From The SFX Office

Jonathan Ross, Game Of Thrones mania and swollen extremities – it’s been a busy week at SFX HQ

Welcome back, dear friends, to the thrill-a-minute world that is SFX . In fact – checks watch, in casual, debonair style – we’re due a regularly scheduled thrill any second now.

Brace yourselves. It might be bumpy.

After an exciting end to last week (a night in London for Eve Myles’ fantastic new play All New People , written by and co-starring Zach Braff of Scrubs fame), then an awe-inspiring start to this week (a night stargazing at Greenwich Observatory and checking out an exciting new videogame) and a trip to the flicks to see The Muppets last night, Mistress Karma has clearly decided Jordan is having far too much fun and has lumbered him with an infected foot. He came in this morning like a trooper/idiot, but has been loaded with drugs and told to go home and keep his feet up for 48 hours.

If it weren’t for the agonising pain he’d be in geek heaven right now.

Tuesday saw Nick and Kirky (camera duty) head to London to hook up with none other than emperor of chat Jonathan Ross and ace comic book artist Bryan Hitch. The pair invited SFX to chat about America’s Got Powers , their new collaboration from Image Comics, launching this April (think X-Men meets The X-Factor , but with the kind of widescreen wow that only Hitch can provide). We can report that Wossy’s office truly is the ultimate Man-Cave, bursting with toys, collectables, original comic art and all manner of geek treasure. Imagine the warehouse at the end of Raiders, only with the crates ripped open and ‘70s Star Trek action figures and pages of Steve Ditko Spider-Man spilling out. It’s a wonder any work got done, frankly – even more of a wonder that nothing was stolen – but you can catch the results exclusively in issue 221.

Dave G, meanwhile, is wondering if Nick will ever talk to him again after leaving him out of our feature on What Has Wales Ever Done For Sci-Fi ? Well, he might. But it’ll probably be in Welsh, bachgen drwg.

Russell’s been naughty again and watched lots of non SF telly: Masterchef , Home Of The Future (“Er, sort of sci-fi”, he pleads) and The Tube , the documentary series about the London Underground – “I love it,” he says. “Almost makes me want to move back to London. But not quite.” At the cinema he desperately wants to see The Artist (more non-SF, tut tut), now that it’s won the Best Picture Oscar. “Well, I’ve seen all the 83 others…” he reasons, not unreasonably. Well, alright, a little crazily.

Rich is building glorious towers of news, and feeling massive Avengers disappointment: ridiculous new UK title, very poor new poster and even the trailer didn’t get him properly excited. At least he can take solace in Fringe , which is on a truly golden run of episodes – not since Battlestar Galactica ‘s glory days has he seen a show on such consistently brilliant form.

Dave B and Jon, meanwhile, are locked in a secret bunker deep within SFX Towers, engaged on top secret work of vital import to the fate of the nation. They pop into the office occasionally, nicking biscuits and muttering conspiratorially. Nice.

Rob’s life has officially been taken over by Game Of Thrones . He kicked off an epic trip to London yesterday by interviewing Alfie Allen and Liam Cunningham for the forthcoming second season, before heading to the season one DVD and Blu-ray launch. Elbowing the likes of CNN out of the way to bag red carpet interviews with most of the cast, he then entered a subterranean party-cave which blew his tiny mind. HBO appeared to have transported Westeros to Waterloo, complete with armed guards, fire-dancers, troupes of drummers and medieval musicians, lavish banqueting tables, serving wenches and of course plenty of foaming ale served in tankards. He proceeded to sink a few jars with The Hound, tell Bran that he rocks, shake David Benioff by the hand and talk nonsense with Theon Greyjoy. Result. As if rubbing shoulders with the cast of his favourite TV show wasn’t enough, on the way out he bagged a hessian sack of delight, packed with Game Of Thrones goodies including the season one Blu-ray box set, a copy of the novel and a Targaryen-themed t-shirt. Needless to say, he spent the late-night haul back to Bristol in a Westerosi haze that had absolutely nothing to do with the ale. Honest.

