Sep 26 : The 2017 Prop Store Auction, London

September 26th, 2017.

Although it's not a premiere, it IS a movie-related event; and although I was almost reluctantly dragged (metaphorically kicking and screaming) there by a friend, I did go to the last day of exhibition AND the day of the live Propstore Auction at BFI Imax in London.

I am a fan of movies after all, and with my wallet running on the kind of fumes that made the free postcards in the lobby by far the best bargain, I grabbed five different kinds and started photographing.

Here's how it went <gavel down> down:

Note : for some fun, I've put the final bid price for each item at the bottom of the photo directly after it (enjoy!)

I'm sorry, kids, but there's swearing in Quentin Tarantino movies (you didn't know?) This wallet is one of four made for Samuel L Jackson's character in 'Pulp Fiction'... and I think I'm about to go onto ebay and find myself a lovingly made Chinese rip-off version....

I'm sorry, kids, but there's swearing in Quentin Tarantino movies (you didn't know?) This wallet is one of four made for Samuel L Jackson's character in 'Pulp Fiction'... and I think I'm about to go onto ebay and find myself a lovingly made Chinese rip-off version....

Bracelet of Anubis from 'The Mummy Returns' - the little shitty annoying kid has it on his arm for most of the movie, and I watched the movie almost continuously on a long plane ride once (in French, when the kid's whining became intolerable. The Alan Silvestri score is fantastic for that film) (Winning bid for the Wallet: £50,000!!)

Bracelet of Anubis from 'The Mummy Returns' - the little shitty annoying kid has it on his arm for most of the movie, and I watched the movie almost continuously on a long plane ride once (in French, when the kid's whining became intolerable. The Alan Silvestri score is fantastic for that film)

(Winning bid for the Wallet: £50,000!!)

Mix'n'Match Franchises : Robocop II suit behind Judge Dredd's bike - both franchises have since had attempts at reboots - Robocop's was a neutered failure, Dredd's was good but arguably not successful enough. (Whining bid for the Bracelet of Anubis: £5,500)

Mix'n'Match Franchises : Robocop II suit behind Judge Dredd's bike - both franchises have since had attempts at reboots - Robocop's was a neutered failure, Dredd's was good but arguably not successful enough.

(Whining bid for the Bracelet of Anubis: £5,500)

WOW : Peter Venkman's (Bill Murray's) Ghostbusting suit from the original movie! (Proton pack sadly not included) (Winning bid for the Robocop Suit: £35,500, for the Judge Dredd Bike :£16,000 )

WOW : Peter Venkman's (Bill Murray's) Ghostbusting suit from the original movie! (Proton pack sadly not included)

(Winning bid for the Robocop Suit: £35,500, for the Judge Dredd Bike :£16,000 )

Headpiece and glasses (and, further below full costume) from the scene in the first Mission Impossible movie where Tom Cruise descends into the Quiet Room at the CIA HQ. (the prop chewing gum used to - spoiler - blow up a helicopter in that movie was also for sale) (Winning bid for the Ghostbusters Suit: £25,500)

Headpiece and glasses (and, further below full costume) from the scene in the first Mission Impossible movie where Tom Cruise descends into the Quiet Room at the CIA HQ. (the prop chewing gum used to - spoiler - blow up a helicopter in that movie was also for sale)

(Winning bid for the Ghostbusters Suit: £25,500)

"Can I interest you in the words of our lord and saviour, the Android David??" - Xenomorph head from Aliens vs Predator. (Winning bid for the Mission Impossible Suit £16,000)

"Can I interest you in the words of our lord and saviour, the Android David??" - Xenomorph head from Aliens vs Predator.

(Winning bid for the Mission Impossible Suit £16,000)

For me, one of the coolest items in the auction was a hand-drawn and signed sketch of two piranhas by James Cameron (I didn't get a chance to see it) which sold for £700 (still quite out of my league!). This model of the marines' Dropship from Aliens - possibly even cooler - went for considerably more. (The Xenomorph Head didn't meet its reserve and went unsold!)

For me, one of the coolest items in the auction was a hand-drawn and signed sketch of two piranhas by James Cameron (I didn't get a chance to see it) which sold for £700 (still quite out of my league!). This model of the marines' Dropship from Aliens - possibly even cooler - went for considerably more.

(The Xenomorph Head didn't meet its reserve and went unsold!)

