Andrew O'Day - In Words and Pictures
This page was first published to the internet Sunday 6th June 2010. Latest update: Sunday 29th March 2015.
Andrew O'Day In Words and Pictures
Andrew O'Day: Facets of Fandom
Essays and Writings:
(© Andrew O'Day)
|Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone|
|History and Fiction in Doctor Who||Towards a definition of satire in Doctor Who||Surveillance and Space in Doctor Who||
Philip Martin’s “Vengeance on Varos”
|Andrew's Interviews Page||The Trip of a Lifetime|
Text below by Andrew is contained within quotation marks inside text boxes .
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Below: Andrew 1984-85
Below: Andrew in 1986. Photo Copyright © 1986 Dave Rudin.
Below: Andrew in Milton Keynes, 1986
Below: Washington 1988
Below: Where Andrew lived when staying in Washington circa 1979-80
The text below refers to the pictures above.
“These photographs were taken in the Summer of 1988 when I was visiting a relative with my Dad in Washington DC. I had lived in DC with my parents (before their divorce) before my Doctor Who fandom days, and strangely have more vivid memories of that than Longleat 1983. In DC I attended the Washington International School which I can still picture in my mind quite clearly, along with some of my friends like Michelle, David, Doug, and Sara. My fondest memories of DC include playing on the dinosaur on the mall in the summer, visiting nicely air-conditioned museums (needed), including the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum where one could go on rides and purchase ‘astronaut food’, and spending hours and hours during the summer months at the outdoor swimming pool of our apartment building (slightly south east of the Capitol building) and being taught how to dive, first by Tammy and then by a young lifeguard named Eric. I remember the joy of swimming at night-time (when it was still relatively warm), doing back-stroke and looking up at the enchanting night sky, and being dismayed when the swimming pool closed. One had to struggle to get me out of that pool! I still remember the layout of that pool very clearly with its deck-chairs in the front area with everyone sun-bathing, its much needed drink machines, and the pool spanning a great length. And when that pool was closed, there was another run by the same company just several blocks away. Elsewhere, in America I remember swimming in the sea, getting onto a wooden platform, and having to desperately avoid all the jelly-fish which also populated the shore. I used to go to the Marston Ferry Pool upon our return to Oxford, as well as other pools, and remember doing a sponsored swim of a mile in another pool nearby, but these pools were not the same. The outdoor pool at La Cite in Montreal was more like it. In DC, I remember the Smithsonian Institute where my Mum worked and my Mum doing a talk about one museum for my school. I remember Trick or Treating in our neighbourhood in DC for Halloween and from the winter months, I remember building a snowman and visiting the deer near the White House, as well as having a birthday party at the Washington National Zoo. That zoo was spectacular with its clock with animals on and its food and drinks (hot dogs contained in distinctive animal patterned cartons). During one of my trips to DC, I spent an afternoon playing on the Metro going along all the routes, including as far as the zoo. I did quite a bit of travelling in my early years: I vaguely remember the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and the summer camps I was sent to in France (one of which I had a blood infection at due to excessively scratching mosquito bites), as well as being driven round Paris and seeing all the landmarks. And my least favourite memory from DC?: the pigeon droppings all over our apartment balcony.”
“In school-life back in Oxford, England, I was very much excluded, and had to work hard, not so much at most of the school subjects, as I was way ahead in receiving certificates for the number of ‘A’ grades received, but work hard in the sense of being integrated with the other children. Thankfully, through all the problems I had with people, some due to the stirrings of my sexuality, I had my passion for Doctor Who to keep me strong, and a teacher encouraged my production of Doctor Who Times. And after moving to Milton Keynes there was so much spare-time from school for me to watch Doctor Who. Little did I know then the importance Doctor Who would play in my adult life. Basically, from an early age, I have seen life as a series of challenges to be overcome but I hope they have made me stronger, and my love for Doctor Who has - in one way or another - helped me overcome so many. I still have problems with people, including in Doctor Who fandom itself, but I don’t cry anymore. I don’t know why. I just can’t seem to be able to. And I hope that’s a good thing.”
Below: Andrew in 1989
Below: Andrew in Mitre Square, Whitechapel 1989.
