Day 304: That’s No Pumpkin

A Hallowe’en-themed Sole Of Sci-Fi with suitable orange Nikes…

October 31 main b

So, warmest Hallowe’en on record in the UK. I mean, blimey, look at that sun! Hang on. That’s no sun, that’s a Death Star pumpkin to match the orange Nike Flyknits. The location is some wonderfully spooky ruins  of an old railway station on the Bath to Bristol cycle path. Or it’s usually wonderfully spooky. On this particularily balmy Autumn day it looked quite pretty in the sun, so I’ve had to do some subtle Photoshopping to try to make it look a bit bleaker and more Hallowe’eny.

I can now reveal that I was on-set for Da Vinci’s Demons season three yesterday, and met Doctor Who’s Robin Hood Tom Riley, who plays Leo. I’m NDAed to the eyeballs (NDA means non-disclosure agreement in case you didn’t know) so I can’t go into any details about what I saw, but I don’t think the production team will mind me saying that I was totally bowled over by some of the sets we were shown. They were the most impressive sets I have ever seen for a TV show.

The production designer on the show is Ed Thomas who worked on the Eccleston and Tennant eras of Doctor Who, and he’s created a whole new world in a massive studio complex just outside Swansea. Almost literally. As we were shown around, we walked from Florence to Peru in a few steps. The attention to details was – I’m not exaggerating – on the level of a blockbuster movie. One set even smelt right (I bet that’s got you intrigued.) A member of the art department, Dan, revealed that they call the design style “Renaissance Punk”.

I can honestly say, there was a real feeling of the whole production having a spring in its step. There’s a new showrunner, John Shiban of The X-Files and Breaking Bad fame, and he seems to have re-energised everybody. And while I can reveal no specifics, I think if you’ve tried Da Vinci’s Demons before and been a little non-plussed about it, then season three may be the time to give it another go.

Personally I’m fond of the show, though season two had some serious issues; it was a bizarre mix of the Borgias-type intrigue and skullduggery in Italy – which was great – and Leo off on the New World having Indiana Jones-style adventures – which wasn’t. It was an odd choice to remove the show’s star from the main action. There conceit that Leo can whip up revolutionary new inventions overnight became a bit tedious as well (he may as well have had a sonic screwdriver to get him out of any situation), and a couple of the predominantly Peruvian episodes were a little dull.

But the acting and production design has always been phenomenal. The Game Of Thrones style politicking makes for engrossing viewing. And there were some pulse-pounding battle scenes. It’s always been a show with promise and it looks like it may soon deliver on that promise. Could we in another Star Trek: The Next Generation season three scenario?

Maybe I’m just too naturally optimistic, but I hope so.

See you tomorrow!

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• 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 303: Interstellar All-Stars

Why are so many critics calling Christopher Nolan’s latest film sole-less?

October 30 main

I suddenly realised that Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar, is released in the UK in a fortnight… and I know hardly anything about it. Honestly, about everything I know about this film is a result of doing picture research last night for today’s image, and reading on teletext that most critics think it’s an amazing spectacle, but slight on story and emotion.

A bit like Inception, then, a film that was intellectually interesting and undeniably clever, but seemed to lack any real heart. I liked it – a lot – but I found it hard to love. A bit like MC Escher paintings.

It does make me wonder about all those people on the internet who constantly moan about spoilers. I’m on the internet constantly for my job, yet it was effortless to avoid Interstellar spoilers. I admit that some heinous spoilers do make their way into articles where you might not expect to find them, but some posters seem to moan that features about, say, season three of Arrow give away plot details for season three of Arrow. Well, d’uh. And if you’re really spoilerphobic, you really ought to know to stay away from comments sections. They’re pretty much a lawless virtual wild west, because few companies pay employees enough to 24-hour monitoring of the post, and you just know someone’s going to blurt out, “But when Harold dies in the next episode…”

All of which reminds me of this little piece I wrote for SFX a while back:

How spoilerphobic are you?

