Recommended listening for lonely Saturdays

This morning, my friend Clarence Wethern posted on the Internet that listening to the Doctor Who Season 5 soundtrack made everything seem much more urgent and important.

Temple U Bell Tower Early Morning Fog
Temple University’s Bell Tower in the early morning fog.

When I read this, I was sitting in a 7-11, waiting to be let into the library so I could start my lonely early morning work shift. Because, when you ask yourself, “what does a dangerous, destructive thug look like?” automatically, you think of me. And, that’s why the security guards want nothing to do with me before 9 on a Saturday.  I thought, heck yeah, I could use a sense of importance and urgency. Also, not only is Clarence one of my favorite actors, he’s one of the kindest, funniest, smartest people I know, so how can any advice from him possibly be a bad idea?

I mean, where could it possibly leave me?  In a library basement in North Philadelphia, trapped while the rest of the city enjoys its one breath of Spring before another blast of Winter?

Media Bear sits alone in the dark. He's not scary at all. No sir.
Media Bear sits alone in the dark. He’s not scary at all. No sir.

So, as I went into the library (apropos) I cued up Clarence’s link to Spotify, and “Honey, I’m Home” by Murray Gold and The BBC National Orchestra of Wales started playing.   It starts out light and airy, pleasant, but gradually increases its minor key to become more threatening. As I turned keys in locks, logged into the computers with pass codes, turned tumblers for secret combinations and unlocked the door to the room where the DVDs are shelved, the suspense was palpable enough that I sincerely questioned the silent, staring eyes of Media Services Bear, sitting on the trolley in the darkness.

And the piece of music is exactly the same length of time that it takes to open the library’s Media Services desk. So, that was fun. I kind of wished that Christopher Eccleston would suddenly grab my hand, look deeply into my eyes and say, “Run,” as an alien creature hatched from an egg laid deep inside Media Services Bear’s stuffed tummy.

Doctor Who Original Television Soundtrack Series 5
Doctor Who Original Television Soundtrack Series 5

Of course, once the alien invaders have been vanquished (probably via my secret skill of getting lost or being late*), that means inevitably that I’d have to explain to him that I can’t possibly go travel through all of space and time with him, because of course he’d want me to, duh.

LINDSAY: I’m married.
THE DOCTOR: I’m not the marrying type.
LINDSAY: I have cats and dogs to take care of.
THE DOCTOR: They’ll never know you were gone.
LINDSAY: I have a thesis to write.
THE DOCTOR: What’s it about?
LINDSAY: Georgia O’Keeffe’s break from painting between 1932 and 1934.


THE DOCTOR: Oh yeah?… You want some help with that?

Because, obviously, I have had a hole in the space-time continuum tethered to me since birth. Every now and then I fall into it and have to find my way back out again. Or other things fall into it. That’s why I’m always late, lost, or losing things. Or early. Sometimes.

SEE HOW WELL I AVOID WORKING ON THE SHORT PLAY, AT WHICH I AM TEMPORARILY ANGRY, TODAY? I’ve just set up an entire season of Doctor Who. BAM. Hire me, Moffat.

And then we go to 1960s London because Harold Pinter also has a hole in the space time continuum tethered to him, except he sucks whole lives into it and spits them out again as plays (because The Homecoming is scary). But Pinter doesn’t know it (because after it becomes a play, all memory of the life having ever existed disappears. QED).  At the end of the episode, he’s inspired to write Betrayal. For some reason. To be determined.

And  Clarence has to be cast as the brilliant mathematician and astronomer Phillipe Van Lansberg, or Martin Van der Hove, or something, which I will invent. and it will be fantastic.

All right, I have to go work some more on this short play at which I am angry right now. It happens.

Who is The 12th Doctor?

I know nobody’s looking at the Internet on a Friday in the summer, but allegedly the announcement of what actor will play the 12th Doctor comes out this Sunday, and all the Whovians are all a-flutter. Not the least of which are us; here at Stately Friel Manor we watch episodes on DVD going back to William Hartnell, and we get excited about new Doctor Who episodes coming out like civilians get excited about baby showers. Of course, we know there’s all kinds of specific criteria for who the next Doctor simply has to be, and all kinds of a wish list.

So, without further ado, here’s our dream wish list for The 12th Doctor.

Bob Newhart is The 12th Doctor.
“I… I… uh, did what I had to do, for uh… sanity, and, uh, peace, yeah. Something like that.”

Bob Newhart as The 12th Doctor. As Dr. Bob Hartley, he dealt with the greatest enemy of all: indifference and narcissism. He did it coolly and calmly, for the most part, but when things did get out of hand, it was always legendary (see Season 4, Episode 11, Over The River and Through The Woods). While Bob Newhart is Vince’s choice for The 12th Doctor, he’s not mine, because every episode would be 14 hours long and the Daleks would just get bored and go away on their own.

“Before you go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic… And so was I.”

George Clooney as The 12th Doctor. As Dr. Ross, he handled a chaotic Chicago emergency room and made painful and difficult decisions, including assisted suicide for a child, with panache and grace. Also, that’s a hell of a lot of eye candy, which should give Tennant a rest from the heavy mantle of The Hot Doctor Who. Besides: he’s Batman.

“This is who I am, right here, right now, all right? All that counts is here and now, and this is me!”
“This is who I am, right here, right now, all right? All that counts is here and now, and this is me!”

Hugh Laurie as The 12th Doctor. He’s already posh, he’s already mad, but as Doctor House he’s been the guy who’s scarred and scarring. He’d cut the Ood’s shiny balls off to spite their inborn need to serve and say, “You’re welcome.” I actually can’t take this idea too seriously, because if the BBC had ever really wanted Laurie to play the Doctor, they would have gotten him to do it when they got Eccleston (my favorite) to play the Ninth Doctor. But he definitely fits the mold of irreverent and cute, yet damaged by the weight of history. Which brings us to the perfect fit:

“Do what I do. Hold tight, and pretend it’s a plan!”

Mike Farrell and Alan Alda as The 12th Doctor. The Korean War was hell, and it’s still ongoing. Doctors McIntyre and Pierce faced bombs, snipers, rage-propelled adversaries, young kids bleeding slowly to death, inhospitable landscape, adverse climate, bureaucratic knots, limited resources, inner demons, and Frank Burns, with charisma, swagger, and faith. If Soufflé Girl can split into a million different somebodies, why couldn’t the Doctor split into two? He often disagrees with himself, and maybe the writers will have an easier time keeping the Doctor from sounding like an idiot.

Okay. Before you rip me to shreds over canon and BBC Guidelines and your intense need to prove what an expert you are on Everything In The Whoniverse…


Personally I think the next Doctor will be either Ben Whishaw or Richard Ayoade. They’re both youngish and good-looking, inherently British, early enough in their careers to not have something else overshadow them to people who have never seen Doctor Who before, and both of them can have the Tom Baker hair (with the right stylist). Vince thinks it will be someone that no one has ever heard of, who has just enough film and stage experience to give them some credibility.

However, there is absolutely no question as to who the next Master will be.

“If I told you the truth, your hearts would break.”

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