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Teen And Up Audiences

Sherlock (TV)

Sherlock HolmesJames Sholto (Sherlock)

Captain Morstan's Daughter


Something of an outtake/missing scene idea - what if Sherlock's suspicions of Mary didn't arise on their own?


I really like Major Sholto as he was reimagined for BBC Sherlock, but aside from the name and occupation, he had nothing to do with the original character from “The Sign of the Four” at all. So I’ve tried to address that a bit.

Captain Morstan's Daughter

“Thank you for meeting with me.”

“Not at all, it’s been stifling in London. A trip out to the countryside is just what I needed.”

He put his pint down on the implausibly crudely made table, and sat down on the deliberately distressed leather seat. He’d clocked the look the barman gave him when he came in - a condescending, appraising, knowing look that said he knew a townie when he saw one and knew what he would order; something familiar, something safe, out of a bottle, like a watery lager or a syrupy strawberry-infused cider - and had let him get his hand on the fridge door before ordering a pint of Clogger’s Smooth Badger Dodger for no other reason but that it was on the pump at the furthest end of the bar. Then for all that the exposed ceiling beams and random farm implements nailed to the walls tried to persuade the customer that they were far from the city in a timeless pastoral idyll, the price of the ale had been pure London. He doubted it would be worth the money.

“You call this the countryside?”

The man he had come to meet had already been there when he arrived, tucked away in a corner booth with a strategically partially-drunk pint of his own - which he had not touched once since Sherlock had walked into the lounge bar - trying to look inconspicuously like he wasn’t trying to look inconspicuous. He wasn’t doing a bad job, at that. The wellington boots might have been a step too far, but the wax jacket and the roll-neck jumper marked him as infinitely more rural than the carefully grimy horse bronzes on the wall above him. A flat corduroy cap and a pair of reading glasses were surprisingly effective at concealing the mottled skin grafts that made up one side of his face, and the shadow he had placed himself in did the rest. This was a man who knew camouflage.

“Well, the green belt.” Sherlock amended.

“It’s still rather densely populated for my comfort.”

“So it’s important. And you haven’t waited for John’s return from his sex holiday, which would have given you an opportunity to see him again, which tells me that it’s urgent. Though perhaps he could join us long-distance-” Sherlock was already reaching for his phone, ready to make a video call to Malta. Major Sholto cleared his throat.

“I would rather he didn’t, actually.” he said, sounding oddly stilted.

Sherlock thumbed the back button rapidly, and returned the phone to his pocket.

“Go on.”

Sholto’s face was wooden, but Sherlock didn’t miss that his eyes - minutely enlarged by the weak prescription of the lenses in front of them - darted furtively to the side, as if to make sure that he wasn’t being watched. There were a few other people in the room, but they were all occupied with their pub lunches. No-one was paying unwelcome attention to them.

“It’s a delicate matter.” Sholto continued levelly, not making the attention-grabbing move of leaning forward conspiratorially or dropping his voice to an inaudible whisper so that Sherlock would have to. “I don’t want him to know that I spoke to you at all. If I am wrong about what I suspect - well. He might never forgive me for thinking it. I’m sure you know how protective he is of the people he loves.”

“What is it that you suspect?” Sherlock, curiosity well and truly piqued, asked - though he had at least half an idea. The list of people Sholto would assume he knew John loved was short. Short enough to narrow the subject of the answer down to one.

“It may be nothing.” Sholto’s face - already stony - became guarded.

“You don’t think so. Not if it’s brought you to a faux-rustic pub on the inside of the M25.”

Major Sholto took a deep breath, and looked out across the room. No-one who happened to glance his way would suppose that he had anything important to say.

“I knew Captain Morstan. He was my commanding officer on my first tour of duty.”

Sherlock blinked.

He’d run a dozen possible scenarios for how this meeting might go, and none of them had included that particular revelation.

“I didn’t know you had a connection to Mary.” he said, carefully blandly, then took a pull of his ale. He grimaced; should have gone for the fruity cider.

One side of Major Sholto’s mouth twitched.

“Apparently, neither did she.” he said leadenly. Sherlock sat a little straighter and listened a little more intently. “I spent six months dodging bullets and sabotaging tanks side by side with her father, and when we met on the day of her wedding, she never once mentioned him to me. Not even in passing. We spoke a few times, but only about John, or the flowers, or the weather. Don’t you find that strange?”

Very strange.

“Are you sure the Captain Morstan you knew was her father?” Sherlock’s pulse was accelerating. Morstan was not a very common name.

“No. That’s why I wanted to see you. I don’t want to make a fuss. I don’t want to make indiscreet accusations based on nothing but my gut instinct and some circumstantial evidence-”

“You don’t want John to know.” Sherlock concluded for him.

“Not unless he really, really has to.”

Sherlock gave the ale another try. Nope. Clogger had failed to dodge the badger.

