Classic Tunes: “Disorder” by Joy Division

I’m sitting here on New Year’s Eve, with barely ten minutes to go before 2014 is upon us, listening to some excellent music. At the moment, it’s Joy Division’s classic post-punk anthem 1979 debut album, Unknown Pleasures, released on the fledgling Factory Records indie label.

Playing right now is the first track, and one of my favourite tracks on the album, “Disorder”. This one sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album. It’s fast and emotionally charged, with Bernard Sumner’s aggressive, distorted guitars assaulting us in powerful, short riffs, Peter Hook’s driving, pulsating base providing the rhythm, backed up by Stephen Morris’ rhythmic, almost robotic, pounding drums. And over everything, Ian Curtis’ powerful, monotone baratone voice driving the song forward.

This deliciously chaotic tune is a great way to begin such an innovative, classic album. Joy Division, despite their tragically short career (only two studio albums, a live album and a handful of singles), are one of my favourite groups of all time, true pioneers of the post-punk/proto-goth scene. I can listen to this song (and the whole album) over and over again without ever getting fed up with it.

I feel a review of Unknown Pleasures coming up!

ON OUR WAY TO THE FUTURE edited by Terry Carr

We’ve certainly got an interesting anthology here, an oldish one from 1970. It’s also the first anthology posting (but definitely will not be the last) on this blog from another of my favourite SF anthologists, Terry Carr.

EDITED BY: Terry Carr
CATEGORY: Short Fiction
PUBLISHER: Ace Books, New York, 1970
FORMAT: Paperback, 253 pages.


  • Introduction by Terry Carr
  • Greenslaves by Frank Herbert (1965)
  • A Better Mousehole by Edgar Pangborn (1965)
  • Ballenger’s People by Kris Neville (1967)
  • King Solomon’s Ring by Roger Zelazny (1963)
  • Sundance by Robert Silverberg (1969)
  • Be Merry by Algis Budrys (1966)
  • Under the Dragon’s Tail by Philip Latham (1966)
  • A Taste for Dostoevsky by Brian W. Aldiss (1967)
  • Cyclops by Fritz Leiber (1965)
  • Goblin Night by James H. Schmitz (1965)

This anthology isn’t restricted to a single theme, as were the two Robert Silverberg anthologies in my previous posts, and is more of a general multi-theme “ten science fiction adventures in tomorrow” kind of thing, charting our journey into infinity, our way into the future. There’s a wider variety of stories here by big-name SF authors, stories which, up until the time of publication, had never appeared in paperback before.

As usual, I’ll continue working my way through the stories in this, and the previous anthologies, completely at random, in a totally haphazard fashion, pretty much as the whim takes me and when I get free time to do so. I usually just lift a book, any book, from the “to read” stack, and read any story that takes my fancy. Next time, I might do the same, but with a completely different anthology, and so on.

I don’t have any real system for reading, but usually pick my favourite authors first, then work my way down to least favourite (or authors I haven’t encountered before), The main postings themselves are more for providing general overall information about the various anthologies and individual author collections, but will also be interspersed with posts on the individual stories as and when I have read them.

Doctor Who: 50 Years in Space & Time (Part 5)

In my previous posts, I discussed the various 50th Anniversary activities in Doctor Who Magazine, the Radio Times and the TV Times, as well as the various television celebrations, in particular the 50th Anniversary Special itself, The Day of the Doctor, and the remarkable historical drama An Adventure in Space and Time.

The final big November 50th Anniversary landmark (as far as I’m concerned) was the much-anticipated DVD release of The Tenth Planet. The recent rediscovery of classic Patrick Troughton stories The Web of Fear and Enemy of the World had already caused a huge buzz in the world of Doctor Who, and the release of The Tenth Planet certainly added to that. One of the most important Doctor Who DVD releases of the year, it features the final adventure of the William Hartnell Doctor, as he and his companions Ben and Polly have their first-ever encounter with the Cybermen. The story is also a landmark as it features the very first regeneration of a Doctor into a new incarnation.

The DVD release of The Tenth Planet was something that I had been looking forward to for many years, never having seen the original VHS video release, although I have seen various surviving clips which feature on the Lost in Time DVD box-set. I do have a few very dim memories of some parts of this story from its original 1966 airing on BBC1, although these are only extremely brief, vague flashes of individual scenes. Quite understandable, as I was only five-going-six years old at the time. My first really strong memories of Doctor Who didn’t come from until shortly afterwards, during the Troughton era.

