All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


3 Comments

Thirteen female writers I’d like to see work on ‘Doctor Who’

Way back in 1997, when I was but a rather geeky high school student, I wrote an epic essay as part of my A-Level coursework analysing the somewhat dubious history of female representation in the television series Doctor Who. Although it was written in a mere 60 minutes the night before it was due, my rather rampant knowledge of the subject matter combined with the passionate voice with which I wrote, earned my essay an A+ and helped me scrape a pass in Media Studies.

Today, this essay exists only in the cobweb gathering files of the British Educational System, but the gist of the essay was basically: female representation in Doctor Who, with a few minor exceptions, has been pretty abhorrent since the shows innception. This needs to change!

Fortunately, since the shows revival in 2005, females characters have had a much better time than they did twenty to fifty years ago. Although far from perfect, it is a plesant change to have female character who actually do something beyond flashing a bit of leg or fuelling a variety of ‘spot the knickers’ drinking games.

Unfortunately, this change has not extended behind the scenes, as Mathilda Gregory recently wrote about in The Guardian:

“On Saturday, Doctor Who returns, kicking off the second part of the seventh series with a James-Bond inspired episode that sees the Doctor and Clara whizzing round London on a motorbike. Which is exciting if you like interesting drama with witty banter and thoughtful concepts. But less exciting if you like interesting dramas that include women on their writing teams.

Because season seven of Doctor Who will feature no female scribes at all. Not in the bombastic dinosaurs and cowboys episodes that aired last year, and not in any of the new episodes we’re about to receive. In fact, Doctor Who hasn’t aired an episode written by a woman since 2008, 60 episodes ago. There hasn’t been a single female-penned episode in the Moffat era, and in all the time since the show was rebooted in 2005 only one, Helen Raynor, has ever written for the show.

Isn’t that is a pretty terrible record for a flagship TV programme?”

One female writer in the last seven years. ONE!? There are no words to properly describe how disgraceful this is, especially given the vast array of tremendous female writers working within the television and film industry. Given that the writers seem to have difficulty writing three-dimensional female characters, it’s time to shatter the current sexism and let women take control of the TARDIS…but who?

In this first of two Doctor Who inspired Thursday Thirteen posts, I look at some of the female writers I believe should be writing for this television institution.

Thirteen female writers I’d like to see work on ‘Doctor Who

JLC Doctor Who

~ in no particular order ~

1. Felicia Day
Although best known as an actress (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eureka, Supernatural, Dollhouse), Felicia Day is also the creator, writer and star of the magnificent Web TV show The Guild – for which she has won numerous awards for writing. This writing talent, coupled with her apparent love of genre television, makes her the perfect fit for a writing job on Doctor Who.

2. Jane Espenson
I have long admired Jane Espenson as one of the best writers in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. She wrote some of my favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Earshot, Triangle, Superstar, Conversations with Dead People) and one of my favourite episodes of Angel (Guise will be Guise). She co-created the Syfy series Warehouse 13 and has written for other seminal genre series, such as: Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Once Upon a Time and Game of Thrones. All of this – in addition to her work on Doctor Who’s sister series Torchwood – means the question isn’t should she write for Doctor Who but why hasn’t she written for Doctor Who?

3.  Lena Dunham
Okay, this is the first of two odd choices on this list, but bare with me. Whatever your feeling toward the television show Girls (personally, I think it’s brilliant) you cannot deny what an exceptional writer Lena Dunham is. Although the genre of Girls is about as far removed from Doctor Who as you can get, she has already proved her ability to write terrific dialogue and characters, earning an Emmy nomination along the way, which is all I need to one-day hope to see a Lena Dunham scripted episode of my favourite television series.

4. Isobelle Carmody
Isobelle Carmody is one of the leading names in fantasy writing. She began work on the Obernewtyn Chronicles at the age of fourteen and since then has won numerous awards and international acclaim for her writing. As Neil Gaiman – another prolific writer of fantasy – has been given the opportunity to write for Doctor Who, I see no reason (unless she doesn’t want to, of course) why a writer of Carmody’s calibre shouldn’t be given the same opportunity. I for one, would cherish the chance to have her write for the show.

