Elizabeth Wurtzel on the opioid crisis:
"If I had not been in a 72-hour hold the first time I tried, it would not have happened. Of course, it never works the first time unless you aren’t an addict. Relapse is part of quitting. Only the resilient-as-all-get-out get through. I know a lot of people who died because they could not go on without heroin and they did too much or the wrong stuff. That is how you die. Dope-sick people who are desperate do something that kills them. You have to keep trying." [Time]


TV Good evening. I know I haven't been around much anymore, but some extra shifts at work and writers block have forced a certain lethargy in relation to this blog. Anxiety has led to me seeking passive routines, as it so often does, so I've been mainlining the From The Archive section of the BBC iPlayer and Lindsay Ellis's film essays during the day and watching a film every night after dinner and then some Doctor Who. I'm roughly half way through a rewatch of the Capaldi era (see this Twitter thread).

But you didn't come here for such scrutiny of the centriole.  Tonight we received the next step in my favourite franchise's regeneration, the release of the new logo and an even greater idea of the direction the show is heading under the stewardship of Captain Chris.  Find above the recently released animation designed to introduce the logo, although the YouTube thumbnail rather gives away the surprise.

My guess this is the opening chunk of the new title sequence, the TARDIS dodging through space creating the title before dodging onward into the usual tunnel or whatever.  You could imagine this being used when the show appears on commercial television as the advertising buffer and as a piece of visual theatre it has an epic quality which would work within a variety of settings in and of itself.

The official Who social media has also released what the logo might look like in merchandising situ or on posters, in this case what would work just well as a vinyl cover for the soundtrack album.  Notice that because 13th (15th) is mainly in silhouette we can't see what she's doing with her hands so still no idea about pockets.  The bum bag can't be the ultimate solution, can it?  Even if it is dimensionally transcendental?

That fanny pack really is a strange choice.  In her post-regenerative torpor will she be struggling with being a different gender and not knowing what to do with things?  Are we to expect that she'll try the bum bag, realise its stupid and simply add pockets to her costume realising that girls can have those too?  Or will she try out various luggage across the series.  Perplexed, Liverpool.

Speaking of Liverpool, this has probably been released because of the presentation at the Echo Arena this week at which its been revealed that the show won't be returning until October, which makes some sense given that its only ten episodes this time around and means that Strictly will be able to get its massively long opening episodes out of its system before Who launches.  No news on the potential Sunday move though.

Oh the logo?  I love it.  It feels very NOW! and doesn't conform to anything else we've had before which is as it should be and in a similar way to the taxi cab logo of the RTD era.  It is thin, but that should only mean that merchandisers will have to be more creative with how it appears on covers.  DWM has more recently had a flat colour behind the logo so they'll just need continue with that but with darker shades.

It also fits the latest trend of putting the company name above a franchise title and this placement reminds me especially of MARVEL Studios. The BBC have previously tended to drop it at the bottom of the frame of a title screen and its good to see this variation which you would hope could be applied to all programming with a bespoke logo.  Unless that's just for this launch.

The official website has also uploaded a wallpaper friendly version of the above image:

And what must be how the logo will appear in smaller spaces:

Which curiously would have been a perfectly fine variation on the circular BBC One ident before it was replaced with the current earthlings in their natural habitat selection we have now.  I do like how the line through the O somewhat resembles the circles around a planet and the H has an element of the alien script about it.  Not sure what a whole font based on this would look like.

In terms of logo hierarchy it's right up there.  I almost expected a return to the Pertwee logo from the TV Movie which I'll always covert due to it being from the time I became a fan.  But it's certainly better than the one from the Matt Smith era with the stupid DW Tardis shape in the middle.  Anyway, here go again.  Now I'm off to watch The Zygon Inversion.
Gemma Arterton's latest project as producer as well as actress, features Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf (stepping in for Romola Garai who was originally attached) (good lord). She's playing Vita Sackville-West. It's based on Eileen Atkins' play Vita & Virginia.
"While many accounts of Woolf turn towards her troubled later years, this film shows her at her most vibrant, according to Arterton. “She wrote such vivid stories, full of inspiration and energy and creativity and humour and wit,” she says. “I don’t know if we’ve seen that side, because the fascination with her is always the end of her life, which is sad, I think. They were only lovers for a small period of time, but they were great friends.”" [Screen Daly]
The Gallifrey One convention was this weekend and CNN attended, interviewing Chris Achilleos and various cosplayers. God I love this series. Still.