But it was my first encounter with the Target Books novelization of The Tenth Planet during my teens that was the real revelation, confirming it as one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. This was the first time I had actually come across the story in full, as opposed to the much shorter synopsis I had read in the 1973 Doctor Who 10th Anniversary Radio Times Special. And did I enjoy it? Damn right I did! It has always been one of my favourites from the Target Books range.

Now, with the 50th Anniversary DVD release of The Tenth Planet, we get to see the story in full, although the original final episode is still missing. Instead, we have an animated reconstruction, produced by the talented team who did the animated episodes for The Invasion, The Ice Warriors and The Reign of Terror. The original VHS Telesnaps reconstruction of the final episode is also available in the bonus featurettes, as is the original short regeneration sequence that was featured on Blue Peter.

There are lots of other extras as well, but I’ll leave elaborating on those for a proper review of The Tenth Planet, which will be coming up in a later posting.

To Be Continued…

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary – My Personal Favourites

Now that November is over, I can look back upon Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary and state, with some enthusiasm, that it was a very good anniversary indeed, one of the best I can ever remember. There were lots of excellent Doctor Who items on television, on DVD and in the magazines, but these four were by far my favourites:

In first place, it was the sublime An Adventure in Space and Time, which aired from 9-10.30pm on the night of Thursday 21st November. This was simply the best Doctor Who production that I’ve seen in many years. The performances of all of the actors were exemplary, particularly David Bradley in the role of William Hartnell. Indeed, the ONLY real criticism that I could express is that An Adventure in Space and Time, at under ninety minutes, was too short, hence the need to skip over a number of extremely important details (for example, the vital roles played by Ray Cusick, Terry Nation, David Whitaker and a number of other figures in early Doctor Who history) because of time and space constraints (if you’ll pardon the pun). The drama would have profited greatly by being at least half an hour longer, or even forty-five minutes. Many, many thanks to Mark Gatiss for having the dedication and perseverance to stick with this until The Powers That Be at the BBC gave the go ahead to put it into production.

In second place, and, in my opinion, not very far behind An Adventure in Space and Time, was The Day of the Doctor, which aired on BBC1 on the evening of Saturday 23rd November, from 7.50pm-8.05pm. I usually find most modern Doctor Who specials to be a bit hit and miss, a bit of of fluff filler in between seasons or breaks in seasons. But The Day of the Doctor was excellent. Not perfect, but definitely excellent, and I consider it to be, despite a few minor niggles, without a doubt the best Doctor Who special of the modern era.

In third place, it’s the November DVD release of The Tenth Planet. I’ve been waiting to see this one for a long, long time, and it didn’t disappoint. I’d only seen a few surviving clips before (on the Lost in Time DVD), so being able to see the whole story at last was really exciting. Episode 4 is still missing, but was expertly recreated here in animated form by the same people who animated the missing episodes on the Second Doctor stories The Ice Warriors and The Invasion. Excellent DVD release.

In fourth place, it’s the November 50th Anniversary edition of Doctor Who Magazine, the biggest and one of the best ever editions of the magazine. There was so much good stuff in this one, simply choc a bloc with 50th Anniversary goodness, that it’s difficult to know where to start. But if I had my arm twisted up my back and was forced to choose, my two favourites would have to be Ghosts in the Machine, a behind the scenes feature on the excellent An Adventure in Space and Time, and An Unearthly Beginning, which features never-before-seen drafts of An Unearthly Child. Great stuff!

Those are my four favourites, but there were a number of other notables:

The reshowing of all four episodes of An Unearthly Child on BBC4 at 10.30pm on Thursday 21st November, right after An Adventure in Space and Time ended on BBC2, was one of the highlights

The Science of Doctor Who Special, which aired on BBC2 on Thursday 14th November, at 9pm, hosted by Professor Brian Cox (with a guest appearance by the Doctor himself, Matt Smith), another excellent programming choice

Yet another was the two-hour The Ultimate Guide to Doctor Who, which aired on BBC3 from 8pm-10pm, on Monday 18th November, Part 1 of which was reshown on BBC3 last Sunday at 7pm. Part 2 will be reshown on BBC3, on Saturday 4th January 2014, at 7pm.

There were others, notably:

The three-part Doctor Who: Monsters and Villains Weekend, which aired on BBC3 over three nights from the Friday-Suday, 15th-17th November

Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited, which aired on Watch at 2pm on Saturday 16th November

These were all good, but the first four were undoubtedly, for me at least, by far the best of the bunch.

November was, overall, a great 50th Anniversary for Doctor Who. With less than a week left until the Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor, and the departure of Matt Smith and the arrival of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, the series now moves into its 51st year.

Here’s to the new Doctor and another fifty years of Doctor Who! I hope I live long enough to see it!