Saturday, 24 January 2009

open other end

My nephew Reece Millidge has been an animator of some note for many years, his fine reputation built on his commercial work for Nexus Productions in London.
Yesterday he received the fantastic news that the Smith-Foulkes film “This Way Up” on which he is credited as ‘lead animator’ has been nominated for an Oscar in the ‘Short Film (Animated)’ category.
You can check out a preview of the film here.
It goes without saying that I’m pretty proud of the lad. Reece is currently seeking funding for a short film of his own. His website Damp Gnat can be viewed here.

blues vs. blues

If there ever was a football match that might divide my loyalties it would be high profile cup tie between the club I’ve supported since I was a seven-year old, Chelsea, and my local team, Southend United.
And as luck would have it, Southend United and Chelsea were drawn to play together in the third round of the FA Cup this season, only their third ever meeting in professional competition – the others being played in 1913 and 1972.
Fans of every other football team other than Chelsea, as well as every local resident with even zero interest in football would be willing on the underdogs. Southend’s lucrative visit to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium ended in high drama, with the seasiders astonishingly equalizing in the final minutes. It was the best possible result in that it meant a replay would have to take place at Southend’s modest home, Roots Hall.

Ten days later, I was lucky enough to be one of the 11,314 who squeezed into the ground to witness the Coca-Cola League One side take a shock early lead, but finally succumb to the Premier League giants 1-4.
Even though I attended many games at Roots Hall during the late 1970s and early 1980s and even now still look out for Southend’s results, there is absolutely no doubt that, past, present and future, my allegiances lay with the London side.
As great as it was seeing the 6000 visiting Southend fans at the Bridge waving flags and singing their hearts out, it was even more special to be standing with 2000 other traveling Chelsea fans in Roots Hall’s North Bank, on almost the same spot where I used to cheer on Southend 25 years ago.
All in all, the perfect outcome – Chelsea progress to the next round with a morale-boosting victory after the hugely disappointing defeat to Manchester United, while Southend United not only do themselves justice on the pitch, but maximize their financial receipts after two sell-out games and television rights.
As for today's fifth round tie against another lower league club,
Ipswich Town, well, I hope Chelsea stuff them and no mistake. 

Read Chelsea’s entertaining match preview here...
… and Southend’s match report of the replay here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

r.i.p. patrick mcgoohan

This won't be news to anyone of course, but I couldn't allow the passing of Patrick McGoohan to go without a mention on this blog.
As Danger Man, McGoohan was already a hero figure for the infant Millidge, but his subsequent TV programme The Prisoner influenced not only a large part of writing, but also my philosophy on life.
I wrote about McGoohan's masterpiece in my fanzine Amon*Spek in 1980 or so, and also in the text pages of my Prisoner-influenced comic book series Strangehaven some twenty years later. I suspect it won't be the last time.