Monopoly Walk:
Old Kent Road, Whitechapel & Kings Cross Station.

Travel Yesterday during one of my monthly London trips, I began walking the Monopoly board, or rather the places listed in the Monopoly board as a reason to visit some of the less obvious places to visit in the city if you're a tourist. I've begun a Twitter thread for the occasion:

This won't be every month. If I discovered anything yesterday, it's that with time this precious and tickets to the capital still this expensive even at thirty odd pounds return I'm probably best concentrating on see the world's treasure houses rather than the inside of an Aldi in a different part of the country (they all look the same you know).

Mural depicting the History of Old Kent Road

The most delightful and unexpected surprise. On the corner of Old Kent Road and Peckham High Road is what was once the North Peckham Civic Centre when when it opened in 1966 included on its exterior walls a mural by artist Adam Kossowski depicting the history of Old Kent Road from its Roman origins through the the 1960s, from patricians to pearly kings and queens. I did take some photos but none of them are as good as those you can find on an average Google image search.  Historic England has a long entry about the murals and Exploring Southwark a tldr with more pictures.

The obvious surprise is how it's almost a pictorial depiction of Shakespeare's history plays with Henry V and the Jack Cade rebellion from Henry VI.  The Old Kent Road itself doesn't appear to have been mentioned in the Complete Works, but it does demonstrate that however run down it is now, at one point the road was a key thorough fair and a vital route in and out of the city.  That said, I did witness a rebellion in that Aldi because they'd run out of change and the staff weren't being allowed to go home because they were too busy and the next shift didn't start for hours.

The Whitechapel Gallery

Closed on Mondays.  But it was still nice to stand outside and look through the window.  They seem to be between exhibitions.  Elsewhere, I enjoyed a decent bowl of Lentil soup in the public library and found a blu-ray copy of Atomic Blonde for £3 in a charity shop so it wasn't a completely wasted journey.

Ffestiniog Railway

Currently on the concourse of Kings Cross Station, Ffestiniog Railway have installed two steam locomotives and a passenger carriage to publicise the destination. Ian Visits has a short piece about the, well, visit, with a shot of an engine being driven into place. As you can see I was very pleased to be there:

Ruth Wilson is about to take part in very a personal passion project.
"But in April, she finally begins filming a long dreamed of project: a drama for the BBC and PBS in America that will tell the story of her paternal grandparents. In Mrs Wilson, which is written by Anna Symon and directed by Richard Laxton, she will play her grandmother, Alice, who only discovered after his death that her husband, Alexander Wilson, was a bigamist. (After Alice’s death, Wilson’s father found out that Alexander, an MI6 officer who wrote spy novels, had in fact been married not twice, but four times; none of his wives and various children knew of one another.) “It has been such a long process,” she says. “Getting a committed answer from the BBC took a while. But that might be a good thing. We’ve had time to talk to everyone, to make sure they feel OK with it.”" [The Guardian]
Daniel Kaluuya played Barclay in Doctor Who's Planet of the Dead. Wow:
"For the best part of two years, Daniel Kaluuya has lived and worked in the US, where his elevation to fame – sudden, unexpected, by turns gratifying and alarming – has made him look differently on his native UK. “I think there’s more room in the US to create something and see what happens,” the 28-year-old says, while unwinding after a photoshoot in New York, where he is taking a break from LA awards shows. (A week after our meeting, Kaluuya is nominated for an Oscar for Get Out; the film was also nominated at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards.) “While in England, I feel, there’s The Way and if you don’t fit in with The Way, then you don’t fit in. A lot of people think their way is The Way. I think my way is a way. And you’re imposing your way on to my way, and I’m like: no way.” [The Guardian]
I want my CRT. The Verge offers a history of the tube television and the people attempting to preserve it.
"CRTs were once synonymous with television. By 1960, nearly 90 percent of American households had one. But at the turn of the millennium, their popularity rapidly decayed as LCD panels flooded the market. Even though CRTs comprised an estimated 85 percent of US television sales in 2003, analysts were already predicting the technology’s demise. In 2008, LCD panels outsold CRTs worldwide for the first time. Sony shut down its last manufacturing plants that same year, essentially abandoning its famous Trinitron CRT brand. By 2014, even stronghold markets like India were fading, with local manufacturers switching to flat-panel displays." [The Verge]
A selection of Soviet era Star Wars posters, few of which actually illustrate the films:
"Yuri Bokser and Alexander Chantsev created this poster, along with three others (all below), to commemorate the lifting of the ban. Some critics have described Star Wars as a ‘space Western’ but Bokser and Chantsev make visualised the idea. Perhaps they were just ahead of the curve, though – the bounty hunter Cad Bane wears the Star Wars’ version of a cowboy hat on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series and there was a kind of horse-racing in The Last Jedi." [BBC]

The 231163 Diaries:
Colin Churcher.