OMG : The Nikes Airmags worn by Marty McFly / Michael J Fox in Back to the Future part II ! (I photographed replica remakes at a London Fashion Week once). (Winning bid for the Aliens Dropship: £40,000!)

OMG : The Nikes Airmags worn by Marty McFly / Michael J Fox in Back to the Future part II ! (I photographed replica remakes at a London Fashion Week once).

(Winning bid for the Aliens Dropship: £40,000!)

Very cool indeed : the 'fading siblings' photo from the original Back to the Future! (Winning bid for the Nikes: £22,500!)

Very cool indeed : the 'fading siblings' photo from the original Back to the Future!

(Winning bid for the Nikes: £22,500!)

Prop T-shirt from Aliens (sweatstains unconfirmed) (Winning bid for the Photo: £4,000!)

Prop T-shirt from Aliens (sweatstains unconfirmed)

(Winning bid for the Photo: £4,000!)

Aliens Pulse rifle : Damnit.. way back in the day I coulda bought a 1:1 scale replica with LED counter for about 1/50th of what this ended up selling for, but didn't. I certainly couldn't have afforded this. (Winning bid for the t-shirt: £3,000!)

Aliens Pulse rifle : Damnit.. way back in the day I coulda bought a 1:1 scale replica with LED counter for about 1/50th of what this ended up selling for, but didn't. I certainly couldn't have afforded this.

(Winning bid for the t-shirt: £3,000!)

The photos 'used' in an attempt to frame Roger Rabbit in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (I'm taking a photo of a photo, I've realised....) (Winning bid for the pulse rifle: £20,000!)

The photos 'used' in an attempt to frame Roger Rabbit in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (I'm taking a photo of a photo, I've realised....)

(Winning bid for the pulse rifle: £20,000!)

Unexpected (and cool) prop : the T-1000's mimetic polyalloy finger / spear from Terminator 2! (Winning bid for the Jessica Rabbit photos: £3,500)

Unexpected (and cool) prop : the T-1000's mimetic polyalloy finger / spear from Terminator 2!

(Winning bid for the Jessica Rabbit photos: £3,500)

The T-1000's bullet-impacted 'shirt' from Terminator 2 Judgement Day (how come I haven't seen fan version replicas of this anywhere??) (Winning bid for the finger: £3,250)

The T-1000's bullet-impacted 'shirt' from Terminator 2 Judgement Day (how come I haven't seen fan version replicas of this anywhere??)

(Winning bid for the finger: £3,250)

John McClane's gear from Die Hard : With A Vengenace (oil and grease lovingly applied, I'm sure) (Winning bid for the bullet-riddled 'metallic' 'shirt': £3,000... which surprises me a bit)

John McClane's gear from Die Hard : With A Vengenace (oil and grease lovingly applied, I'm sure)

(Winning bid for the bullet-riddled 'metallic' 'shirt': £3,000... which surprises me a bit)

Magneto's fabulous hat (tunic included) from the first X-Men movie. (Winning bid for the grease-stained John McClane costume : £10,000)

Magneto's fabulous hat (tunic included) from the first X-Men movie.

(Winning bid for the grease-stained John McClane costume : £10,000)

Michael Jackson's.... I'm gonna say "face" (?) From Moonwalker (Winning bid for the Magneto costume : £40,000... and it is a fabulous hat!)

Michael Jackson's.... I'm gonna say "face" (?) From Moonwalker

(Winning bid for the Magneto costume : £40,000... and it is a fabulous hat!)

Starlord's Helmet/Mask from Guardians of the Galaxy. Which is a very cool prop I'm surprised / disappointed they didn't display a bit more elegantly because it looks amazing. (Winning bid for Michael Jackson's "Face" : £14,000)

Starlord's Helmet/Mask from Guardians of the Galaxy. Which is a very cool prop I'm surprised / disappointed they didn't display a bit more elegantly because it looks amazing.

(Winning bid for Michael Jackson's "Face" : £14,000)

Indiana Jones' Bullwhip. Less moving parts than the Starlord mask for (I'm going to give you a clue) about half the price! (not very well displayed for a prop of this calibre and importance, I would say, knowing nothing of such things!) (Winning bid for Starlord's Helmet : £110,000) (!!!)

Indiana Jones' Bullwhip. Less moving parts than the Starlord mask for (I'm going to give you a clue) about half the price! (not very well displayed for a prop of this calibre and importance, I would say, knowing nothing of such things!)