Random office quote: “My foot looks like Chris Pine’s swollen hand from Star Trek ” – he wasn’t lying, either…

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Deadline madness, a run in with an Avenger, bad dreams and yet more Skyrim in this week’s peek behind the blast door

For the past month/year preparation for the SFX Weekender has been such a big part of life in SFX Towers it’s been easy to forget sometimes that there’s also this magazine thing to put together as well. An impending deadline brought that sharply into focus this week, with the team working extra hard to ensure issue 220 meets the usual high standards of the galaxy’s greatest sci-fi mag. And, hey, we’re journos, we’re at our best with a deadline broadsword hovering a few inches above our necks.

As a result you’ll have to forgive us if this week’s From The Office is a tad shorter/24 hours later than usual. Fortunately help is at hand from workie Helena Cole, who’s already been assisting Russell with a future (top secret) special and has been chatting with Being Human series four’s special effects wizards. And you thought work experience at SFX was two weeks of glorified tea-making duties.

Speaking of Russell, he’s been having bad dreams. Could it be the movies he’s been watching before bed? ( Drive – “very cool indeed”; The Adventures Of Tintin – “don’t like mo-cap, don’t know Tintin, so didn’t much like it”; a Jess Franco film he doesn’t want to reveal the title of – “not exactly a classic”.) Or maybe it’s the gin he’s been imbibing in the evening that’s been affecting his somnolence.

Nick fulfilled a childhood dream last week. He met Diana Rigg at the V&A, and then had to have a bit of a sit down afterwards, the lucky blighter. Rob went to Manchester yesterday for a super-secret set visit and spent a long time travelling, Ade is wondering if it’s really been two weeks since we invaded Wales and Dave G is compiling a list of sexy people. We’re not sure if this has anything to do with the job or not. He’s also inherited a porcelain horse with no tail.

Jordan’s been excited all week because he’s getting his archaic windows (like much of Bath, his windows look as though they’ve been around since the time of Jesus) replaced with spangly new ones. Anything to get out of cleaning them, basically. He’s also started playing Skyrim again after a month off and is now a hair’s breath from 150 hours in Tamriel. He probably could have learned Esperanto, or binary, or the meaning of life in that time, but being able to slay a dragon in one swipe has given him a much greater sense of accomplishment.

Ian is ready to lie down in the snow and fall asleep, frankly, having worked continuously right through two weekends in a row, but the week has had its meagre pleasures. Firstly, reading an advance copy of Gareth Roberts’s very funny new book of the never-completed Douglas Adams Doctor Who “Shada” (we’ll have a big interview with Gareth on the site in a week or two); secondly, watching Buffy in bed with his lovely missus (season one’s “The Pack”). Otherwise it’s been a living hell. A LIVING HELL.

. Random Quotes Of The Week:
“I remember a few years ago I was on a sunbed and I burnt my bottom.”
“Are there any quangos on Mars?”
“How about ‘hot kids on holiday’?”

Whose Weird Vietnamese Chocolate? (Bonus SFX point if you can guess which of our esteemed freelancers sent it to the mystery team member. Last week’s answer: it was Russell’s spirit funnel!)

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The first From The Office of the new year, complete with a Christmas review, much Weekender anticipation and news of a HORRIFYING INJURY to a member of the SFX team (sensationalist, us? Never).

Happy new year dear readers! It’s day three of 2012 in SFX Towers and the apocalyptic weather of the past 72 hours has us convinced there might be something to all this Mayan mumbo jumbo. That said we’re not overly fussed about the world crumbling beneath our feet so long as we get the chance to see The Dark Knight Rises , and Prometheus , and The Amazing Spider-Man , and all your faces at the SFX Weekender (opens in new tab) 3 (opens in new tab) first. There’s no way 2013 could top the year we have in store.

But that’s enough about the future, it’s important to live in the here and now. Which is why we spent the first few minutes/hours of 2012 in the office discussing Christmas telly, er… In the interest of full disclosure we have to confess that the overriding opinion was that the best thing on telly over the festive period was the brilliant first episode of Sherlock series two. Though with Moffat and Gatiss calling the shots it feels like an honorary SFX show anyway. Who , controversially, was met with a resounding “meh” from several members of the team, while Merlin split the office down the middle. And The Borrowers ? Great fun, but we don’t remember Spiller as a mini-Nathan from Misfits , just, you know, without the swears.