“This is a photograph of me in Mitre Square from about 1989/1990. My stepfather David took me on a walking tour of the Jack the Ripper murder sites, after I was absorbed by the 1988 Euston Films production. Michael Caine’s acting, and indeed that of the rest of the cast, is brilliant and the mini-series is sheer gothic horror (dealing with the idea of the sane/insane ‘double being’) with a superb incidental musical score. I did a project on Jack the Ripper for GCSE General Studies in around 1990, and recently returned to some of the archival material for a conference paper I gave in Oxford on representations of the Whitechapel Murderer as a monster in the 1888 visual press (published in an eBook). Other photographs taken on the walking tour were of streets so have been excluded here.”
Below left: Long-haired for a while Below right: Montreal 1995
The text below refers to the picture above left.
“These were the days when I had an ‘adventurous spirit’. An ‘adventurous spirit’ that saw me running along a hot Mediterranean beach with a boy I loved but could not tell. An ‘adventurous spirit’ that would see me visit my friend in a small coastal town on the other side of the world during the torrents of winter, and soon afterwards run away there to try to achieve warmness and escape the boredom of life at school. An ‘adventurous spirit’ that saw me dye my hair blonde to impress. An ‘adventurous spirit’ that saw me leave my family home and rent instead. An ‘adventurous spirit’. These were the days when I was vain about my looks but troubled about so many other things. Those were the days.”
The text below refers to the picture above right.
“This photograph is taken of me in Montreal, where I lived and went to university between 1991 and 1997. With the biggest ‘gay village’ in North America (covering a distance of nearly two kilometres, running eastwards from rue Berri to rue De Lorimer, and centering on Beaudry metro station), my living in Montreal has had an incalculable influence on my life and indeed on my writing. I wonder what course my life would have taken had I not lived in a place like Montreal, whether I would still be closeting my homosexuality and be generally ‘unhappy’ for that reason. Having lived in Montreal helped with the notion of the ‘gay village’ offering a freer ‘queer space’ (the term used here as a synonym for LGBT) when it came to writing my encyclopedia entry on ‘New York City’ for LGBTQ America Today (though such cities are different).”
“‘The gay village’ of Montreal centres on one of the most sexual streets in North America, and indeed the world, rue Sainte-Catherine. What is particularly interesting about Montreal is the way in which the East End (‘the gay village’) mirrors the West. This is manifested on rue Sainte-Catherine by night clubs, strip clubs, sex shops, Peep Shows with cubicles, in which one watches straight or gay pornographic films and which are frequented by either female or male prostitutes, and indeed by street prostitution patches. I would further argue that Montreal is a prime example of the postmodern city, not only in that it emphasises cultural diversity, but also in that it places emphasis on spectacle as opposed to discreetness. In the case of Montreal, spectacle can be described as a spectacle of sex and sexuality. Writing in 1984, Frederic Jameson (2001, ‘Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’, in D. Kellner and G. M. Durham, eds. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, London, Blackwell, 550-87) noted that the term postmodernism can be used to refer to a society concerned with surface appearance. Not only does Montreal’s ‘gay village’ highlight sexual spectacle where one can enter strip clubs and watch ‘male dancers’ on stage (for example, then at Adonis, Taboo, slightly off rue-Sainte Catherine, and Campus), or enter Peep Shows and watch pornographic films, but also along the East End of rue Sainte-Catherine, one can see the words ‘PEEP SHOW’ and ‘SAUNA’ in Neon lights, particularly striking at night. This is an extension of the ‘heterosexual spectacle of sex’ on the West Side of rue Sainte-Catherine where, for instance, strip clubs feature signs with ‘cartoon like’ figures of naked women, illustrating how there is an equal attempt at a ‘queer spectacle’. This marks a radical difference from the pre-Stonewall period when, as Jeffrey Escoffier notes, in the United States, ‘gay and lesbian bars, bathhouses, or other businesses sought to be as inconspicuous as possible – their outside appearances […] often muted, their signs cryptic or insignificant’, their operating ‘under the guise of being some other legitimate business’ (American Homo: Community and Perversity, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998: 72). The postmodern idea raised by Jameson is important in considering the way in which ‘the gay village’ is openly advertised and is an antithesis to ‘the closet’, also apparent by queer couples holding hands, kissing in the streets and lounging on benches.”
“Since my departure
from Montreal, the entrance to Metro Beaudry, a threshold location from
which one enters a new geographical space, was in 1999 renovated and part
of its permanent design structure are rainbow-coloured masts over the
door, symbolising the fact that one is walking into a queer space. Guy
McDonald, co-founder and director of the Gay Chamber of Commerce of Quebec
(GCCQ), who helps queer businesses thrive, and who convinced the city to
redecorate Beaudry station with rainbow colours, has indeed put in a
proposal to rename the station ‘Beaudry-Village’ (Preville 1998, ‘Guy
McDonald and the Business of Being Queer’, Divers-Cite: Queer 8.