Transport Colin Churcher has worked in and around the railways in the UK and Canada. He still keeps a diary in the form of a blog which can be seen here.

Everything he's ever written seems to be available on this website.

In 1963 Churcher was working as a Management Trainee on British Railways.

Saturday 23 November

I came home from Reading to Orpington by a novel route this morning. I caught the 09.45 steam train to Redhill. We left Guildford three minutes late at 10.54 and were three minutes late into Redhill at 11.49. We were hauled by a Southern 2-6-0 (I didn't get the number). The engine seemed to cope with the two coaches quite well but I think the service could be speeded up. The train was old Southern straight-sided coaching stock, one compartment and one saloon. At Redhill, the train reverses and forms the 12.11 to Tonbridge. We had another 2-6-0, a U class. I changed to the saloon coach which was extremely comfortable. What a difference. Before Redhill, the train was almost empty and very slow. After Redhill, it was packed with people standing and the service was much faster. The 2-6-0 really had to work hard to maintain the schedule. The driver was using a long cut-off and then notched her right up without any intermediate stages. This section of line is much flatter and we reached quite high speeds. At Tonbridge I caught the 13.14 electric train to Orpington which arrived at 13.35 - extremely good service. The weather was quite bright and I enjoyed the trip through the Surrey and Kent countryside.
Welcome essay from Mona Eltahawy about teaching girls how to rage:
"One day when I was four years old, a man stopped his car on the street under my family’s balcony, pulled his penis out of his pants and beckoned for me to come down. He did the same to my friend who had been talking to me from her family’s balcony across the street. I was so small that I needed a stool to see my friend from above the balcony railing. I was enraged. I waved my slipper at him to frighten him away." [NBC News]
Margot Robbie receives the Harmony Cousins treatment in The Guardian and she sounds like incredible company:
"When Robbie got her gig in Pan Am, which was broadcast for a few months before its cancellation in 2012, she found it “lonely. You were supposed to be all segregated into different departments, which felt weird. I remember knocking on other people’s doors and saying: ‘Uh, do you want to hang out?’ ” She liked the informal nooks where the runners and makeup deputies and third-rung assistant directors (the third ADs) killed time. “I don’t know, I was closer in age to them. They seemed more like my friends from back home.”" [The Guardian]
This Collider article repeats what I've been saying for years. Streaming is no substitute for a physical disk.
"I started collecting DVDs in my senior year of high school, and continued to collect them throughout college, which, in retrospect, was not the smartest idea since at the end of every school year I would have to pack up boxes and boxes of DVDs to either send home or store with family who lived near campus. And yet I don’t regret collecting these DVDs because it gave me a valuable resource and a way to dive into movies. The age of DVDs was a bit of a renaissance for film fans since A) we finally got our movies in the correct aspect ratio as opposed to the days of pan-and-scan on VHS; B) there could be a wealth of special features that sometimes functioned like film school in a box; and C) there was an easy way to share movies I loved with friends." [Collider]
My Two favourite non-fictional Rachels together at last.

The 23111963 Diaries:
A Country Diary.

Nature A Country Diary was first published in The Guardian in November 1906

For a few paragraphs those of us stuck in cities are provided with a window into rural areas and landscapes most of us can only imagine.

The column covering the weekend of the 23rd to 27th published on the 30th November is attributed to a writer E.D. and I'd welcome any help in identifying who that is.


Conway, November 27

Snow was reported on the higher parts of Denbigh moors some ten days ago but in the three days it had disappeared. The Snowdonia range, viewed from to of Bryn Euryn, has not yet been capped with snow or hail, nor has the frost blighted the gardens on this strip of the North West coast. One could say it has been a very mild autumn, and spring bulbs are already showing on my rockery and the beds around the lawn.  They include anemones and hyacinths, with bluebells well on the way.  There has been more rain and wind than average this November but this does not delay the bulbs.  In spite of the high winds odd sycamore trees still blaze with bright yellow, and gorse is now adding to the colour on the hills.

