The soundtrack to Marvel’s Doctor Strange is wonderful!

As a HUGE soundtrack fan & collector, I was so pleased when Marvel Entertainment released a track from the forthcoming movie, Doctor Strange.

I’m not familiar with the character or comic, but given the music I am so very much looking forward to going to see the film AND buying the soundtrack.  One of Michael Giacchino’s finest tracks.  Heck, one of the finest film soundtracks in ages.

Back when Stardust was filming, I cheekily asked Jane Goldman if it were possible to sit in on a recording session of the film’s soundtrack (composed by the excellent Ilan Eshkeri), but alas, wasn’t possible.  Having seen films being made firsthand, the one thing that keeps eluding me is that of watching a film score come together in front of my eyes (and ears, and shoulders, knees and toes – knees and toes).  Maybe one day..

I’m no Parkinson, but..

It looks like writer, producer and director Dirk Maggs has kindly agreed to do an interview with me regarding his forthcoming BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s Stardust.


My idea being that as I have already interviewed screenwriter Jane Goldman on adapting Stardust for film, it’d be complimentary to get an interview for radio.  Two different formats – two different approaches.

I’m personally fascinated by book to film/TV/radio adaptations – taking a story in one form and transforming it to work in another.  That fascination goes way back to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a series I have adored since childhood.  I love Hitchhiker’s because it’s little bit different between the different forms.  The radio, the TV show, the books and the film are the same story – but all told slightly differently.  Of all the different versions of the story, the film is the most different – but I don’t love it any less.

If Jane had tackled Neil’s story in its entirety, we’d have probably ended up with an 10 hour (or longer) film.  With radio, and especially dramatic episodic radio, you’ve got more time to work within the original published story – but pacing is obviously going to be different between a book and radio performance (it’s not an audiobook and thus not a reading).  Plus the lack of visuals provides a challenge in its own right.  For those that have never read Stardust (or watched the film), you’ve got to be able to paint a clear picture in the listener’s mind of the characters, the settings – everything through audio.  That is hard.

When Peter Harness (for whom I’m also looking to interview at some point when he’s back in the UK) adapted Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for BBC television, he reworked the story to fit into 7 one hour parts, and in doing so, actually rearranged some of the events in the book which I think actually helps the story a great deal.  It’s a superb adaptation.  A bloody difficult adaptation, but Peter achieved it when three other screenwriters couldn’t.

Anyway, nothing has been set in stone yet.  I don’t know which format the interview will be in.  It’s entirely dependent on Dirk’s availability.  Email interviews are much easier, of course.  But I now have a video camera (a Sony FDR-AX53, a 4K capable camera that replaces my 16 year old non-HD, tape-based camera which died several years ago), an external microphone (with dead cat), and a high quality audio recorder.  So I could do it as a vlog/podcast.  In any event, I’m prepared for any format of interview.

In the mean time, if you have any questions for Dirk and Stardust, please feel free to leave a comment below.  When I have more information I’ll post it here.

Good job I handed back my Note 7 and got a refund..

.. because there have been at least five reports of replacement Note 7 units exploding within the past two weeks.  And Royal Mail apparently won’t touch any parcels that have a Samsung mobile device in it.

The refund from the Note 7 went on the iPhone 7 instead.  A shame as I really liked the Note 7 – but Samsung’s rush to market has now caused it insufferable damage and it’s going to be extremely difficult trusting them with future mobile devices (and washing machines) going forward.

The single, most annoying thing about technology is..

.. as soon as you buy something, the next generation is released the very next day.  Having just bought the Sony RX100 mark IV, the RX100 mark V has been announced and is due out this month.

That said, while the mark V introduces even faster auto focusing through 315 AF phase detection, with auto focusing reduced to around 0.05 seconds, it’s also £400 more expensive than the mark IV.  Plus the mark III is continuing to sell just as well.  The mark V doesn’t offer a better electronic viewfinder, nor does it offer a touchscreen.  What the mark V does that the IV does not – 24 fps continuing shooting in RAW.  Impressive for a non-DSLR.  Otherwise the specs remain mainly the same as mark IV.

The mark V’s 4K video system has improved, but I reckon they’ll still only limit it to 5 minutes per clip given how small the camera is, and how hot it’s going to get to be able to process the video.  I have a solution to that, but I won’t reveal that for a little while as yet.

In any event, best strategy is to let others tinker with the new model for a bit to see how things pan out over a period of several months.   I’ll be perfectly happy with the mark IV for a couple of years.  By the time I’m ready to upgrade, the mark VI or VII will be out that will probably make marks III, IV and V look like tinker toys.  Or maybe I’ll upgrade to DSLR?  We’ll see.