5. Abi Morgan
Doctor Who would be lucky to have a writer of Abi Morgan’s calibre working for the show. Over the last fifteen years, Abi Morgan has proven herself time-and-again to be one of the greatest writers currently working in British stage and screen. Her credits include the screenplays for the television dramas Sex Traffic, Tsunami: The Aftermath, Royal Wedding and Birdsong. For film, she wrote the screenplay for Brick Lane (adapted from the novel by Monica Ali) as well as multi-award winning films The Iron Lady and Shame. Most recently, she has earned acclaim for her BBC television series The Hour, set in the world of 1950s current affairs television.

6. Lucy Watkins
Although you may not immediately recognise the name, Lucy Watkins has been a considerable force in genre television writing for many years. Since co-creating and writing the cult classic Hex in 2004, Lucy Watkins has gone on to write for Merlin, Demons and Sugar Rush, consistently proving her writing skills within the medium of television.

7. Jessica Hynes
Having guest-starred in three episodes, Jessica Hynes has already accrued experience within the world of Doctor Who. This, in conjunction with her exceptional writing work on the television series SpacedLizzie and Sarah, Asylum and Learners, makes her a wonderful fit for the world(s) of The Doctor.

8. Amber Benson
Although perhaps best known for her role as Tara Maclay in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amber Benson is also the acclaimed author of several novels and graphic novels as well as the writer and director of two feature films; Chance and Loves, Liars and Lunatics. A resume that reveals her to be more-than-capable of writing for Doctor Who.

9. Tina Fey
This is the second of my ‘odd choices’ on this list. Despite her critical acclaim, Tina Fey’s writing work has never strayed into the genre of science-fiction and fantasy. However, as with Lena Dunham (above), I see no reason why this would be a hinderance. She has a perfect grasp of character, dialogue and plot which, when all is said and done, is all one needs to write in any genre. Personally, I think I would have some form of aneurism if Tina Fey were ever to write for Doctor Who. So perhaps it’s best that it will likely never happen! :p

10. Alice Bell
When Alice Bell was twenty-one she wrote the screenplay for acclaimed Australian film Suburban Mayhem. Since then, she has gone on to write for such critically praised television series as The Slap (the adaptation of the Christos Tsiolkas novel), Puberty Blues (the 2012 adaptation of the quintessential coming-of-age novel of the same name) and Spirited (starring British actor/comedian Matt King). With such an impressive body of work, I would be more than happy to see her join Doctor Who’s writing team.

11. Anne Cofell Saunders
Anne Cofell Saunders began her career in television as assistant to the producers of the show 24. She wrote her first episode for this series in 2005 (Day 4: 7pm-8pm) before going on to write for such genre mainstays as Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville and Chuck, consistently proving her knowledge of both the genre and masterful storytelling; the latter being something Doctor Who is (in my opinion) currently lacking.

12. Allison Adler
The fact that she wrote my personal favourite of Chuck is by-the-by, for over the last twenty years Allison Adler has worked extensively in the arena of television, writing and producing for shows ranging from Chuck and Family Guy to Beverly Hills 90210 and Glee. An exceedingly talented and more-than-qualified writer/producer for a show of Doctor Who’s calibre.

13. Dawn French
Before you furrow your eyebrows and proclaim you can’t imagine Dawn French writing for a science-fiction show, may I ask if you ever expected Richard Curtis (writer of comedic fare Love Actually, Notting Hill, The Vicar of Dibley and Four Weddings and a Funeral) to write one of the best Doctor Who episodes since its return in 2005? If a writer can write multi-layered characters, engaging dialogue and interesting stories – as Dawn French can definitely do – they are more than capable of writing for Doctor Who, regardless of what ‘genre’ they are most known for.

What do you think? Should the producers of Doctor Who employ more female writers?
If so, who would you like to see write for the show?


Leave a comment

Day #3: A great big magical button!

This is the latest installment in the “Try Looking At It Through My Eyes” challenge, as devised by Bold Kevin on his blog Voices of Glass. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, you can read them here:

| Day 01 | Day 02 |

~◊~

Day Three – “The Miracle Button”
If I offered you a miracle button which when pressed would instantly take away your mental health issues – would you press it or not?  And why?

button

If I were standing in front of a miracle button which would instantly take away my mental health issues, the conversation would go something like this:

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
Who exactly are you?

ADDY
(fixed grin as he realises this could be his only chance to do something he’s always wanted to do)
Well. That’s the question.

