Monday, 29 April 2013

Here’s a thing: every week The Doctor saves the world in 45 minutes. No more, no less. Marvellous. And whatever happened to Norries?

Here’s a paradox: when you’re 10, 12, 13 or 15, you watch Doctor Who and it all makes perfect sense. Well, he’s a clever one! you think. Then you don’t watch it for many years - school, college, trying to hustle women into bed and, occasionally, work all get in the way - until a little later in life you start watching it again. And that’s what I did and still do (when I can) with my daughter who is now 16, 17 in August, and my son who is 13, 14 in May.

When they were younger we had a routine on Saturday nights: have supper, then settle down in front of the TV at about 6.30/6.45 to watch ‘the Doctor’ get out of another seemingly impossible situation (he always does, you know). If I were a spy, or an explorer or anything like that, the kind of chap who quite often finds himself in sticky situations, I would most certainly make sure I had a television scriptwriter team, because these guys and gals are incredible: they always find a way out. It’s a mystery to me why the Foreign Office has seconded several of the brightest of them finally to sort out the Israel/Palestine situation or how things can end peacefully in Syria. Anyway, Saturday night was the same, except that my daughter had gone shopping in Truro with the Girl Guides - she’s aiming at her Shopping Badge - and then had to be collected from Bodmin Parkway to be taken straight to her part-time job at the Kings Head in St Kew Highway where she earns a little on the side - actually, rather a lot on the side - as a waitress cum barmaid cum washer-upper cum whatever else they ask her to do.

So she wasn’t there. But I sat down at whenever last Saturday to watch the latest Doctor Who episode and my son sat behind me, ostensibly in front of the computer because he ‘wasn’t interested in watching Doctor Who’. Soon, however, I felt his feet settle on the arm of the sofa behind me and he was as engrossed as I was. I must be honest, but I doubt I would watch on my own, and watching it with young Elsie and young Wesley is not just part of what I like, it’s pretty much the reason for doing it. Anyway, we watched it together.

This week the episode featured, naturally, the Doctor and his new assistant (played by Jenna Louise Coleman, my favourite by far so far and were this not a family blog but one which is, for a change getting a family entry, I would record as unequivocally as possible just how much I should like to give her one, or, being the very definition of a modern man, how much I should enjoy her giving me one. I’ll admit, Freema Agyeman came close, but for me she didn’t convey the raw ‘shag me and shag me now’ desirability of young Jenna Louise.) There were also three black guys, kind of interstellar scrap metal merchants, and - well, it’s funny: I’m not the world’s most obvious liberal, but it still warms the cockles of my heart to see black actors on TV in roles in which they are simply characters not ‘black’ characters. Maybe I’ll explain that in another blog.

Tonight they were just that. Being ‘black’ had fuck all to do with it. Zombies, or what appeared to be zombies, turned up aboard the Tardis - at first there was just one, then a whole gang of them, and were, in fact - I think - the black characters and Jenna Louise - swoon - ‘in the future’ who were burned to a crisp but then, in fact, weren’t at all because the Doctor had ‘turned back time’(he’s a card, that Doctor, and make no mistake, guv). Anyway, it was all sorted within 45 minutes - does the Doctor know he as only 45 minutes to save it all? So Wez and I watch the episode, and at the end of it I turned to Wez and admitted that I didn’t have a bloody clue what was going on and how it was all resolved.

Wez, though, was right on the ball and managed to convey quite succinctly and without being nasty, as only young teens can convey quite succinctly without actually being nasty to us elderly folk just how bloody stupid and slow on the uptake I was. ‘It’s obvious,’ he snorted, and if he didn’t actually snort, he might well have done. Well, obvious to some. Tomorrow, I might get him to explain to me - and even resolve, because I still don’t think it’s been yet done - the Schleswig Holstein Question, because that, too, has me baffled, but I’m pretty sure it’s already pretty obvious to him. All we need is for the Tardis to materialise just outside Lübeck and the Doctor to become firm friends with Bismarck and that’s Syria sorted.

. . .

It would be difficult, not to say odd, to try to explain how I reached this last thought but here’s my question: how many of you know someone called ‘Norrie’? To be fair anyone who had tuned in from the U.S., Russia, Canada, The Emirates, China or other place not yet touched the genius of British imperialism gets a pass. It would not surprise me if you didn’t know what the hell I’m talkng about (quite possibly, not for the first time, either). But folk here in England, Wales, Ireland and - natch - Scotland do not. And to that I shall add anyone tuning in from Canada, New Zealand or that island just to the west of New Zealand (I think it’s called Australia): if you don’t know anyone called ‘Norrie’, or don’t even have a clue about what I’m talking about, your are officially banned from this blog. ‘Norrie’ is a Scottish short form for Norman (as far as I know. Perhaps it’s also a short form on Tyneside and the far North West. But for some reason I find it quite evocative. I personally have only ever once come across someone called Norrie.

He was one of the other guys (of five of us, and I had by far the worst room) who shared a house in Gosforth, Newcastle (pronounced ‘Gossforth’). This was in 1978 when I was working as a reporter for the Journal in Newcastle. Norrie was, if I recall, a salesman/trainee executive for a paint manufacturer, but as that last seems so unlikely, not to say almost gratuitous, I’m quite prepared to accept that I’m quite wrong and won’t in the slightest be offended if you say so. The house was owned by I can’t remember who, but she had, apparently, taken a shine to me, because around Christmas 1978 she returned in high spirits - i.e. three sheets to the wind - from a works Christmas party, came into my room and got quite amorous. A shag was on if I had wanted it, but I didn’t want it, at least not with her. She didn’t take it well. Anyway, that was the first Norrie I’ve personally come across.

Another was the uncle of a former flatmate of mine. His name was Norrie Drummond, and the flatmate was Alan Drummond. Norrie was a young music journalist in the Sixties, but then, by the late Seventies, early Eighties discovered that his bird had flown. He was, according to Alan, a raging woofter (I’ve drunk a little too much port while composing these, my latest words of wisdom to be in any position to pay much attention to our modern politically correct niceties, so all I can do is apologise to raging woofters worldwide if I have offended you). But while he was working (for the South Wales Argus, as I was) in the late Seventies, he was living with a woman, who according to Alan was a dyke (and please accept a similar apology - see above). They were, it would seem, each other’s beards, and in those days, sadly, you still needed a beard. I can’t actually substantiate the claim, although when Norrie once rang and ask for Alan, he was not only very pissed but did sound very camp.

. . .

You’ll find 800 odd words here as I ramble on about why those who want to ‘get rid of politicians’ and ‘get rid of bankers’ aren’t playing with a full deck. How about ‘getting rid of time’? I’ve decided to run two blogs as the same time, but can’t yet work out how to label them.

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