Psychology

The Doctor Who does this woman’s work

 1981_farewell-tomThanks to “SillySteve2006” for coming up with the ingenious idea of posting this rather moving clip on Youtube.  It’s the last moments of Tom Baker as Doctor Who accompanied by the Kate Bush song “This Woman’s Work“.   

Picture the scene – it’s 1981 and the tall curly haired goggle-eyed, toothy-grinned man, who a generation of children has come to know as the hero of Saturday evening TV has just plunged to his imminent death from a radio telescope in the process of saving the universe yet again. 

And now he’s about to morph into that vet from “All Creatures Great & Small”. 

OK, so at the end of the day in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal.  All that’s happened is that the lead actor in a children’s TV show is being replaced by another actor.  But when seen in conjunction with the song, which is poignant and moving enough in its own right, it stirs certain emotions in the listener/viewer.  We get the apocalyptic sense that this is truly the end of an era.  The song is actually about pregnancy and childbirth and the traumas and emotional pain involved, a theme which fits in nicely with the regeneration of a dying Time Lord and the beginning of a new life.   The Doctor’s battered body lies prostrate on the ground as he sees flashbacks of old friends calling out his name while Kate mournfully wails about all the things she should have said but didn’t say and urges him not to die, citing “I know you have a lot of strength left, I know you have a little life left in you” – brilliant:

No doubt something similar will occur when David Tennant, probably the most popular Tardis pilot since Tom Baker morphs into the controversially chosen Matt Smith.  But it just won’t be the same.

But this blog posting isn’t really about Dr Who or Kate Bush, but about how childhood memories, certain powerful and evocative pieces of music or film can trigger off strong emotions in the human mind.  The real video for the song, featuring Kate herself alongside Tim “Percy/Captain Darling from Blackadder” McInnerney can be viewed here.   I would defy anyone to play  it without being moved in some way.

But then maybe it just affects 36-year old batchelors with too much time on their hands.  “Batchelor?” I hear you cry in amazement.  Well, I write a blog and I like Dr Who.  Go figure as the Americans would say.

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Putting the meltdown into perspective

While clearing away some old newspapers I came across an article published in the Observer in January by Tim Adams which explores the anxieties and fears curently engulfing western society in the face of the current financial crisis. One paragraph in particular sticks out:
“I was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in September, an awfully long way from where our generally abundant nation was fretting about its mortgage extensions and its job prospects, and I wondered just how the people there – who had lived with war for 15 years – coped psychologically with the constant fears of their lives. Why weren’t they all on the verge of a nervous breakdown? How could they sit and laugh in the sun? The most plausible answer was that they did not have even the luxury of anxiety; their expectation of security had never extended much beyond the next hour or two. Anxiety is a disease of relative plenty; it arises not from fear at what you do not have, but fear of what you might lose.”

Probably of scant consolation to anyone who’s just lost their job, but it does put things into perspective.