Thank you for the Whovucation!
I am writing a Shout-Out post to Verity! to thank them for the “whovucation” they have given me over the last year. I have just finished listening to each and every Verity! podcast. (Well, I am waiting to listen to The Paradise Towers commentary until I get to it in my “Watch Doctor Who, in order, beginning with An Unearthly Child” Project. I am currently watching The Armageddon Factor).
While this post is, frankly, about fangirling fangirls, it is also about the integration of disparate identities, and finding my joy and giving myself permission to claim it even when what makes me happy makes no sense to anyone else. It’s about coming back home, after years of believing that my geeky/nerdy/Star Trek and Anne McCaffery loving self was so embarrassing I had to hide it from everyone, even me. Really, I guess it’s about the freedom to love what I love, and the role Verity! played in finding it.
It All Started When…
I am new to podcasts, as I am to Doctor Who. After watching all of Nu Who and starting on Classic Who, I found myself wanting even more Who. My first step was to download some of my favorite Who music and start listening to it in the car. (I am the mom of an active 8 year old. I spend a lot of time in the car.) This was good.
Then, one day, while I was searching for Doctor Who ringtones (My text alert is Matt Smith saying, “You’ve got a text message. Text messages are cool.” Drives my kid and spouse craaaaa-zy! I love it.) and I found the Radio Free Skaro podcast. If you’ve been around awhile, you have probably already discovered RFS. But, if you are a newbie like me here’s a link to their latest episode;
Ah-revelation! I may not be able to find anyone in my social circle who wants to obsess about Doctor Who with me, but there are crazy obsessed people out there and I can listen to them talk about Doctor Who. So first, a big thank-you to Radio Free Skaro for giving me such an amazing entry point into the world of podcasting, as well as the world of Doctor Who fandom.
Pretty early into my RFS listening (which continues to this day, BTW) they mentioned Verity! Podcast. I was intrigued and excited. GIRLS talking about Doctor Who? SMART GIRLS talking about Doctor Who? Sign me up.
The women of Verity! got my attention immediately with their intelligent fannishness. They helped me to realize that I was captured by Doctor Who for a lot of reasons, not all of them silly. Through the Verities’ conversations, I saw that Doctor Who (and good TV in general) is a form of literature, of story-telling, that can be taken apart, analyzed and appreciated in the same way as the books I have loved throughout my life. Apparently, I had forgotten over the last 20 years that I actually held a BA in English Literature.
Verity! gave me an incredibly thorough and comprehensive education about Doctor Who. Not just the stories themselves, but also the creation of the stories-the writing, producing, directing and costuming. I got to listen to in-depth and insightful interviews with Classic Who actors, costume designers, and writers. Most imporant to me, they view Doctor Who through the lens of gender, race, class and ability, providing an analysis not just of the story of the week, but of that story’s place in the broader social context of it’s time.
And…I talk back to Verity!-vehemently disagreeing sometimes (someone is always wrong about something each week!) And yet, I have been fascinated by how I never agree (or disagree) with the same woman twice in a row, but that I always agree with at least one of them. I have come to appreciate each of them for their unique perspectives on the show and the world around us.
Who Are These Women?
Deb Stanish, in addition to maintaining a strong feminist perspective, is an excellent moderator who keeps everyone on track, most of the time, and consistently draws out each woman’s individual voice.
Erika Ensign does a beautiful job of editing the show each week. (Believe me-I’ve listened to ALOT of podcasts at this point. Verity!’s production is one of the best.) Also, her gentle humility, combined with her thoughtful analysis, welcomed me into this Doctor Who world and helped me feel OK about not watching from birth or seeing every classic episode.
Liz Myles always makes me laugh. Her clever use of “my opinion is always correct” as a means to actually validate the viewpoints of her co-hosts is smart, funny and very effective. Also, I am deeply impressed by the depth and breadth of her DW knowledge.
Tansy Rayner Roberts has opened the door for me to the world of Big Finish audio productions and is the primary force behind my recognition of Doctor Who as literature. She is often the Verity who brings to the table identity and social analysis.
I appreciate Lynne Thomas’ strong assertive voice and, through her new Uncanny Magazine and Podcast (with her husband Michael Damian Thomas) has led me into the brand new area (for me) of short stories as powerful tools for communication.
Katrina Griffiths consistently surprises me. Other than loving Adric and Canton, I can’t predict what Kat will say about anything…ever. I love that. She also gave an excellent tutorial about Tumblr (which was super helpful to a newbie like me) and maintains the Verity! Tumblr page, which is really fun.
Fangirl Chat Time
After I subscribed to Verity! and became a Patreon supporter (check it out at http://www.patreon.com/verity), Deb Stanish sent me a lovely e-mail thanking me and welcoming me aboard. She wrote they started Verity! to give us fangirls a way to “hang-out” with each other and chat about Doctor Who. That’s exactly my experience every Wednesday morning (that’s when Verity! drops on iTunes). I am really grateful that these women take the time each week to organize and provide such an excellent forum for conversation.
Let The Squee Free
The Verities have helped me feel much more comfortable with the on-going integration of my professional, working mother, psychologist identity with my re-emerging and somewhat out of control fan girl.
Despite the collective education and IQ in this group (which I can say, with all the authority of a shrink, is pretty high), they squee like school girls when thrilled by Doctor Who. If these women, with all these smarts and accomplishments can squee, why can’t I? So, I’m letting the squee free.
If I have inspired you to give Verity! a try, here is a link to their latest cast. They are focusing on companions this year during the off-season and in this episode they discuss Susan, Grace, and Rose as “first” companions that usher in their eras: https://veritypodcast.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/ep-67-the-first-ladies-of-doctor-who/.
They are also on Twitter (a lot), Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. I highly recommend you check-out their impressive individual creative projects as well, which include other podcasts, books, blogs and magazines. Links to all of it can be found on the Verity! website.
So, Verities, I raise my glass to you. Keep casting, keep talking, keep squeeing…you give many of us a lot of happiness.
You’ve even inspired me to consider starting my own podcast. Geek Shrinks anyone?