Glos B. And in fact, my last two outings were pretty decent performances, which was a welcome boost.

4 Discovering new music/acts that I most likely would never have heard of had it not been for the lockdown. In some cases, I've even had personal correspondence with some of them. Among the musical discoveries new to me are Elles Bailey, Amanda Easton, When Rivers Meet, Gemma Watkins, Noble Jacks, Ashton Lane, Without WIllow, Scarlette and Tally Koren.

5 Finally making it to St Ives, which I've always wanted to visit.

6 The "Sunday morning gang" who queue outside Asda every week. We've got to know each other during Covid, and it's been good fun.

7 The support and encouragement - even to a mere humble hobbyist - from many members of the magic community, who have (and who continue to) inspired and motivated me to take up this incredible hobby. While I beat myself up about my 'small hands' and lack of creative originality, I've been well and truly bitten by the bug in 2020 more than ever before, thanks in no small part to the likes of John Carey, Peter Nardi, Andy Smith, Ben Williams, Paul Gordon, Liam Montier, Jamie Scott, Dave Loosely, Mark Traversoni and others.

SO, that's 2020. What does 2021 hold?

On the down side, dementia and the inevitable house move, and all the stress around the cost and logistics of that, against the backdrop of concerns over job security. On the up-side, we've booked our lodge for Centreparcs to see the Winter Wonderland in 2021.

What do I hope to achieve? Quite simple.

1 Less dreaming, more doing.

2 I'm going to find my smile.

3 I'm going to stop sweating about the things that are out of my hands, and take far more ownership over the things that I can control.

4 I AM going to finish, and publish, and least one, if not two, books in 2021, and make positive progress with my other writing projeccts.

5 I AM going to spend more time working on my magic in a more structured way. A recent live event showed me that even a humble hobbyist can join the Magic Circle, and that's what I'm aiming for.

6 I AM going to lose weight, shape up, eat better and get fitter.

7 I AM going to go all out to keep a few more clean sheets on the hockey pitch!

8 I want to become far more tolerant, too. I've become quite angry this year at the antics of covidiots and those affected by moronavirus; I've become angry at some people who seem to flaunt (even if inadvertently) their wealth and successes and yet then say how tough things are; boy, I would almost KILL to have things as tough as some people have it, and I will have to stop beating myself up about my lack of creative originality in terms of my writing and my magic. If it ain't there, it ain't there. BUT if I get so much pleasure from my writing and my magic (which I do), then THAT should be good enough. If someone else enjoys it too, so much the better. But I HAVE to be able to please myself first. That's something I want to do in 2021, too; become far more comfortable in my own skin, for all it's flaws. (I have concluded that I am, in fact, a flawed genius, the fundamental flaw being that, at 51 years of age, I've yet to discover where my true genius lies.

I am going to stop looking backwards, and focus forwards. And I am going to find SOMETHING to smile about and laugh about every day, because laughter IS the best medicine. It wont cure all ills, but it will make most things feel just that little bit better.

Happy new year to everyone; stay safe, find your happy thought, and laugh. Novel-length note finished (can I count THIS, therefore, as my first 'novel' of 2021? Worth a try - but published publicly so that I can hold myself to account if I fail miserably to not achieve at least some of the things I want to.


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Working wordsmith, pitiful punslinger, practising prestidigitator, hapless (hopeless?) hockeyologist
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