(Winning bid for Starlord's Helmet : £110,000) (!!!)

Spare item of hardware equipment. Possibly also wielded by an Asgardian demi-God. (Winning bid for Indy's bullwhip : £65,000)

Spare item of hardware equipment. Possibly also wielded by an Asgardian demi-God.

(Winning bid for Indy's bullwhip : £65,000)

Delorean Model : UNSOLD! (Where we're going, we don't need financing...)

Delorean Model : UNSOLD! (Where we're going, we don't need financing...)

Cursed Aztec Gold Piece from Pirates of the Caribbean. Cursed or not, it's worth more than its weight in gold, I'm guessing. (Meanwhile, winning bid for Thor's Hammer : £60,000)

Cursed Aztec Gold Piece from Pirates of the Caribbean. Cursed or not, it's worth more than its weight in gold, I'm guessing.

(Meanwhile, winning bid for Thor's Hammer : £60,000)

For bonus points, name the Batman movie this was from. (And decide whether, if you'd buy it, you'd use it to rob convenience stores, or stop robberies in them) (Winning bid for the pirate gold : £5,000)

For bonus points, name the Batman movie this was from. (And decide whether, if you'd buy it, you'd use it to rob convenience stores, or stop robberies in them)

(Winning bid for the pirate gold : £5,000)

Perhaps not the coolest costume in the world (it was literally MOCKED by characters in the movie it was worn) - Marty McFly's "Western" clothes from Back to the Future Part III, bought in 1955, then worn in 1885. (The Batman costume was from Batman Forever, and it didn't meet its reserve price)

Perhaps not the coolest costume in the world (it was literally MOCKED by characters in the movie it was worn) - Marty McFly's "Western" clothes from Back to the Future Part III, bought in 1955, then worn in 1885.

(The Batman costume was from Batman Forever, and it didn't meet its reserve price)

Belt detail from Julie Newmar's Catwoman costume from the 1960s Batman TV show. (The Back to the Future part III costume didn't meet its reserve price)

Belt detail from Julie Newmar's Catwoman costume from the 1960s Batman TV show.

(The Back to the Future part III costume didn't meet its reserve price)

Made of what appears to be cardboard and leather (?) - a suit from the original "Tron" (1982) (The winning bid for the Catwoman costume : £18,000) (and for the Tron Costume it was £70,000!!)

Made of what appears to be cardboard and leather (?) - a suit from the original "Tron" (1982)

(The winning bid for the Catwoman costume : £18,000)
(and for the Tron Costume it was
£70,000!!)

As for the auction, well, it was inside the Imax theatre itself - and they had signs up saying that by entering you consented to the possibility of being filmed, which I took to mean I would also be allowed to take photos (hey... it's spurious reasoning but I wasn't stopped!). They had two auctioneers working in shifts, staff members on phone and internet communicating 'outside' bids, and a crowd of bidders, spectators, and even some sellers just sitting on the seats, watching it all happen.

"By law... or at least by tradition, I'm not allowed to say aloud what's written on the outside of the wallet. But I think you can all read..."

"By law... or at least by tradition, I'm not allowed to say aloud what's written on the outside of the wallet. But I think you can all read..."

"Three bars of Star Wars soap and ten plastic pens and we're approaching a bid of five THOUSAND POUNDS??? Don't any of you guys have wives or girlfriends to keep you from making this kind of mistake?? Uh... I mean... keep bidding, fans!!" Winning bid: £4,750. Holy Farq.

"Three bars of Star Wars soap and ten plastic pens and we're approaching a bid of five THOUSAND POUNDS??? Don't any of you guys have wives or girlfriends to keep you from making this kind of mistake?? Uh... I mean... keep bidding, fans!!"

Winning bid: £4,750. Holy Farq.

"This model of the head of a droid from Star Wars is less than 2.5cm on any side. I'm saying this because it looks pretty big on an Imax screen and you guys just spent a few weeks salary on SOAP. So be warned." It didn't meet its reserve price, which was already pretty damn high!

"This model of the head of a droid from Star Wars is less than 2.5cm on any side. I'm saying this because it looks pretty big on an Imax screen and you guys just spent a few weeks salary on SOAP. So be warned."

It didn't meet its reserve price, which was already pretty damn high!