“How do people drink this voluntarily?” Major Sholto wordlessly lifted his own pint and drank deeply. It was the same dark reddish brown as the slop in Sherlock’s glass, and showed traces of the same foam head up the sides. Sherlock tried to ignore that. “Tell me about Captain Morstan, please.”

“Captain Arthur Morstan. He was a good man, and brave, to a fault. One might even say reckless. Once, I had to break protocol to stop him from walking into an armed ambush. We were close after that, but he kept his civilian life separate from his army life, so even I knew very little about who or what he had waiting for him back home. The only time I ever heard him mention his daughter was when he was half delirious from malaria, and making very little sense.”

“What did he say?” Sherlock tried not to sound too eager. In the time he’d known her, Mary hadn’t said her late parents’ names at all - not that he would go around introducing his own mother to people as Violet, but still. That her father’s name was Arthur and that he had been in the military were facts she had entirely neglected to mention.

“I don’t remember exactly, it was more than twenty years ago. Something about how she was too perfect, too beautiful, and he was sorry. I was more concerned about him getting out of there alive than deciphering his ramblings, but that did stick out. Arthur didn’t talk about his family. Not that he was hiding it, I mean, he wore his wedding ring. I always got the impression that it was a rather painful subject for him. I didn’t even know his wife’s name until I met her, when she came to meet him at Brize. Then I understood.” Sholto sighed. It was an unexpected sound to come from a man who was the word “stoic” made flesh. “She had been a beautiful woman. Even though the cancer had taken her hair, and left her stick thin and wheelchair-bound, I could see what she was the remains of. Arthur wanted to rush her away, get her home so she could rest, but she insisted on being introduced to the man who had defied orders to keep him from getting himself killed. She knew my name already. She shook my hand - it was like holding a bundle of warm twigs - and thanked me for saving his life.”

A shadow began to cross his face, but then decided to settle there instead of passing on.

“I only wish it had stuck. We didn’t keep in contact, and the next time I heard of him, he had died in the battle of Norfolk. I saved his life, but it didn’t count. Perhaps that’s why.”

“Why what?”

Major Sholto closed his eyes for a little longer than a blink, and turned to face Sherlock directly.

“Why Mary treated me like a stranger. She blames me for letting her father die the second time. Perhaps she’s right - it does seem to be my forté. Getting people killed.”

Sherlock was silent. He didn’t gurn with awkwardness or try to make sympathetic noises, which Sholto appreciated. In fact, he didn’t seem to have registered his outburst of self-pity at all.

“Was she with her mother?” he asked just as the silence was getting strained. Major Sholto looked momentarily nonplussed.

“At the airport? No. No, she wasn’t.” He tilted his head slightly, brow attempting to crease. “You’d think she would be, wouldn’t you? I suppose she was at school at the time, but you would expect they’d give her the day off to go with her sick mother to welcome her father home from the war, wouldn’t you?”

“Major, you still haven’t actually told me what it is that you suspect.”

Sherlock registered the tiny flinch in Sholto’s frame, and the instant it happened. Not at the word “suspect”, but at “Major”. Curious. And suggestive of which of those things he felt more sure of.

“I… I hope you won’t take offence. I know she is a close friend of yours, you obviously go back a long way.”

“I’ve known her less than a year.” Sherlock informed him dryly. It was a stupid assumption a lot of people seemed to make about him and Mary, and one she never seemed to want to correct.

“Really? You look like brother and sister.” Sholto sounded genuinely surprised, prompting Sherlock to reassess how stupid an assumption it really was. He didn’t have the Major down as a fool, or gullible.

“I don’t see the resemblance.”

“Not physically, the way you interact - although, that is another thing. Resemblance. She looks nothing like either of her parents. Again, I don't know the whole story; maybe it's just recessive genes, or they couldn't conceive naturally and went to a surrogate, or she's adopted. But the woman John is currently on honeymoon with is remarkably blonde and blue-eyed if she’s Bhavisha Morstan's biological daughter.” He took a deep breath, and stopped skirting around the edge of what he needed to say. He plunged. “I am not entirely convinced that she is Mary Morstan at all. I would be much obliged if you would look into it.”

Sherlock kept his face passive, but his mind whirled, thoughts ricocheting off the inside of his skull like bullets. He knew something was off, he knew, he knew. He knew she was too likeable, too instantly familial, too good to be true. He knew that she deflected questions about her background too skillfully and too consistently for someone who projected, too well, the impression that she wasn’t avoiding any questions at all. He knew she was a liar, but this was bigger than he’d expected. If Major Sholto was right.

“I may be wrong. I am well aware that I am not unbiased when it comes to Captain Watson.”

