Day 140: Green Flash Gordon

It’s my birthday! Help me celebrate by donating £5 to this 365-day charity challenge in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Details below…

May 20 main 3

“Flash! Flash! We only have 225 days until the end of this challenge!”

Hmm. Wish I hadn’t written that. 140 days makes it sound like I’m a huge chunk of the way through this charity challenge, and then you realise how much of it there is left to go. I don’t know what’s going to break me first: sourcing the trainers, coming up with picture ideas or begging for more donations.

As you might have guessed, I didn’t knock today’s pic out in a few minutes before work. It’s one I’ve had planned for ages (well, it is an obvious gag) but I wasn’t getting offered any pairs of Green Flash to make it happen. So I asked mum and dad for a pair for my birthday (which is today… did I mention that?). I’ve actually had them for about a week, but didn’t feel it was right to wear them (all day*)  before my actual birthday. So I prepped this photo at the weekend. (*Wearing them briefly for photo purposes is fair game, I feel – it’s all in the name of the cause, after all.)

green flashBut I am wearing today. Here’s the proof on the left – just taken a minute ago in the office (you’re probably beginning to recognise the carpet by now). To be honest, I’d rather be wearing one the other pairs my parents bought for me. You’ll get to see them tomorrow. They’ re a good pair of a sci-fi trainers challenge, make no mistake.

flash-gordon-011

Flash Gordon is one of those odd films that remains immensely entertaining despite being immensely crap on most levels. The script is threadbare and crammed with clichés and cringe-inducing dialogue (though it does have some great one-liners, too, especially, “Klytus, are your men on the right pills?”) The FX are shoddy even for 1980, with actors almost crushed under the weight of matte lines. And Sam Jones and Melody Anderson are the dullest leading couple imaginable.

Luckily the secondary cast is full of great characters and great character actors. Peter Wyngarde is superb as Klytus even though he’s hidden behind an iron mask most of the time; Max Von Sydow nails Ming (and, for an actor of such gravitas, proves game at camping things up with the best of them); and Ornella Muti and Mariangela Melato as Princess Aura and General Kala were even sexier than their wonderfully exotic (to my pre-pubescent self) European names. (Apologies for praising the men for their acting and the women for their appearances, but the film didn’t call on its women to actually act, just to be decorative, mainly.)

flash-gordon-009

These days (although I didn’t pick up on it when I was a kid) I also love the S&M costumes and the underlying pervy sexual energy the pervades most of the film. And who doesn’t enjoy Brian Blessed cast in the part he was born to play? “Gordon’s ALLLLLIIIIIIVVVVEEEEEE??????!!!!”

The skies are pretty too.

flash-gordon-008

Then there’s Queen’s music. It’s a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. The theme is a mighty anthem, which had audiences joining in with the “Ahhh-aaaaahhhhhhs” even when I saw it for the first time at the cinema (such audience participation was a new one on me, and I thoroughly approved). But in those fledgling days of synths, and with Queen just about to embark on a misjudged detour into disco (after the success of “Another One Bites The Dust” they produced the ghastly funk-heavy album Hot Space in 1982), too much of their contribution is some kind of farty electronic dancy guff; the “Football Fight” track especially has dates worse than the FX and the Hawkmen flight scenes sound like something from an early arcade game.

I’ll probably be lynched for saying that, but I definitely preferred the Highlander soundtrack when they’d rediscovered rock again.

While we’re on Queen and sci-fi, aside from the two obvious movies mentioned above, here are a few more SF projects the band and its members were involved in:

Having raised interest in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis by using clips from the film in the “Radio Gaga” video in 1984, Freddie Mercury went on the contribute to music producer Giorgio Moroder’s colour-tinted, pop-packed rerelease of the film that was released in the same year.

John Deacon performed bass on this track from the rubbish Biggles film (1986), which shouldn’t have been sci-fi but for some reason was.

Contrary to popular belief, Brian May did not write the theme to Japanese puppet series Star Fleet, but he and “friends” (including Roger Taylor and Eddie Van Halen) did release a three-track EP called the Star Fleet project in 1983 featuring a cover of the theme tune. (Hmm… Star Feet – is that a Soul Of Sci-Fi entry in the making?)

Freddie Mercury sang the single version of the dreary main tune from Dave Clark’s ill-conceived sci-fi musical Time (1986).

Brian May (going by name MC Spidey) and a different group of friends concocted this theme  for a BBC radio version of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1995.

Sadly I also have to mention that the Queen juke box musical, We Weill Rock You – with a script by Ben Elton – is also sci-fi. Hopefully this clip will put you off ever seeing it…

See you tomorrow. Please donate!

 

Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £770

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

• If you have any trainers you could donate (either on loan or old pairs you’re getting rid of) which are size 9 (ish – I can do anything from 8 to 10) contact me at dave.golder@futurenet.com so I can arrange collection.

• Please, please, please leave comments below! I’m after ideas for mini-challenges, future photoshoots and how I can find enough pairs of trainers!

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