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
(confused, not realising he’s playing right into Addy’s hands)
I demand to know who you are!

ADDY
(imitating the Miracle Button Man’s rough voice)
I DON’T KNOW!
(relaxes)
See, there’s the thing. I’m Addy, but beyond that, I– I just don’t know. I literally do not know who I am. It’s all untested. Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy?
(winks cheekily)
Right old misery? Life and soul? Right-handed? Left-handed? A gambler? A fighter? A coward? A traitor? A liar? A nervous wreck? I mean, judging by the evidence, I’ve certainly got a gob.
(points up at the button with an insane smile)
And how am I gonna react when I see this? A great big magical button. A Great Big Magical Button Which Must Not Be Pressed Under Any Circumstances. Am I right? Let me guess, it’s some sort of control matrix? Hmm? Hold on, what’s feeding it? And what’ve we got here? Blood?
(dips his finger in it and tastes it)
Yeah, definitely. Blood. Human blood. Bipolar. With just a dash of iron.
(waggles his tongue around at the nasty taste and wipes his finger on his dressing gown)
Ahh. But that means… blood control…blood control! Oh! I haven’t seen blood control for years! You’re controlling all the Manic Depressives! Which leaves us with a great big stinking problem. ‘Cos… I really don’t know who I am. I don’t know when to stop. So if I see a Great Big Magical Button Which Should Never Ever Be Pressed… then I just wanna do this!

…and right at this point, if I were to continue with my loyal re-enactment of the classic Doctor Who scene, I would raise my hand into the air and whack it down onto the button without a pause. Only, if pushing the button meant my bipolar would be instantly removed, there isn’t a part of me that would be able to continue with this re-enactment, as there is only a small part of me that wants my bipolar removed.

Regardless of the pain, devastation, confusion and chaos that bipolar has inflicted on my life, it is still a part of who I am, and I part of it. We are one, my bipolar and I. Removing it would be like removing my eyes, my hands, my fingers or toes. It would be like erasing memories from my mind, eradicating my passions or expunging my innate playful kinkiness. I would still be breathing, still be walking and roaming the earth a living human being, but I wouldn’t be me.

I wouldn’t be the man who sits up all night writing hundreds upon thousands of words because the world would be a lesser place if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be the man who solves the world’s problems between the hours of five and six before sitting down to a nice cup of green tea. I wouldn’t be the man who streaked down Rundle Mall to win the posterior (and, as it turned out, friendship) of a drunken Scots lass. I wouldn’t be the man who tries to sneak spanking and/or obscure pop culture references into as many blog posts as possible purely because it makes me smile to do so. I would never have written I, Georgina whilst trapped in a state of hypomania or edited The Ghosts That Haunt Me to publishable standard. Without my bipolar I would never have met Annie, or Deborah, Louise, Kathy, Rachel, Annabelle, MsB, Stephanie, Sare, Layton or Grace.

Without my bipolar, I wouldn’t be Addy.

And without Addy, what would this world be?

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
(interrupting my rambling, self-congratulatory train of thought)
It’s not just bipolar.

ADDY
What?

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
It doesn’t just erase bipolar. It erases all your mental health problems. If you push that button say goodbye to your social anxiety. Say goodbye to those vomit inducing PTSD fuelled nightmares. Say goodbye to your demons, your depressions and despair. If you push that button you could walk down the street without crumpling to the floor in panic. You wouldn’t spend weeks on end locked away in your unit, nor hours on end sitting on the floor of your shower with a bloody knife in your hand. You would be able to sustain conversations, make people laugh and smile and want to be with you. You would have friends, Addy, who didn’t think you were a toy to be played-with or a project to be fixed. They could love you, truly, unconditionally, but only if you push that button. If you push that button…you can live again.

ADDY
(smiling at the thought of it)
My anxiety would be gone. Forever. I could smile again…

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
…and dance…and sing…and hug…and kiss…and fuck…and whatever your heart desires. But…

ADDY
…only if I push that button. Only if I sacrifice everything that makes me me to be rid of this insidious anxiety.

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
Yes. Who do you want to be? Do you want to be happy? To be someone who isn’t controlled by fear or ruled by the temperamental whims of mood and memory ? Or do you want to be Addy? Whoever that may be.

ADDY
(muttering under his breath)
The man going hiking says it. The misunderstood Viking says it. The man at the rodeo. And the lonely old Eskimo says.