‘Station Beaudry’, Beaudry Metro,
“‘The ‘queer space’ of ‘the
gay village’ (‘Le village gai’) of Montreal developed over time.
Historically, Montreal’s gay community was to be mainly found in the
downtown West: Shaughnessy Village was the largely anglophone gay
residential neighbourhood, where queers made a home, while bars were
located on rue Stanley and rue Drummond (‘the old village’). In October
1977, what has been described as Montreal’s ‘own Stonewall’ occurred (Zanin
2002, ‘The Village Comes Out: A Quick History’, Go-Montreal.com,
“As I do in my encyclopedia
entry on ‘New York City’ in relation to that city, it is also worth
thinking in more detail about how the geographical and symbolic space of
Montreal’s ‘gay village’ generally ties in with economics. Escoffier
traces the economic burden and benefits of the pre- and post-Stonewall
period respectively in the United States, arguing that before Stonewall,
lesbians or gay men rarely owned gay and lesbian bars because of being
vulnerable to prosecution for illegally selling alcohol and that therefore
‘most of the profits […] went to straight owners and was not reinvested in
activities catering to other lesbian and gay needs’ (1998: 73).
Furthermore, queers had to pay ‘protection’ to police. Conversely, after
Stonewall, argues Escoffier, the economy ‘changed from “black-market” […]
to conventional markets’ giving queers greater economic control, and ‘the
gay village’ was important since ‘markets can only develop when adequate
information exists about the number and location of customers’
(1998: 76; my italic). In Montreal, in the 1950s gay men met in the
Dominion Square Tavern (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
"This summary fills a gap that Michel Foucault acknowledged when he wrote that ‘A whole history remains to be written of spaces - which would at the same time be the history of powers’ (Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, ed. C. Gordon, New York, Pantheon Books, 1980: 149), and sees the development from the type of mass society that functionalists like C. Wright Mills described in the 1950s (The Power Elite, New York, Oxford University Press, 1956) to spaces for counter-publics. But in the case of Montreal, the LGBTQ community can be found in other areas of the city; for example, La Cite in the West End on Avenue du Parc is a leisure centre populated largely by gay men.”
“Today, Montreal’s ‘gay village’, like other large gay urban centres, is advertised as a tourist attraction. One can see how Montreal is advertised as such an attraction on a plethora of Internet sites, and in leaflets, and promoted by the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I remember during my time in Montreal particularly meeting men who had come for a short break from the United States, even from other large gay urban centres like New York City (an approximately 6 hour drive away or coach ride) and San Francisco, to enjoy the pleasures on offer. They would largely stay in hotels but would be able to find the pleasures on offer in other establishments in ‘the gay village’ too.”
“I’d indeed like to look at some gay travel writing in future, as my move from Milton Keynes to Montreal illustrated a move to a more (but, of course, not entirely) ‘queer utopia’, a common theme in LGBT studies. Imagine the move from a city like Milton Keynes in England, the main attraction of which back in 1991 (when I left) was a ten-screen cinema to this very sexual city of Montreal that I have just described. I found myself very bored in Milton Keynes a lot of the time, seeking refuge in the television set, with no-one to communicate my sexuality to, and found myself brought to life, as it were, in Montreal, where, even in such a big city I got to know people outside of McGill University, where I still tried to remain closeted. Something inside me was released and I went wild. Too wild, in fact.”
“‘The city that never sleeps’ is a common nickname
for New York City but has also been applied to Montreal(http://travel.yahoo.
The text below refers to the picture below right.
“Hard to believe but there’s also a five year story that goes with this picture, which was taken on the Arts building steps of McGill University in the Summer of 1996 for the Student’s Guide, in this case in the section explaining grading, which I shall condense here. The photograph shows just how little effect an A has on raising one’s CGPA when one has an F on one’s transcript, as revealed in another photograph with another student holding a chart. So at McGill all first year grades count and low grades in any one course in a completely different subject than that one is specialising in are going to affect one’s overall degree. Absolutely ridiculous. So my first year grades in McGill’s Freshman programme (which I needed to take) were pretty dire due to me just being young, having fun in a foreign land, and not understanding the implications of Canadian grading. And there were plenty of occasions for fun in Montreal during my undergraduate days. But in a way the challenge of raising my CGPA focused my mind on how to work effectively after my first year, get as many A’s and A-‘s as possible (as seen in the chart in this photograph), and to make sure I never dropped below a B+ in a course. Which created a lot of in-department problems but has really helped me become a writer.”
