(1) We’re shifting to Scroll Your Own for a couple days while I spend the holiday at my brother’s. Thanks for Cat for his essay and birthdays.
(2) GAIMAN RADIO PLAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Downloadable from BBC, “Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle”.
Neil Gaiman’s perfect Christmas-time fairy tale, brought to life by award-winning dramatist Katie Hims. Starring Penelope Wilton, Gwendoline Christie and Ralph Ineson as well as Neil Gaiman himself.
The Sleeper and the Spindle is a new tale drawing on traditional folk stories, interweaving Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in an enchanting drama that puts the women firmly centre stage.
In her mountain kingdom, a soldier-Queen prepares for her wedding day. Three dwarves, guardians from her childhood, race towards her. They were coming for the celebration, but they also bring news of a sleeping sickness sweeping the land. As a girl she survived her own long, magical sleep, so she throws on her armour, straps on her sword and rides into the heart of this new plague to try to find its source and save her people. The magical sleep is spreading from a castle deep in the forest. There, our heroine discovers a beautiful sleeping girl, and a very, very old woman, forever awake…. But when the Queen wakes the princess in the traditional way, she discovers that all is not as it seems. Ultimately, she comes to understand that she really can make her own choices, and follow the path to her own happy ending.
Written by Neil Gaiman. Adapted by Katie Him.
(3) MEMORY LANE.
2003 — [By Cat Eldridge.] A Dragon for Dorchester
We’re still looking for a great, non-commercial Puff the Magic Dragon. We found one that looked like it was designed by designers who ingested way too many not very good drugs.
So this Scroll, we have another dragon, A Dragon for Dorchester as it’s informally called, yet another stellar creator of sculptor Nancy Schön. He really has a much longer and much more dignified and interesting name which is The Scholarly, Whimsical, Gentle, Lucky and Loving Dragon.
Obviously designed for children to play with, this dragon, one of the best I’ve seen, stands just two feet and a half tall at his head and is eight long from his head to the tip of his scaled tail.
Schön describes how he came to be here this way, “Once upon a time there was a dragon. He was a scholarly, whimsical, gentle, lucky and loving dragon who watched over his neighbors and protected them from harm. Alas, he was invisible, as are all dragons, so nobody could see him. Fortunately, along came an enthusiastic, energetic and imaginative sculptor who had the magical powers to transform this dragon into bronze for all to see.”
FukuRiu, as he is named, was installed the first of November 2003. Fuku-Riu are dragons in Japanese mythology who are venerated as dragons of luck. And yes, those are books nearby him. He must be a great reader!
(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born December 24, 1910 — Fritz Leiber. I can say that my fav work by him is The Big Time which I either read or listen to every year. And yes, I’ve read the Change War Stories too, difficult to find as they were. Yes, I know it won a Hugo — much, much deserved! I’m also fond of Conjure Wife, but otherwise I prefer his short fiction to his novels.
- Born December 24, 1945 — Nicholas Meyer, 74. Superb and funny novel, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is. Much better than the film, I think. Now his Time After Time film is spot on. And let’s not forget his work on the Trek films, The Wrath of Khan (much of which went uncredited), The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country.
- Born December 24, 1964 — Mark Valley, 58. He made my Birthday list first by being the lead, Christopher Chance, in Human Target, a short-lived series created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino for DC, that was weirdly well done. He was also John Scott in Fringe as a regular cast member early on. He voiced Clark Kent / Superman in the second part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
- Born December 24, 1966 — Diedrich Bader, 56. I know him best as the voice of Batman on The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. No, he’s not Kevin Conroy but his Batman is quite enjoyable and interesting in his own right. He’s best cast as Batman / Bruce Wayne in the new Harley Quinn series on the DC Universe service.
- Born December 24, 1969 — Mark Millar, 53. Comic book writer whose resume is long. The Millar/Quitely era on The Authority was politically edged and often got censored by DC as it commented on the Iraq War — well worth your reading. His run on Swamp Thing from 142 to 171 has a lot of other writers including Morrison. He did the Ultimates at Marvels and a lot of the superb series ended in the Avengers film. Finally, his excellent Civil War was the basis of the Captain America: Civil War film and his not to be missed Old Man Logan was the inspiration for Fox’s Logan film.
(5) EVE OF DESTRUCTION. [Item by Ken Richards.] This rather tickled my fancy – I’m on the side of the Credential naturally: “Swimming cat causes Scotland Island controversy” in Australia’s The Age.
A controversial swimming cat, violent threats and “parochial” attitudes have led a former winning entrant of Scotland Island’s dog swimming race to abandon the Christmas Eve event as organisers attempt to restrict it to a locals-only spectacle….
Every Christmas Eve a race is held at the island where dogs paddle across a 550-metre stretch of water while their owners kayak, paddleboard or swim alongside them. The race’s tradition goes back to 1972 when, according to island lore, a squabble between two ferry captains about who had the quickest boat devolved into who had the fastest dog. Connie the German shepherd and Diesel the kelpie faced off in a swimming sprint. Diesel won. Now the race’s victorious dog is presented with a silver “D” shaped trophy….
That’s when the trouble began.
The race’s entry fee is a can of dog food and a cold longneck. When Druery’s wife tried to hand over the entrance fee for the race in 2019, with cat food instead of dog food, she was told to “f— off”, Druery said.
Gus [the cat] went on to beat some dogs in the 2019 race. Most of the crowd “went nuts” watching Gus but Druery said “someone came out of the crowd and said ‘I’m gonna f—ing get you and shoot your cat.
“I work in politics,” Druery said. “This [usually] doesn’t bother me. But they’re threatening my cat!”
There were other threats in person and online. Druery attributed the abuse to a “very small percentage of parochial locals who want their little piece of paradise kept for them”.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Ken Richards, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]