General Frustration… and his friend, Major Annoyance.

On the whole, life is pretty good at the minute (save for a few little issues) as my son is just starting to crawl, my wife and I are enjoying watching our family grow and we’ve just had that mini break away.  However, at the back of my mind are a few niggles that just won’t go away, rather like an itch that you can’t reach to scratch.

Yesterday we went off for a couple of house viewings, but the usual happened.  The one that we were very interested in turned out to be totally different from the misleading images of it that we saw on the agent’s website and almost from the minute that I walked in through the front door, I found myself not in the remotest bit interested in the property.  Online, the rooms looked so large and spacious (I guess a wide angled lens on the camera was employed here) yet the reality was far removed from this, it was pokey, dark and in a very run down state of repair.  My wife said that it was very telling when I didn’t even bother to go out into the garden and have a look at the double garage that was there!  Usually this is the main object that I’m very keen to see, even if I dare say it, over the house itself.  I’ve often joked that if I could find a great workshop with a nice house attached, rather than the other way around, that would be brilliant.

So while we were looking at this place, the estate agent who was going to show us around the second property called to say that it was now taken – literally just a few moments ago.  Typical!  We’d driven for nearly two hours to get there and it turned out all for nothing.  That second house had been on the market for well over 9 months, yet the minute we show an interest in it, like any other property, it gets snapped up.  Are we jinxed or what?

Now here’s where I’m going to sound like a broken record.

Those of you who know me, well or otherwise, will know that I’ve often bemoaned the fact that life and work takes over any spare time that I have (as is right and proper) and so because of this I never quite get around to finishing my own projects for my personal collection.  Several years ago I decided to pare down what I owned and concentrate on some of the rather nicer pieces.  A consequence of this was that I either boxed stuff up and put it into storage or simply gave the stuff away.  The net result of this now is that I only have two small shelves of stuff, but I’d really like to get a few props done to put out on display too.  However, every time I start on something, a job crops up and I lose interest in the personal project because by the end of the commission, I’m fed up with building stuff and just want a rest from it.

Last year I went to a mate’s house (Chris) and was in awe by the simplicity of his highly effective prop and model collection that he had on display in his home office – that was what I wanted, so it got me thinking… I’d like to follow his lead and do something similar.  But what could I do?

Well, most of it would have to be bespoke as you cannot buy the sort of things I’d like to own.  I’ve been very fortunate over almost the last 25 years to have had access to a variety of Doctor Who props where I got to photograph and measure items for potential future projects.  Way back when I started, I knew that I didn’t have the skills to recreate all of what I saw, but I was well aware that one day I would be in such a position to act on that and bring it into reality… or that was the plan at any rate.  As you can tell, it hasn’t quite happened and that’s where my personal frustration lays with this type of thing.  I have boxes loaded with measurements, plans and photos of all kind of props, but rarely have I actually tackled anything.  Yeah I started building a K9 and a TARDIS and wotnot, but they’re still waiting for me to finish them – even worse is when I’ve made fibre glass pulls from the original moulds and it hasn’t progressed further than a raw, untrimmed cast.  The stuff just sits there, taunting me.  Maybe I should concentrate on smaller, easy to finish pieces then.  Ha!

Ideally I would like the Classic Sonic Screwdriver, there was only ever one of these used by messers Pertwee, Baker and Davison, but for each Doctor, it was given a bit of a tart up, so in that respect I’d need to make three.  Easily done I guess and I’ve been meaning to dig out the measurements for it for years!  Back in 1996, just 12 days before he died, I had the pleasure of spending a day with Jon Pertwee (not name dropping here, by the way) and guess what he had with him.  Yep, his original TARDIS door key – he even let me have a damned good look at it too, it’s a very simple prop, cast from a mould in some kind of alloy.  Tom Baker was also furnished with one of these keys too for his tenure in the show, but don’t let anyone tell you that they were different – they weren’t, they were totally identical, though by the time I got to see Jon’s, it was battered to buggery and had lost some definition, especially around the arms of the ankh piece, but the shovel section was still looking in good shape.  This is another excellent candidate for replication and like most (if not all official replica versions of it and other such props) I’ve never seen one that is truly accurate in terms of detail and design.  Most are close, but not close enough for my picky perfectionist approach.  Call me sad, I know, I just can’t help myself sometimes.

Someone got in contact with me recently after he found a link to this blog on some American website (sorry, I don’t know which) and he was asking if I’d be interested in making him a Five Doctors console.  Frankly, if I was to do that project, I would rather it be for myself, but I haven’t got the space to store it, so it is an intriguing offer, though I expect that I’ll pass it up.  Having said that, he has asked for a few other pieces that aren’t quite so large and time-consuming, so we shall see.  Though if I’m really honest, he’s going to have a seriously long wait.  I just want to do my own thing in my own time.

Now that I think about it, maybe attempting to make all this stuff for myself is just a dream.  If I do complete it all, where do I go from there?  Perhaps it’s best that it stays unfinished then.  Hmm, that sets me in a bit of a quandary now.  What to do?  It’d be so nice to have a display of Screwdrivers (Classic and New Series) – the TARDIS door key and even that Dematerialisation Circuit, plus a variety of other items, but then again, what do I really need it for?  And besides, I don’t really have the funds for any of these and especially the larger items to boot!