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
Last chance, Addy. Who exactly are you?

ADDY
(smiles)
I’m good, thanks.

MIRACLE BUTTON MAN
You’re sure?

ADDY
Would my life be better if I pushed that button. Something happier? Something more successful? Something less lonely? Something worth living? Absolutely.
(pauses)
But I wouldn’t be me. That’s what’s important. And that’s who I am.


4 Comments

Absence makes the heart crave alcohol

m_b_c

It’s been so long since I visited my blog I’ve almost forgotten what it looks like. My absence is not intentional, nor planned, but I humbly apologise if I’ve made anyone worry over vanishing from the interwebs for as long as I have.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had to deal with network connection problems, then a broken modem and the ongoing (all too obvious) pain of this most insidious time of year.

So much so that –  for the first time in a while – I’ve broken my strict ‘drink only on four days of the year rule’ and found myself imbibing increasing amounts of alcohol in an effort to numb the ever-increasing pain…something I fear will be replayed until the calendar clicks over to 2013 and begins to mark six years since I had a ‘life’. *sigh*.

It would be all too easy for my tipsy depression to whine, complain and rant at the moment but (fortunately for you) the internet cafe closes early today so I have only a few minutes online.

I will endeavour to be online as often as I can until I can resolve my current internet connection issues. I’m not sure how long this will be, but I’m doing all I can to somersault through the flaming hoops set up to make things as difficult as possible for people in low socioeconomic groups to connect with society, so my updates, tweets, comments and posts could be sporadic for the near future. Something I am truly sorry about (as I miss catching up on people’s blogs more than I miss writing my own).

Until then, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of fun, excitement and happiness; or if you’re as isolated as I am…*hugs* I hope the day wasn’t too painful :)

PS…it wasn’t all bad. After nearly twenty-five years of being a fan I finally got to see something I have always wanted to see; a camera movement I believe is a first in the Doctor’s 49 year history!

*smiles*…and yes, the new interior has my absolute stamp of approval, especially as we enter the fiftieth anniversay year!


1 Comment

Addy’s Best of 2012: The Best Surprise of the Year

In addition to the Mental Health Month Challenge I have decided to undertake a more light-hearted challenge this month that I discovered on Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges. Each day in December I will be issuing an award in celebration of everything 2012, continuing with…

The Best Surprise of the Year

~ No longer homeless ~

Home

By far and away the biggest surprise of 2012 was the moment I received a phone call from a real estate agency offering me a unit. After three years of living in parks, urine soaked alleys and perfecting my best ‘living under a bridge’ troll impression, I firmly believed the only way I would escape homelessness would be to die.

Throughout those long years the constant stream of rejections I received from rental applications, employers and society in general had made me believe I was destined to exist on the streets for the remainder of my life. I had worked myself to the bone on a daily basis, never experiencing anything other than continuous pain on both a physical and mental level.

When that phone call came in late February I had all but given up and resigned myself to my deserved fate.

For the first several days after I moved in I was sleeping on the floor of my ‘bedroom’. After Vinnies kindly donated me a bed, I continued sleeping on the floor for several weeks as I was trapped in the mindset of a homeless person. I didn’t believe I deserved a bed, a home or any of the changes that I’d managed to create for myself.

Over time, I slowly began to settle. I moved from the floor to the bed, I began sitting on the couch rather than the floor and began listening to the radio instead of staring into space. But I continued believing I was homeless, locked into that way of thinking after years of trauma.

For this is the one aspect of homelessness people do not understand.

It is not a case of just finding somewhere to live and that person will miraculously fix every aspect of their life. Homelessness is more than not having a home; it is a way of life, a trap that once you’ve fallen into is immensely difficult to escape from as you have to re-learn all of the social skills that have been forgotten throughout your homeless life.

Nine months later I still think of myself as homeless. I don’t feel settled and I continue to believe that homelessness is, and will always be, my future. In spite of the advances I have made over the last several months those years continue to haunt me on a daily basis, making hope for the future something impossible to believe in.

However, compared to where I was this time last year, I’m in a much better place and have a far greater chance of being someone again.