Take out scientifically-untested personality test to find out…


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1 If someone tells you that a film is fantastic do you:

a) Tell them you’ll make up your own mind?

b) Get all excited?

c) Moan that they’ve ruined the experience of finding out yourself whether the film is fantastic or not?


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2 Which of these do you prefer to avoid reading?

a) TV listings?

b) Film reviews?

c) Eragon?


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3 You’re reading a Stephen King novel and he ends a chapter with the line, “In two hours, she would be dead.” Do you…

a) Begin reading the next chapter with a sense of impending dread impressed at the Master Of Horror’s ability to manipulate your emotions?

b) Throw the book down in disgust at an author who spoils his own bloody plots?

c) Think, “Oh God, how many times is he going to use the same literary trick?”


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4 You’re watching an American TV show, and it gets to the end of the opening credits. Do you:

a) Cover up the bottom half of the TV screen with a piece you cardboard (which you keep by the TV especially for the purpose), so that you can’t see the list of guest stars just in case an old character is due to make an unexpected reappearance?

b) Read each and every credit with interest, wondering when Alan Dale’s name will show up?

c) Get slightly distracted because you think you recognise that name from somewhere?


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5 You’re having a Star Wars watching marathon with your kids. Do you:

a) Watch them in the order IV, V, VI, I, II, III because that’s how they were made?

b) Watch them in the order  I, II, III, IV, V, VI, because it would be cruel to the kids shouldn’t know that Anakin will become Darth Vader?

c) Watch IV, V, bits of VI, and then leave the kids to it?


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6 You’re watching the opening title sequence to the new Battlestar Galactica and it gets to the end of the wailing music and the ethnic drumming starts up. Do you:

a) Appreciate that the montage of clips from the upcoming episode are a nod and a wink to the original show?

b) Cover your eyes until the drumming stops and pray to the Gods of TV to make it stop?

c) Do a Zulu war dance around the living room?


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7 If someone tells you that a film has a twist, do you:

a) Become intrigued?

b) Want to rip their tongue out because now you’ll spend the whole film trying to guess the twist?

c) Reply, “Well, d’uh, it’s directed by M Night Shyamalan.”


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8 An episode of Doctor Who is finishing. Do you:

a) Immediately switch off the TV because you don’t want to see the “Next Week” trailer?

b) Get excited about the “Next Week” trailer?

c) Record the “Next Week” trailer, watch it about a 20 times, then discuss ever single shot in minute  detail on Gallifrey Base?


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9 Is the internet:

a) A minefield of scummy spoilers?

b) An Aladdin’s cave of tantalising spoilers?

c) So bloody slow in Nether Wallop you’re more likely to be spoilt by carrier pigeon or smoke signals?


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10 Warning: do not play the video below if you haven’t read/seen Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. Just award yourself three points anyway for managing  to keep in the dark this long anyway.

Watch the following video:

Do you think the guy who made this video is:

a) A genius of Jackass proportions?

b) The biggest loser ever?

c) Dead by now, killed by an Avada Kedavra curse?


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11 Are “Previously On” sections before TV episodes:

a) A useful memory jogger

b) An insidious spoiler, because even though it’s all footage you’ve seen before, they still give a clue about what plot elements are going to important in the following episode?

c) Confusing to the point of pointlessness?


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12 When you go to the cinema do you:

a) Arrive early to watch all the trailers?

b) Arrive late so that you can avoid all the trailers?

c) Not give a toss about the trailers because you’ve seen them all on the internet?


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13 What is the greatest invention ever?

a) The wheel?

b) The television?

c) The ignore button on internet forums?


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14 Gandalf apparently dies in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship Of The Ring. And yet the prepublicity for The Two Towers included clips and images of Gandalf The White? Is this:

a) Slightly annoying – I haven’t read the book?

b) Completely fine, the book’s been around for decades? How can that be a spoiler?

c) A heinous display of utter contempt for the audience, and Ian McKellen should have filmed all his Gandalf the White scenes inside a locked studio so nobody knew he was still working on the film, to keep the surprise absolute. And all the cast should have signed non-disclosure agreements not to mention that he was still in the film in interviews. And every copy of The Lord Of The Rings should have been burnt in a huge pyre. Just in case.


