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 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)


Day 361: Planet Of The Gorillaz

The Gorillaz are almost sci-fi, aren’t they?

December 27 layered

The Sole Of Sci-Fi goees 2D today* as I don the final pair of on-loans trainers from Will Guyatt: a pair of Gorillaz Cons. A whole range of these came out a couple of years back, and these were the least oviously Gorillaz-themed, but they’re hiding their best side – the inside.

December 27 inside

The interiors are plastered with cool Jamie Hewlett art! The geometric camo design on the outside is cool too, whether you get the Gorillaz link or not. Thanks, Will, for all the trainers you’ve loaned me over the Christmas period. Even if some were on the large size. Clown feet ahoy.

(That’s the name of the cartoon character in Cons in the picture… don’t you just love a gag that needs explaining.)

Off on the train home soon. Blu-ray heaven here I come. Although I have spent this morning watching Doctor Who “The Ambassadors Of Death” on DVD – the last surviving Doctor Who story I’ve never seen before. It’s a bit dull. Seven episodes is clearly way too long for a Doctor Who story. Still interesting to watch, though.

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.


Day 360: Boxing Day Trainers

Little boxes everywhere…

December 26 main

Some sci-fi boxes for Boxing Day, along with a pair of Stan Smiths (with blue trim this time) on loan from Will Guyatt. They’re brand new, so I’ll wear them around the house, but I think I’ll swap them over later for a more practical pair that I won’t mind getting wet and muddy when we go out later.

Loved Doctor Who “Last Christmas” just as much on third viewing, and thankfully, the FX and old-age make-up did stand-up well even on a proper TV. If you read my review on the SFX website, you’ll see that I covered my arse as regard those aspects, because it’s difficult to tell for sure in the BBC Previews site’s pixel-o-vision. For example, I really couldn’t tell before last night if there was snow on the TARDIS in the opening titles; I suspected there was, but it wasn’t entirely clear on the preview version.

I’m also wondering if by the end of next season we’re going to be seeing “Team TARDIS” with both Shona and Ashley becoming companions before Clara leaves. That’d be… interesting. I think either could make a great permanent companion. (But with Moffat in control, who knows? One of them may be Missy in disguise.)

Great to see Carrie Fisher on QI as well. Surely you need to be British to be that eccentric?

And so now I have a load of new Blu-rays to watch (they were presents), and staying with APs who have no Blu-ray player. It’s like some form of mental torture! Home tomorrow, though.

Last few days to get some sponsorship money in!

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.


Day 359: The Nike For Christmas

(Once more, it’s a pun that works better if you say Nike the American way – Nikey)

December 25 main

Listening to the endless carols on TV last night it suddenly occurred to me how “Ding Dong Merrily On High” sounds less like something celebrating “the birth of our Lord” and more like the lyrics to some ’60s psychedelic pop song. I bet various members  of the Rolling Stones were extremely ding dong merrily on high on various Christmases over their careers.

Anyway, Christmas morning and no presents open yet, part from the ones above which I was given special dispensation of so I could do Sole of Sci-Fi. Present opening today is scheduled for post lunch, which is some form of mental torture frowned upon by the European Court Of Human Rights, surely?

Staying off the internet tonight, so that I don’t have to read the comments after my Doctor Who review. I loved it, and was very generous with the star rating, so I’m bound to be called all sorts of names when everyone else hates it. But I’m sticking to my guns; tonight is the third time I will have seen it and I’m looking forward to finally watching in HD with as much anticipation as a Christmas Special I haven’t seen at all. Especially the dance routine.

But I liked “Love And Monsters” so what do I know?

Dalek Christmas Card

Happy Christmas for 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.


Day 356: Snow Shoes

Ice ice baby…

December 22 main


Wow, great day for new donations! The actual sponsor site is still lagging behind by £30 because I still haven’t added the £30 I collected in cash the other night, but for some reason my own sponsorship page won’t let me donate! In any case, look how near the total is to one and a half grand now. You look make me proud!

Today’s trainers are a pair of Adidas Revenergy, which at any other time of the year would probably have inspired a “Revenge Of The Sith” photo and headline, but with Christmas so near, the colourway just made me think of ice and snow. They’re on loan from Simon Withers and he hasn’t even worn them yet! They’re also the smallest size nines I’ve ever worn…

Went to bed in a sulk last night because Mark won The Apprentice. Oh goody, just what the world needs – another self-appointed SEO guru. I think next year I may well try to put my idea for an “Ignore Page One Day” campaign into action (as long as Apple don’t mind it being shortened to IPOD – I’ll make sure there’s o lower case “I”).