Adrenaline, having barely had time to recede, surged again. So Mary(if she was really called Mary) had been telling the truth when she casually dropped a hint the size of an elephant that Sholto was her predecessor in John’s love life. The only thing Sherlock had been sure she was sincere about at the time was her desire to tease him.

“Indeed?” he asked lightly. Sholto didn’t blush, or look away, or confirm. He looked him in the eye, with a wonderfully eloquent expression that said he had no intention of insulting Sherlock’s intelligence by spelling it out for him, and continued

“I appreciate that I might sound like a jealous, bitter ex, making up outrageous accusations against his successor; but please believe me, it's not like that at all. John and I - that's all over. We parted on good terms. I want nothing but the best for him.”

“I know.” Sherlock answered, bringing Sholto up short. For the split second it took him to process what Sherlock had said, Sholto looked ready to argue - then his expression morphed into something pitiably like surprise.

“You believe me?”

It wasn’t just the subject at hand. Sherlock was looking at a man who was far too much in the habit of not being believed.

“You knowingly risked your life to come to his wedding, and damn near lost it. A jealous ex would have made one last dramatic declaration of love when he thought he was about to die; a bitter one wouldn't have been there in the first place. Of course I believe you.”

Sholto’s face began to soften a little; then stiffened, falling into a guarded blank mask. Sherlock didn’t need to look around to see what he was guarding against - he could feel it through the floor, see the reflection in the Major’s lenses - someone was walking their way. Heading right towards them. That was exactly, one hundred percent, what he didn’t want and the reason they’d agreed to meet somewhere quiet and out of the way. So that neither of them would be bothered. Sholto had shown incredible bravery - recklessness, even - in coming out alone in public like this, gambling that no-one who meant him harm would recognise him, stacking the odds as much in his favour as he could that no-one would try anything but it hadn’t worked-

The barman deposited a bowl of chips on the table. They were hot, fresh out of the fryer. They smelled - really good, actually. He didn’t say a word, just returned to his bar.

“Did you order those?” Sholto demanded, not dropping an iota of defence. Sherlock didn’t get a chance to retort that of course he bloody didn’t, he wouldn’t be so mind-numbingly insensitive to Sholto’s need for privacy as to deliberately cause a stranger to interact with him, because a slightly too rehearsed voice piped up

“Sorry, I think those are mine - I must have given the barman the wrong table number by accident.”

A young man - early twenties, rugby jumper, Sloane Ranger accent with the corners carefully knocked off in an attempt to sound a bit more common, faint clinging whiff of marijuana - was the source of it. His three friends, all much the same, watched furtively from a table in the far corner. Sherlock replayed the time he’d spent in the room in his mind, from the moment he’d walked in, and zoomed in on their part of the background. Yes. There was something there - a whispered exchange of it is, it’s him - it’s not - it is, I’ll show you - was buried in the soundtrack. That coupled with the glances that had far too studiously avoided them meant that Sherlock could have recited the next thing he said with him, word for word.

“Oh my god, aren’t you Sherlock Holmes?” the - in his own mind - Machiavelli of duplicitous chip ordering asked, with an expression of surprise on his face so fake he could have got it from a discount party supplies retailer on clearance from Halloween.

Again Sholto closed his eyes silently for slightly longer than a blink, exhaling just audibly enough to convey relief and irritation.

“Yes.” Sherlock answered curtly. He refused to make eye contact.

“Oh my god, what are you doing here?” the oblivious young man gushed, then unforgivably leaned forwards and with barely suppressed relish in his voice, stage whispered “Has there been a horrendous murder?”

“Not yet.” Sherlock turned a winning smile on the interloper. What it was winning was the title “smile most likely to make a person lose control of their bladder”. Its target paled and backed away.

“Oh, right. Right.” he stammered on his retreat.

“Aren’t you going to take your chips?” Sherlock drawled, and watched the turmoil on the young man’s face as his munchies battled his agonising awareness that he’d have to step back into the danger zone in order to retrieve the volatile snack. Something like common sense, or primeval self-preservation, kicked in and made him say

“No, no. It’s fine. You have them. Please.”

There was a predictable flurry of that was sick and I think Sherlock Holmes just threatened to kill you and I’m so jealous, you don’t even know and I’m really hungry though from the other students at the table. Sherlock shut them out.

“Can’t go anywhere.” Sholto muttered darkly, ending his impression of a granite boulder.

“You, or me?” Sherlock asked. It occurred to him that the brash young intruder had barely looked at Sholto once - just a single flicker of a glance when he’d asked Sherlock what he was doing there, then he’d dismissed him as uninteresting. Sholto had completely disappeared into the shadows of the corner seat. That was a skill he’d take his hat off to, if he’d been wearing the stupid thing.

“Yes.” Sholto glowered.

Sherlock considered the steaming bowl in front of him. He picked up a particularly crispy-edged chip and popped it into his mouth, knowing it would be hot enough to hurt, then pushed the bowl towards the former Major.

