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

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

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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)

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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 338: Trainer Vision

Green and yellow always immediately says, “The Vision!” to me…

December 4

Blimey, this is turning into a tough week. Apologies for such a late blog again, but because of a car accident last night… I had no new trainers to wear this morning!

I wasn’t involved in a car crash, don’t worry. But a friend, Will, was supposed to pop over from Chippenham last night with a few pairs, but there was a car crash blocking the road to my place, and he was already in danger of being late for a date with his girlfriend… so Sole Of Sci-Fi was the least of his worries, and he doubled back to the motorway.

Luckily, I’m working at Immediate Media’s cycling division at the moment, and with some help from my mate Simon, who’s been working for various cycling mags Future and now Immediate for yonks, we managed to charm the lovely people there to give me access to their reviews product cupboard. That’s me fixed for a few more days.

And first up, another pair of Pearl Izumi, my new favourite brand this year. And in green and yellow – the colours of my favourite Avenger too. I know Izumis can be a bit garish for some, but I they’re bloody comfortable and I think the colours are s bold statement of intent. That’s my excuse anyway.

Besides, you wait until you see tomorrow’s trainers. They are hideous. They do have loads of perfectly decent trainers in the cupboard, but I thought I owed it to the challenge to wear a pair that’ll be more of a talking point. Just you wait.

But another week like this might just kill me off. What with my day-job at Procycling, my reviews for SFX and trying to keep The Sole Of Sci-Fi going  all at the same time is not exactly leaving me time for socialising. Or sleeping for that matter.

So, having done my blogging duty, there’s an Agents Of SHIELD episode waiting to be reviewed. Now there’s a shoe that could be improved with some Vision action.

See you tomorrow!

Donate buttonUsual Begging Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,310

• 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.

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Day 293: Socks, Socks, Socks

Damon child…

October 20 main

Let’s hope today’s image isn’t an omen, because I’ve got a lot of work over the next few days, so work-flow-disrupting disasters (such being decapitated by panes of glass or skewered by church steeples) will not be welcome. By my commissioning editors as much as myself. Can you imagine the phone call? “Sorry my review is late – I was cut in half by an elevator cable.”

The blog has had a huge amount of hits over the past few days, thanks to a double whammy of Doctor Who and Middle-earth. It’s a shame, thought, that not one of those thousands of new visitors decided to add to the charity total. As I come to the end of the year, I can honestly say I’m looking forward to NOT having to come up with a photo and a blog every day,  but I reckon I’ve got to redouble my efforts to collect as much money for ARUK as possible before the year is out.

I emphasise that I’m not trying to guilt trip faithful followers into donating more, but if faithful followers could guilt trip friends and colleagues (and show them this weekend’s Doctor Who photo as a fun example of the blog at its best) I’d appreciate that!

Oh, and I know it’s getting late in the year to wear shorts, but some running trainers, like today’s Pearl Izumis, look downright stupid with jeans.

And please tell me you get the headline pun…?

See you tomorrow.

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Usual Begging Sign-Off

• 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 291: To Krell And Back

“Prepare your minds for a new scale of scientific values!” Or not, if you’ve seen Forbidden Planet already…

Ocober 18 main

Sole Of Sci-Fi has visited Altair IV before this year, but this time I thought I’d show you round the Krell machine buried beneath the planet. These scenes in Forbidden Planet remain my favourite special FX sequences in film history. I was totally bowled over by them when I first saw them as a kid, and unlike many other special FX from the ’50s, their power to impress me hasn’t lessened in the slightest in the ensuing years. I still get a thrill every time I watch them, and I still totally buy into the idea that Morbius and co are wandering around in a machine 20 miles deep and wide. The word vertiginous was created for the Krell machine.

