mistress of the magical bus

Number 22 to Putney Common

    Number 22 to Putney Common


Iris Wildthyme and the Spiders from Magrs - Alan Taylor


Ten years ago I would have said, without fear of contradiction, that this was only the Doctor Who story to feature oral sex and a plethora of Bowie lyrics, but I haven't read all the New Adventures, so perhaps it's a commonplace nowadays.

This story was first published in the charity anthology, "Walking in Eternity" which can still be purchased from the publishers' website.


Title - "the Spiders from Magrs" - The title is a play on the title of the David Bowie album, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

P352 - Angie - Angela Bowie, wife of David Bowie and one-time lover of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, she was the inspiration for the utterly classic songs "The Prettiest Star" (Bowie) and "Angie" (Stones). In spite of the fact she wasn't all that gorgeous, even by Seventies standards.

P352 - "Time takes a cigarette" - A line from the David Bowie song, "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"

P352 - "The newsreader was crying" - This and other lines in the story are adapted from the David Bowie song, "Five Years". There is a justifiably famous version of this from the Old Grey Whistle Test that you should definitely track down on YouTube, or somewhere.

Pushing thru the market square, so many mothers sighing
News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying
I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies
I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.s
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people

A girl my age went off her head, hit some tiny children
If the black hadn't a-pulled her off, I think she would have killed them
A soldier with a broken arm, fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest, and a queer threw up at the sight of that
I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour, drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine, don't think
you knew you were in this song
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk

We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
We've got five years, what a surprise
Five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
We've got five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
Five years
Five years
Five years
Five years

P352 - Bath Olivers - Bath Olivers were the invention of Dr William Oliver, a physician at the Water or General Hospital, Bath from 1740. Shortly before his death in 1764 he bequeathed the recipe for Bath Olivers to his coachman Atkins, along with 100 and a hundred sacks of flour. The biscuit was available in Britin until the mid-1980s when it just disappeared.

P352 - Iris - The description of a super-attractive and statuesque Iris suggest this is her Jane Fonda incarnation.

P352 - Blue crystals/Metebelis 3 - Blue crystals on the planet Metebelis 3 mutated spiders inadvertantly brought by a crashed human space ship. The Doctor, in his third incarnation, was nearly killed fighting against the giant spiders in Planet of the Spiders.

P352 - "clamping" - The practice by evil traffic wardens of affixing a large yellow, metal clamp to the rear wheel of an car illegally parked, requiring a 100+ fine to get the thing taken of. A particular problem in Edinburgh, but not in France where, I've heard, people took to carrying around small tubes of Super Glue and super glued any clamp they came across in a wonderful show of civil disobedience.

P352 - Open University - A British home-learning based University, famous in the seventies for being just about the only thing on outwith peak viewing hours on BBC2. Their website continues to offer courses to degree level in just about anything you could wish to study.

P352 - Mike Yates - Former UNIT captain, who suffered a nervous breakdown following his involvement in the Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

P352 - Olleril - A planet visited by the seventh Doctor, the setting for Tragedy Day.

P352 - KISS - A dreadful rock band, who ripped off Alice Cooper in terms of make-up and some crap group of teenagers making a racket in their dad's garage in terms of musical sensibilities and talent.

P352 - Darth Maul - A Dark Lord of the Sith, from the Star Wars franchise, killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the film The Phantom Menace.

P352 - "his name is Legion" - In Luke, Chapter 8, it is said that when Jesus spoke to a man possessed by demons, he said that his name was Legion, for he was possessed by many spirits.

Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?"
And he said, "Legion," because many demons had entered him.
- Luke, 8

In the Iris/Doctor Universe, Legion is the name of a Time Lord thief in the graphic novel, Voyager, and a race of gestalt aliens in the New and Missing Adventures.

P353 - Ernie - Ernie McCartney, the half-man, half-spider from the NA novel Tragedy Day by Gareth Roberts.

P353 - "over at Andy's" - Presumably a reference to Andy Warhol, for which see Femme Fatale.

P353 - "a Karmic chameleon" - A pun on the Culture Club hit, "Karma Chameleon".

P353 - "spend the night together" - A reference to the Rolling Stones ("Mick and the boys") song, "Let's Spend the Night Together", later covered rather pointlessly by David Bowie.

Fonda Iris