|Nekromanteia by Austen Atkinson|
"Nekromanteia", however it's said or spelt, is a legendary story. And not in a good way. Legendary in the way that Janet Jackson's boob popping out at the Superbowl will be legendary (in a hundred years time, will this be the sort of thing they learn about in musical history lectures?) and in the way that "Be Here Now" is kind of legendary to. It is, in short, a story with no fans.
It was also, for a long time, the only Big Finish missing from my collection, aside of course during the gap between new releases emerging from Big Finish towers and the delivery response of the cheapest supplier I can order them from. The incentive was just never there to finally order it and get up to date. Erimem! Davison! (oh come on, he's by far the dullest Big Finish Doc!) and the horrid green cover that makes Erimem look like Debbie Watling. Every time I'd mention it, my friend Si would cry "Don't do it Si! It's just awful!". So I resisted, forever being one frustrating CD away from owning them all. Until one day (I must have had a lot of coffee or been sniffing Vaporub) I bid rashly on Ebay and got the bugger for eight quid. EIGHT! Yes, I know now.
And here's the rub - I can't remember a damn thing about it. It was but two weeks ago that I finally spun the play in its entirety, and in fact it didn't drag or even beg me to break up the monotony with some light music or Terry Wogan. In fact I can remember being quite happy, driving along. No expectations you see. And I recall some sort of tale with witches and some quite dramatic music and an artefact of some description. And a cat! Near the end! So that explains what happened to that. And an old man trapped forever in a post-death state, oblivious to the real world outside his void, which actually does quite accurately describe a lot of M1 users on a weekday morning. But of moments of lyrical beauty, or twists and turns, or any kind of emotional impact, there is nothing.
In the hope of making this not a complete waste of your time dear reader, and frankly cheating, I tried checking the story synopsis on the Big Finish web site to jog my memory. But it only reveals some flam about a planet called Talderun (which sounds like a TV series character played by Bernard Horsefall) and an "irresistible voice". And that Gyln bloody Owen was in it, which kind of makes sense. And still none of this stirs any kind of recollection! If this was the Tom Baker Years I'd now be grinning widely at you and saying "I'm so sorry, I don't recall ANYTHING about that one! But if you're good and write in, I might reply.". And perhaps hinting cryptically about not even beginning to be able to tell you what I got up to with Gilly Cohen, whoever she might be.
Wait! I recall someone dying but not really being dead, which has been a favourite trick of the Davison Era since "Arc of Infinity". Was it Erimem? Wouldn't surprise me. It's now become a past-time when meeting up with friends to swap favourite moments when Erimem didn't die or leave, such is the desire for either of those two events to happen. Not being horrible to poor Caroline Morris, she looks lovely. But she's rubbish though isn't she? My favourite 'Erimem almost leaves' moment is "Roof of the World" Part 1 for the record, narrowly beating the blatant hint from the Doctor at the end of "Three's A Crowd" ("You've always wanted to lead a colony haven't you Erimem?" says he, almost pulling off a deft Peter Purves type shedding of companion load). In the Tibetan tale, she actually dies, but still comes back! What's wrong with the woman, is she indestructible? Alas you could persuade me, with the minimal of swaying tactics, that Erimem wasn't even in "Nekky". If she wasn't on the cover, I'd buy into that.
Maybe I've just heard too many Big Finish stories set on a space world with a combination of mysterious artefacts, ancient witches and transmats - "Three's A Crowd", "Excelis", "The Dark Flame" was even the preceding story to this one in the range. Blimey, and they say THIS year's been bad! Pity the subscribers of 2003.
Still, at least I've bought it now and I can forget about it. A feat far easier than getting round to forking out for the thing in the first place.