Monday, July 07, 2008

A quiet 40th

Being 40 years and day old doesn't feel that much different to being 39 years and 364 days old.

I did have a nice birthday though: Breakfast in bed cooked by the youngsters, some DVD sets as presents (The Sharpe Collection and the first series of Starsky & Hutch), a lovely curry at Abingdon's excellent Dil Raj for lunch, off to the pictures to see the new Narnia film, and then home for the final episode of Doctor Who.

Life is good.

Up the Irons!

Iron Maiden were utterly fantastic at Twickenham on Saturday.

Their only UK date on their 'Somewhere Back in Time' world tour played to a full house, and their biggest ever UK audience for a Maiden tour date. (Although I think they played to a bigger audience at one of the Monster's of Rock Festivals I saw them at.)

Their setlist was picked from their eighties albums and included their epic take on 'The Rime of the Ancient mariner' amongst other tracks.

Maiden seem to be more popular worldwide than ever and, along with Metallica, have the ability to sell out stadiums on every continent. For the last few years they have been alternating between touring each new album and 'greatest hits' tours, which works pretty well.

Here's a bit of footage from someone's mobile phone. From the angle I must have been about 20 yards to their right:

Avenged Sevenfold and Within Temptation were also very good.

Thank you RTD

Some people really are very obsessed with Doctor Who. One is dear Lawrence Miles who writes very long and sometimes interesting things about the programme on his Doctor Who Blog.

My take on the new Who is that that Russell T Davies (RTD) has done an absolutely fantastic job. My test for this is that my youngsters are just as excited about watching the show each Saturday as I was when i was their age.

We went out for a curry for my birthday yesterday and Emma, my six year old, was telling me how she wanted her bedroom door to be painted like a TARDIS door, Doctor Who curtains, Doctor Who carpet, Doctor Who lightshade ..... you get the picture.

Both my youngsters spend each episode on the edge of their seats (with Emma occasionally hiding behind daddy in the scary bits).

The last few episodes have pulled together many strands that were left floating during the past four series and, in my view, did it well.

Trying to bring back so many previous companions could have been disastrous (The Five Doctors springs to mind) but generally worked well, and helped rather than hindered the plot.

Davros was brilliant and the Daleks back on frightening form.

And the ending(s) were great. Another goodbye to Sarah Jane Smith, still touching but a little more relaxed, Captain Jack leading Martha off to another series of Torchwood presumably, and Mickey coming along for the ride. Rose finally getting her man, and a very poignant end to the Doctor's relationship with Donna (and a critic defying performance from Catherine Tate.)

Bringing back Doctor Who could have gone very badly wrong. But RTD - primarily through his own skill, imagination and determination - has made the hit TV Series of my childhood into the biggest TV series of my children's childhood too.

RTD - I salute you!

P.S. My 3 point response to Lawrence Miles' '25 Ways to make Doctor Who more interesting' is:

1 Get writers who know the difference between 'less' and 'fewer'.

2 Trust Stephen Moffat to know what he's doing and let him lead the show his way as RTD did his.

3 Er ... that's it ...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Iron Maiden, Dr Who and being 40

I'm very excited about seeing Iron Maiden tomorrow. I think it will be about the 15th time I've seen them in 21 years and they never fail to rock like b***ards.

I also hope to hook up with a few of my rock loving mates which should make it even better.

This does mean I'll miss the final episode of this (excellent) season's Dr Who - but I'm sure the kids will record it for me and I'll watch it as soon as I get home.

I think I've been watching the good doctor for 35 years now and I still get excited by it. I was watching the excellent Inferno (3rd doctor) last night.

And then on Sunday I'm 40.


Are 40 year olds supposed to get so excited about heavy metal bands and sci-fi?

Who cares!