Blog Archives

Standing Still

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I’ve been meaning to post something on my personal blog for a while, though I’ve never gotten around to it. Life just sort of, throws you in at the deep end sometimes, while you tread water, hoping that you’re still kicking. In a way, there’s a morbid fascination to it. In one moment, you’re fantasizing about what it’s like to drown, the next you can’t breathe. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically… But that’s what life is, right?

Two people that I deeply respected, admired and followed for many years died quite recently. They weren’t family members or even friends, but iconic characters of their time. Both of their deaths affected me in different ways; they died in the same month just two weeks apart.

One was Margot Kidder. She was, and always will be, my Lois Lane. I knew her as a character intimately when I was a kid. She was everything I had ever dreamed of being. A ballsy, sharp, level-headed reporter with a way of talking herself out of (and into) danger. When I read of Margot’s passing from the Christopher Reeve Foundation as I was scrolling through Facebook, I sat there in stunned silence. And that sentence right there was probably the kicker. It brought back all the moments I loved between Chris and Margot on screen.

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Margot and Chris were good friends while they were on the set of Superman and Superman II. They were also fiercely loyal to Superman’s Director, Richard Donner; it was one of the reasons why Margot only came back for smaller parts in 3 and 4. I recently stumbled across a photo of the two of them together at Niagara Falls, on the set of Superman II. And I remembered that just last year, I was stood in the exact same place as two of my heroes. To many people, the death of these two actors and the characters they played on screen would just be a passing sadness. But to me, they were my childhood. A little bit of my childhood died; I’ll never get it back. Yet there’s a bitter sweetness to it, knowing that Superman caught Lois as she fell away.

The second, was a man who was diagnosed with bowel cancer several years ago. John ‘TotalBiscuit’ Bain was a very talented, vocal gaming critic who found fame through YouTube. I was lucky enough to meet him at a UK convention run by his long-time friend, Jesse Cox. Back then, he was suffering through Chemotherapy and, while undoubtedly in a lot of pain, sat for 8 hours at a table signing, meeting and greeting fans.

It was that year that I got on the train back from Telford, when I bumped into him at the train station. He was heading north to see family, listening to music, waiting for the train while people stood around him shivering in excitement. It was odd, I guess, seeing him in a normal setting around normal people, doing normal everyday things. But that’s just it, he wasn’t a celebrity, he didn’t let his status define him, instead he stood up for the little people; the indie game developers who were short on money, the gamers who had no voice. And he sure as hell helped people through rough times just by doing his own thing, and doing it damn well.

In late May, John Bain passed away peacefully. My heart broke for his wife Genna and their son. He was 33, just five years older than me. That puts things into perspective.

It wasn’t too long ago that I found myself in hospital undergoing an investigation. I sat and spoke to two women; one with pneumonia and the other who had cancer. And there I was sitting, panicking that I had just fainted and knowing that I was sat with two women that had much bigger problems than me. I felt terrible.

Something triggered in me then. And it’s still working it’s way through my brain now. It happened the other day when I was sat basking in the beautiful sunshine in our garden. I watched the birds have a dirt bath. And then, much later, watched another bird bathe in my neighbour’s stone water basin, flicking its feathers while the water jumped off its back. I realised that sometimes you don’t need to be moving forward in life, sometimes you need to stand (or sit) still and watch everything else happen around you.

Perhaps it’s the best advice I can give anyone who reads this. Letting things happen around you doesn’t mean that things are out of control. It doesn’t mean that you can’t help influence change. But it does give you time to assess what the right course of action may be. Sometimes doing nothing but watching and listening means everything to one person, allowing them to heal. Be content with who you are, allow yourself the time to – quite literally – stop and smell the roses because time is something we never get back. Know that it’s okay to stand still.

If you enjoyed John Bain’s content and would like to help support his family during this difficult time, please visit their Go Fund Me page, set up by his fans with all monies raised going to Genna Bain. 

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Christopher Reeve’s 63rd Birthday, And Still A Super Man

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When your hero dies in life, whether it’s someone in your family, a friend or a famous individual, it’s always difficult to bear. And perhaps that’s why we seek solace in our own thoughts; we try to find peace when all we see is grief. At times, the world bleeds colour and all that’s left is a dark, frustrating grey hue. It covers your eyes and blinds you temporarily. Death finds a way to eat into our souls, no matter how much we try to smile and move on.

Christopher Reeve would have turned 63 on September 25, 2015 – today – if he were still alive. Almost 11 years on since he died, his death still weighs heavily on my mind. I still remember where I was, what I was doing and, even, what I was wearing the day he died. Travelling to my youth theatre group as part of an early morning Sunday rehearsal, I was sat in the car with my dad. When I heard of his death on the radio, I stared at my black converse and jeans.

In that moment, my mind was elsewhere. Tears dropped from my cheek and splashed onto my jeans; I wasn’t even aware I was crying. In fact, my immediate thought remembered his final wishes, the one where he decided that he’d manage to walk again. Somehow he’d summoned up the courage and walked straight into death.

Though Christopher Reeve died that day, Superman didn’t. A superhero in the movies, he was also seen as a hero in life, particularly for his work in paralysis. Setting up the Christopher and Dana Reeve charity was just a part of those plans to bring those with paralysis a better life. One in which they would be able to walk again.

Today, that same charity is asking his fans for a donation of $63 in honour of Christopher’s 63rd birthday. And I’ve just donated $63 – or the British equivalent of £41.50.

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The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is a fabulous charity, not only for the work that it continues to do on a daily basis for those with spinal-cord injuries or other types of paralysis, but for upholding the spirit of Superman for so many years and never giving up hope.

