The Expedition

This week, I’ve been in LA with Longsufferinggirlfriendoftheblogbeth for the Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention. It’s been a bunch of fun.

The thing is, there’s a ten-hour outward bound flight to take, old friends to catch up with, panels to attend, and a return flight that surrounds the scheduled time for this week’s blog. Makes pulling together a stroke blog post a little tricky.

One of the panels we attended was called Faith and Fantasy, and examined “where Doctor Who has embraced – and where it’s conflicted with – matters of faith.”

Wait! Come back!

[Sign up for bonus apoplexy here.]

It was an interesting enough discussion. Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell was on the panel, and tends to be worth listening to on these matters. Here’s a snippet from his wiki entry, which illustrates why this might be the case:

In an interview on the Doctor Who: DWO Whocast, Cornell stated that this entry in Wikipedia described him as “…both a Christian and a pagan…“, which he has chosen not to correct as it illustrates his sympathies for the pagan world. He then goes on to state that he is an Anglican but is very “…Low Church, almost a Calvinist..” and this is partly because he doesn’t enjoy hymns.

Calvinism in action

However, while the panel attempted to be respectful to those of all faiths and none, the discussion was hamstrung by the fact that it was comprised entirely of practising Christians. Not least because, to this humanist at least, it meant that a big picture issue was missed – that one of the reasons we tell stories is because they provide an arena in which to examine and provide suggested answers to moral questions. In this sense, The Bible and Doctor Who might be said to operate in parallel.

They’re also similar in that they provide such a large number of stories with so much space for metaphor, that they can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways. If you click on “Dr. Who” in the list of categories to the right, you’ll find fourteen stroke blog posts that reference the show and use it to a lesser or greater extent in examining aspects of my experience of stroke.

To mark the passing of a successful and enjoyable Gallifrey One 2015, and because I’m on a plane, more or less, here are four of my favourite posts in which the Doctor helps me to navigate my way through stroke survival.

Did someone say Survival?
  1. The Greatest Show On Earth
    In which Stroke Bloke and his companion visit Gallifrey five months after he dies and comes back to life. I’m really glad we went.  I kind of owe The Doctor one.  Though I’d never been a full-fledged nerd previously, when he came back in 2005, I needed him in the most basic, geeky way possible.  I wasn’t too far removed from preparing to check myself into psychotherapy, and in the meantime, an escapist world was very appealing…. Today, I have a tattoo of the new series’ version of the Time Lord seal; it represents the infinite possibilities for fun and adventure that the time and space available to me offers.

    Stroke Bloke at Gally 2013
  2. Wang Dong, the Doctor’s Dead
    In which Series 7 finale, The Name of The Doctor, provides the texts for a sermon on the healing and transformative power of love. The reason I had to come back wasn’t originally to stay. It was to say goodbye to Beth, and let her know that I had loved her, loved her still, and that, whatever happened, “Everything was going to be OK.” Fortunately, dragging myself back for that got me close enough to the shore for my girlfriend to put me on her back and carry me back to the land of the living.

    My right side feels weird.
  3. Joanna Lumley for The Twelfth Doctor!
    In which I contemplate the virtues of feminism during a self-imposed twitter embargo, waiting for the announcement of the casting of The Twelfth Doctor. As a male feminist, father, and boyfriend of someone clearly smarter and more rational than I am, I think it’s important to show solidarity against the wankers, no matter how symbolic.

    Goodness, Chesterfield. This Garibaldi fellow’s nailed it already!
  4. Day of the Stroke Bloke
    In which I review 50th anniversary special, The Day of The Doctor, and consider what it is about Doctor Who that makes it so special to Whovians. And I sat at home, lucky in that, although I’m no Doctor, I have The Doctor to make me better, as well as a companion who always knows what I need, better than I know myself. Lucky because — and here’s the crazy thing — a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey in the Constellation of Kasterborous who’s how ever many years old saves real lives. Whether crotchety old William Hartnell as depicted in An Adventure In Space And Time, or this guy, or a guy with a face I remember, just older….

    No! Not him, me! I’ve got an older face!
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