Day 363: The Hole Truth

The Falcon and the Shoe-Man

December 29 main

Apologies for the blog being a bit late today, but it was one of those “things don’t always go to plan” days. Y’see, I was convinced I had the rest of the year covered in terms of trainers, but the pair I had planned on wearing today – a loan pair – were the same as a pair I’d worn earlier in the year, which I’d completely forgotten I’d worn. And this after I was bragging to my mum over Christmas how I didn’t need to keep a list because I could remember every pair I’d worn. But there was the nagging feeling that the Nike bleachers I’d planned to wear did look familiar, and indeed they were; I’d worn some in the same style and colour on day 81. I think the loveliness of the purpleness was blinding me to the facts.

So, having discovered there was a hole in the schedule (I have a loan pair from Richard Edwards for tomorrow and something special planned for the last day) I need to plug the hole. This I did by going into Bath and buying the cheapest pair I could find – which happened to be just £3.50 in a sale from one of those cheapo sports shop chains (so cheap, they don’t even come in boxes)! I’ll be lucky if I can sell them on at a car boot for a quid, though. They really are shockingly poorly made. They may not even last the day.

I also linked up with my old mate Jayne Nelson, who was back in Bath on a rare trip away from London. Actually, she does leave London quite a bit, but rarely to go to other places in the UK – she prefers trips abroad and recently fell in love with Iceland. We has a good old natter and I bribed her into helping me with a feature I have to write tomorrow with lunch at Giraffe. After that, we formulated a plan to take over the world and searched for some rat bedding. One of these may not be true. She also agreed with me that “Last Christmas” was the best Doctor Who Christmas special since the first one.

Talking of which, now I can watch Blu-rays again, I’ve been rewatching series eight of Doctor Who. I’m currently up to “Kill The Moon”. The episodes I liked first time time round seem even better (especially “Into The Dalek” and “Time Heist” which is really clever and full of great moments) while the ones I didn’t seem even worse second time around: “Robot Hood” is just embarrassingly trite while “The Caretaker”, after a brilliant opening montage of Clara trying to balance her travels in the TARDIS with normal life, descends into a poor sitcom with zero tension and the Doctor acting like an idiot, made worse by the fact that it seems to go on for hours. “Kill The Moon” is almost unwatchable, because everything that’s good about it (and there’s quite a lot) is ruined by the fact that you know THAT ending is coming…

Still, I’ve got the double whammy of “Mummy…” and “Flatline” to come, which I’m looking forward to. And maybe I’ll discover that “In The Forest Of The Night” has “grown in stature” (to paraphrase Steven Moffat), though I doubt it.

I also watched Guardians Of The Galaxy again last night, and I’m even more convinced it was secretly written by Russell T Davies, it feels so much like a Tennant-era Who story. And I still love it to bits.

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,465 (so near to a grand and a half… thanks to Steven Ellis and parents for yesterday’s donations)

• 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.


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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Usual Sign-Off

• 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 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!


Day 152: The Winter Sole-dier

June kicks off (see what I did there?). But will it be a bumper month for donations? I hope so.

June 1 main

After Iron Man a couple of days ago, The Hulk a while back and Captain America today, maybe I ought to try to do Sole Of Sci-Fi installments dedicated to all the movie Avenger. I’m going to have to come up with an idea for Thor now. Converse Loki-Tops maybe?

Another Sunday of freelancing for me. I’ve got to transcribe and write up interviews with both Ian Somerhalder and Jem Roberts, the guy who’s written the new book about Hitchhiker’s Guide that you may read about. Both of the interviews are about half an hour long; one of them will be much quicker to transcribe than the other. Somerhalder, who was on the phone from Mexico, punctuated the interview with a lot of long pauses; he was either in deep thought, swallowing some food, or distracted by really interesting insects flying past or something. On a couple of occasions I was worried I’d lost the line or he’d fallen asleep. Roberts, on the other hand, babbled on excitedly about his literary archeology  like a DVD on fast forward.

So, June, eh? Month six. Five twelfths of the way through the challenge. Sounds great, but I’m still aware that there are well over 200 days to go. Gulp.

I’m going to spend much of June ramping up the donation requests. I’d really like to get past the £1,ooo barrier by the end of the month, and the car boot sale next week should help with that. But what I’d really like is for those of you who’ve donated already to encourage other people you know to donate. What will help will be that there’ll be a feature on Sole Of Sci-Fi on the Dementia Blog in the next few days, which I think will give the challenge a bit more of a respectable feel, rather than this blog which does tend to look like the ramblings of a madman on occasion. So you might like to wait for that to go live before hassling people, because it may impress them more.

mellennium falcon

Finally, anyone interested in joining me for a small, unofficial sponsored jog along the Bath to Bristol cycle path (probably just the Bath to Bitton part) sometime in the next couple of months? I’m thinking of calling it the Kessel Run, and I’m pondering the idea of making a complete tit of myself by doing it in the SFX office’s Spider-Man costume. If a small group of us can commit (and somebody agrees to film it) I think it would be a great way to raise more funds. And I bet we could all do it in under 12 parsecs. (I’ve measured it… it’s definitely under 12 parsecs.)

The trainers are an on-loan pair of Sauconys on loan from Mr Simon Withers. They may survive the day…

Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £805 (let’s make it to £1,ooo by the end of June!)

• 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 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!