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15 What was the most despicable spoiler ever?

a) Learning that Spike was joining the cast of Angel before the final episode of Buffy, thus totally ruining his “death” scene?

b) History – I mean, how can you enjoy Apollo 13 when you know the know the outcome?

c) That dickhead who wrote on the poster of The Usual Suspects, “This guy’s Keyser Soze”.

d) The opening narration to Dark City – what’s the point of watching the film now?

e) This quiz – because I didn’t know any of a, b, c and d above?


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Tot up your scores:

1  a – 2 points; b – 1 point; c – 3 points
2  a – 3 points; b – 2 points; c – 1 point
3  a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
4  a – 3 points; b – 1 point; c – 2 points
5  a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
6  a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
7  a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
8  a – 3 points; b – 1 point; c – 1 point
9  a – 3 points; b – 1 point; c – 2 points
10  a – 1 point; b – 2 point; c – 3 points
11  a – 1 point; b – 3 points; c – 2 points
12  a – 2 points; b – 3 point; c – 1 points
13  a – 1 point; b – 2 points; c – 3 points
14  a – 2 points; b – 1 point; c – 3 points
15  a – 2 point; b – 4 points; c – 1 point; d – 3 points; e – 5 points

41-47 points:

Avoid the internet! Avoid magazines! Avoid newspapers! Avoid other people! In fact, avoid watching films and TV – there are spoilers everywhere. Your simple three-point action plan to a stress-free existence is as follows:
1) Never learn to read
2) Have a friend record all TV shows for you, then edit out any credits, “Previously On” sections and “Next Week” sections.
3) Find a friend to do that who is preferably mute, and make NO OTHER FRIENDS. Ever

31-40 points:

Spoilers are a pain, but what can you do? You can’t let it affect your life – beyond spending hours and hours on the internet naming and shaming spoiler-mongers, listing all the things that have been spoiled for you this week, and using emoticons like the currency of self-pity.

21-30 points:

You don’t usually mind mild spoilers – like knowing that so-and-so is returning to a show, or that someone’s going to die this week. You probably watch “Previously On” sections and “Next Week” sections without needing to check your blood pressure. But you hated it when someone told you there was a twist in The Sixth Sense because then you guessed what it was in the first five minutes.

16-20 points:

Spoilers? What spoilers?

15 points:

You were that git who made that Harry Potter video above, aren’t you?

 


Off to Wales again for a set visit. Let’s see if you can guess the show – I’ll let you know what it is tomorrow. Here’s a clue, though: I will be meeting an actor who was in Doctor Who this year, and one of the sets is for a “pleasure palace”.

Bet that’s got you intrigued. I certainly am.

And one of these days I will get to see the Wolf Blood finale.

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,270 

• 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 302: Hanging About In Thunderdome

We don’t need another heel-o… (I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry)

October 29 main

Looks like I’m the one who’s not leaving Thunderdome. I was trying to make this pic look like I was was dangling from one of those harness in Mad Max 3’s action set piece, but it looks instead like I’ve just been sent to the scaffold. Ah well, that still feels like it’s right for the tone of the movie.

Yesterday was another work, work, work day, so there’s not much to wibble on about today. I did watch the pilot for The Flash, which was very entertaining in a goofy kinda way, though I became distracted by his trainers… they were both hideous and yet immensely desirable at the same time.

the flash pilot trainers

I also became very excited with the news the Marvel is prepping an Inhumans film. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the company also announced a whole bunch of other films at the same time, but I’m way more excited about Inhumans than Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther or Captain Marvel.

Having said that, being the bleeding heart liberal that I am, I have to say, “About bloody time” to a Marvel movie with a female lead. And I heartily approve that it’s the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel, who at least has a modicum of feminist kudos, rather than Black Widow, who is, frankly, mostly just eye-candy.

inhuman medusaBut Inhumans is the one I care about most, and I hope it has a very different tone to the rest of the MCU. Just as there’s room for the more comedic Guardians Of The Galaxy, I think there’s room for a more austere Inhumans. To me, Inhumans has always been one of the most beguilingly mysterious and complex title in the Marvel catalogue, so in my head the film should have a harder edge, more like Game Of Thrones in space – lots of politics and intrigue (though not as much sex).

