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

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)


Day 260: The Groot’s On The Other Foot

Guardians, OutlanderStar Trek and Tiger Feet in a very rambling instalment of the 365-day charity challenge.

September 17 main

Do you really love my (Onitsuka) Tiger Feet? Is that my first glam rock reference in Sole Of Sci-Fi? Groot doesn’t seem particularly impressed.

One of the ironies of Guardians Of The Galaxy, surely, is the one Groot toy that everybody would really, really like, would be considered a spoiler if it turned up on the shelves at your local supermarket. If you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I mean; if you haven’t, you’re safe here – I’m not giving away anything here.

On an entirely different note, anyone else remember the Star Trek: Next Generation episode “Tapestry”? Aside from hardcore fans I suspect not, as it’s rarely named as one of the classics. That’s not to say it’s loathed, like, say, “Genesis”. Anyone who’s seen it usually likes it; it just rarely makes anybody’s Top 10 episodes.

It’s not just in my Top 10; it’s in my Top Three. I love “Tapestry”.

stat trek the next generation tapestryIn case you can’t quite recall it, it’s the one that’s vaguely based on “It’s A Wonderful Life” (though it’s not festive) with Q (for some never explained reason) playing the Clarence character, offering Picard the opportunity to change a crucial moment in his past.

I remember watching it the first time it was shown in the UK, instantly impressed by the episode’s wit, emotion and clever structure. Something about its “message” also chimed in with my life view. I clearly recall laying in bed later that night thinking, “I wish I wrote for a magazine in which I could enthuse about episodes like that.”

That, of course, later happened, and I’d like to think that my time on SFX was always motivated mainly by my need to enthuse about the sci-fi I loved rather than bitching about the sci-fi I didn’t. Ironically, I’m probably best remembered for mercilessly taking the piss out of Charmed, Crime Traveller and Syfy’s Flash Gordon, but I always had more pleasure writing about new shows, books and films that impressed me, and I desperately wanted to encourage other people to watch or read – Farscape, David Gemmell’s Rigante series, Dark CityWolf Blood. I like to think that even when I was being negative, I tried to find something positive to say. And when – as with Crime Traveller and Flash Gordon – it was difficult to find anything positive, I slated them in broad strokes, with tongue-in-cheek, rather than continually nit-picking and moaning.

(I’m sure you could find examples to prove that I could bitch with the best of them – any of my Tarsem Singh movie reviews, perhaps – but that was never my main modus operandi.)

Of course, if Star Trek: The Next Generation had started broadcasting 15 years later, the first time I watched “Tapestry” I would have just gone online to rave about it. Because the internet has created a generation of instant critics, all desperate to get their views heard. But strangely, 90% of non-professional online pundits seem to feel the need to moan, gripe, whinge and pick everything to pieces until, surely, the while fun of watching a TV show or reading a book is completely stripped away.

There’s also a widespread assumption of ownership; pundits who judge a show on the basis of, “Would I do things this way if I were running the show?” This is especially the case with that “difficult second season” syndrome. If a new show’s a popular hit, then it usually has a honeymoon period for its first season. But while on hiatus, the new “fans” have nothing to discuss except where season two will go. They come up with their own theories and ideas and plotlines and developments. Then season two arrives, does none of those things, and forums are suddenly full of posts about how everything’s gone Pete Tong – “our ideas were better.” (Admittedly, in some cases – cough * Heroes * cough – the problem is that the show simply cocked up, but with things like Being Human and Lost the criticism seemed way out of proportion).

It sometimes makes being a sci-fi fan a very dispiriting experience, as no matter how much you like something, any internet search will mainly unearth people (in blogs, or forums, or comments section) whinging about that self-same thing. Even if you do find a forum full of like minded people, you’re constantly trolled by people desperate to remind you that 99% of sane people know that this show is utter crap – get a life.


What’s spurred all this? No, not reading reactions to “Robot Of Sherwood”. Not, in fact, anything on the internet at all.

I was watching an episode of a show called Outlander. Ronald D (Galactica) Moore’s new show about a woman from the mid 20th Century transported back in time to Scotland during the Jacobite rebellions. The first few episodes were okay, if a little soppy. Episode four was great. Episode five was even better. And episode six was… phenomenal.

I felt an urge to share my love of it with you. And I was transported back to my rented bedroom back in 1990-whatever, laying in bed, thinking about “Tapestry”.

I suppose that weird old weave and weft of the tapestry of my life.

See you tomorrow.

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Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,200 

• 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 255: We Can Remember It For You Wholesole

Geek bonus points to everyone who knows why I’ve used that headline and not “Total Resole”

September 12

Got to keep it short today as my internet is down again and I’m using my iPhone as a mobile hotspot, which can work out stupidly expensive (my mobile bill was double what it normally is last time I did this).

Anyway, Arnie has travelled all the way to Mars to get his mitts on the Air Jordans I’ve been loaned by a neighbour (actually, a neighbour’s teenage son, but I’m not entirely sure said teenage son actually knows).

Oh, and forget Doctor Who. The best show is back on telly! Bad Education… erm, sorry, no I meant Wolfblood!

See you tomorrow.

Donate button

Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,200 

• 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!