The gulls seem to enjoy the high winds, and their mastery of swooping flight is wonderful to watch.  This morning a few rooks joined the common and herring gulls in the fantastic flying exhibition.  They, too, seemed to be filled with the spirit of spring even before winter officially starts.  This feeling is underlined by the call of the great tit which has been sounding for the last week.  Maybe this coming winter will not be too bad, although fieldfare and redwing are still missing from their usual haunts.

The newest columns are here.

January Is Finally Over.

About New month. Welcome to February, Tennessee.

The 231163 Diaries:
Drew Pearson.

Politics Andrew Russell "Drew" Pearson was one of the best-known American columnists of his day, noted for his syndicated newspaper column “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” in which he criticized various public persons.

The New Yorker has a long profile which outlines how his column was directed at various Presidents across the year, especially Kennedy, and Johnson, with whom he had been a friend and ally to since the 1930s.

I've included entries for both Friday and Saturday to show how close some people were to be being a direct eyewitnesses to history.  


Having worked until about one, I set my alarm for five thirty, got up and wrote one column on the Bobby Baker oil scandal, said good- bye to [grandsons] Lyndon and Danny, and caught a 9:00 a.m. plane to Dallas. En route [to the airport] Tyler told me I should accept an invitation from the Lyndon Johnsons to stay all night tomorrow after the president and Jackie have left the [LBJ] ranch. I am scheduled to speak at Southwestern Teachers College at San Marcos, where Lyndon graduated, and the next day at Wichita Falls, so it would be very difficult for me to go to the ranch.

We arrived at Austin [from Dallas] at approximately one thirty, twenty minutes late. The Braniff [airline] manager met me at the steps of the plane to tell me that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas; that Governor Connally had been severely wounded . . . At first I thought he was joking. Only when he repeated the information did I realize that he was not. Three students from San Marcos met me, together with the AFL- CIO representative, and they confirmed the news. We drove to the Hotel Driskill, where the lobby was full of Texans, also silent, also helpless. I went to my room and started dictating a column to Washington in tribute to John F. Kennedy. It was not easy to do. It was easy to pay tribute because I think he deserved great tribute. But to remember the high points in his life in fifteen minutes was difficult.

. . . San Marcos canceled my lecture, which was a relief, and the Wichita Falls people canceled too. The nation is stunned.

. . . The news came in that a man had been apprehended named Oswald, who had been a Castroite and had gone to Moscow to live for five years. He has a Russian wife. It looks to me a little bit too much as if the Dallas police, who are not known either for their efficiency or their lack of prejudice, are taking the easy way out.


Bess and I arrived at Dulles Airport, having flown from Dallas, with a raft of luggage belonging to the new president and the new first lady. The White House car met us, and for the first time I realized that the new president of the United States was in office who had been an old and very dear friend of mine and that possibly I might now have some entrĂ©e at the White House. I have been thirty- seven years in Washington and still have never been really in the good graces of any president. Probably I won’t be in Lyndon’s graces very long. We dined at the Averell Harriman’s. George Baker, Averell’s old manager, was there, together with Clayton Fritchey . . . when Ken Galbraith, former ambassador to India, came in after dinner, we talked in a most intimate manner about Johnson.

At his [Johnson’s] first cabinet meeting, held today, Ken said that Johnson had made the point that he was for civil rights as a general principle of human achievement, not merely because it was part of the Kennedy program.

And here is the aforementioned column which was published on the 23rd November:

Drew Pearson


The Washington Merry-Go-Round

-- Texans Stunned by Assassination --

Austin -- Texans gathered in little groups at the airport and the hotel lobbies.  They were very quiet.  The President of the United States had been killed on their soil.  He has been killed just as they were preparing to give him an all-out texas welcome.  And he had been killed by one of their own.

One of their own had now become President, but they didn't think of that.  They only thought of a gay, smiling young man with his beautiful wife, who had come to see them and they had returned his warmth, his friendship, by shooting him down.

What made it worse -- the Dallas news had carried a full-page ad that morning castigating Kennedy -- a rightwing welcome full of hate which the majority of Texans did not share.  How could Texas ever live down this shame?

