I use the word ‘business’ too much in my writing. Those kind of verbal crutches or tics can become very annoying. I notice them when reading other people’s work (someone in SFX magazine has a thing about ‘thing’ at the moment) so I can only apologise to people being driven insane by my own repetitious repartee. I do try and catch these things, and I promise from this moment onwards (having just submitted my review of Hide) I shan’t be using ‘business’ again… unless writing about a business.
Something else, when I write these reviews, sometimes the words seem spikier when I first concoct them. A small part of me then wonders what reaction there’ll be to my fairly robust broadside about the number of DVD reissues along the way. Then when I see it on the page, it somehow doesn’t seem so aggressive anymore. Besides, you’re always a fool if you’re assuming there’ll be a reaction…
Back! Back! Back! On a bit of a drive to increase my freelance output, I asked Tom and Peter if DWM had any work going for me. Much of this review was written on a train journey, returning from Glasgow to London. Until that point, I’d been struggling to join up the metaphorical dots in the piece, but then – mainly because I had little else to occupy my time – I kind of cracked it.
Tom, upon receiving it, told me, “I’m very happy with that one!” (which, I always think, implies he’s not so keen on my other stuff) while Peter said it was the best review I’d written for them. That was nice.
When DWM #449 was published, online someone opined: “I thought the Graham Kibble White review of Death to the Daleks was dreadful. It felt like it was cut and pasted from a larger article and ended up in the magazine as disjointed paragraphs , it seemed very odd.”
From DWM #441. I wanted to write something robust, not maudlin, despite the obvious shadow hanging over this final series of SJA – and that’s why I kept the Elisabeth Sladen stuff till the end. Particularly as I knew the previous issue was a special in tribute to her.
Re-reading the review now, though, that final line – which is an echo of the final onscreen caption – does still feel a bit too loaded. Continue reading →
Unsurprisingly, following on from my last post, this became my final regular DVD review. It’s from DWM #428, which was – bizarrely – a soap opera-themed edition. As it happened, Chris Hughes and myself wrote the lead feature in that issue, an essay on how comparable, if at all, Doctor Who is to the likes of EastEnders or Corrie. But that’s not for this blog.
Let’s get back to me quitting…
I’d been reviewing the DVD releases for about a year. A year of spending all my lunchbreaks watching or writing about Doctor Who. Often weekends too. Whether you think my stuff was any good or not, those reviews were incredibly densely written. It’s very labour intensive. I don’t think it’s speaking out of turn to reveal that my predecessor/successor Gary Gillatt feels the same about the job. You’re competing with decades of fan-writing, trying to find new threads, new arguments…
And so I told Tom and Peter at DWM I wanted to stop. At least doing it regularly. So far I’ve returned to write one other DVD review, and there may be more… there may not. For me, it’s more fun reviewing the current series on TV. In some ways, that’s more of a challenge. You can’t be as irreverent, it’s a more political situation, it’s a quicker churn and – well – it’s just more alive.
Having made the decision this was to be my swansong, I then cocked it up by referring to the character of Sir Colin as “Sir Charles” throughout (corrected here).
When I first submitted this piece, the preternaturally personable Peter Ware at DWM gently advised me I had to change the opening. I’d been bold, and slung in a wholly critical remark about something/someone (forgive me for being vague)… with the ‘joke’ being, later on in the piece, I’d recant completely. But, as the principled Peter pointed out, readers would possibly never get beyond that jibe.
It was a good point, and so I rewrote. I’m glad I did, even though my pay-off in the second paragraph is now very flabby indeed. But the original draft would have haunted me forever,
From DWM #418, and after this one was published, one esteemed colleague texted me to say he thought I’d found my voice. And another also got in touch to tell me how disappointed they were with one of my remarks. Continue reading →
From DWM #416, and after taking on a Hartnell and a Pertwee, suddenly it was a Sladen. I had quite a lot of fun writing this one, mainly because I’d thought of the Tomorrow People angle beforehand, and that was enough to tip me into the rest of the review.Continue reading →