Day 273: Sub-Standard

A brief blog today, without a SHADO of a doubt…

September 30 main 2

So, after leaving you with a mysterious teaser in yesterday’s blog, suddenly everything went a bit Pete Tong on Planet Sole. What I was referring to was that I was going to have to dress up a bit smart because I had a major job interview (well, sort of – it was for an ongoing freelance contract that would have been very handy for my bank balance) with the kind of company where not wearing a suit and tie (and more importantly shiny shoes) would definitely have been a major set back.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. By ten o’clock yesterday I’d had a phone call telling me not to bother coming to the interview, they’d changed my mind.

Then already this morning I missed a phone call  by 20 minutes and missed out on another meaty commission that went instead to someone else.

Planet Sole is not a happy place at the moment. Come on, universal forces of good and evil, give me a break!

So, I need to get my head down and find more sources of work, that’s why I’m keeping the blog brief today.

Real life. It’s a bummer sometimes, isn’t it?

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,215 

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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Day 272: Low Top Life 2: Welcome To City 17

Braving the mists of South Gloucestershire to bring you a taste of dystopia

september 29 main

Ah Half-Life 2. I wish I could wax lyrical about it, but it’s yet another classic game I’ve never played. I feel a bit of a fraud concocting Sole Of Sci-Fi images out of franchises about which I know very little (I know the Big Brother guy is Dr Breen, but that’s from research I did for my dystopia book) but if I don’t use games for inspiration every so often, you’d only get even more Doctor Who or Star Wars. And if you I only used games I’ve actually played, you have to put up with Spyro, Zelda, Tetris and Xbox Monopoly.

Blimey, it was foggy this morning – not so much dystopian as mistopian. I cycled down the hill to the abandoned factory opposite my old house in Bitton for this shot. I wanted something a bit industrial looking for a City 17 vibe, but I’d forgotten that even the abandoned factories round here look like quaint old farmhouses.

Just for the record, I have worn monotone black high tops before in this challenge, but these are a pair of low tops. I think I actually prefer them to the high tops. It’s weird which colours I prefer in high and low. For me, trad black with white rubber has to be high tops; red with white rubber has to low tops.

I have a quandary coming on Wednesday as regards this challenge, but I’ll let you know about that then…

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,215 

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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Day 271: Agents Of H.E.E.L.E.D

And no, I’m not going to come up with what that acronym stands for. You can try if you want to…

September 28 main

Doctor Who didn’t offer up any Sole Of Sci-Fi ideas last night (I don’t own a brown overall) so I thought I’d take the opportunity to put this Captain America entry into action. I’ve had the image in mind for ages (and the bought-off-eBay Asics are too knackered to be worth a close-up) but (would you believe?) I didn’t come up with the headline pun until yesterday! And when you think of a pun like that, you have to act on it swiftly (before you realise what a crap idea it is, and abandon it).

As for this week’s Doctor Who? Well, as I Tweeted last night, I didn’t love it, but I do love some of the ongoing arc plot elements that are developing this season. It was one of those episodes where the character development was more important than the plot, and in that regard, it was a very satisfying experience indeed, with some surprisingly complex dynamics between the Doctor, Danny and Clara. The dialogue was incredibly strong at times, and  for once I’m not just talking about the quips.

Doctor Who (series 8) Ep6The Doctor’s sudden dislike of soldiers feels a little forced, especially for long-time fans who enjoyed the UNIT era, but I presume it’s a reaction to his experience in the Time War – maybe even a reaction against being the War Doctor – but it would be appreciated if this could be made explicit at some point. Or at least for Clara to do what companions were invented for and ask the questions the audience wants to know: “Where’s your beef with soldiers come from, Doctor?”

I like Danny a lot, especially the way he’s got the Doctor sussed, though I wish his (not exactly unexpected) act of heroism to save the day hadn’t been a physical act. Not so much because his acrobatics looked so naff, but because I would have preferred for him to have showcased his intelligence, to really stick two fingers up at the Doctor.

I’m also genuinely intrigued by the “afterlife” arc and want to know where it’s heading.