Sholto deliberated for a moment, then declined.

“I think I’ve tempted fate enough for one day.” He shifted in his seat, his eyes darted around the room. Chip boy hadn’t meant him any harm, but there were plenty of people in the world who did, and nothing to stop them from walking right in here. Suddenly the cosy little corner felt like a trap.

“I’m almost completely certain they’re not poisoned.” Sherlock said, after swallowing and scalding his throat with superheated potato, but Sholto was not soothed. He kept looking at the door. Sherlock felt an unexpected warm flush under his sternum - he recognised a hunted man when he saw one, and knew exactly how he felt. It angered him to see that familiar exhausted wariness on a face that wasn’t in a mirror.

“Look, I’m sorry, but I need to get out of here.” Sholto said to his hands. Confessed to them, in a low, embarrassed voice, like it was a shameful secret. Sherlock clenched his jaw briefly, then said

“Good idea. You can give me a lift to the train station.”

“You’ve got chips.” Sholto pointed out. Which was absolutely true. Really nice chips, too. Crisp and golden on the outsides, some of them coming to crunchy points that would break skin if wielded improperly, fluffy and white on the insides. Just the right amount of salt to highlight the flavour and make further condiments unnecessary.

Sherlock stood up and dumped his pint into them.

“Come on. You walked in alone, you’re walking out as one of a pair. If anyone was watching you, that’ll throw them.”

They didn’t even have to walk across the car park; Major Sholto’s car was in the disabled space by the door. That made Sherlock double-take for a moment. He really wouldn’t have expected him to be such a knob. Then he connected the blue-marked parking space with the fact that Sholto did anything requiring fine motor control with his right hand, and reddened. He hadn’t parked like a disappointingly and shockingly inconsiderate prick; he had every right to use disabled parking.

Apparently, Sherlock was staring.

“What?” The former Major asked, just a tiny hint of defensiveness escaping past a protective wall of unbothered apathy in his voice. His face was still dark and wooden, his tone clipped - he was angry. But angry with whom? Sherlock? No, he wouldn’t be suppressing it, Sherlock was pretty sure he’d have said something direct. Especially now that they were outside. Chip boy? He’d barely spared him a glance, once it had been clear that Sherlock was his target. The nebulous and shadowy illwishers, then, who may or may not be watching him-

He was staring at one of the rear windows of his intensely ordinary Volvo. At his reflection. Not just staring - scowling.

Himself. He was angry with himself. With a formerly high ranking military man with a distinguished career behind him, who was reduced to running away from a pub in the sleepy semi-suburban banality of the outer edge of London. A man who was afraid, and hated that fear, hated the weakness he attributed it to, hated the physical weakness down one side of his body-

“I’d have thought you’d have a driver.” Sherlock deflected. Better to say something stupid than make Sholto say out loud why his unremarkable, mud spattered, dark green Swedish-made domestic tank was parked precisely there. He doubted very much that he’d concealed his motive; but Sholto went along with it, and since one weak joke deserved another, returned,

“How much do you think an army pension pays?”

“For a decorated Major?”

“A disgraced Major.” Sholto corrected him, and there was that heat under the breastbone again.

Sherlock started towards the passenger side of the car, then stopped. The former Major was going the same way, and for an odd second it seemed that he was going to open the door for him. Then he looked more closely at the car. The steering wheel was on the wrong side.

“Left-hand drive?” He asked lightly, and could have kicked himself. Major Sholto couldn’t use his left hand. Of course he drove a car that only needed his right. Left-hand drive and automatic, then the only concession it would need to his disability would be to move the instrument stalk from the left side of the wheel to the right.

Prior moronic brutality rescued him from looming disaster though, as Sholto explained,

“I’ve had paintballs shot at my windscreen before. It pays to not be on the expected side.” He cracked a hint of a grin as he gestured towards what looked like the driver side door. “Care to be my decoy?”

“What happened to your last one?” Sherlock asked, when he’d sat down and done up his seat belt.

“He’s in the glove compartment.” Major Sholto nodded towards it, turning the key in the ignition. Sherlock opened the hatch, and a neatly folded, disturbingly flesh-toned bundle of plastic started to expand towards him. He took it out, compressing it back down. “Meet Buddy.”

“Blow Up Dummy Decoy Inflatable.” Sherlock read from the label, and snorted. “Good to know it’s both blow up and inflatable.”

“Acronyms are hard.”

“You invented it?”

Sholto shrugged.

“I wouldn’t say invent. I adapted it. There’s already a thriving trade in car dummies for getting around carpool lane restrictions, but I wanted one that inflates automatically and packs down quickly. I couldn’t find one, so I made him.”

A smirk flickered across Sherlock’s lips.

“Does he have any other uses?”

“He doesn’t have any orifices, no.” Sholto answered the implied question with a gently scolding frown. “His only job is to sit there and look like he’s driving.”

