Sunday, September 29, 2019

"Life Is As Tedious As A Twice-Told Tale"

A slight return, dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's first From The North bloggerisationism update in almost a month will - by necessity - be a fairly short and matter-of-fact one. Which, this blogger assumes will come as something of a relief to those dear blog readers who often find the sheer verbosity of From The North somewhat intimidating. To briefly sum up where were at the end of August, this blogger had been and gone and got himself a (temporary) job, hadn't he? Well, the good news (especially considering that the last time he did something similar, in 2016, he lasted just over five weeks and ended up with clinical depression) is that he's still got it - or, at least, he is still working for the same company, albeit, from next week, in a different department. The work (and the environment and the colleagues that this blogger has been working with these last five weeks) have all been fine (in the case of the latter, better than fine). And - as those who have been following Keith Telly Topping's regular updates on how his employment has been progressing on his Facebook page will know - although the original three week contract, which was subsequently extended to five, has now ended, this blogger has succeeded in getting himself another gig with the same company. So, as a consequence, From The North will remain somewhat infrequently-updated for the time being whilst this blogger continues to pursue his professional commitments and, also, enjoys something of a minor revival of his - frequently missing-in-action - social life. At the same time, he has been regaling his social media fiends with regular tales of the tedium of two hours of public transport per day; how his MP3 player seems to have developed sentience and the ability to predict with uncanny accuracy what the day ahead is going to be like; shopping for new shoes; rediscovering the delights of slightly-more-expensive-than-normal Chinese takeaways; his dentistry misadventures; occasional bouts of mad insomnia; the day he thought he had lost his wallet (but, thankfully, hadn't); the Hellish roadworks at Benton Park Road roundabout; the glories of jam tarts (don't ask!) and this blogger's colleague Malcolm having an even better knowledge of British film history than Keith Telly Topping his very self. In a nutshell, this blogger has been rather enjoying life much more than he has done in quite while. To be blunt, dear blog reader, this blogger somewhat needed an (albeit short-term) return to the banality of a structured working week for the sake of not only his bank balance but, also, his mental well-being. Normal From The North service will, eventually, resume, of course. But, not just yet.
At work, this blogger's desk was, initially, sandwiched between a - very nice - younger chap called Steven who is a big sports fan, so at least this blogger could chat to him (between phone calls) about football, boxing or cycling. On the other side was Malcolm who, as noted appears to know as much, if not more about telly and (specifically) British movies than this blogger does. So, one day, Keith Telly Topping took a copy of his 2004 book on British horror movies, A Vault of Horror in to see if that impressed Mal! As this blogger predicted to his Facebook fiends in advance, Malcolm spent most of the following morning, a Sunday (between a handful of calls) reading the book cover-to-cover and occasionally tutting 'well, that's wrong!' or 'you should have included Horror Hospital!' He was, of course, absolutely correct on both occasions, it was and this blogger should have (although the mistake he spotted was, in fact, a captioning error so, it was nowt to do with the author. That's Keith Telly Topping's excuse and he is sticking to it).
So, anyway, yer actual Christopher Eccleston has been announced as a guest at the annual Gallifrey One Convention to be held in Los Angeles early next year. The appearance will see the actor attend both days of the convention, now in its thirty-first year. Big Ecc had, for many years, been reluctant to discuss his time in Doctor Who. He was cast as The Doctor when the series returned to TV in 2005, but only served for one series. However, in recent years he has been more amenable to discussing his role as The Doctor and in his recent autobiography, he paid generous tribute to the show's fans: 'Yes, I have felt bitter and yes, I have felt betrayed, but I know also that Doctor Who was the best thing that, professionally, ever happened to me, not so much a learning curve as a plunge down a well and a long climb towards the sunshine I see now. These days, I feel nothing but positive about the show, to the extent I have even started doing conventions, something I'd been wary of because I always wanted to earn my money from acting.' He also revealed how meeting his fans at conventions has 'healed' him after some difficult years. Ecc has recently released a new - and highly acclaimed - memoir I Love The Bones Of You: My Father & The Making Of Me, a gritty account of his life, his battles and his relationship with his father, who currently suffers from dementia. In the book, the actor discusses his own mental health, revealing that he has lived with eating disorders and once considered suicide. He revealed that while making Doctor Who he was suffering from anorexia. 'People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill. The reward for that illness was the part. And therein lies the perpetuation of the whole sorry situation.' A spokesperson for the eating disorder charity, Beat, has praised the actor's courage speaking about having anorexia. Christopher, meanwhile, will be discussing the book at a forthcoming public event being held at The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays on Monday 14 October.
Recommended reading for all of those suffering with From The North withdrawal is the Gruniad's Kate Abbott's piece We Got Obama Elected! West Wing Stars Relive The Parties, Pranks & Power Games, an impressive series of interviews related to the From The North favourite and its immense impact on both television and - for a while - real-life politics in the US and beyond.
There is a fine round-up of the recent EMMY-award ceremony in Los Angeles at the BBC News website on what was a triumphant night for Fleabag and for several From The North favourites - Game Of Thrones, Killing Eve, A Very British Scandal and Chernobyl.
From The North favourite Peaky Blinders concluded its six-episode fifth series last week with a suitably apocalyptic and extraordinary finale. There is a useful round-up of several of the more positive reviews (and, one particularly whinging one from some prick of no importance at the Daily Torygraph) here which manages to, rather, damn the episode with faint praise. The Gruniad's review, by Sarah Hughes, is probably the best example of those reviewers who, essentially, got it. Also recommended is a piece by the same newspaper's Andy Welsh on the popular Birmingham period gangster drama's A-list international fandom.
And, speaking of the Gruniad Morning Star, congratulations to the paper for producing Met Chief 'Outraged' At Line Of Duty Over Corruption Portrayal in which London's most senior policewoman, seemingly, hasn't got enough to do in trying - and failing - to deal with a knife-crime epidemic and various other illegal doing in the nation's capital but, instead, wishes to revocate and become a TV critic. At the risk of sounding a bit patronising, this blogger's advice to the excellently-named Cressida Dick is simple; stick to your day job, madam and leave the reviewing of excellent TV dramas to the professionals. Or, indeed, the amateurs like this blogger.
And finally, from this much-shorter-than-usual bloggerisastionisms update, dear blog reader, From The North's TV Comedy Line Of The Week award. Which, of course, comes from the latest episode of From The North favourite Qi's Q series - Queasy Quacks - which featured From The North favourite yer actual Victoria Coren Mitchell. And her story about, during the filming of Balderdash & Piffle, explaining one potential (though, probably dubious) origin for the word 'codswallop' on-camera whilst holding a pair of rams testicles. 'We went to a butchers shop,' Victoria noted before adding that the knackers of a ram are 'enormous,' much to Claudia Whatsherface's obvious amusement. 'Can I just say this is not the direction I thought [this piece of the episode] was going to go in,' interjected a horrified Sandi Toksvig.
One last thing worth mentioning, dear blog reader, was Keith Telly Topping's absolute favourite news story of the last month, which you can read all about here. The police, of course, say that they have 'nothing to go on.' Come on, this blogger is working with limited material here ...
And, on that bombshell, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping now returns the Interweb to its recent From The North-free state. It's been emotional ...