Day 365: The End… But The Moment Has Been Prepared For

Ha… ha… ha… ha… ha… happy new year for tomorrow!

December 31 main

There were doubters. There were cynics. There were multidimensional imps with pointy sticks (have I mentioned them?). But here we are. The last day. The 365th pair of trainers and over a grand and half raised for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Jan-1-riddler-ConverseThe Sole Of Sci-Fi ends as it began, back on January 1st 2014, with a pair of Batman villain Converse All-Stars. Then it was the Riddler (right) today it’s the Joker. There’s a definite feeling of having come full circle.

Donations from Clown Asylum and Lisa Wood propelled the total over the £1,500 barrier yesterday. Originally I set the total at £1,000, but when we crossed that before six months were up, I ambitiously re-set it to £2,000. Though donations have slowed down in the second half of the year, I still think £1,500 is a damned impressive result. But as I said, that’s no reason to stop donating! (Actually, halfway through writing this blog I got an email from the sponsorme.co.uk site saying my account had been closed; I thought when I put an end date of December 31st it’d stay open until the end of December 31st but apparently not. So I’m setting up a new page here for any stragglers…)

I’d like to thank everyone who has donated this year, and also everyone who has loaned me trainers. I would never have done it without you! I know if I name names I’ll insult someone by forgetting them, but I think I’m going to risk it, as the following people have been fundamental in their support (some people have retweeted or shared my social media posts nearly every day):

December 31 main 2Simon Withers, Richard Edwards, Steve Gotobed, Nicky Gotobed, Dom Carter, Pete Bayly, Ian Hepburn, Lisa Wood, Steven Ellis, Paula Miller, David Bradley, Emmaryal, Boo, Stacey Whittle, Dan Grenfell, Sarah Montrose, Zoë Gold, Deborah Bradley, Jayne Nelson, Fraser James, Mum, Dad, Rhian Drinkwater, Michael Molcher, John Edwards, Mrs Hirez, NurseDarry (the pun-master), Misty Lister, Toria, Rob Spedding, Nick Setchfield, Sarah Fones, Martin Fahey, Narin Flanders, Will Guyatt, Jodan Farley.

(There’s the possibility that I may have mentioned the same people twice as I don’t always connect Twitter handles with real names, as Dom Carter knows all to well – I was talking to him early this year about a Twitter follower for about five minutes before he went, “Yeah, that’s me.”)

I’m also painfully aware that I have seven pairs of trainers in the house that need to go back to their original owners. Don’t panic. This will happen soon.

Hmm, that’s a lot of words. Here are those Joker Cons again from another angle to break up the text.

December 31 inside joker

March 8 mainSo, at the end of the year, what are my main memories? Clambering over filing cabinets in the SFX office in the early days chiefly. I still love my Inception photo from Day 67 because it was done without any Photoshop, just me lying on my back on some shelves in the office stretching my legs to the ceiling.

July 7 mainIn those early days I had the naive ambition to try to do all the photos without using Photoshop trickery, but I’m glad I relented, as the blog began to much about five time the traffic when I started doing the movie and TV skits which eventually became the site’s defining MO. It’s now impossible to think back on Sole Of Sci-F without images like this Trasformers poster one coming to mind (actually one of my faves of the year in terms of getting the trainers – which belonged to Steven Ellis – to integrate convincingly with the image: somehow the colours and lighting just worked).

Finally, then, a few Sole Of Sci-Fi awards,  a few of them neither trainer nor sci-fi related, but things I just wanted to mention from 2014:

Favourite New Brand Of Trainers of 2014: Pearl Izumi

May 26 close-up

Trainers That Raised Most Money on ebay: These limited edition Nikes donated by Steve Goteobed

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Sole Of Sci-Fi Blog With The Most Hits: Day 289: A Sneaker Peek At The Extended Desolation Of Smaug (I doubt this had much to do with the trainers/image)

October 16 b

Trainers I Really Didn’t Want To Give Back: Dan Grenfell’s Nike Lunarswift’s – loved the colours

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My Favourite Sole Of Sci-Fi shot of the year: Loved the combination of quirky trainers, moody photo and subdued colours.

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Unexpected TV Gem Of The Year: The Detectorists

TV Highlight Of The Year: Line Of Duty/Black Mirror “White Christmas” – a tie

TV Nadir Of The Year: Mark Wright winning The Apprentice – the world seriously needs NO MORE self-appointed SEO gurus

Film Of The Year: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Best Film I Watched This Year (but It Actually Came Out In 2o13): Only Lovers Left Alive

Stupid SF Online Furore Of The Year: A black stormtrooper

Best New Show Of The Year: The Flash

Worst Character Of The Year: Another tie – Rebecca Pine in Under The Dome/Barbara Gordon in Gotham. I’m not being misogynistic. One for being a walking plot device whose character changed every week the other for being so wimpy and whiny it’s impossible to believe she’ll ever be Batwoman/Batgirl/Battokenfemale. Good grief, surely TV evolved beyond creating such thin female characters years ago.