“So with John,” Sherlock carried on with what was, for him, the same conversation, “was it something about the way he called you ‘sir’?”

It took Sholto a couple of seconds to get off his derailed train of thought, head across the platform of that particular station of thought, and get onto a connecting service of thought, to catch up with Sherlock on his.

“That attracted me to him? No, everyone called me ‘sir’.” he said without pride. “It was something about the way he called me ‘James’.”

There was a weight to the absence of further words from him that made Sherlock stare out of the window, pantomiming that he was not staring at him, not prying into any suddenly and unintentionally revealed vulnerability.

Maybe it wasn’t technically countryside rolling by outside, but it certainly looked the part. The word “verdant” sprang to mind to encapsulate it, followed by a slightly elaborated “green and pleasant”. He felt a sudden desire to stop at a pick-your-own-strawberries farm. Assuming it wasn’t too late in the season for strawberries.

Sholto cleared his throat.

“I don’t think I ever thanked you properly.”

“Mm?” Sherlock was pulled back into the regular space/time continuum. That was always disconcerting.

“For saving my life.” Sholto kept his eyes on the road.

“Oh. That. I didn’t save your life, I just solved the case.” Awkward silence hovered above them, but was chased away by Sherlock suddenly asking, “Did Captain Morstan’s obituary say anything about his family?”

This time Sholto was able to squeeze through the thought-train doors before they shut and it went off without him.

“I don’t know. I tried to check, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.”


“It might just be that I’m not very good with computers. It didn’t seem to be online at all, it’s like it never existed.”

“Or was deleted.” Sherlock suggested quietly. Mary was pretty good with computers, wasn’t she? According to John, she more or less ran the admin for the surgery, which she shouldn’t have been able to do, because it wasn’t actually her job. She shouldn’t have that clearance on the system. Not that that carried any weight, when it came to IT and the NHS. It was probably possible to access the medical records of everyone in the country by typing in “password123”.

They pulled into the station car park with ten minutes before the next train back into London and safe familiarity.

“Thank you for the lift, James. And the case.”

“I would be more than happy to be wrong about this.” he said carefully, and Sherlock believed him. Neither of them wanted John to be the victim of some sort of fraud, neither of them wanted to see him hurt. It was what Sholto said next that didn’t quite convince him. “She's quite a catch - funny, clever, assertive - she could be exactly what John needs.”

Sherlock released Buddy from his confinement. Up close, the dummy wouldn’t fool anybody - but even from the other side of the car, when he bent down to the window, he double-took a little at the figure in the seat he had just vacated.

“I’ll let you know what I find. I’ll come to you next time.” he decided. Sholto’s unburnt eyebrow lifted.

“Do you normally invite yourself into your clients’ homes like that?”

“No, I normally break in without telling them.” Sherlock’s voice was atonal, his face deadpan. Sholto couldn’t entirely suppress the urge to laugh.

“I’ll keep an eye on the security footage.” he said, an out of practice smile on his face. It didn’t stay for very long before his expression resumed its habitual gravity. “Thank you for humouring me on this. I’ll rest easier when I know the truth about Captain Morstan’s daughter.”
mazz0626: (Default)
My friend, you have to stop-
the thing in the woods is bad.
It's making you ill
and won't stop until
it's driven you all the way mad.

My friend, you have to stop-
the animals have no clue.
it's nothing they know
they don't run, and so
they die, knowing not what to do.

My friend, you have to stop-
you're bleeding and you don't sleep.
what's it doing to you?
your late memories are few
can't you see you're already too deep?

My friend, you have to stop-
leave the thing in the woods in its grave.
Trust the dog when he barks
leave this alien ark
Let it go. Only then you'll be saved.
mazz0626: (Default)

The whole show has a feeling of great optimism about it. Perhaps this is all informed by my own opinions, but whereas the last tour felt like a stripped down, chopped short, sad, apologetic little remnant of something once great, this one feels like the start of something good (I can feel my heart is jumping, this could be the start of something....). Like it's a scaled down preview of a production planned to be mounted at the O2.

The opening animation is cute, but being a visible figure of 8, limited. It is somewhat reminiscent of the special effects in Hitch Hikers, but messier – someone had a lot of fun with the Find All Edges tool, in this and other animations. I'm not convinced it wasn't overkill to have some sort of video playing pretty much 90% of the time, though. Some of it was relevant(I liked the image of the decrepit sidings for the Freight yard), some of it was cheesy(What time is it? Time to show a gif of a sped up clock!), and some of it was just a bit Rorschach. What was the deal with the shamrock-shaped thing approaching on the tracks that always faded into nothing before it could resolve? What was with the endless circles and lens flare? Any time it was footage of an actual thing, like what looked like the view from a driver's cab somewhere in Germany(overhead power lines), was heavily treated with Find All Edges and usually quite a short loop. I couldn't quite work out what the red thing that crossed the tracks at the end was, possibly several cars? Possibly a very big fox? Either way, you can make out real life details like trees.

