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

Jan 30 6

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

June 23 main

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

October 4 main 2

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 357: Bounty Hunters

Whoops! I should really look where I’m stepping… 

December 23 main

Brief blog today as I’m travelling back to the parents’ imminently. With many bags.* On the train. This’ll be fun. Some comfy camo Cons for the journey.

(* They’re not just full of presents, but trainers as well… See what I have to sacrifice for this challenge!)

bag of trainers

 

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,455 

• 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.

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Day 289: A Sneaker Peek At The Extended Desolation Of Smaug

I spent almost an whole day going through the extras…

October 16 main

I spent over nine hours yesterday watching all the extras on the new Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Blu-ray, which I’m reviewing for SFX. When you factor in that I had already watched the film itself the day before (to see what had been extended) then watched it again yesterday with the commentary on, and offset that against how much I’m actually getting paid (which I won’t reveal because I’m not sure Future Publishing would like it known how little it pays writers) then I’m clearly earning way less than minimum wage per hour! Then again, I don’t have to buy the Blu-ray now, and I would have watched all the extras anyway out of choice if I had.

Because, yeah, I have some major gripes about The Hobbit trilogy (so far). There are things that irritate me (usually poor CGI, excessive action sequences and a lack of real emotional clout in far too many scenes). But as an overall phenomenon, I still have a lot of love for what Jackson is trying to do with these six Middle-earth films.

 

I’ve also enjoyed both Hobbit films more with the release of the Extended Editions. I think it has less to do with the extra footage adding more depth (I’m not sure the Goblin King song and dance routine from An Unexpected Journey added anything other than a reason to press the fast forward button) and more to do with noticing so much more that I’d missed the first time, when gurning dwarves and naff-looking liquid gold were distracting me.

Rewatching Smaug, I gained more of an appreciation Elven King Thranduil (he’s creepy), fell in love with Tauriel and suddenly realised what a rich and characterful setting Lake-Town is; The Master and Alfrid, especially, are a great double act, but the production design is awesome as well. Martin Freeman continues to impress and Bilblo and I’m beginning to be able to tell more of the Dwarves apart.

There’s also a great fight scene that’s been added to the Extended Edition, which I won’t spoil, but it significantly alters one section of the film, in a way the new scenes rarely have before.

October 16 b

My main problem with Smaug, though, is Smaug. Not his look. Not Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance. Not the animation. But the fact he’s so bloody ineffectual. He’s a massive fire-breathing dragon and yet he can’t fry one little dwarf! The whole final action scene was, we learn from the Blu-Ray, one of the things that was added to the script when the The Hobbit was expanded from two films to three, so there’s a practical reason why none of the Dwarves could be reduced to cinders; certainly remaining faithful to the book wasn’t issue but the ending of Smaug had to retain continuity with footage already shot for Five Armies, so sudden, shocking deaths were impossible. But there’s a real lack of threat to the climactic scenes, which undermines Smaug’s declaration, “I am death!” Are you? Are you really?

Presumably there’ll be lots of Lake-Town extras eating flame in the final film, but at the moment I’m left with the feeling that Smaug’s bark is worse than his bite. It doesn’t help, either, that Desolation (even if you haven’t read the book) pretty much tells you how Smaug is going to be dispatched.

But overall I had a great day yesterday watching all the behind-the-scenes footage. Whether you like these films or not, you have to admit that the Extended Editions are bursting with goodness.

Oh and, Ryan Gage  (who plays Alfrid, and I suddenly realised I knew him from the BBC’s Musketeers, where he plays King Louis) is absolutely hilarious.

And if you know the film well, you’ll realise that all the fuzzy on-screen images in today’s pics are sneaky peeks at extended moments. And the near new Cons (black low tops, with lovely light blue trimmings) I got off eBay for 99p – no one else was bidding for them  because they came without laces. Luckily, I have a drawer full of laces, which may not surprise you.

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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Day 241: How To Trainer Your Dragon 2

There’s been enough Star Wars this week, so it’s back to the dragons. Have I mentioned I like dragons?

August 29 main

Good grief, I never knew there were so many varieties of green Converse. I dug these out of the garage – I’ve had them for yonks, certainly over ten years – and actually forgotten all about them. I think it’s the pastelly shade ; it’s a bit ’80s.

I had no idea what colour they were known as officially, so I Googled “green converse”, found a site called ChucksConnection and discovered just how many different shades of green All-Stars have been released in: Basic Green, Bright Green, Celtic Green, Deep Lichen Green, Fluorescent Green, Grapevine Green, Goth Green, Greener Pastures, Kelly Green, Kombu Green, Loden Green, Neon Green, Oil Green, Olive Green, Parasailing Green, Pepper Green, Pine Green, Sea Spray Green and Trekking Green.

No, I didn’t know parasailing was a colour either.

Since there isn’t a shade called ’80s Pastel Turquoise Green, I think (emphasise think) these Pepper Green, because they’re a kind of bluey green. But I could be wrong. Nice to know Converse – like I do – regards turquoise as green and not blue, but I’ve learnt from past experience that entering into an argument about that is potentially more inflammatory than claiming scone rhymes with stone and not gone.

I was woken this morning at 7am by a feint knock on the door. My skip had arrived. I must admit I wasn’t expecting at 7am in the morning. I’m not complaining. It beats waiting in all day for workmen who turn up a 5.59pm.

And why do I need a skip? Here’s why.

garden before

By this time next week I will have a garden again.

Sort of.

Yesterday was a great day for donations! Let’s keep it rolling. Thank you.

