Thoughts on Mr. Holmes (and maybe Doctor Who)

Saturday night in my family is movie night - or occasionally Scandinavian drama night. Tonight there was only one movie that any of us wanted to watch - Mr. Holmes starring Ian KcKellen and Laura Linney. Since we'd first heard about it we had this intense desire to see it and thankfully it didn't disappoint even with all the added pressure our expectation heaped upon it. It was simply a wonderful English movie.

A quick bit of info for anyone who doesn't know. It's 1947. Sherlock Holmes has grown old and is starting to suffer from dementia. He's beginning to forget things. For a man who holds his intellect and memory above all else this is a truly frightening thing. It's the one thing in life I'm more scared of than almost anything else and that one thing involves my wife, the woman who has shared my life these past 23 years. I'm not even going to type any more on that.

Suffice it to say the thought of losing who I am as I get older would be terrifying and my mental powers are not even on the same chart as the greatest fictional detective of all time. I do consider myself an intelligent man. I am a University graduate (back in the 1980s - I put the century to stop some of my so called friends making the inevitable joke). I have a love of and a great deal of knowledge of physics - even reading books on Quantum Theory for fun. (I suppose I really should look up what that word means.) I speak, to varying degrees, Italian, French and Dutch; although claim to be truly fluent in none of them. And I work in a technical field.

That's me. Good but not even close to compare to the kind of intellect with which Holmes was created. So I could not even guess what levels of despair such a thought would raise in that man. So Holmes is old, nearing death and he forms a friendship with a young boy (not in an Operation Yewtree way though). And the boy wants to know the story of Holmes' last case. The only problem is he cannot remember it.

Cue lots of wonderfully English Englishness; cups of tea, memories of Victorian times and extremely old stone built country cottages by the seaside. I'm a sucker for all the old fashioned imagery - and no, I am not harking for the olden days when Britain actually mattered. I am a realist and live in the here and now and don't still consider Britain great. but it is a fantastic backdrop against which to set some superb stories and this is up there with any of them.

So wonderful film finished we needed something a little more lightweight to end the evening so we lined up the episode of Doctor Who from earlier in the evening. As with every story this season it was a two parter and this was the second half. Now last week's I found as weak as most of this series and wasn't holding out much hope for tonight but it picked up big time for me.

The conclusion included a bit of intense acting stuff from Capaldi that made his Doctor a little more believable as being the continuation of all the earlier Doctors. It's been probably my biggest criticism of his run as Doctor (and this is nothing against the actor who I think is superb). It's just he's felt a bit disconnected from all that went before. Now for the first few episodes this was good. All Doctors need to settle in and figure out who they are but they have always had something of the Doctor running inside them.

This one had precious little of it until the mostly monologue argument with the Clara Zygon and Kate Stewart. Then there was something that made you think - yes, this guy is the Doctor. I want a little more of that. And please can we have some variety to the format. Every story being a two part story is not right. Some singles and maybe a longer arc. Difficult to do with only four episodes and then the Christmas special I know and even more difficult considering everything was filmed weeks/months ago. I just hope the don't give me two more lots of "To Be Continued".

That's it really. No more thoughts. Am going to have to go away and try to think of more euphemisms and sick metaphors for carrying on the novel tomorrow. I need to get a little ahead of the curve tomorrow to stay on track for the 50K for the month. I have written 14,706 words in seven days at an average of 2,100 words per day.

But one day this coming week is going to be a null pointer (Eurovision style) as the company where I work has organised an employee pub quiz and I'm going. So that will be a deficit of 1,667 words (average required per day). Then there is the fact that I don't get as much done on the other weeknights either due to the smaller amount of time so my Saturdays and Sundays need to make up for it.

Today saw 3,467 added which is not bad but it shows that this novel is a lot tougher to write than the earlier ones. I went back to the blog entries I wrote about progress on the Patternmaker's Daughter and I achieved over 7,000 words on more than one occasion. I feel if I manage 4,000 tomorrow I will have done wonderfully well. It really is that much of a difference.

Maybe I did pick the wrong type of novel to go for my NaNoWriMo push but it's too late to worry about that now I guess. And besides the only other one on the stocks is a historical fantasy novel set in late fifteenth century Venice. I have to keep looking stuff up for that one which slows me down even more.

No, I am committed to the Comedy SF-noir story I've called No Man's Land and I am determined to see it through. 42K words is a fair chunk. I should finish it, especially as my wife (I may have mentioned her before - she's the one I write all these stories for if I'm honest) wants to know how it's going to end and what colourful expletives I might invent next.

Anyway - it's late and I need to go get some sleep if I'm going to do all this writing tomorrow. So good night to one and all. If you're a writer and taking part in NaNoWriMo I hope your writing is on track; if you're a writer but not doing the challenge this year I hope your writing goes well according to whatever schedule you are trying to maintain; and if you are a reader I hope you find the next book that will keep you awake for just one more chapter no matter the cost to your wakefulness the next day and introduce you to characters that will remain a part of your life for the rest of it.

If you are none of these things then I pity you. You are missing out on greatness.

Good night


E J Frost said…
Very interesting post. I haven't seen "Mr Holmes" yet, but it is on my list to watch and now I'm really looking forward to it.

Love your final comment and completely agree. My life would be so much poorer without the written word!
Edmund Lester said…
I hope you enjoy Mr. Holmes when you see it

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