I don't think the foldback onto the stage was complete, as several times the timing was dodgy until a new instrument kicked in and then everyone was fine. It could have been directed rhythmic pauses, but it came across as “should I come in yet? I can't see the MD or hear the beat!”

The races are possibly the most dated thing in the show. If they could refilm them it would be good, possibly without using the exact same corridor in both heats and the final(actually, it would be nice to have the Uphill Final back too), and maybe a bit less sharply focused on the characters which makes it so very clear that these are NOT the same people you've just seen on stage. Not going to happen, of course. These ones are serviceable and they were expensive. I felt like the races were more or less completely divorced from the show.

While it was somewhat reassuring proof that at least one review was being written at the press night and not before, I do wish that the critic sitting somewhere to my right and maybe 5-6 rows back hadn't had QUITE such a loud, rattly keyboard on his laptop. Or had at least constrained himself to typing during the loud bits.

Likewise, it's great to know that the Stalls Bar turned such a huge profit tonight – perhaps the show could have been even better if it hadn't all come from a group of three or so behind me up to the left. I get that a lot of friends and family of the cast were in to support them, and indeed I saw a few familiar faces, but generally “support” does not manifest itself the same way in the theatre as it does at, say, a football match.

I like the new lights. I've been out of the loop for a while, so I don't know what they are, but they seem to be a combination of low-brightness LEDs for atmospheric purposes, and bright, focused beams for stabbing the audience in the eye. The three concentric rings of LEDs can be made to dance! They made the Starlight Sequence ever so pretty, in a Mission Impossible laser grid sort of way, even though I did have to blink rhythmicly to avoid the aforementioned eye-stabbage.

The use of flying the LX bars to simulate the Bridge was lovely, too. Even if you didn't know that's what it is, it adds a nice, interesting texture to what is essentially a black box set to allow the lighting rig to have a go at being set.

I really liked Ruthie Stephen's Dinah. She's not as battered wife as most Dinahs, so you don't get the same sense of unease when she accepts Greaseball back, and she does the Dinah Splat magnificently, especially when you consider that she doesn't have a run up from the Bowl. She's a little bit over the top, but not so much that she's not – and I beg the suspension of your disbelief for my application of this word to an anthropomorphic personification of a toy train in a child's dream – real. She draws the eye with her gestures, but not when she shouldn't, and you're never at a loss to know what Dinah's feeling.

Duvay(apparently they have spelt it that way – maybe they pronounce “duvet” as “dove-it”, as a girl I went to college with did)'s “are my pillows still there?” tickover makes a little more sense once you've seen that she removes them to race, on account of their not being in the video. They apparently come off pretty easily, so you can understand her concern that she might have lost her head-Poptarts by accident.

Flat Top didn't work for me in Act 1, but somehow he was brilliant in Act 2 without changing a thing. I think perhaps his character just needs conflict to shine. When he's refusing to race with Poppa, it just comes across as a bit nasty and makes you wonder why he's hanging around with the other Freight if he despises them so much, but his “Y'awrigh?” and “Shuh UP, Controw!” are perfect and nicely make that little bit more of his character. He didn't make much of his brick, though. It's hard to do when it's not onna chain. You can't teach it to come to heel, you can't play Swingball with it, you can't play ball inna cup with it, you can't chuck it at people and have it return... really all you're left with is talking to people on it, lending it to Dustin when he forgets his mouth organ and a really, really last resort sandwich.

Seemed at first as if Greaseball wasn't going to have an entourage – after all, there was only one flag bearer – he came on stage alone, and it was a while before the Gang came on to flank him. The choreography here looked so crisp – they must have cleaned it to within an inch of their lives.

I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but the Components didn't have any distortion on their voices. Sometimes it sounded planned, when they split the triad and sang it, but at other moments it fell flat. What is usually digital shriek near the end of Laughing Stock was more like a limp “fnah.”

Thinking of Electra, those of us who watch True Blood in this country are now used to Lafayette, so he totally makes sense. And somehow the opening of AC/DC sounds more 80s now, in 2012, than it did in 1984. I still love Joule and Volta both doing the traditional Volta choreography, mirroring each other.

I do like the new Nintendo, born of Cheezburgr. “Rusty? Who he?” after consulting (possibly) Facebook. I hope he goes on to add more Engrish.

Amanda Coutts' “Make Up My Heart” makes it look like anyone could sweep into perfect sur le coup de pied two-wheeled pirouettes if they felt like it. I r jelly.

Gavin Ashbarry is absolutely brilliant and adorable as Dustin. If I ever see him as Poppa again, I will bear this in mind to block out the trauma of how absolutely bloody terrifying he is in that role. His Dustin does not, in the least, call up unbidden memories of Professor Burp.

