Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - TSV #75

Another review of TSV from the pages of RTP!:

TSV #75 (December 2007)

Seventy-five issue, twenty years, and a full-colour, wrap-around cover to boot. TSV clocks in for issue 75 with three main articles: a review of Series Three, a look back at the PDAs of the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, and a dig into the broadcast of Doctor Who in Singapore. Beyond this the issue is dotted with some smaller items, yet nothing from all of this leapt out as an immediate must read.
The best part of the issue was the follow up to the ‘Drabble Who’ challenge with some amusing entries and Amy Mebberson’s art additions to the fanzine. I feel that TSV still needs more art to help break up the pages of text that can sometimes be a little daunting to look at. Jon Preddle’s ‘Singapore Who’ took a little getting into, but proved interesting in the end. Will there be follow ups or are there no other screening histories that Preddle has access to?
The rest of the issue was something I came back to a little while later, Chris Skerrow’s review of the PDAs of interest to me primarily because I’ve only ever read about a half dozen of them. Unfortunately as a result of this lack or merchandise, Edwin Patterson’s guide to purchasing the stuff was of little interest, but I presume it to be a fairly accurate and comprehensive guide to spending your hard earned dosh.
I’m still not sure what I’m waiting for in TSV, but I keep feeling like some ‘zing’ is needed.

— Alexander Ballingall
Read other reviews of the same issue here and here.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Legs Eleven

Dated April 2001, issue 11 surfaced in the April of 2002, a mere month after I'd returned to NZ from my two year OE in the UK. I have a vivid memory of using my sister's account at the University of Canterbury to get the master copy printed out as for some reason I was unable to do so at home. Much of the material in the issue was quite old, such as my Terror Of The Zygons video review which I'd written before my departure to the UK two years earlier! It was an exercise in getting the issue printed rather than worrying about anything else. Looking at the content now I can tell that at least a third of the issue was done before my May 2000 departure. I think that at the time it was finally printed both Matt and I were glad to see the back of the issue, more so for Matt as it meant that he could officially give up his post as Co-Editor (unofficially having given up a good year or two earlier) and not have to worry about putting together an issue in the future — issue 11 must have hung over him like the sword of Damocles! As a result of those two years of chaos and uncertainty, Matt paid for the issue out of his own pocket allowing subscribers to get that issue for free.

And the eyebrow raising editorial (dating from around April 2001), Matt's last one for the fanzine?:
It's official, Matt Kamstra is the laziest bastard in New Zealand Doctor Who Fandom!

In really old, not so ground-breaking news, Matt Kamstra has been named 'Laziest Dutch Prick in Fandom' in a recent DWB-S poll amongst spaced out garden gnomes (too many shrooms CAN be a bad thing). Not having compiled an issue since Alexander 'most of us just call him Joe' Ballingall left for foreign shores, most of us now believe that RTP! is dead, to be no more, just another failed New Zealand Doctor Who fanzine. But alas! Joe has succeeded in giving Matt an electronic kick up the arse and once again jump-starting the subversive Doctor Who subculture known as Reverse the Polarity! and it's adopted step-sister newsletter Neutron Flow (formerly known as Critical Mass).

Why this magnificent and award-winning magazine suddenly disappeared a little over one year ago is still somewhat of a mystery to contemporary history scholars and even Matt Kamstra himself. However, its sudden re-emergence has come as a shock to many, even causing the death of an elderly man in Waiwhakamukau. In an unofficial release to the DWB-S press on Friday night Mr. Kamstra had this to say about the matter: "impissedsofuckoffnleavemealoneyacommiebastard". Moreover, his publicist had this translation to offer: "Due to a heavy professional schedule and intense media pressure, my work has been seriously impaired. I do not wish to speak any further on the matter. Now f**k off."

Most importantly however, this reporter has discovered that RTP! is here to stay, and will in fact soon be published in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, and then in Kyoto, Japan, when Alexander 'Is my name actually Joe or Alex' Ballingall and Matt 'I'm surprised I can find anything in this joint' Kamstra move to the Orient to pursue careers in Asian boy bands! Sensational but true! More details are coming to light as we go to press, but by next issue we should have some early photographs and possibly a working title for the project. All this and a four page lift-out poster section!

In similarly ridiculous breaking news, Reverse the Polarity!'s website is soon to be upgraded after a two year hiatus. Tentatively renamed 'Saucer Smith's Psychedelic Magical Mystery Bus Trip' the site will feature a web-shop for subversive instruments and home made whiskey, reviews and articles from all three 'Saucer Smith' publications, and an extensive collection of amateur and professional porn courtesy of Paul 'sifty f**k' Maloney and his lovely ladies.