But my main overriding problem was how fluffy, lightweight and silly the central plot was. Yes, I know the Skovox Blitzer was just a means to an end and not really the point of the episode, but I don’t see why we can’t have both great relationship drama and a clever plot. The monster plot needn’t take over – it can have just as little screen time – but it could just be sharper, more intriguing with a better denouement. Having a creature that – allegedly – can destroy all humanity scuttling round a school full of apparently deaf and blind pupils like a robot crab in a pedal car isn’t blackly comic, it’s just naff.

Doctor Who (series 8) Ep6With all the other silliness in the episode, I would have preferred a threat that actually felt like a threat. The Skovox Blitzer didn’t even have a USP, like most Who monsters, unless you count “least effective killing machine”. It’s just a robot with lasers and a silly walk. I can’t imagine there’ll be many kids doing Skovox Blitzer impressions in the playground on Monday morning.

So, yes, there was a lot to like in “The Caretaker”, but it almost undermined its own achievements, when a little bit more creativity and ingenuity could have produced an episode that delivered  in all departments.

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,215 

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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Day 270: Vanzilla

One of my favourite comics splash pages is defaced… or maybe defooted.

September 27 main

Without any doubt whatsoever, my favourite run of comics ever was the Chris Claremont/John Byrne era on Uncanny X-Men, which had so many great splash pages that burned themselves into my memory. So it does seem slightly sacrilegious to deface this fantastic double-pager from Uncanny X-Men #118, but hey, it’s all in the name of charity.

It also took me absolutely ages to cut-out that skyline, and I want to do something else today other than blog, so I’m keeping this one short.

Watched two more episodes of Wolf Blood last night, and the fourth episode was absolutely fantastic. I also then almost accidentally watched Strictly Come Dancing. That show has a strange attraction. I never intend to watch it, but somehow always get sucked in. This time I was amaze at how much Scott Mills dancing mirrored my own (crap, lots of pointing) but also felt embarrassed for poor old Tim Wonnacott. Yeah, sure, there’s always some portly old guy on the show who are contractually obliged to make prats of themselves, but Wonnacott was so poor that when all the judges (bar the one who looks like an Easter Island statue with piles) trotted out the usual, “It was rubbish but it was entertaining!” lines, you knew they had their fingers crossed behind their backs.

To mark the occasion, here’s my favourite thing I ever did for the SFX website. I expect 95% of this blog’s regular readers will have seen it already (I wheel it out whenever Strictly comes back) but hell, maybe it’ll be new to one or two of you!

1185579_737146872981435_591259831_nOh, and thanks for my sister sending me this image, via George Takei, who seems to be becoming Twitter’s answer to Harry Hill. And thanks to my parents for another donation. Soon I’m going to start naming and shaming close friend who still haven’t contributed.

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,215 

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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Day 269: Scrambled Legs?

How would you like your egg? Facehugger side up?

September 26

Here’s a bit of trivia for you. Did you know that director Ridley Scott actually makes an appearance in the original Alien? Well, sort of. When Kane (John Hurt) shines a light onto an alien egg, and you can see vague movement inside, that’s not a facehugger foetus; that’s Ridley Scott fluttering his hands around.

These days they probably would have spent multi-millions on CG effect. Which, by complete coincidence, is exactly what I didn’t do when Photoshopping these tatty old DCs I got from a car boot into today’s image. Strange, that.

While I’m on the subject of the Alien franchise, I thought I better tell you that I chased a badger along the cycle path for about 200 metres the other night.

Bear with me. The connection will become clear.

As I chased the poor fella (or lass – it’s difficult to sex a moving badger by cycle light) four things crossed my mind:

1) I never knew badgers could run so fast.

2) What’s the capital of Nicaragua?

3) Why doesn’t it just run off to one side if it’s scared of me?

4) Why has the site of  badger’s arse made wondered what the capital of Nicaragua is? (It’s Managua, by the way.)

Number three is the relevant point here. The thing was clearly trying to escape me, but it just kept running right ahead of me. And that’s when I remembered this:

Prometheus run to the side

Yep, that scene in Prometheus that inspired about a million internet posts going, “RUN TO THE SIDE!” I believe it even became a mini meme of sorts.