Having suffered a very serious back injury when I was 15, and again when I was 16, there were moments when I couldn’t feel my legs. I spent 40 minutes on a set of steel stairs and in the back of an ambulance believing I was paralysed from the hips down. At that age, it was the most terrifying thing in my life. When the feeling did come back into my legs, I remember feeling relieved and then entirely ashamed at myself. I knew people had suffered far worse and never lost hope for a second. In those 40 minutes, my hope was shattered completely.

Now I spend my life actually living. I am thankful every day that I can use my legs. Earlier this year, my friends and I ran the 5k Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK – another fantastic charity – and we raised near enough or over £200 for the cause.

Every day I’m thankful that I can run, jog, skip and swim. Every day I’m thankful that I can walk.

Happy 63rd Birthday, Christopher Reeve. And thank you for giving me hope.

Superman’s 75th Birthday!

superman_75Since you all know I’m a ma-hus-sive Superman fan, I just couldn’t ignore this absolutely wonderful homage to Superman’s 75th Birthday in pictures. I tell you, what I wouldn’t do to get my hands on that very first “Action Comics” comic that introduced us to the red-blue blur of today. I suppose we could ignore the fact that the last one sold for a whopping 2.1 million – I doubt I’ll ever make that much money in my life-time (I hear writing is a fickle business *wink, wink*).

I think my favourite image from the abundance Hero Complex via LA Times has provided has got to be the final shirt-ripping ‘da-da-dada’ pose. It’s the one Superman is most famous for – I mean, come on, any man who rips off his shirt and exposes a primary-coloured, tight-fitting, muscle-bulging costume underneath has GOT to be wonderful. And while searching for more Superman poses, this fantastic blend of old and new cropped into my peripheral vision – via flicksandbits.com.

All in all, Superman looks very good for his age. Maybe he’s had a little bit of botox and a touch-up on photoshop, but he’s still the iconic hero I know and love.

– Man of Steel swoops into cinemas on June 14 – only a couple of months away! 

Handcuffed and willing: new Man of Steel poster arrives

Superman in handcuffs? The possibilities are endless!Image Courtesy of the 'Man of Steel' Facebook Fanpage

Superman in handcuffs? The possibilities are endless!
Image Courtesy of the ‘Man of Steel’ Facebook fan page

After the hush-hush whispers and the sideways glances from Henry Cavill and Zack Snyder, Superman’s fans are finally treated to a sneak peek poster of the very man himself – for the June 14 cinema extravaganza, Man of Steel.

He’s suited and booted, surrounded by an army of tanked soldiers and bound in… handcuffs?  Read the rest of this entry

Superman Without His Pants!

Snyder just got it all wrong. Again.

I’m about to give up hope; may as well just run myself off the edge of a cliff, because I know my hero won’t be there clad in all his glory to save me.

So what’s the dealio Snyder, Cavill? Costume designer gone on their vacation, to the land of no return? Took off with Supes underpants, in a hurry to take over the world!? I knew you were an evil man Lex, but stooping to that level…

In case you haven’t got the foggiest idea what I’m speaking of, here’s a clue: the latest on-set pictures to be released of the new Superman film has Henry Cavill with the iconic red underwear gone, and in its place, lo and behold, Cavill’s crotch.

Gone Commando Cavill?

Read the rest of this entry

Superman Turned Sour: First Look at The Man of Steel

Snyder and his team of hard-working Supe fans, have once again fallen short of expectations. The Man of Steel originally due to be released in Christmas of 2012, now pushed back to the summer of 2013, have provided fans with a sneak-peek at the brand-spanking new costume with Cavill looking ‘edgy’.

If you haven’t already seen it, you can view the whole article in full here: http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/08/04/%E2%80%9Cman-of-steel%E2%80%9D-revealed/

At first, I was damn excited for this film, but it seems with each new cast member or each new design feature, the Snyder re-boot is certainly flying to the fortress at an electrifying pace, and unfortunately never to return. Yes, they are meant to be revitalising what is seen to Hollywood as a ‘dead’ story, but are they taking it too far? Are they stepping in the wrong direction? Are they catapulting themselves into Krypton in the midst of their war, annihilating themselves upon landing? Personally, the new ‘edgy’ look just doesn’t cut it, Snyder is trying to fit a stray puzzle piece into the wrong puzzle board.

Superman isn’t like Batman for a reason; he is not human, and he doesn’t have the same flaws as humans. So why suit him up in scales and a cape that is more eligible to win dirt collector of the year award? If they were going for the ‘alien’ look, then they’ve definitely hit it on the head. With the constant improvements in CGI and design formats, Snyder’s team have certainly forgotten one significant element: Superman can fly; what use is an outfit with bumps in the air? Maybe they should go back to basic in physics; sleek, smooth and streamlined aids flight, rather than bumpy, bulky and similar to Batman.

Yet it isn’t just the suit that looks atrocious; Henry Cavill’s facial expression looks, quite frankly, evil.
Now unless our man has been taking an extra trip on the red K, Superman should look confidently calm in the face of his enemy. Henry Cavill is not that man.

What high hopes I had for this film, have been dashed, demolished and dunked in a pool of CGI corruption. I thought I would warm to Cavill, and maybe it is just a bad picture, but Snyder hasn’t even recreated the signature Superman ‘curl’ in the hair.

So I leave a final message to Snyder and his team: Get the hair right, or lose your respect. Get the suit right, or lose your fans. Direct Cavill better, or lose the Superman we’ve grown to love.

Christopher Reeve: The Real Superman