It’s not just the scale. Aesthetically the machine is a masterpiece too, the pinnacle of what I’ve been trying to coin “valve-punk” for the last 25 years. It’s like somebody took the electricity sub-station that hummed ominously at the end of the road where I grew up, and expanded it to vast proportions. The gagrgntuan crackles of electricity that occasionally leap from one piece of the machine to another feel like intelligent, malevolent lightning. I have no idea what intelligent lightning means, but that’s what it is.

jpegQuick bit of boasting now. The book, The Sci-Fi Chronicles, to which I made a whole bunch of contributions, is now for sale here. It’s been getting fantastic reviews (see here and here) and nobody yet has said, “But the Red Dwarf section is rubbish”, so I’m happy. I think me entry on Irwin Allen is one of my favourite things I’ve ever written; a great example of covering a lot of subject matter in a very concise word count. Shame the publisher doesn’t seem to be providing contributors with free copies though.

And finally, a rant. My vote for Villain Of The Year goes to the evil genius who put up the diversion signs on the Bath to Bristol cycle path. It’s a masterpiece in stupid positioning: signs placed where traffic queues at lights, so cars constantly hide them; signs placed at junctions where it’s not clear which road the arrow is pointing down; signs that send you up a massive hill.

I just about managed to get to Bristol in the daylight without getting lost. Sadly I became hideously lost on the way back in the dark. A journey that normally takes me 35 minutes took over an hour!

No cycling today. Just more reviewing.

See you tomorrow.

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Usual Begging Sign-Off

• 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 214: Pandora’s Socks

Feeling blue on a wet Saturday? 

August 2 main

It’s only taken seven months but finally I bite my tongue and do a socks gag. I honestly couldn’t come up with anything better for an Avatar blog.  And it had to be an Avatar gag with latest pair of Pearl Izumi’s from the cycling mags’ free box. I mean, look the colour scheme on those trainers!  It’s James Cameron’s Pandora through and through.

I’ve actually only ever seen Avatar once. At the cinema, in 3D. I had to see what all this 3D fuss was about. I thought the movie was okay; certainly visually spectacular and exciting, but overlong and hampered with on overly simplistic and unsubtly bolted-on eco-theme. As many have have pointed out, it was practically Dances With Blue Aliens. I didn’t hate it, I’ve just never felt the need to see it again.

The 3D, though, did impress me, and I began to wonder if Cameron was right; that 3D was the way forward for cinema.

"We’re in 3D –quick, get some light in here!”

“We’re in 3D –quick, get some light in here!”

Five years later, and it’s still only one of two live action films that I think benefit from 3D. The vast majority of the others that I’ve seen, I think the 3D has actually detracted from the experience for me. I hate the way 3D makes the image dark and murky, and usually the only half decent 3D effect in any film is the film company logo the start. I vividly recall taking off my 3D glasses during Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II because watching the film in slightly fuzzy vision was preferable to watching it in the lumpy darkness of 3D. I’m pretty sure I watched large swathes of The Avengers with my glasses off too.

When I saw Guardians Of The Galaxy this week, I saw it in 2D. I don’t think I missed out at all and I was £3 better off.

I will admit that CG animated movies do benefit from 3D. The hyperreality of animation seems to suit the medium; maybe animators have more control over the 3D effects? Indeed, the two live action films I’ve seen that work well in 3D – Avatar and the highly stylised Hugo – are arguably just 3D animated movies that just happen to feature live action casts. Hugo even improves on Avatar in that it uses 3D to enhance emotional moments as well enhancing the FX.

Man-Of-Steel-Amy-Adams-Lois-Lane-and-Henry-Cavill-Kal_ElI actually became trapped in a tedious conversation about 3D with another film journalist once, when I dared to say that I thought that 3D had added absolutely nothing to Man Of Steel. He begged to differ (I’m sure he used the phrase, “I think you’ll find…”). Tests in America had shown that 3D helped directors to draw viewers’ attention to certain parts of the screen, thus meaning directors had more control over what the viewer was watching. Or something. My mind was wandering after a few seconds. Bottom line was, apparently, science proves that I was enjoying 3D even if I didn’t think I was.

My erudite response to that is: bollocks.

Going for a long cycle today. I’m going to get very wet.

See you tomorrow.

Donate buttonUsual Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,090 (Hurrah! Thank you Zoe Gould!)

• 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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