Sunday, January 27, 2008

And here are some more Ally Pally pics because of blogger's 5 picture maximum…

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It's just over a month until Studio Space is in Previews and so today because it was a very nice day with proper winter sunshine, I took my camera and tripod to Alexandra Palace to take some shots. Located north of Wood Green and south of Muswell Hill in north London and perched on a hill, Alexandra Palace (or Ally Pally as it is known) has some spectacular views of London and you can see all the way to the City. Built in 1873, it has burnt down twice, apparently due to a gypsy curse, held German prisoners of war in the First World War and it was the first place in 1936 that the BBC made the first public television transmissions. So here are a few photos for you to enjoy…

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I met up with Dave Morris in Paddington on Monday and then went on to spend time at the Dove pub in Hammersmith to discuss Hidden City. The weather was mostly shite but there was an hour or so when the sun tried to fight through the clouds so here are a few photos I took by the river in Hammersmith, east of Hammersmith Bridge…

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Over the weekend Temple opened up their doors for the first time, allowing people not in the legal profession to wander through its grounds. Celebrating its 400th anniversary, the Temple is the area in the City of London where barristers have their offices (or chambers) and it's a rarified and cloistered world, split into Inner Temple and Middle Temple with gardens and impressive buildings dating back some time. It was interesting to get a small peek into their world and witness the opulence that they operate in during their working lives. The City police even did a police dog demonstration. Non-Londoners may not be aware of this but the City of London police are not the same as the Metropolitan Police (right down to their uniform and the fact that they have a different commissioner). So here are some photos I took on grey Sunday at Temple…

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

There has been much discussion about the film Cloverfield ever since its trailer was leaked last summer. Speculation about its real name has been rife with the trailer ending with no title, merely the legend 01.18.2008. I went to a press screening of it last Thursday at Empire Leicester Square, one of the biggest screened cinemas in the country. Produced by JJ Abrams (of Lost and Alias fame and currently working to resurrect the Star Trek franchise) and directed by his mate Matt Reeves, Cloverfield is shot all on hand-held camera, so as a viewer you are forced to adapt to the different feel of the film and as a monster movie, it delivers what it promises. A creature is attacking New York and we witness the devastation wrought by its presence and get to see it close up, thanks to the central conceit of the film: that this is footage shot by Hud Platt, played by TJ Miller, while it's all going on. At 75 minutes running time, it's one of the shortest films in recent memory and it manages to capture the chaos and dispair something like this might cause to the residents of a huge city like New York. The characters are fairly throwaway but you aren't here for the deep characterisation. The monster looks fairly scary, visually it is impressive and the sound editing here is amazing: Cloverfield should be seen on a big screen at the cinema. Of course, it has its flaws (the handheld camerawork does lead to headaches on a couple of occasions) but as a technical exercise and as a rollercoaster ride, it does exactly what it should do. It's not a film that people will be talking about for years but Cloverfield is a film that people interested in cinema should see once…

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Monday, January 14, 2008

We've started the new year by deciding to put back the TRIPWIRE Heroes oneshot. The future of the series is too uncertain at this point because of the writers' strike and there's only 11 episodes of Season 2 to show over here, so we have decided to come back to it later in the year. There will be Heroes material though in the Annual again this year with a Tim Kring feature looking at the future of the series…

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is Tim Burton's latest effort. An adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's phenomenally successful musical, it stars Johnny Depp as the eponymous psychotic barber, Helena Bonham-Carter as his accomplice Mrs Lovett and a cast of impressive supporting thesps including Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall. I went to see it at a press screening last Friday as it doesn't come out over here until the end of the month and I found that Sweeney Todd suffers from the same problems nearly all of Burton's efforts do. It looks stunning and production designer Dante Ferretti, who has worked with Scorsese and Gilliam, does a magnificent job of bringing a gothic Victorian London to fantastic life but there is little emotional connection here between the characters and their audience. Sacha Baron Cohen's cameo as snake oil salesman Pirelli is pointless and arbitrary. Having said that, Depp is very good indeed: he looks the part, inhabits the role well and his charismatic malevolence is a pleasure to watch on screen, while Rickman as the judge who slighted Todd years ago turns in a masterful performance. Bonham Carter isn't terrible, although she does feel slightly miscast on occasion. Vocally the cast do themselves proud too as I was fairly skeptical as to whether the musical element would work but nearly all of characters are far too unsympathetic to feel any empathy with them. It is also very bloody and visceral on screen, making it quite unpleasant to watch. So Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is recommended to see once with some reservations…

