Heresy and The Tenth Doctor

Okay, you got me… I never really liked Tennant as Who.

Before you stone me for heresy, though, I’m a child of the Seventies and Tom will always be the Doctor to me. I miss the jelly babies and the scarf; I miss the voice and the humour and his wonderful, powerful presence. Seeing him on stage at the SFX Weekender, last year, was a throwback to my SF roots.


Having said that, Titan Merch have just released images of their latest 9” limited edition maxi-bust featuring Tennant as the Tenth Doctor – and I might just change my mind. It’s gorgeous. It’s got the pose, it’s got the stare, it’s got the tight sense of dynamism and the posture and the sharp suit. It’s even got the sonic screwdriver.

There’s a strong sense of motion to the flow of the garments – his energy is palpable. Hell, he almost looks like he’d move.

My son is a Tennant Fan – I guess we all fall for the Doc we grew up with. And looking at this particular release, I’m wondering if he might have a point after all.

He’s startlingly contemporary – and I guess you do have to move with the times. He is the Doctor, after all.

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Toy Story 3

I can’t remember the last time I cried in the cinema (I watched ‘UP’ at home), but any film that can make you laugh your arse off all the way through and then have you wiping water from your eyes (the 3D glasses make this downright awkward) at the closing scenes – well, it’s more than just a film for Cubs.

The plot of Toy Story 3 is swift, bright, clear – beautifully wrought. It’s continuity is wondrous – the smallest dropped fragment (Woody’s Hat) becomes a demoniac device for later in the story. It can be predictable – but that’s no bad thing. While we know what’s exactly going to happen to the toys in the daycare centre, for example, the tension is built so skilfully that the shock and horror are still genuine. The wheeler-dealing of the bad guys in the roof-club of the snack-machine, the final fate of Lotso – in each case, you know what’s coming, but the scene-setting, the references, the symmetry are all flawless. The entire script is absolutely stuffed with sly adult gags – my favourite being Ken throwing open the door before a love-struck Barbie with the words, ‘Baby, this is where is all happens!’ – and it’s to his wardrobe… words fail me.

We all love Buzz and Woody – but Ken, accessory or not, totally stole that entire film. Right down to his love-heart shorts.

In fact, there just wasn’t a weak character. The dastardly, strawberry-scented bear, voiced to villainous perfection by Ned Beatty, is more iniquitous than any plush toy has a right to be – but the perfectly dovetailed flashback by the sinister clown just tinges his soft menace with sympathy. It also wins us to the side of the lumbering-simple Big Baby, tormented by the one thing he trusts. Assisted by the truly scary watch-monkey and a scattering of sinister side-kicks (we liked the two faced robot), Lotso is absolutely a genius evil.

And props for the silent Totoro. I wonder if he was on an exchange visit?

This is a film that carries you along regardless. (The Claw!) Made for a younger audience or not, I challenge any adult to watch it and to not have their heart touched. What was your favourite toy as a child? What happened to them? The closing scene of the teenage Andy introducing little Bonnie to his friends was what reduced me to tears – and not only me, I suspect, from the snufflings next to me.

It’s a reminder that, for all we’re supposed to be adult, are we supposed to be grown-up?

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He’s the best pet ever! You’ve seen the film (all of them), now you can have one of your very own…

This huge beast is two feet at the shoulder – that’s above your knees – and over 28” long. He comes with a zip-line through the body and fully articulated legs, plus LED lights and all sorts of movie sounds and phrases… he (almost) walks, he (pretty-much) talks and he’s dead cheap to take to the vet.

Plus: he comes with his own keeper – a 3 ¾” driver action figure (with speeder bike) and he has enough space to hold up to 19 more Star Wars action figures.

He’s an All-Terrain Armoured Transport, AT-AT for short, and he really hates teddy bears.

The only question that remains is…

…what are you going to call him?

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Whither Bartemkin: What Happens When It Goes Wrong?

The saying goes: you learn nothing from success.
In the UK, the wooden ship of my reckless marketeering has a rocket-powered propulsion system. Take away the Forbidden Planet brand; row the same ship into a much larger, faster marina… and Bart, apparently, loses his head.
It seems the dynamic fusion of art toys with social media will wait for another day.
The idea’s sound – see Phil Campbell’s wonderful shots of his signed Thor helm – but its execution? Needs the right arena.
This weekend, this rocket-propelled ship powers into waters where it’s very well known – along with a rabble of my colleagues, I’ll be at Orbital, the 2008 EasterCon, selling three years’ worth of signed books and goodies to the voracious fanboy public.
Guests of honour include Neil Gaiman, Charles Stross and China Mieville; there will be many other authors and artists there who’ve wielded sharpies for FP in the past – and know a thing or two about wacky art.
I’ve secured a new urban vinyl toy, larger than his Bart predecessor as I have a lot more time, and a far better unity of concept with market. Everything else remains the same – the idea of auctioning a one-off, totally unique art toy, a piece of urban vinyl history, will go ahead as planned – it’ll just take a little longer.
And that’s a good thing – time to learn, think and strategise and time to build a proper story.
As to Bart? Sadly returning home in an in a(u)ctionable condition, he’s enjoying a happy retirement. He’s sitting on my desk in my bedroom as my personal folly; I’ll make a donation to the Frozen Pea Fund myself for my mad-eyed souvenir.
Thank you to adelemcalear and colleencoplick, and to philcampbell and documentally for their performance as Norse Gods – and to all the people who put pen to plastic.
And keep an eye open – more art toy wackiness will ensue!

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