Here’s a prediction: in a year’s time, if do a Google search on “Improve my SEO”, I bet Climb Online ain’t on the first page. Or the second.

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,455 (new donations from Rhian Drinkwater, Sam Blanchard, Tara Hobson and Jonathan Applet – thank you so much and merry Christmas)

• 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 353: All You Need Is Love And Monsters

Beatles Vans and Christmas Doctor Who titbits…

December 19 main

Admittedly today’s Beatles Vans really should have been accompanied by Thunderbird 4 photo (a yellow submarine), but I’ve already done that (here). Plus I received an unexpected email from BBC publicity yesterday saying that spoiler-free online previews of the Doctor Who special were fine to post from today.

Well, I’m hardly going to pass up on that opportunity, especially as it’s likely to get the charity challenge a few extra hits, and, hey, you never know, maybe a bit more sponsorship. So if you are a Doctor Who fan lured here by some link somewhere, I’ve reposted my “Top Doctor Who Posts Of The Year” infographic at the bottom of this page to give you an idea what I’ve been doing all year, so please consider bunging a fiver towards Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Before getting on with my Who Christmas thoughts, here’s a closer look at the Beatles Vans, on loan from Will Guyatt and really rather fab. Geddit? Fab?

December 19 close-up beatles vans

Also fab is Doctor Who “Last Christmas”. Regular readers of this blog will know how much I loathe reviewing episodes form the BBC preview site because of the low quality, but honestly, after 10 minutes of “Last Christmas” some kind of festive magic occurred. The pixellated pictures seemed to fade and I truly felt like I was watching on Christmas night. For me, it was the perfect blueprint for a Doctor Who Christmas special – very, very Christmassy but a great classic Doctor Who story to boot.

And – crucially – it has real heart. I’ve always been impressed by Steven Moffat’s plotting, ideas and dialogue, but thought that Russell T Davies had the edge when it came to emotional scenes. But not here. There are scenes that are packed with emotion, without spilling over into gloopy sentimentality. The relationship between the Doctor and Clara is especially sweet with a wonderful pay-off.

7507074-low_res-I’d go as far to sat it’s my Capaldi Doctor Who story yet, and possibly my favourite Christmas special. It’s both gloriously silly and incredibly creepy; at times I was thinking, “This is going out at 6.15pm???” Father Christmas is Father Christmas through and through, and Nick Frost gets some great lines. Whether he’s real or not…? Well, that’s all part of the fun.

Here are a few non-spoilery teasers in good old SFX-style:

• There’s the return of an old favourite from previous Christmas specials, and it’s more prominent than ever

• There’s an absolutely glorious song and dance routine (I’m not joking, but neither does that quite mean what you might think it means)

• At least two plot elements scream: “This is not the last you’ll be seeing of this…”

• Nathan McMullen from Misfits makes a brilliant elf but Dan Starkey’s teeth are off-putting because you keep thinking, “Don’t they belong to Strax?”

• If you’re thinking something reminds you of something then somebody in the episode does to, though the Doctor doesn’t because he’s never heard of it and think it’s racist

• There’s a shot of The Tower Of Westminster (aka, Big Ben to non-pedants) that’s the stuff of Christmas legend

• It’s very, very twisty turny…

• It features a particular thing regularly used in film and TV (a production thing, not a script thing) that usually prompts critics to write, “God the [redacted] was awful!” But not here. It’s very good indeed

• The Doctor calls somebody unexpected sexy

• And if you haven’t heard already, the title of the next episode is revealed

These things are all relative. I loved it; some heartless Scrooges will not doubt hate it. I can only say that personally I was totally won over by it; it hit all the right notes for me, and I cannot wait to see it in high definition on Christmas Day (when, maybe, the thing that I thought looked really good may not look quite as good… but hopefully not).


See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,360

• 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 351: Today’s Tron-ers

You may groan at that headline…

December 17 main

An image-lead blog today, because I think the images speak for themselves: Tron Legacy Adidas trainers loaned to me by Will Guyatt shot from just about every angle to show off their full glory.

December 17 4 December 17 3 December 17 2

It’s my last day on Procycling in Bristol today, so it off into the mists on my bike soon. Honestly, when I saw I would rather freeze my balls off than use First Bus I’m not kidding…

And tonight, I get to see the Doctor Who Christmas special. Before you get jealous, please refer to my earlier blog about having to review things on the BBC preview site. And yes, the site did give away massive spoilers again when I went in to check if the preview was there… (and no, I won’t be able to write about it tomorrow as there’s an embargo, sorry).

See you tomorrow!

Donate buttonUsual Begging Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,360

• 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.