At first, people who gathered in little groups in the horal lobbies couldn't really believe it.  Finally the grim, awesome truth sank in.

What was the President really like?  they asked me.

He was wise for his age, I said, wise in the ways of government.  He was one of the rare combinations of youth, wisdom, devotion, gaiety, and humor.  He worked hard, yet played hard.  He enjoyed his job.  He had great ambitions for the peace of the world -- and if he had loved I think he would have achieved that peace.

We studied as few other Presidents have studied; he knew the intimate details of government.  He had the ability to absorb figures, to read like lightening; his memory was phenomenal.  Yet, with it all, the milk of human kindness flowed flush in his veins.  There was nothing metallic about him.  He was methodical without being mechanical.

-- Acknowledge Mistakes --

Yes, he made mistakes, but he never ducked responsibility for them -- as after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.  And he grew with the mistakes.

His greatest growth came last summer with his speech at American University -- a Woodrow Wilson masterpiece -- charting the course of the United States toward the only possible goal in this atomic age -- coexistence.

And his sense of humor?  No other President since Franklin D. Roosevekt has had one like his.  It was fresh, spontaneous and natural.

I remember introducing him before about 800 people at a Big Brothers dinner with the usual introduction, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States."

Quick as a flash he came back:

"I trust," he said, "that the brevity of Drew's introduction was dictated by the convention.  I was hoping to get him on the record."

Naturally, one remembers the incidents that are personal.  I recall another incident when I was dining at the White House at a State Function in honor of President Betencourt of Venezuela.

Afterward, the Vice President, now President Johnson, told me of a little conversation which took place upstairs between Presidents Kennedy and Betancourt.

"When we go downstairs," Kennedy told Betancourt, "You will meets a newspaperman who has been a great friend of yours -- Drew Pearson.  I wish that he was as friendly to me as he is to you."

"In Venezuela," replied Betancourt, "You have a much better press than I do too."

Then there was the wisecrack Kennedy enjoyed telling when Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada was about to come see him at Hyannis Port.

Kennedy, talking to a group of radio and TV executives, got off this quip:

"I know you'll be interested in the meeting with the new Canadian Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, at Hyannis Port.  This meeting almost didn't come off.

"Serious complications arose when the Canadian Ambassador came to see me.  He was shuffling through some papers on my desk, managed to decipher some rather illegible handwriting, and noticed a notation which read, 'What will we do with this S.O.B. Pearson?'

"I had a hard time," President Kennedy said, "Explaining that this was a paper left over from the Truman Administration and that the Pearson referred to was Drew."

--- Suffering Brought Understanding --

There was an important difference between Jack Kennedy and his brother Bobby.  If anything, Rober Kennedy is more efficient than his late brother.  He works even harder, knows government extremely well.  But Bobby lacks the warmth, the understanding of human nature that featured his elder brother.

It was this great understanding of humanity that prompted Kennedy's drive for civil rights and his championship of the underdog.  Some people wondered how a young man so full of life, who loved gaiety, who enjoyed his friends from Hollywood, could be so serious, so determined in his crusade for the negroes and the less privileged.

I am sure it was the long period he spent in hospitals, recovering from his back injury, when he had nothing to do but reflect on the problems of mankind.

Sometimes I have thought that the thing that give the late President his depth of understanding was his suffering in World War II.  Before that, he was like the young and debonair Franklin D. Roosevelt before his attack of polio.  But with great human suffering, Roosevelt took on stature that eventually made him one of the great Presidents of the United States.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, with similar human suffering in the South Pacific, had acquired the same sympathy and understanding, and if a Texas assassin had not shot him down, he too would have become one of our great presidents.

The 231163 Diaries:
Alistair Cooke.

Radio Alistair Cooke was a British-American journalist, television personality and broadcaster (he's pictured above in New York in the late 1960s with his wife Jane).

The edition of his Letter from America broadcast at 7:30pm the 24th November inevitably considers the assassination of JFK and is available to listen to on the BBC website.

There is also a transcript and although its too long to be copied here, this section addresses directly what it must have been like in the US over that weekend.

If we pause and run over the record of the very slow translation of these ideals into law – the hairbreadth defeat of the medical care for the aged plan, the shelving (after a year of strenuous labour) of the tax bill, the perilous reluctance of the Congress to tame the negro revolution now with a civil rights law – we have to admit that the clear trumpet sound of the Kennedy inaugural has been sadly soured down three short years.

