Monthly Archives: January 2009

SFX In The City

I’m snowed under with work right now, so apologies for the lack of posts. I’m also still recovering from the shock of trying to sort out my first big tax bill – both for this year and a large proportion of next year, because the bastards always want two years at once in your second year of freelancing. It was stressful, to say the least, but because my bank are awesome it’s all sorted now… though I still have to make ends meet.

Which reminds me, if I hear the phrase “in this current economic climate” one more time I will go nuclear on the economy’s ass.

At this very moment I’m writing my next column for SFX magazine, and it struck me that I’ve been writing it for four years this month (yowser, time flies!). I’m very grateful to everybody who reads it and says nice things – and even those who don’t, because you can’t please everybody and a bit of discussion never did anybody any harm – and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU here.

Back when I started writing the columns, I’d just moved to London to work on Total Film. My world suddenly seemed very big and glamourous and I was thrilled to be given a column; it made me feel as though I was somebody important. At the time, Sex And The City was in its final season, and for some reason it ended up being the subject of my first magazine missive. (Which is odd, because it’s not a science fiction show despite some of Sarah Jessica Parker’s crazier outfits, but there you go.) And, because I was thinking about Sex And The City for those first few issues, I kind of pictured myself as Carrie Bradshaw, perched in front of her laptop in her beautiful New York apartment, Starbucks in hand, wearing the finest couture and typing away to deadlines between attending dazzling social functions.

Instead, four years on, I’m writing my column standing at the kitchen counter with no trousers on because I’m waiting for my favourite pair of joggy bottoms to finish tumble-drying, and in a minute I have to go to Tesco’s because otherwise I have no toilet paper or margarine or milk for my thoroughly instant and really rather grim coffee.

Fantasy? Meet reality.

Still, at least I’m still enjoying it. Thank you, SFX, and thank you to everybody who’s been reading.



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I’m Trying Very Hard Not To Lick The Screen Right Now…

I’m really busy at the moment, valiantly trying to get about a week’s worth of work out of the way in one day because Biddy’s coming to stay this weekend. And so, in lieu of a cutting critical analysis of the fact that there’s a new President in the White House, I’m posting this picture:


Which I think pretty much says it all. That, and “THANK FUCKING GOD FOR THAT.”

And then there’s this new shot from Wolverine:


…which is currently distracting me from my work like nothing else on this planet.

(I should add that the picture I want to lick is this one, not the Obama one. In case you were wondering.)


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No Spoilers Here, Just Squee And A Huge, Impala-Shaped Coincidence

Battlestar Galactica is back.

My regular heart rhythm? Not so much.

I won’t discuss the episode here because I’m painfully aware that people might not want to be spoiled, and I was only informing somebody yesterday that if anyone ever told me who the final Cylon was I would punch them very hard in the throat and feel good about it afterwards. So, that in mind, all I’ll say about the first episode of the show’s final batch is… well, actually I can’t speak, so I’ll make a small whimpering noise instead.

Supernatural is back too. I went for a coffee with the editor of the official magazine last night and gleefully informed him that the last time the show really scared me was in season two’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’. And then I watched last night’s season four episode, ‘Family Remains’, and bugger me if I almost wet my pants with fright during a couple of moments. Serves me right for being so cocky, I guess.

My friend Matt Mueller was interviewed on Sky News today – he’s their semi-regular film critic – and talked about My Bloody Valentine 3D, which I saw last week (purely because it starred Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles and because it was in 3D; normally I avoid horror movies like the plague). He stopped by my place afterwards and informed me that he didn’t really know who Jensen was, but he’d caught one of the trailers being shown on ITV2 for Supernatural‘s new season and was impressed enough to want to watch the show. I saw a trailer myself last night and have to say it looked great – FX shots, funny lines, action… well done, ITV2!

And then I tried to fill Matt in on some of the background to the show, only to discover that when he was a kid HIS FAMILY CAR WAS A CHEVY IMPALA. I showed him a photo of the Metallicar and he said, “Yes, that’s it, only ours was more beat-up.”

I am in much awe.

He says he used to have great fun sliding around on the bench seat in the back every time the car turned a corner.

I want to see somebody doing that on Supernatural now, please.



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The Joy of Sleeveface

If you haven’t experienced the wonder that is Sleevefacing yet, here are a few tasters for you:




Go there. Now. Not only is it funny, it’s downright metaphysical.



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Above And Beyond

So I wrote a Rewind feature on Deep Space Nine a few months ago for SFX magazine in which I listed all the best episodes from the series. I accidentally missed out “The Way Of The Warrior”, and I apologised for that in a blog post a while back.

Now I’d like to apologise again – this time for not raving about “Far Beyond The Stars”. For some reason this episode didn’t click with me when I watched it all those years ago, but having just watched it again for the first time in over a decade… well, it took my breath away. Avery Brooks was phenomenal, the script was beautifully layered and even the jazz score was amazing.

I can only assume that the reason I wasn’t impressed in 1998 was because I was a BIG FAT IDIOT who didn’t understand the episode’s delicate, poignant handling of racism and hope. In 1998 I shrugged. In 2009 I got it. Brooks moved me to tears (“I’m a human being!”) and the shock of hearing Cirroc Lofton use the word “nigger” – in an episode of Star Trek, of all things – will never wear off.

I’m stunned. And I’m also very happy I understood “Far Beyond The Stars” in the end, because if I hadn’t my life would’ve been poorer for it.


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Picture Me This

Yesterday I met up with my friend James for the first time in two years – serves him right for buggering off to live in California, hmmph – and, between extraordinary bouts of gossip and geekery, we paid a visit to the Natural History Museum for their annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition.

It was as great as ever; a wonderful mix of beautiful imagery, stunning compositions and thought-provoking scenes – particularly the ultimate winner, ‘Snowstorm Leopard’ by Steve Winter, which sounded as though it was a nightmare to capture and somehow still manages to look so hyper-real the cat looks stuffed…


(…I mean that in a good way, though, because it IS an amazing photo.)

For the first time ever, the person who accompanied me to the exhibition totally agreed with my top two choices (does anybody ever agree with the overall winner, as good as it is?).

Here’s our runner-up, ‘Polar Sunrise’, which looks stunning when it’s blown up big:


And here’s the pic we both loved the most (from the ’11-14 Years Old’ category, yikes), ‘White on Blue’:


All those incredible photographs and we fell in love with a picture of a Canadian herring gull.


But it IS spectacular up close. Congratulations to Martin Gregus!

Afterwards James and I went to Pasta Hut at the top of Charing Cross Road and watched Camelot being disassembled in front of our eyes. Yes, Spamalot is no longer playing at the Palace Theatre and we watched every one of Camelot’s battlements being torn down. And a good job too, as it was a silly place.

There was a power cut once it got dark, and Shaftesbury Avenue lost its streetlights. I was half-convinced the Cloverfield monster was going to come thundering over the horizon, but my pizza was so good I wasn’t going anywhere if it was.

And that was our day. Next time, I’m visiting James in Los Angeles. Give me two years or so…

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Motherhood In A Nutshell

I was just havingĀ  a text conversation with my friend Sam, a mother of three, and she came up with this perfect description to sum up motherhood:

“There’s no such thing as maternal instinct. It’s a combination of panic, self-preservation and that urge to pick up small things with big eyes.”

That’s, like, profound. I love it!


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