Below: Acting portfolio pictures
Below: Andrew at RADA
“In the Winter months of 1998, I had taken some acting classes at an acting school in Montreal and in Autumn 1998 I was enrolled in an M.A. in Text and Performance (read Theatre Studies) at King’s College, London in association with RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). One third of the course consisted of written work for King’s, one third consisted of a 10,000 word dissertation, and one third consisted of regular practical work spread out over the two terms at RADA. The photographs you see here were taken throughout the year 1998-99 and are, for example, from classes where we were taught about the use of masks, and from our Scene study classes where we directed and performed short scenes from plays which were performed at the end of each term (Autumn 1998 and Spring 1999). In the first Autumn term, we had a couple of classes with a really nice guy called Greg de Polnay. For me at the time, this was just another class. But imagine my absolute surprise when, back in my room in Oxford for my Christmas holidays, watching the video I Was a Doctor Who Monster, none other than Greg de Polnay appeared, who played D84 in the 1977 Tom Baker story “The Robots of Death”. I had to rewind the tape to make sure I wasn’t imagining things! I think Greg was lucky I had not realised his Doctor Who connection during his classes, as I would have been too much in awe of him, for as soon as the Christmas holidays were over, in January 1999 I visited Greg in an upstairs classroom at RADA, once his other students had shuffled out of the room, and after informing him of my realisation got him to sign my “Robots of Death” video cover. Unfortunately, I did not have a photograph of myself taken with Greg. I did have an idea that I’d like to work on a Doctor Who dissertation with Greg (a performed text) but the higher powers did not feel that this was appropriate to this course, but the idea of doing a Doctor Who project was resurrected for my PhD.”
“Theatre Studies was a useful stepping stone to Television Studies. I wasn’t much of an actor, though enjoyed some scene study classes after which we all went out to the pub, but we had to write a number of theatre reviews, so I ended up going to see, for example, a production of Phedre in London, which featured Doctor Who veteran Julian Glover, the RSC’s productions of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Tales from Ovid, and Othello in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as a fringe theatre version of Moliere’s Tartuffe. And that and classes at RADA got me thinking about aspects of mise-en-scene such as lighting, and costume design, as well as the use of music - all of which have been very useful in my work on science fiction television: there are pages devoted to mise-en-scene in Terry Nation, for example, where Jonathan and I deconstruct the notion of Terry Nation as a sole authority figure. It’s important to think about all this in relation to satire as well. There’s further work to do, developing my essay “Towards a definition of satire in Doctor Who’, looking not just at thematic patterns but also at how the different narratives ‘feel’ different. So, for example, “The Sun Makers” (1977) with its sets ‘feels’ now more like the later Blake’s 7 episode “The Way Back” (1978), set largely inside the Earth Dome, while “The Happiness Patrol” ‘feels’ nightmarish and also has a surreal fairy-tale quality to it with the Kandy Kitchen and the Kandy Man. And this links in with the idea that at the end genuine ‘Happiness will Prevail’ which is a bit like the ‘happily ever after’ idea of fairy tales. So you can’t really stop by dividing these satires into structural parts of science fiction.”