Any intelligent American family sitting around a few weeks ago would have granted these deep disappointments, and many thoughtful men were beginning to wonder if the president’s powers were not a mockery of his office, since he can be thwarted from getting any laws passed at all by the simple obstructionism of a dozen chairmen of Congressional committees, most of them by the irony of a seniority system that gives more and more power to old men who keep getting re-elected by the same states, most of them from the south.

But that same American family sitting around this weekend could live with these disappointments, but not with the great one, the sense that the new generation born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, unwilling to witness or permit was struck down lifeless, unable to witness or permit or not to permit anything.

When it’s possible to be reasonable, we will all realise, calling on our everyday fatalism, that if John Kennedy was 46 and his brother in his late thirties, most of the men around him were in their fifties and some in their sixties, and that therefore we fell for a day or two in November 1963 into a sentimental fit. However, we are not yet reasonable. The self-protective fatalism, which tells most of us that what has been must be, has not yet restored us to the humdrum course of life.  [Source.]

Cooke would later be an eyewitness to the murder of Bobby Kennedy in 1968 while he was The Guardian's Chief US Correspondent.  The paper has published his dispatch along with related archive materials.

The 231163 Diaries:
Sir John Gielgud.

Theatre Gielgud's entry, a letter to his long term partner, is a reminder that despite the backdrop of a Presidential assassination, most people did just get on with their lives, that it didn't preclude the usual weekend hedonism. 

 The actor would later give a Shakespeare recitation, of sonnets, at the groundbreaking of the Kennedy Center in 1964 in the presence of Lady Bird Johnson (see the Kat Graham entry), during his run in Hamlet on Broadway (see above).

To Paul Anstee

26 November, Sydney

Had a mad weekend at a seaside bungalow. Visited various rich queens in the neighbourhood (Whale Beach). Rather exhausting altogether, but quite fun too. They all have wonderful views out of huge glass pseudo-modern houses, but no space round. Everyone seems to build on top of everyone else. Pretty hideous furnishings - bars the central feature of every sitting room. Most of them have good pictures - the locals are very expensive (I mean the artists' pictures) and everyone vies to have a good collection before they go to England and become top price best sellers like Sidney Nolan.

Most of the gentlemen in Sydney wear shorts with white stockings - only successful on the young and slim of course. John [Perry] is thrifty as a bead bag and won't let me fritter money, so I dare say I shall return quite a wealthy old lady.

[Source: GIELGUD, Sir John. 2004. Sir John Gielgud: A Life in Letters. Arcade Publishing.]

The 231163 Files:
Thomas Merton.

Religion Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.

Notice how this entry must have been written before the full facts were made available and just as is the case now, people were scrambling for explanations.  The next entry in the volume is from the 1st December so we can't be sure how he felt about Oswald's death on the day this entry was apparently written.

James W. Douglass, a successor in the field of theology would use Merton's writing as a prism in his own meditation on JFK's assassination.

November 23rd, 1963

When I came in from the woods yesterday, Brother Aidan met me in the door of the novitiate and told me the president had been shot and died, in Texas, an hour and a half before.

The whole thing leaves one bewildered and slightly sick.  Sick for the madness, ferocity, stupidity, aimless cruely that is the mark of so great a part of this country.  Essentially the same blind, idiot destructiveness and hate that killed Medgar Evers in Jackson, the Negro children in Birmingham.  I do not know what was the motive of this absurd assassination - whether it was over the race question or not, or just fanaticism.  The country is full of madness, and we are going to know this more and more.

[Source: MERTON, Thomas.  2001.  The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals.  Bravo Ltd.]
Barry Norman interviews Hugh Grant in typically brutal fashion on Film 97: "I hate to re-open old wounds but your misadventures on Sunset Boulevard...."

The 231163 Diaries:
Pope Paul VI.

Religion Pope Paul VI, born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini was pontiff between 1963 and 1978. In his address on the 23rd December 1963, he mentions the events of the day before then heads off into agricultural matters. The two met earlier in the year:


Saturday 23 November 1963.

Your Excellencies and Gentlemen,

While we welcome you here today, We cannot commence Our discourse without a reference to the tragic death of the President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We wish to reiterate here the sentiments to which We have already given public expression: of deploration of the criminal action; of admiration for the man and the statesman; of prayers for his eternal repose, for his country, and for the world, which recognized in him a great leader; and finally of prayerful wishes that his death may not hinder the cause of peace, but serve as a sacrifice and an example for the good of all mankind.