See you tomorrow.

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• Current total: £1,160 (a big leap today thanks to generous  donations from White Dwarf’s Jes Bickham and Crishna Simmons – many thanks to you both!)

• 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 239: These Are Not The Cons You Are Looking For

The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young(ish) Dave Golder, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of Somerset….

August 27

Okay, I don’t actually live in Somerset any more (it’s debatable I ever did), but adapting the opening crawl from The Empire Strikes Back to say, “South Gloucestershire”, didn’t sound as funny. There’s just something intrinsically funny about the word – or maybe the concept – of Somerset. It’s like Droitwich, or Dudley – English place names that just sound amusing. But not as ostentatious as places Nether Wallop of Lower Piddle which just sound like they’ve been made up by a village council desperate for attention.

Avon

What Avon was carved up into. Gloucester isn’t even on the map. What a mess.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not taking the piss out of Somerset. I love Somerset. And even though I only ever lived in that bizarre rump of a county known as Bath And North East Somerset (or BANES as it’s sometimes known, the ugliest sounding name for a county ever) that was Somerset enough for me. Before that Bath was in Avon, a county the locals loathed for some reason; it was created in 1974 and they seemed to resent it as some forced-upon-them upstart. But surely living in Avon is better than living in BANES, a county that sounds like a dithering second officer in some 1950s British war film? Blake’s Seven wouldn’t have been half as good if Avon had been called Banes.

Now I live in an odd offshoot of a county called South Gloucestershire even though I feel absolutely no connection to Gloucester at all. In fact, Gloucester feels like another dimension. I feel nearer to Cardiff than Gloucester (it’s possible that’s true). It’s weird living just a few miles from both Bristol and Bath, and being in a different country to either of them. I feel like I come from an area that includes Bath and Bristol; I feel like I come from Avon, dammit.

Though as someone pointed out recently, if Avon did still exist, my council tax would probably be a darned sight more expensive.

See you tomorrow.

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• 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 227: It’s Hobbling Time!

The Stephen King Week continues with a wince inducing Sole Of Sci-Fi

August 15 main

With these classic green Cons* making an appearance in Stephen King Week, I did try to find a scene from The Green Mile for the photo of the day. But this scene from Misery was demanding to be used at some point, and The Green Mile is very long (and, I fine, a teeny bit dull), so I got bored looking for a suitable shot, and you gets some hobbling action instead.

(*As opposed to the forest green Cons I wore earlier in the year, though they look pretty much the same once they’ve gone through the PhotoShop grinder so you’ll have to take my word for it.)

Go on. Admit it. You winced. I did many times putting today’s blog together.

Admittedly, Misery isn’t sci-fi or even fantasy, but the image was irresistible, and I think the King connection validates it. Besides, it gives me the chance to trot out that old cliché: the best Stephen King-based films are the ones that aren’t based on his supernatural stories. Stand By Me, Misery and The Shawshank Redemption are all better than the best of the horror films, which, depending on your point of view, will either be Carrie or The Shining.

Stand-By-MeMy personal fave remains Stand By Me, a film made all the more poignant by the death of River Phoenix. The ending never fails to make me all sniffly, and the final line is one of the greatest pieces of wisdom ever committed to screen. The song’s great too.

I think that may be the end of the run for the Stephen King/Sole Of Sci-Fi blogs for now. I suppose I could get the ketchup out again for a Carrie-based blog. Or I could try finding a giant glass bowl for an Under The Dome theme. But unless you can suggest something in the next 22 hours that sparks my imagination, I think it’ll be back to Trek and Who for the next few days.

 

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 204: Here Be Monsters

The making of today’s Sole Of Sci-Fi photo was a little but like the making of Monsters itself…

July 23 main

Before successfully reinventing Godzilla, director Gareth Edwards made a low budget film called Monsters, which was a little bit of genius even if horror fans were perturbed to find themselves watching a love film rather than a straightforwards creature feature. (And people wonder why Edwards’ Godzilla turned out the way it did? They guy’s obviously a bog softie at heart.)

Coming from a special FX background, Edwards saved a lot of money by shooting in South America with an almost complete lack of props or set dressing, then digitally inserting signs and posters (as well as monsters, tanks and helicopters) in post production.

So today’s Sole Of Sci-Fi photo is almost a recreation of the making of Monsters, because, of course, I didn’t really paste a Monsters poster on my garage. Though it may have been easier.

011210monsters_mainI remember I was supposed to interview Edwards once at the Watershed arts centre in Bristol. He was doing a talk about  his experiences making Monsters, and great fun and very interesting it was too. The trouble was, Edwards used to work in Bristol, and all his old work mates were in the audience. So when it had finished, they all descended on him and headed for the bar for some reminiscing. It seemed a shame to interrupt them (I’m not sure the PR woman could have even if she tried) so we rearranged the interview for the next day, on the phone, while Edwards was on a train journey to another publicity commitment. There are great gaps in the recording resulting from every time he went into a tunnel, but the plus side was that I had a lot longer interview time than normal. You can read the resulting interview here.

I really enjoyed talking to Edwards and was thrilled when he got the Godzilla gig. And now he’s doing a Star Wars movie. I bet some of those old mates in Bristol have been sending him CVs and begging emails. I know I would.

Don’t forget! I need new donations to make sure I attempt a mini challenge in  Ausgust. See Saturday’s blog for details.

See you tomorrow.

Donate buttonUsual Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,060 (Come on guys – let’s raise this a bit!)

• 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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