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I had a great day yesterday. First I went to visit our new newstrade distributors out in Dagenham (and I'll know later today about some big news regarding where this summer's TRIPWIRE Annual will be carried) but I also drove to Canary Wharf with Andy, who had never seen it before. I have worked a lot near Canary Wharf and in Docklands, so I have gotten used to the scale of it. It is like a small city plonked in the east of London. But Andy was struck by the size, ambition and power of it. It's funny how seeing through someone else's eyes gives you a different perspective. I took quite a few photos there and the light was absolutely perfect. It's also the first time I've been back there since I used Docklands as the first place I used the SLR and I think the photos I took were better than the ones I shot back in November. Here's a few for you…

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Steven Grant over at, who I gave a copy of the TRIPWIRE Annual at last year's San Diego, has at last reviewed the Annual and it's a pretty positive writeup:
I've had the 2007 TRIPWIRE ANNUAL sitting around here for ages, and if SQUA TRONT is the epitomal great fanzine, TRIPWIRE is pretty much what every slick semi-prozine aspires to; on newsstands, it would be easy to mistake this for a comics-heavy issue of EMPIRE or Q. The approach reflects those magazines as well: lots of talent interviews with the likes of Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Matt Groening, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Cornell, etc., clean graphic design, and a sort of respectfully cheeky tone that tries to suggest the magazine's producers are as hip and irreverent as their audience but that the material covered is worthy of attention. For the most part it works. Worth a look.


Here is the second feature I wrote for this issue of Death Ray, a chat with sci-fi master Brian Aldiss. I got to go to his house in Oxford back in October and he was gracious and a very interesting subject indeed. Hope you like it…

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Here's my Dave Gibbons interview that I did for Death Ray, which came out last Friday. I'll be putting up the Brian Aldiss feature from the same issue later in the week…

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Okay to start off the year, here is a rundown of the features in this year's TRIPWIRE Annual. Some of them may change:

Doctor Who/ Torchwood British sci-fi TV renaissance including a look at the history of Doctor Who, Doctor Who comics, its finest episodes and a guide to all of the Doctors so far;

•Superman at 70 years old including the best Superman stories of all time, an interview with Grant Morrison and some of the current Superman creators;

•40th anniversary of Marvel's 1968 launches;

Akira's 20th anniversary with a look at its influence ever since;

•Posy Simmonds feature;

•Michael Moorcock and Elric;

•Tim Kring discusses the future of Heroes with the continuing writers' strike;

•David Cohen and Matt Groening on the return of Futurama;

•A look at the current batch of genre TV including Battlestar Galactica, Sarah Conner and Jericho;

•Graphic Novels for people who don't read comics;

•Genre movie roundup including Iron Man, The Escapist, Star Trek, taking Persepolis from graphic novel to screen;

•A day in the life of Pinewood Studios;

•The concept art of Indiana Jones;

•Power List

•STRIPWIRE featuring the Punks guys, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Collins

and more…

Same format, 132 pages or so, with a brand new full colour Tommy Lee Edwards Doctor Who cover…

Out for this year's San Diego…

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

So Happy New Year everyone. My first post of 2008 is the other radio interview I did last Friday for the BBC's The World programme. I'm not that keen on listening to my own voice, so it still feels a little bit strange but hopefully I'll get better at this radio lark. My friend Steve Colgan was kind enough to extract the file and turn it into something that can be played (…

Next post will be a review of Sweeney Todd which I'm seeing on Friday, and I'll be outlining feature rundown for this year's TRIPWIRE Annual


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