But maybe in that badger I saw the truth. It’s instinctual NOT to run to the side. It’s part of our ancestral biological make-up. When the fight or flight instinct chooses flight, flight actually means “run in a straight line for as long as possible!” It’s only when we humans make a real effort to use intellect over instinct that we can overcome the straight line problem. And as discussed in an earlier blog, every crewmember on the Prometheus appeared to have employed based on their stupidity, so poor old Vickers (Charlize Theron) gets squished and Liz (Noomi Rapace) only altered course before falling over, banging some sense into her head and rolling sideways.

Thank you, badger, for solving one of the annoying aspects of Prometheus. Shame about all the others.

But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch Noomi Rapace in a film again without thinking of badgers.

We don’t need no stinking badgers.

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,205 (hurrah for Rhian!)

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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Day 268: Precious Partick Thistle Trainers

Riddles in the park…

September 25 main 2

 

This is what we like – a pair of trainers with a story behind them.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with an old work colleague yesterday, Ian Hepburn, who used to edit a version of the SFX website many, many moons ago. He now works for the BBC and is also the man behind the Thumbcast podcast. He was passing through Bath anyway and decided he might as well interview me for the podcast, and I readily agreed. Having now been through the experience, I can only apologise for the mammoth editing job he has ahead of him…

He also brought some trainers with him to help the cause, so thank you very much, Ian. They’re actually a bespoke pair created using Adidas’s online design your own trainers facility. Ian is a massive Partick Thistle fan, and he explains: “Basically our merchandise is crap this year, and I’d just watched us get bested by Aberdeen, so to cheer myself up decided to make something better – hence a pair of trainers in Thistle colours, with the year of formation as stitching.”

The one irony is that I spent a good part of the interview complaining how the one time previously I had worn a pair of size 11s in the challenge they were a health hazard and I spent the whole day tripping over my feet. So, of course, these Partick Thistle has to be size 11s, didn’t they (as I only discovered this morning and Ian was too polite to mention). Still, they’re too good to refuse for that reason.

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,205 (hurrah for Rhian!)

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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Day 267: American Torchwood

Stars and stripes proved to be step too far for the Doctor Who spin-off…

September 24 main

Everything was going so well for Torchwood. It started on BBC Three. Then season two was promoted to BBC Two. After that “Children Of Earth” debuted in BBC One and was rightfully lauded as one of greatest pieces of British screen sci-fi ever (apart from by a few tunnel-visioned Ianto fans who went completely insane over his death and still can’t let it go today).

The next step was a US co-production, with most of the action set in the United States. Not only that, but legendary telefantasy scriptwriter Jane Espenson was on the writing team alongside Russell T Davies.

What could go wrong?

Well, after a decent opening episode, just about everything.

There were many things wrong with “Miracle Day” – exposition that went on foerever; some cheesy acting; a plot that preferred action/adventure plotting and shock tactics over exploring the dramatical possibilities of a strong central idea (everybody on Earth stops dying); a distasteful subplot about a child molester that never justified its inclusion; a ludicrous climax that explained everything away with a giant stone vagina. But worst of all it was just a bit dull, which is quite an achievement for a show that boasted talking corpses, people being sent to incineration chambers and exploding Welsh cottages. Sadly, episode two set the template, with an entire episode spent on a plane from the UK to the US that could have been cut to one scene without harming the arc plot, and not offering much of interest to compensate. When episode two of a series feels like an exercise in padding, you’re in trouble.

It was such a disappointment after “Children Of Earth”. I tried to like it; hell, rereading my reviews on the SFX website you can see me straining to find positives (they usually involved Gwen or a a bit of smutty dialogue). I did enjoy rereading this except from my review of episode eight, though: “Watching Torchwood: Miracle Day is increasingly like watching Andy Murray play tennis. Just before it comes on you hope for the best, but can’t help getting anxious. Occasionally, after a wobbly start, it can come good in the final set (as with “Categories Of Life”). But more often you get an episode where impressive rallies are followed by silly unforced errors that just make you wince.”

But you know what? I still wish the show could return somehow, in some form, even though I’ll never be able to watch Captain Jack again without thinking of this…

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 08.15.17

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 08.15.30

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,205 (hurrah for Rhian!)

• 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 davegolderSFX@gmail.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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