Graphic Novel Of The Year: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds

seconds bryan lee o'malley

Comic Of The Year: Moon Knight

Most Amazing Ability Of The Year: Either Halle Berry’s ability to scale elevator shafts wearing high heels shoes or the Flash’s ability to know exactly where to stand to be backlit when taking to Iris.

The Flash 105 Plastique new power copy

Villains Of The Year: The production designing and lighting team on Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD for making the show (which in terms of writing and characters is getting better an better) look so drab and uninteresting. They should be forced to watch Gotham with looks gorgeous even when the scripts are little iffy.

Freakiest Trainers I Had To Wear This Year: Crepe-soled running shoes? No thanks.

December 5

And that’s your lot. I’ll update the blog irregularly in the coming weeks with total updates (if there are any). I’ll be looking forward to getting an hour and a half of my life back every day. And I’ll try to work out what I should blog about next. By necessity, I need a new angle. But one thing’s for sure – it won’t be daily.

Thanks everybody. Keep in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

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• Current total: £1,525 

• Remember this is all for charity, so  PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE (this is now the extra donation site for latecomers)

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Day 219: The Long Dark Knight Of The Sole

In your face, Bane!

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I am a Marvel man. By that, I don’t mean I was the product of immaculate birth or the only human on the planet who can extract just one little polythene bag at a time from those boxes by the fruit and veg in supermarkets.

I mean that when it comes to the big two comic companies, I’m a Marvel fan through and through. Always have been, ever since I read a black and white UK reprint of Fantastic Four when I was about six, and was as fascinated by the entertaining bickering as I was by the stretching and the flaming. I next fell in love with Spider-Man; again, I loved the snappy dialogue and fact I was learning as much about Peter Parker as I was Spidey.

X-Men 108After that it was X-Men. The very first US copy of X-Men I bought was #108, the first John Byrne-drawn issue  and the start of a new era of greatness for Marvel. My God, what a time to join the party.

I have to admit, I actually didn’t have much clue what was going on. It was the last part in a multi-issue space opera story and I couldn’t make head not tail of either the plot or the superteam at its heart. It was quite a few issue before I could work out who had what powers, and about two years before I even realised that Wolverine had a healing factor! I just thought he had metal bones and claws.

It  didn’t matter. I still loved it. These characters felt more real – more like individuals with their own lives and hopes and concerns and loves – than any comic characters I had ever come across before. And they were misfits more than superheroes, often in an ongoing battle to come to term with their powers. Even better, they weren’t all bimmin’ Americans.

DC’s main characters, though, left me cold. The action was great. The art was often better. But Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and co all felt like distant, alien, icons; characters carved from pure myth, who stood for abstract concepts. This is, of course, a vast oversimplification, and proves I never read those classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics when the two emerald heroes suddenly came over socially aware about drugs and stuff. I also accept that DC in the ’80s – with Goerge Perez’s makeover of Wonder Woman, Frank Miller’s reimagining of Batman and John Byrne’s new take on Superman – did a lot to humanise its core characters. But allegiances are forged at an early age.

I had made mine Marvel.

dark knight batman joker

So, I’ve always felt a bit of a traitor that my favourite superhero movie is a DC one. I still recall the thrill of seeing The Dark Knight on the big screen for the first time. I’ve rarely had a cinema experience like it. I came out feeling like I’d lived through a film – properly experienced it – rather than  just watched it. It was a superhero film that was actually about something, with thought-provoking themes and vivid characters and ethical questions and a totally unexpected, yet ruthlessly logical, choice by Batman at the end. All that before you even factor in Heath Ledger’s Joker. Which was awesome, and probably never worth trying to match.

Even more amazingly, I hadn’t enjoyed Batman Begins that much at all, so I hadn’t gone to The Dark Knight expecting much. Begins started out interestingly enough, but ended up a pretty standard superhero movie slugfest, not helped by some action films were that so ridiculously edited it was difficult to see who was hitting who (actually, this is a problem with all Nolan’s Bat-trilogy, but improved as the series went on).

dark knight rises

The Dark Knight Rises, thankfully, a lot more like its immediate predecessor in terms of quality, and while I had some problems with it, overall it’s a massively ambitious and impressive film, with so much more depth than your usual blockbuster. Shame I needed subtitles to appreciate it fully, though.

Don’t get me wrong. I love nearly all the Marvel movies (Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man 2 being the only ones I don’t think are up to par). They are supremely fun movies, full of great characters, pulse-pounding action, invention and wit. Guardians Of The Galaxy is awesome, and I love it to bits, and need to see a sequel NOW because waiting for years for more Quill, Groot, Rocket, Drax and co feels like cruel punishment. But there’s something about those final two Batman films that connect to me in a way that Marvel comics did when I was a kid. It’s like they were made just for me.