As long as I continue working (and fighting) for a better future as fervently as I have been these last few years :)

~ If you’d like to see some photos of the interior of my house, you can right here! ~

~ Runners up for ‘The Best Surprise of the Year’ award ~

*SPOILER WARNING*
The following video is the closing moments of Dexter Season 6.
Do not watch this video if you plan on watching this season!

 


10 Comments

Day #6: Five pet peeves…

Only a few days ago I was asked about my pet peeves as part of my Sunday Stealing post. Thus, in the grand tradition of trying not to repeat myself, here are five additional pet peeves guaranteed to drive me insane!

1. Your and You’re

However much I enjoy the fact Twitter connects me with the outside world, it appears 74% of users (made up statistic) do not know the difference between these two words. So, as an incentive to encourage proper use: if I see it used incorrectly I’ll smack your (as in belonging to you) bottom until you’re (as in a contraction of you are) sorry for what you’ve done!

2. Library DVDs

Borrowing a DVD from the library does not give you the right to use the disc as a frisbee, coaster, nail fail or spoon. Other people will be borrowing this DVD after you and would rather not get 90 minutes into a 100 minute film and have their player throw a tantrum because you spilled your nail polish on the disc whilst using it as a mirror!

3. The Doctor

Repeat after me: the show is called Doctor Who; the character is called The Doctor. The next person who gets this wrong will be sternly scolded and made to write this 1000 times in the hope that it sinks in.

And whilst we’re on the subject, it’s not Dr Who; it’s Doctor Who. Otherwise the sister show would be called Rhwod!

4. To be continued…

Television show producers, you need to understand one thing. If you’re show is threatened with cancellation it is because your not doing you’re job properly (annoying, isn’t it?!). Tacking a cliffhanger ending onto the last episode of a show is not only a pathetic attempt to emotionally manipulate the studio but shows a total disregard for the viewers who have invested time, energy and passion into your show. It’s not difficult to tie up plot threads whilst leaving ambiguous questions to run with if you’re recommissioned.

And whilst we’re on it; if I ever see the words “XX Months/Weeks/Years Later” as a way to resolve a difficult cliffhanger again, I really don’t know what I’m gonna do. But it will be ugly, involve Brussel Sprouts and be something you remember for a very long time!

5. Jeggings

No! NO! A thousand times NO!

Over to you…do you have any pet peeves that drive you to randomly threaten people with Brussel Sprouts and/or just simply  annoy you?


6 Comments

Thirteen of my favourite YouTube videos…

For those who aren’t aware, today is not a good day for me. I’ve spent the better part of it drinking through several bottles of wine and half a dozen cans of beer. So however much I want to write some random alcohol fuelled diatribe, perhaps now is not the best time.

Instead, I will share thirteen of my favourite YouTube videos; all of which I have watched at various times today to either (a) distract me, (b) make me smile/laugh or (c) distract me a bit more. Perhaps you too will get some enjoyment from them :)

Try (P!nk)

I still haven’t had the chance to listen to the entire of the new album, but I’m loving this track.

Doctor Who: Time Crash

This was filmed as a Children in Need Doctor Who special in 2007 featuring David Tennant and Peter Davison. I love it.

Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp

This is one of my favourite Doctor Who scenes of all time. Never fails to make me laugh.

Taking Back the Land (Paul Mounsey)

Paul Mounsey is a Scottish musician whom I have adored for years. This, is one my favourites.

Black Books: Bernard and Manny write a children’s book

One of my favourite sequences from UK comedy Black Books.

Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens

An epic speech that I know off by heart. One of my favourite Matt Smith moments.

Supernatural: The French Connection

Okay, so it was season 2 that I watched five years ago, but this scene from season 6 is magnificent (Jared and Jensen play Dean and Sam who end up in a parallel universe playing Jared and Jensen filming an episode of Supernatural)

Slacker (Opening scene)

One of my favourite indie movies of all time.

Doctor Who: The Last of the Timelords

This episode, and the preceeding two parts of the trilogy, helped me during my long depression this time in 2007.

Skins: Season 1 ending

I love this show. I love this season ending.

My Neighbor Totoro (Theme)

A beautiful piece of music with lots of memories attached.

Eddie Izzard: Cats and Dogs sketch

My favourite stand-up comedian, bar none.

The Story (Brandi Carlile)

A song that will always remind me of the period when I began writing this blog five years ago. So much more relevant to me now.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow. Until then, take care of yourselves, and have a wonderful day :)