There were very Merry Christmases all round. Most family-based (with the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with it), but spare a thought for Rob, who managed to break BOTH his hands on New Year’s Day after a tumble through a table. We know what you’re thinking but the irony is that, after a long drive home, he was stone cold sober – one of the few days of the holidays he hadn’t touched any tipple whatsoever in fact. The good news is he has enough fingers free to make the perfect burger holding claw and plenty of time to catch up on his comics. Just be gentle with him at the Weekender, eh?

Rich is “easing” himself into 2012 by cracking on with all manner of exciting Weekender stuff, contemplating the wonder of finally entering the Blu-ray age, and digesting the rather good M:I Ghost Protocol , which he saw last night (“it’s not as good after Dubai, but still a superior actioner”). Rich’s best TV of the Christmas break? The peerless Sherlock – and he was one of those not quite so fond of Moffat’s Who Christmas special, though he thought it pretty enjoyable too. Even if Bill Bailey was completely wasted (by which – for the benefit of any libel lawyers – he means underused, not under the influence).

As well as helping Russell get the latest vampire special to press, Dave B is working away furiously on Weekender preparation and persuading people to download the SFX (opens in new tab) Sci-Fi Quiz App (opens in new tab) . Hey, it’ll help you prepare for the fiendish Blastermind quiz at the event (this year to be held in the new Screening Zone so there’s room for more participants). Guess what? The Weekender has all but sold out! Dave’s life outside the office consists entirely of smithing iron daggers in Whiterun and cutting the heads off ice trolls with the help of his faithful dog Vigilance.

Speaking of Skyrim , Jordan took a temporary break from dragon-slaying and tramp-beard-sporting to play The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword over Christmas. After adjusting to the (amaze-o-tron) motion controls and Wii’s blur-o-vision he declared it the “greatest game of the year, maybe even the best Zelda ever!” He’s over that temporary bout of madness now (it’s no Ocarina Of Time ) but he still ranks it above Mass Effect 2 , Arkham City and Skyrim , and anyone whose read his ramblings over the past year will know they’re big words. TV and film had nothing on videogames in 2011. He and the rest of the team have also been scratching their heads over an office mystery – whenever Catherine stands up, her phone’s speaker mysteriously turns itself on. Maybe we should give Benedict Cumberbatch a call. Or the Ghostbusters.

Despite living less than two minutes away from each other, it’s rare that Nick and Jordan cross paths on the walk into work. Today was one of those rare occasions. Topic of discussion: the price of DVDs, which segued into a chat about laser discs and the format wars before the front door of SFX towers rudely interrupted a riveting discussion. Speaking of Nick, his snug, Das Boot -esque jumper was cause for the second reference to the film/mini-series in as many days – the first being during Russell’s explanation of why he dislikes underwater films (except 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ) – another one of his “unique” quirks. He’d make a great sitcom character.

Ian’s working from home today, desperately trying to interpret the meaning of notes haphazardly bashed out on his laptop about three months ago as he struggles to write a Couch Potato feature. After spending a good twenty minutes pondering what the phrase “turf merkin” has to do with The Fog , he still has absolutely no idea. Ah well.

Ade had a fantastic Chrimbo and spent most of it watching his Star Wars Blu-rays, whilst drinking and eating nothing but dirty food in his new Obi Wan dressing gown. He’s now back in SFX towers, busy with the next issue, and of course the SFX Weekender, which is but a few weeks away! He’s very excited about all the amazing items coming in from his sci-fi chums for the Charity Auction he’ll be hosting at the Weekender, including a genuine coat worn by the Cat in Red Dwarf (thanks to Stephen from the Prop Store of London ). Start saving folks!

Random Quote Of The Week:
“How do you go to the toilet?”
“There are gymnastics involved.”

Whose T-shirt?: (last year’s answer: it was Ade’s tshirt!)

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