As for Superman Vs Batman… I’m worried. I have no problem with Ben Affleck as Batman; I actually think that’s solid casting. But after seeing Superman being reinvented as a weapon of mass destruction in Man Of Steel, I dread to think what Goyer and Snyder’s take on Batman will be. Dirty Harry in a gimp suit?

See you tomorrow.

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Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,110

• 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 164: Why Shoe Serious?

The joke’s on shoe, as the Sole Of Sci-Fi world tour visits Gotham to say hello to the residents of Arkham A-sole-lem…

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There were two ways to go with this pair of Vans slip-ons. As they’re covered in Vans’ patented “Skate Monkey” design (which would have been cool if Jamie Hewlett had designed it but instead looks likeMickey Mouse circa Steamboat Willy trying to look cool and failing) this is what first came to mind…

monkey-tv

He did after all “skateboard” on a cloud. Kinda. Sorta. (And no, if you don’t know what that picture’s from, I’m not telling you. Use Google image search and prepare for a major cultural revelation.)

But I couldn’t find a decent image from that legendary show, so short of dangling out of a ballon on a bungee rope so I could pretend I was standing on a cloud (or nicking all the candy floss from the nearest fairground, which is what the Japanese TV producers seem to have done) it was time to come up with another idea.

June 13 close-up

Heath_Ledger_as_the_JokerAnd since these trainers are very purple and very green, it seemed only fitting to pay tribute to the Clown Prince Of Crime, since those are his colours of sartorial choice. Hell, even the oh so serious Heath Ledger version went for a purple and green combo though it would appear he was going for the “first thing off the rack at Oxfam” look.

So, Friday 13th. No disasters yet, but there’s plenty of time left for things to go worng (see what I did there? It’s a Westworld reference by the way, not a typo).

And I saw a hot air balloon taking taking off on the way into work this fine morning. So here’s a photo of it, because it’s about a zillion times more interesting than football.

photo (15)

Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £905 

• 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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Day 59: The Dark Knight Returns

Yes, I managed to use the word “Knight” and not replace it with “Nike”… 

Feb 28

Two years ago I did “28 Days Of Trainers”, when  I Tweeted a pic a day for each day of February 2012. That wasn’t for charity and it was pretty easy because at any one time I usually have about 30 pairs of trainers. But I bought this pair especially to tweet on the last day.

And here they are exactly two years later, slightly grubbier but still looking splendid. ’60s Batman certainly thinks so. (And I always preferred the inner foot side design to the outer one…)

Feb 28 b

So, the end of month two, and yes, I have broken the £500 donation barrier!  I know lots of friends who are promising to donate when they think I’ve made it far enough through the year to warrant it, but come on guys! Keep my morale up with a constant little trickle! It’s all in a very worthy cause – Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Anyway, brief blog today after a couple of mammoth posts in the past few days. Can’t do the epics all the time, especially with Comic Review on deadline. But check out the blog over the weekend; I have something very special and Star Wars related planned if it comes off

Usual sign-off:

Current total: £500 (thanks to Boo for getting me to this landmark figure… and she’s found me some trainers too!)

• 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 we 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!

Cheers
Dave G

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Day 52: Purr-fection

I’ve got the feline I’ve been Conned in the latest intalment of the 365-day charity trainers challenge…

Feb 21 c

Holy sneaky sneakers, Batman. Getting in touch with my feminine side today with these Catwoman Converse on loan from… well, I haven’t actually checked with her if she minds admitting she has size nine feet! If it helps, she doesn’t look like she has! I’ll check with her if a modicum of fame on a bizarre sci-fi/trainers crossover blog outweighs feminine modesty before I blog about her second pair…

Feb 21 stars

Sneak peek (or is that a sneaker peeker?)

Because yes, there are more where these beauties came from. And if you’re thinking, “Pah, those Catwoman trainers aren’t particularly girly. That’s not exactly sacrificing much fin the name of his charity!” then wait till you see the next pair! (Which probably won’t be tomorrow… that’s a teaser for a plot thread I want to let hang for a little while).

And because it would be a shame not to show these beauties in their full glory, here they are from t’other side. (You know, I really like it on days like today when the trainers do the sci-fi connection on their own and I don’t have to come up with a complicated photo set-up. Especially when Comic Review still has to be sent.)

Feb 21 d

(Do you like the. ahem, cat walk stance, too? Fabulous, dah-ling!)

Remember, this is all for charity. I know from my hits I have many lurkers who haven’t donated yet. Come on guys! Making up sci-fi/trainer related puns is hard work every day!

Usual sign-off:

Current total: £455  

• 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 we 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!

Cheers
Dave G

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