We take this occasion to send Our greetings to all the nations represented at this Audience, especially to those who have recently become members and associates of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

We pray that God may grant each country prosperity and peace, in international cooperation, and in well-organized modernized work-for work was not cursed by God, when He said: «In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread» (Gen. 3, 19); that is, the honest sweat of good labour, according to the example of Christ, Who was Himself a workman.

To solve the grave problem of the life of human kind, this, then, is the right road: to increase the supply of bread, of food; and not to mortify and destroy the fecundity of life, for the Creator ordered His first creatures to «Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth» (Gen. 9, 1).

We congratulate you on your notable accomplishments in this regard, We pray that your efforts to help the human race by incrementing its food supply may be ever more successful, and to you, your collaborators and your families, We gladly impart a special Apostolic Blessing.

Big Finish have brought the entire original Torchwood team back together and hopefully it'll be set during the half decent second series rather than the mostly rubbish first or be better than both as is customary with audio Torchwood:
“It’s been ten years since there's been an adventure featuring Jack, Gwen, Ianto, Tosh and Owen,” says writer Guy Adams, “and coming up with something big enough – and complex enough – to need them was great fun. After all, taking down an entire religion isn’t easy. But if anyone can do it…” [Big Finish]
President Richard Nixon meets our Royal Family in 1969:

Samantha Bee, one corner of my Oliver/Myers/Bee US satire info triangle, interviewed:
"“That’s the loudest, most unfiltered version of me that exists,” she says. “In my private life, I’m not like that at all. I don’t kick doors in and walk into meetings wowing everybody with my Entertainment Personality. It’s a wonderful 21-minute catharsis, once a week, but I don’t need to be that person in my day-to-day life.” Her 65-strong team of writers, producers, technicians and graphic designers is notable for its diversity: half of the staff are female and a third are non-white. “It’s not like we have solved the world’s diversity problem, but we do think about it all the time,” she says. “When we need to hire people, we think: let’s try to find a woman for this.”" [The Guardian]

Ben Jackson's Racist Past.

TV One of my Christmas presents this year (last year now?) was the superb The Doctor Who Audio Annual: Multi-Doctor stories, in which a variety of stories from the old World Publications have been recorded in the style of the Target novelisations by various luminaries, usually a companion from that era.

The stories in the earliest books, from the 1960s, are notoriously off-piste in their characterisation of the Doctor and his companions as is demonstrated in the choice of 2nd Doctor story, The King of Golden Dead from 1968.

"Dr. Who" and Ben and Polly land in an Egyptian tomb, recently buried and none of them come out of it well in moral terms, the bad place beckons.  The Doctor spends most of the "adventure" obsessed with trying to discover if its the final resting place of Tutankhamun, whilst trying to convince his companions not to rob the place.

Eventually an antagonist arrives in the form of some contemporary grave robbers attempting to find a way through which leads to a conversation in which, whoevers writing this, takes Ben's already pretty stupifying cockneyness into the teritory of a racial slur when describing their potential assailants:

Did you spot it?  The only reason I noticed it is because I'm reading along with the annuals so I can enjoy the illustrations with the narration.  For the most part the readings are accurate, a missed paragraph here, misunderstood letter or punctuation there.

On this occasion the script is rewritten for Anneke Wills who may not even have been aware of the original text.  Instead she says, "If there's so many take to his lark of robbing tombs of the mummies ..." which is perfectly fine and gets the point across even if the whole thing is entirely out of character for Mr Jackson.

When plenty of us folk were complaining about the treatment of the First Doctor in this year's Christmas special (last year?) with anachronistic language being used in an out of character way all of it was sexist, none of it racist. 

But notice that back in the 60s, the use of this word was considered fine in a children's annual, admittedly not put in the Doctor's mouth.  Perhaps a realistic depiction of Ben would have included this word, but it still jars, since it still feels fundamentally wrong for a character in this series who's supposed to be the hero.

That's the 60s annuals for you.

The 231163 Diaries:
Doctor Who preview from the Liverpool Echo.

TV Here is the preview published in the television pages of the Liverpool Echo on the 23rd November 1963.  Notice how even at this stage, an over-arching title was being utilised for the group of stories and also that it previews The Mutants aka The Daleks without actually mentioning them.