- Matt Kamstra
The Guff Revolutions:

Published: April 2002
Editor: Matt Kamstra, Alexander Ballingall
RTP! Logo Design: Peter & Bridget Adamson
Front Cover: Peter Adamson
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra
Letters: Peter Adamson, Jeff Stone
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents ~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [06] K'umface' / The Twelve Pages of Karkus
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Prime Re-Run Surprise Shocker!
  • [09] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of PDAs]
  • [10] REVIEWS [Attack of the Cybermen]
  • [12] OPINION: Doctor Who Goes Digital
  • [13] An Alt. Future for RTP!
  • [16] CARTOON: Saucer + Birdy—Meet the DJ from Hell!
  • [18] INTERVIEW: Confessions of a Melophile [Alden Bates]
  • [22] The Cabbage Criterion
  • [25] OPINION: Your Two Cents Worth ...
  • [26] The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who - The middle Davison TARDIS crew
  • [27] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 4 of 4]
  • [37] REVIEWS: Armageddon '02 conventions in Auckland & Wellington
  • [38] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: JFK Plot Update ... Again!
  • [40] REVIEW [Terror of the Zygons]
  • [42] FICTION: Alternate Realities [part 1 of ?]
  • [44] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 6 of 8]
  • [48] ARTICLE: The NZ Connection
  • [49] CARTOON
  • [50] OPINION: Thoughts from the Kitchen
  • [52] COVER

Monday, 14 April 2008

Flashback - Grey Days (RTP! #9)

Issue 9 was compiled by Matt Kamstra while I was away on holiday (hence the page numbers went missing and were only penned in at the last minute before printing), although most of the material had been assembled prior to my absence. The highlight of the issue was the interview with Ashburton fan Graham Muir, conducted by myself (with the aid of a tape recorder) in Matt's pad in Christchurch one sunny Saturday in late 1999. It was an amusing chat, something hopefully reflected in the interview.

Pulp Who
continued, Peter Adamson's art and layout skills consistently putting my own to shame! Due to a lack of art from regular artist Garry Jackson (for reasons I don't recall), much of the issue was illustrated by myself with various silly little bits like the Valeyard doing a Homer Simpson-style dance on the grave of the Sixth Doctor. I also managed to waste three whole pages with various numbers based on the results of the DWM 1998 survey which had sampled a large number of fans for a comprehensive snapshot of fan opinion on all the stories of the series. It was fun to write at the time, but I've no idea if people fun it fun to read!

Finally, a spaced-out Erato strip and some dodgy pics by Jon Preddle helped round out what eventually turned out to be a very skitzo issue. If this was a result of the seven month delay (issue 9 should have surfaced in September 1999, not January 2000) I've no idea. Nor do I recall really why there was such a long gap either. But it was becoming apparent by this time that Matt was beginning to drag his heels with the fanzine and lose interest. Changes would soon be around the corner (hiatus not withstanding!).

Monday, 7 April 2008

If - "The Brain Dead"

The third of Peter Adamson's articles on the impact some unmade Who might have had, if they had been made ...

The Brain Dead
by Brian Hayles

Prior to The Curse Of Peladon, Brian Hayles submitted a story outline for a third Ice Warrior story, yet again set on Earth, but this time in a contemporary setting.

Briefly, The Brain Dead involved an attempted invasion of Earth by the Martians using Earth's "comsats" (communication satellites) and the Warriors' own weapon, the' Z beam' - a super high concentration of energy which could freeze targets to absolute zero at pin-point accuracy. There was more - the Ice Warriors eventually make their base on Earth (probably Britain - don't get too excited) in a disused frozen foods factory. It's beginning to sound like the plot for Batman Forever already. UNIT are involved of course - this being a first contact scenario for the Brigadier re: the real inhabitants of Mars; though the Brig initially believes the culprits to be the very Earthly separatist group, The Isolationists. Things become even more sinister with the appearance of the victims of the Martians' meddling - the Brain Dead - zombified humans who makeup most of the invading vanguard. finally, the Doctor comes to everyone's rescue with the revelation that all the frozen assets of the Ice Warriors (the Brain Dead included) can be easily dispatched with an ultra high electrical current. Simple really.

If all of this sounds a bit confusing and complicated, tht'f1 bear in mind that this is the most complete story synopsis available, and to be sure it's not much of a story at face value . Presumably the reason behind its rejection, much to the improvement of the far superior Peladon story.

As for its inclusion in Season 9 however, The Brain Dead wouldn't have looked out of place alongside say, The Time Monster. The inclusion of UNIT would have been entirely feasible, as would the production-friendly Earth setting. There is even some topical elements with the Isolationists, an environmental pressure group foreshadowing Jo's future in The Green Death. It would have been interesting to see how Brian Hayles wrote for the UNIT regulars, and given that at that stage the previous Ice Warrior story had been The Seeds Of Death, the concept of aggressive Martians would not have seemed out of place (unlike their later slated appearance in Mission To Magnus). So wemight be able to conceive of an imaginary production of Brain Dead with the usual regulars Lennie Mayne directing, Ian Scoones supplying the satellite models, and perhaps even Alan Bennion would have reprised his lee Lord role as Kulvis, commander of the Martian force.

In the end it is probably for the better that The Brain Dead was overlooked, for its replacement with The Curse Of Peladon was a boon fur the Pertwee Era in two ways: first and foremost Peladon was the first adventure set in outer space for the ninth season (and only the second in Pertwee's tenure at that stage), and secondly it introduced the first instance of an established 'monster' race having a significant and interesting change in philosophy and becoming an ally of good (or, ' doing a Klingon' as it would churlishly be known in later years). The Brain Dead offered none of these novel elements unfortunately, and perhaps it is for the reason that it played too closely to the already dated Earthbound formula of season seven that it was scuppered.

- Peter Adamson