I can't say I like A Whole Lotta Locomotion, nor do I think I ever will, but it's certainly the best I've seen it yet. It's still cringeworthy that the old lyrics have been shoehorned into the new style, but the new lyrics work nicely. I just can't reconcile myself to the “Gotta have a man! Gotta have a sexy man! Look at me touching myself!” heart of the song. If Phantom Two was still open, would they have had to revert to A Lotta Locomotion? We know His Llordship doesn't like to have the same song in two shows open at the same time.

The ramps are still dinky, the Romeo and Juliet(The Musical) blocking remains for Coda of Freight.

I would have liked Hopper One to make more of Princey's being scrapped – it isn't entirely clear that that's who he was partnered with to race, and so had just lost out on his chance to participate.

Ah, yes. Given that we're now back to three engines in each heat, we could totes have “No Poppa, don't listen! Besides, what's the point? There's three trains in each heat. They've got all three trains, the race is complete!” instead of “No way, it's all over – the race is full up, they'll blow you away!” which I'm not even sure it still is, but y'know.

There's only so much track-checking the Traxes can do. Given that it's the same configuration of ramps each time, and you do see the same identifiable bits of abandoned Welsh missile silo in every race, you do wonder if they can't just say it's good from the last race. Actually, given the train corpses, German engine hoping for a lift, falling masonry and rodent infestations, maybe they do just sign off the paperwork without looking.

If Ruhrgold gets stuck trying to thumb a lift out of race-Purgatory, how does Duvay get back out of there? Does she have the sense he doesn't to double back and leave via the starting line or something?

It feels a bit weird hearing the What Time Is It? Rap. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting it. It's the one time the Hip Hoppers are Hip Hoppers as they were written, not just re-costumed Rockies with their tickovers confiscated. Mind you, lyrics like “If he's fastest, he wins! If he's slower, he loses!”...

I like how Girl's rolling Stock has been entirely re-choreographed using only moves from actual Rolling Stock – it's like the polar opposite of Whole Lotta. They're kinda taking the piss out of the engines, but also showing that they can do the same as them and not be gratuitously oversexualised while they're at it.

The Traxes do somewhat steal the Hoppers' thunder for Right Place Right Time. Given as wot they ARE stunt skaters, it's understandable that the Hoppers aren't doing tricks that are quite as impressive as them – even though they're doing stuff you know you would ooh and aah at if you saw someone do it in a dance-off. A triple spin is something I can only dream of doing, but when you've seen Electra casually chaine across the stage on two wheels from each foot, it's not as awesome.

The absence of “Wide Smile” is palpable. Like how in the last London production the “I must find Pearl”s accelerated into the opening of “No Comeback” and then died off again, “Wide Smile” is about to start, then it sounds like they all remember at the last second that it's been cut so um, yeah, moving on.

Oh yes - “The sound's too loud” is a GREAT time for your mic to go dead.

During But I do, I made out several smiley faces in the star field behind the stage, two of which were poker face faces
(), studied the reflection coming off the “safety goggles” resting on top of someone's head a few rows in front of me, counted the domed houselights I could see, cackled like a banshee at the We Will Rock You moment(which could legitimately be inserted into the Megamix reprise of the song to give it some rhythm, but in the main one? It's just random) and realised that in fact, both of my feet were numb. The left one was slightly pins-and-needly, on account of being crossed over the right above the knee. I did not, even though I had about a week to do so, work out what the melody's past incarnations were. At this point, having a looped video on the screens would have been a Good Thing. Perhaps an “I can't fight this fee-LANG any more” style photo montage.

Overall, the cast are amazing, the show feels like it's starting something big. It no longer deserves to be called Starlite. I have realised that the word “update” is not necessarily a dirty one, though wholly new songs are rarely an improvement. As ever, Mykal Rand is a genius and has drawn it all together into a more cohesive whole than it has had a chance to be in a while. I really hope my gut's onto something when it tells me that this is the precursor to a post-Olympic big production. There'll be a velodrome going spare...
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MY BRAIN: I want to make a proper feature film animation set to the best possible audio recordings of Phantom and/or RENT!
ME: But Brain, that's a huge undertaking! That sort project takes a team of proper artists years to accomplish, and you can't draw! I mean, even your stick figures leave a lot to be desired.
MY BRAIN: Don't care. Wanna.
ME: It's not going to happen.
MY BRAIN: Fine. I'll just bombard you with images and sequences from it until you want to self-trepan and smack me.
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Okay. So... The BBC are sometimes accused of only having 6 actors. While this is an exaggeration(it's more like 200), you DO see the same faces over and over again, often playing very similar characters. We all know Freema Agyeman only plays Martha Jones, even if she's in a Dickensian period drama. Lenora Critchlow is variants on the same slightly quirky, a bit insecure, keen to please absent-minded teenager whether she's Sugar, Cheen or Annie.