And  I can’t wait to see Medusa’s hair brought to screen life.

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,270 

• 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 301: Check This Out

Have you seen these Vans?

october 28 main

Don’t worry. It’s not really Judgement Day (I’m using the “e”, because UK spelling is the correct spelling, just as the way we order dates is the correct and logical way to order dates – why the hell would you want to put the month first?). And the T-1000 isn’t really looking for this pair of blue checked Vans.

Just as I prefer Alien to Aliens, I’m also much more of a fan of The Terminator than Terminator 2. The original film is a lean, mean sci-fi thriller, while the second movie – while a great action film – is a little flabby and flaccid in places. I also prefer evil Arnie Terminator to nice Arnie Terminator, although admittedly, if Cameron hadn’t included this twist, the sequel would have been a dreary case of “bigger budget, same old story”. And we wouldn’t have been introduced to the T-1000, who’s the best thing about the film by far.

Moving from movies past to movies future – Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, eh? Now there’s a piece of casting that I’m genuinely excited about. Apparently, earlier this year Marvel was in talks with Joaquin Phoenix about the role, a decision presumably based entirely on the guy’s moustache in Her. I’m glad that didn’t work out; Benedict, for me, is a much better choice, as he radiates “strange” anyway, whereas Phoenix radiates “odd”.

The minute I heard the news, I could see Cumberbatch in the cloak. However, I couldn’t picture him with a beard. After a quick Google search I’m going to suggest the unthinkable… maybe he should play Strange without the facial furniture.

Benedict Cumberbatch beard

The film is set to be directed by Scott Derrickson, most famous for The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and The Day The Earth Stood Still, the latter of which was pretty much a 100% disaster, so I can’t honestly say I think he’s one of Marvel’s more exciting choices. He’s also a out and proud Christian; many of his interviews reveal that his Christian world view informs his filmmaking. I have no problem with that (the Christ allegory isn’t what scuppered Day, just a dull script, and arguably Derickson’s beliefs made Deliver Us From Evil a more interesting film than it otherswise might have been) but I do wonder how he’ll approach a film about the occult. I’d like to see a Strange film embrace the occult completely, not introduced some religious rationalisation for his powers.

I’m ready to have my doubts about Derrickson proven foundless, but  I’d have loved a more left field choice for a director for Doctor Strange. Like Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks) or James Bobin (The Muppets) perhaps.

Finally today, a MASSIVE thank you to my Twitter follower GeekCliché and his workmates at Staffordshire & Shropshire Health Informatics Service who donated a very healthy £50 to the charity total. “It’s the office tuck box profits, so it’s all down to chocolate addicts & stress,” explains Mr Cliché. I’m not sure I’m any the wiser, but I’m very, very grateful.

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,270 

• 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 300: Trainers Of The Stone

The Sole Of Sci-Fi visits a very obscure telefantasy filming location…

October 27 main

First, the news you’ve all been waiting for – my dad seems well on the way to recovery. So soon Sole Of Sci-Fi will be back to normal, whatever that is.

Today’s pic was actually taken yesterday, while I was driving back home to Willsbridge. I had been toying with the idea of doing something based around The 300 for today, but I don’t own any sandals. Anyway, I was getting fed up with the slow-moving traffic on the M4, so I decided to turn off the motorway and use the A4 instead. It’s a lovely drive, used by David Bowie in the obscure 1979 road move Radio On, which takes you through Newbury, Hungerford and Marlborough among other picturesque places. It also takes you right past Silbury Hill (the most impressive Barrow I’ve ever seen) and Avebury, home of a very impressive set on three concentric stone circles.

And that’s where inspiration struck, because Avebury was the setting for the 1977 spooky children’s drama, Children Of The Stones, starring Gareth (Blake’s Seven) Thomas. So I made a quick unscheduled stop (and change of footwear), to grab a photo opportunity in the failing light of the first day of reversion to GMT. The goats didn’t help matters. Apart from butting in the photos, I also had to find a stick to clear the pic of goat poo.