To end today’s rather long tome, let’s take something from left field.

A couple of nights ago, just after I’d got into bed, I felt what I thought was just the hairs on my leg settling… Men, you should know how this feels.  And ladies, so should you if you don’t like shaving.  Equality and all that.  Anyway, the sensation started up again, this time a little further up, then I realised that it was travelling with multiple points of contact – something wasn’t right, especially as whatever it was had reached somewhere where I really would have rather it hadn’t!  I brushed whatever it was off me, switched the lamp on, threw back the covers and then saw this…

Okay, it wasn’t this actual one here in the photo – I nicked that from the Interweb, but it was one just like it.  Big and hairy – the spider (!) and crawling back towards me.  A cup, a piece of paper and an open window soon sorted her out.  Mind you, it came in through an open window, so I’m wondering when she’ll next put in an appearance, but put it this way, before we get into bed now, my wife checks everywhere for these little (depending on your perspective) eight legs.

Sleep tight!

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~ by PurpleBlancmange on July 18, 2010.

8 Responses to “General Frustration… and his friend, Major Annoyance.”

  1. I know what you mean about not having spare time! :(
    Although as i was made redundant on Friday, i’ve now got plenty of it :)

    You best prey i don’t win the lottery, you’d never have any spare time again. EVER! hmmmm an exact TYJ TARDIS replica, Console, Console room, dalek etc etc! lol Id have to just hand you a blank cheque!

    I always wanted to become a “model maker” (my dad called it that), since i was a young boy and my interest peaked when i was around 12 (i think) watching a documentary about filming a scene in Red Dwarf of starbug crashing on a planet. Fascinating stuff. The first thing i do when i get a new film on DVD is to go to the special effects section in the extras. How would i even begin about doing SFX as a career??? Sorry lots of waffle :(

    • Ah, sorry about losing your job – that’s a bummer! I lost my “proper” job a while ago, so it’s just commissions that keep me going, but when you’re freelance, you can’t always rely on a continuous wage from it.

      I’m probably the last person you want to get careers advice from, but I’d suggest you learn as much as possible about the job as you can, then put it into practice to show off your talents. Get building, replicas are fine, but original pieces are usually what people want to see.

      You’re the same as me with DVDs – the extras are always viewed first!

      As for when you win the lottery, just open an account in my name and fill it with obscene amounts of cash and you can have whatever props you want!

  2. I bow to your expertise, but are you absolutely sure about the Tardis key(s)? The one I saw on the Doctor Who Props website doesn’t look cast at all. It looks like brazed metal chips (that’s the anecdote about the original key, too). The original is so crude that I’m glad the recast Spirit of Light Key became canon in the TVM.

    Gene (lespaceplie)

    • Yes, I’m 100% positive that they were cast as both Jon’s and Tom’s copies were identical – on Pertwee’s (the one I saw first hand with a couple of friends) you could still see the pour point nub at the tip of the shovel section as it hadn’t been fully filed down properly.

      Also the Spirit of Light replica isn’t a recasting of the original, it’s a new tooling and isn’t quite right in the shape and detailing. Neither is the “Trekker” replica which is the one used in the TV Movie, but obviously now that one can be considered a new prop as a result.

      I can think of at least five official replicas that have been produced over the last 15 to 20 plus years and all are close, more or less, but the big give away is the rear face. No-one ever seems to get that bit right – which is understandable given the lack of reference material.

      Actually, I just noticed a mistake in the main posting – I got my two meetings with Jon mixed up. The first meeting in February or March 1992 was when he showed me the original key, in the second and last meeting (just prior to his death) he showed me another of his keys which was a recast of the original done by the creator of Jon’s fan club. This was more or less identical, other than the metal – it was cast in a silver alloy of some kind and was made available only to members of that club by all accounts.

  3. Don’t talk to me about viewing houses…

    For the last week we have been making appointments to view some houses, just here in town mind you, we don’t have to drive forever.
    Though each time within an hour of the viewing it has been cancelled or postponed to a later time and date (yet to happen) because either the realtor is ill, the realtor’s kid is ill, the realtor company can’t get anyone to show it, the occupant (or occupant’s kid) is ill or they just plain and simple will not vacate the property so that it can be viewed. (It seems over here the owner is not allowed to be home when the house is being shown unless the owner is selling the house themselves without the use of a realtor)

    So having started last week with 4 houses we want so see we so far have seen a big fat zero of them.
    Bloody useless!

    • Yes, it’s really annoying. We’ve just had to pick ourselves up and start again from scratch, but as with everyone, finding a suitable place takes time and luck it would seem. Plus you have to find a list of candidates too as you can’t rely on viewing just the one place!

      Good luck with your search though and I hope it’s fruitful.

  4. Job hunting is no fun im jinxed in that department
    Sounds like fun idea having select props made id like one or two but not got much room
    Still not finished my Cyber Helmet
    I have a box frame, with the sonics in and displayed across in a little grip so can be removed when you slide back the glass
    would love to add some classics, also in it is the TARDIS keys i have tho these are regular bought ones

    Could of been worse could of been the wife having spider experience

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