But the BBC 200 have interesting faces.

Sure, we'll see Aidan Turner rocking the devilishly handsome dark brooding Irishman whether he's a vampire or a pre-raphaelite painter, but take a look at him next to his American Being Human counterpart -

Which one would you be able to identify in a police lineup?

I mean no great insult to Sam Witwer, but he looks like at least 20 other tv actors. He could be just about anyone. Maybe the fact that the BBC only has 200 actors in its stable is just a sign of efficiency - rather than have a few thousand bland, identikit people who vary in skin colour and age and very little else, they have one or two of each strikingly different type. And so the result is that they do cast the same person over and over again in different shows, rather than just appearing to.

And damn, I want to be in the BBC stable.
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Why are the BBC so bad at casting actors to be younger/older versions of each other? With one notable exception in Ashes to Ashes, it's like they get the skin colour more or less the same and then adjourn to the pub.
In the Doctor Who episode with the giant wasp, it looked like Felicity Kendall's younger self had called in sick that morning and they'd shoved one of the assistant directors into a 1920s ballgown instead. They didn't even match her hair colour. The younger Leo in Hal's prequel for Being Human S4 is only recognisable because he's identified as a werewolf, he's talking to Hal and he's black!

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So close to ending every sentence with "-you stupid bitch." today. How do these people remember how to BREATHE?
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Originally posted by [ profile] cantarina1 at post
Originally posted by [ profile] electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr

This entry was also posted at (comments: comment count unavailable)
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Being warned off Mountview... hmm.
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Fire tiger! I know, right? If I'm a tiger I'm a skinned one that's lying on the floor as a rug.
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I don't recall previously having talked in my sleep whilst at the same time being awake enough to notice and remember most of the conversation. I think it's exactly the same phenomenon as my occasional waking hallucinations, but with added speech. I don't remember anyone being around to talk to during one before.
I was pretty sure I was awake, looking Purdy in the face and wondering if she was going to poke me in the face to gain admission under the duvet again like she did this morning(odd cat), when I had a clear conversation with Alice about whether or not she had been shining a red light in my window. I even corrected my vocabulary(determinated is not a word,not even in America) and confirmed that I definitely was awake. She replied the only way you can to that sort of gibberish and apologised for disturbing me.

The weird thing is that it took me a few minutes to accept that what I had said made no sense at all... I don't feel any more awake now than I did then. Can I ever trust that I really am awake again?
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...TV personality in the West End, make it Rock of Ages.

Basically it is a huge amount of fun and a standard of performance Dreamboats can't even see from where it's standing.

I see there's going to be a film. It looks much like the Hairspray remake(no great surprise since it's the same director) - good visuals, high production values, screwed up nonsensical version of the plot with good names playing the wrong roles.

Here's who I reckon SHOULD be playing who -

Lonnie - Adam Sandler
Dennis - Jack Black
Stacee - Owen Wilson
Sherry -
Drew -
Herr Herzklein -
Franz -
Regina -
Justice - Queen Latifah

Anyone wanna help fill in the gaps? These ones just sprang to mind.
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No-one's coming to Showstoppers, are they.
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Why nothing can go faster than light. I accept that this is so, but why? What is so special about light that it defines ultimate speed?

Is it just a coincidence that light is the same speed as the fastest that can be, or is it based purely on the limitations of human observation?
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Quite possibly Dolores Claiborne. She's sensible and resourceful and damn straight she got away with murdering that abusive arsehole of a husband she had.

I would so love King to collaborate with Steinman on a rock opera - it would be quite possibly the definition of awesome.
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You can find a positive spin to most things. For example -
"I so admire your dedication to your craft. Not many actors would take the initiative to inhale helium gas in order to achieve the unbroken voice of a prepubescant boy every night."
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Go on his gap year and build wells in Africa.
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Nurofen, I love you.
You make my day go by
Almost as unafflicted
As when I wake with working eyes.

When I carry my head like a too-full cup
When my stomach threatens to invert
When my gyroscope won't allow down or up
And I want to trepan to remove the hurt
When the storm cloud gathers off-centre
So I can't see, let alone read
When I lie still, unable to sleep
I reach for you, you're what I need.

Oh, Nurofen Migraine Pain
In your Cadbury purple box
Thanks to you I am not a caveman
Drilling into my skull with sharp rocks.
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I have yet to see much in the way of evidence to contradict the notion that our younger cat, Brummel, was in fact raised by dogs. He has a tennis ball he plays with when his attention span(approximately that of a gnat with ADHD) allows, and he won't seek shelter from the rain, instead gambolling around on the lawn or stalking through the dripping bushes during a downpour, and he always brings in some portion of the garden with him.
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