October 27 Avebury

I love Avebury. It’s a very unique-feeling and odd place. I often wondered, though, it Neolithic nimbys moaned about all those bloody stones ruining the countryside. I say that as someone who likes wind farms and who doesn’t think they ruin the landscape at all. I like the way they combine technology with nature; to me they stand for humankind striving to do what’s right. And rather than ugly, I think they’re kinda majestic. And, no, I don’t live near one, but I happily would.

Watched Doctor Who again last night (I thought it deserved a watch in HD) and enjoyed it more second time around, though the lack of people in London still irritated me and the “message to the world” at the end felt even more cheesy. I’m not sure it would have convinced the Green Party to stop felling the trees, let alone any world leaders. On the other hand, I liked the children even more; in one episode of Doctor Who they were more appealing than a lot of the kids in Waterloo Road have been for years. Still not a patch on the kids in Wolf Blood, though, where Liam is turning into an unexpected anti-hero – he is the rebel without the claws. Can’t wait for the season finale of that tonight!

See you tomorrow!

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

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• 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 299: Damned Repeats

It’s back to the Phantom Zone for the latest Sole Of Sci-Fi…

October 26 main

Apologies for re-using old set-ups. The trainers are new (literally) but the Krypton background is has been recycled from earlier in the year. But with the sudden decision to go my parents’s place this week, I’ve had to cut a few corners.

Dad seems okay, though very bored in hospital. We had a two-and-a-half-hour crossword session to cheers him up, but had to end up asking a nurse the answer to one medically-themed question (turns out we had the correct answer, we just weren’t spelling “fibula” correctly).

I actually bought the Pumas in  T-Maxx sale, especially in preparation for last night’s Doctor Who, knowing there was a tiger in it (which, as it turns our, seemed to have been there purely to justify the episode title). Okay, Onitsuka Tigers would have made more sense, but you’ll be lucky to buy them cheaply, and I have a budget to stick to, so any old trainers with a big cat connection were going to have to do.

As it turns out, I don’t think I would have much enthusiasm for  a Who-related blog today. “In The Forest Of The Night” really didn’t do it for me, I’m afraid. I could see – and appreciate – what Frank Cottrell Boyce was trying to do: an ecological allegory dressed as a fairy tale with SF overtones – but there was a lack of threat and an overriding tweeness that left me unmoved. I didn’t mind the kids; aside from a few clunky lines they were actually surprisingly non-irritating. But the whole feel of the episode was too cosy and insular. Never at any moment did the Earth feel threatened.

Neither did I buy into Jenna convincing the Doctor to just get in the TARDIS and leave; I’m sure it felt like a great big moral dilemma with a shocking outcome in script meetings, but somewhere in translation to screen it became terribly muddled and muddy.

The fact that the big resolution moment to the episode was a lightbulb appearing over the Doctor’s head as he mopes in the TARDIS seems particularly undramatic too.

Plus – and I’m sorry if I missed a line here – I spent the whole episode wondering, “Where is everybody else?” Surely that forest would have been teeming with confused Londoners? Not one school outing and a mum on a bike.

There were some lovely images, though, and a couple of great injokes. But I’m going to have to file this one under “disappointing”.

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,220 

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

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• 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 298: Imperial Air Walkers

There may be something familiar about today’s blog… 

October 25 main

 

Today’s image is a bit of a quick fix I’m afraid, featuring an old friend from Brighton, the AT-ST, but this time with his guns blu-tacked into place properly (he’s been in the wars a bit, clearly).

I’ve had to put this together quickly as I’m suddenly having to go back to my parents’ place this weekend as my dad has been taken into hospital. I’m sure he’ll be okay, but I’m also sure he’d appreciate a visit. So, Farnborough, here I come. (I hope he realises the sacrifice I’m making – I’ll have to watch Doctor Who in low-def on my parents’s TV tonight! Tragedy!)

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,220 

• 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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