“And thinking about Doctor Who generally, what is it we like about it? Is it just the narrative - the ‘plot’ - or is it also largely the mood, conveyed not only through performance but also through mise-en-scene and music? I have done detailed work which challenges John Ellis’ (1982) notion that television is characteristically watched with the glance as opposed to with the gaze, emphasising that fan viewing can both be attentive and in some cases can involve watching the same narrative repeatedly to make detailed close readings, much as is done in English Literature and Film Studies. But when we first watch an episode of Doctor Who – myself included – are we really analyzing it or are we captured by a mood? Sarah Cardwell writes that ‘the development of television studies out of sociology and cultural studies has led to a focus on television’s import in political, ideological, and socio-cultural terms, rather than in artistic or cultural terms’, that ‘television is still regarded as artistically impoverished in comparison with the other arts’, and that therefore ‘Little attention has been paid to what one may call the aesthetics of television: the analysis of thematic, formal and stylistic qualities; the exploration of “questions which arise from a thinker’s interest in beauty or art” (Vivas and Krieger 1953: 5) (Style and Meaning: Studies in the detailed analysis of film, ed. John Gibbs and Douglas Pye, Manchester, Manchester University Press 2005: 179). So far my academic work has tended more towards the thematic and there is a danger of overlooking the point that when television is first watched it is the mood presented which captures the viewer. This is not the case with Doctor Who fandom and the fanzines of the 1970s and 80s where attention is paid to issues such as direction and music. Most fanzines featured reviews of current stories and, for example, in The Highlander, editor Brian J. Robb gives percentage figures to aspects of stories such as direction. I like watching some of the old lengthy Jon Pertwee narratives from the Barry Letts era in black and white: “The Ambassadors of Death” (1970) and “The Mind of Evil” (1971), for example, because they have the atmosphere of spy thrillers. So there were certainly benefits to black and white television (prior to Pertwee such as the ‘dark’ feel of “The Invasion” (1968)) and the way we have been handed some of these Pertwee stories has been beneficial to them and now advanced technology to re-colourise them to their more original state actually threatens them. Then there was the ‘Philip Hinchcliffe/Robert Holmes’ era of Doctor Who which was largely in the gothic genre, a genre defined as much as by mood as with any thematic preoccupations. Alan Barnes has written for Doctor Who Magazine about the way story titles conjure up the notion of mood: e.g. Terror of the Zygons, and The Hand of Fear. Then afterwards the ‘Graham Williams era’, also defined largely by mood, in this case of humour in deliberate contrast to Hinchcliffe/Holmes whose narratives had provoked complaints, not least by Mary Whitehouse. Indeed, Graham Williams’ final season as producer was script-edited by Douglas Adams of Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame. Interestingly, the one example I can think of, of having felt fear at Doctor Who comes from when I was 9 years old and was watching ‘Kinda’ on transmission: I found the scenes of Tegan in the darkness very unsettling. From the JN-T era of the 1980s, the thing I like about “Terminus” (1983), which sets me apart from many fans, is its macabre mood, achieved through set design (skeleton on door), costume design, and largely incidental music. So despite all the production problems involved with “Terminus” (see DVD), I think it largely works. “Warriors of the Deep” (1984), meanwhile, has, in my opinion, quite a solid plot (though some fans have critiqued it for not adhering to established Doctor Who history), but the thing it is often derided for is its so-called poor direction by Pennant Roberts and therefore its ruining a mood, with all its brightly lit-sets, as well as the slow-moving Sea Devils and the Myrka (which looks much like a Pantomime Horse) and Ingrid Pitt’s Karate kick at it. This ties in with a comment that Gary Russell made in an editorial of his fanzine Shada back in the 80s: ‘despite its many flaws, WARRIORS wasn’t that bad, but sadly it didn’t live up to expectations and (despite a very strong storyline…) seemed rather aimless and perhaps to ‘neat and tidy’ in execution’. So ‘fans’ including myself make aesthetic judgements about Doctor Who based around mood. The Andrew Cartmel script-edited era when Sylvester McCoy was the Doctor differs from the Eric Saward script-edited era during Peter Davison and Colin Baker’s time as the Doctor, but even within the Cartmel era a distinction is drawn between early Cartmel (whimsical) and later Cartmel (darker). Interestingly, “Ghost Light” (1989) is applauded for its gothic mood, though many fans have had trouble making sense of the narrative. And more up-to-date from the Russell T. Davies revival, there is the very famous scene from the end of the second season when in “Doomsday” (2006), Rose, now trapped in a parallel world, gets to say a very tearful goodbye to the Doctor, while Murray Gold’s incidental music plays. As Sarah Cardwell states, “In much television drama, melodramatic strategies are employed, which tend to prioritise emotional movement and climax. As Steve Neale has argued, citing Daniel Gerould, “melodrama involves the subordination of all other elements ‘to one overriding aesthetic goal: the calling forth of “pure”, “vivid” emotions’ (1990: 66)” (in Gibbs and Pye 2005: 183). While Cardwell goes on to illustrate that this is not the case in the sequence she discusses from Stephen Poliakoff’s Perfect Strangers (2001), her description of melodramatic strategies is certainly applicable to Rose’s exit at the end of the 2006 season of Doctor Who. As with Murray Gold’s uses of recurring scores more generally in the revived series, this scene can be seen as designed to play to the viewer’s emotions, and it certainly did to mine.”
Photos © Andrew O'Day (where shown) and used with his kind permission. This page was compiled by Tim Harris.