A few more items I photographed when I left after about three entertaining hours. (I was there from "The Princess Bride" to "Superman")

I believe the conversation would go something like this: "Woah : you own the original Superman movie flying costume!!!" "well... no. This one's from Superman IV : The Quest for Peace" "....Oh." "It's still Superman, man! It was still worn by Christopher Reeve, man!" "... I know." "Shut up and admire the stitching." Winning bid: £8,000

I believe the conversation would go something like this:
"Woah : you own the original Superman movie flying costume!!!"
"well... no. This one's from Superman IV : The Quest for Peace"
"....Oh."
"It's still Superman, man! It was still worn by Christopher Reeve, man!"
"... I know."
"Shut up and admire the stitching."

Winning bid: £8,000

A mask of one of the Immortals from the movie '300' Winning bid: £4,250

A mask of one of the Immortals from the movie '300'
Winning bid: £4,250

One of two ILM-commissioned cameras used on the last two Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones Trilogy, Back to the Future Trilogy and more. UNSOLD at £190,000 bid. (frankly, I think putting THAT branded lens cap on it (rather than something ILM-branded) is a mistake) (nb. The 2x2 plastic slab in the background, which is a segment of the Death Star used in the original Star Wars had a winning bid of £27,500)

One of two ILM-commissioned cameras used on the last two Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones Trilogy, Back to the Future Trilogy and more. UNSOLD at £190,000 bid. (frankly, I think putting THAT branded lens cap on it (rather than something ILM-branded) is a mistake)

(nb. The 2x2 plastic slab in the background, which is a segment of the Death Star used in the original Star Wars had a winning bid of £27,500)

And finally, a full scale Oil Painting from the movie Scarface, which went unsold. (In most bidders' defence, it's almost 2.5metres on its longest edge... delivery fees would be monumental)

And finally, a full scale Oil Painting from the movie Scarface, which went unsold. (In most bidders' defence, it's almost 2.5metres on its longest edge... delivery fees would be monumental)

So... that was fun. And I'm kind of glad I'm not many thousands of pounds (or dollars) poorer for my 'exertions' over three hours.

Until next time (I hope!)!

Jun 26 : The 'The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O' Book Signing

June 26th, 2017.

There are currently no confirmed premieres coming up in London (but there are rumours for both 'Dunkirk' and 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets'. In such times of austerity, what can I, a simple photographer, do to keep myself amused?

Well... there's a Neal Stephenson book signing for one thing. (and yes, book signings can be premieres - I did them for Julian Assange's 'The Wikileaks Files' and also JJ Abrams' 'S' / 'Ship of Theseus'). Also I don't need an excuse : Neal Stephenson probably has 3 books in my alltime top 10 favourite books, and if you asked me to put together a list of the Top Ten Fictional Anything Ever (book or movie or tv show or comic book or computer game) - at least one of his books makes that top 10,... probably top 5. All Time.

No way I was missing this one. Here's how it went down:

If you'd asked me before today which living author I'd most want to photograph and get an autograph from, it would have been Neal Stephenson. As soon as I saw Barnes&Noble in the USA let you order a signed copy of his latest book months ago and have it shipped worldwide, I placed an order. That was... uh.... before I knew he was coming to London. And the book still hasn't arrived. (oops!)

If you'd asked me before today which living author I'd most want to photograph and get an autograph from, it would have been Neal Stephenson. As soon as I saw Barnes&Noble in the USA let you order a signed copy of his latest book months ago and have it shipped worldwide, I placed an order. That was... uh.... before I knew he was coming to London. And the book still hasn't arrived. (oops!)

Earlier:

"who's the bigger fan of Neal Stephenson? Well, the guy on my left got here before me, but I think you'll find my pile of books to be signed is higher. I notice you bought a single book to be signed... that's so sweet"

"who's the bigger fan of Neal Stephenson? Well, the guy on my left got here before me, but I think you'll find my pile of books to be signed is higher. I notice you bought a single book to be signed... that's so sweet"

"Did I really write all those, or did you slip a Fifty Shades of Grey hardback in there to see if I'd notice?"

"Did I really write all those, or did you slip a Fifty Shades of Grey hardback in there to see if I'd notice?"

"I see you've already pre-written a dedication "to my favourite blogger" here...."

"I see you've already pre-written a dedication "to my favourite blogger" here...."

After takinga few more establishing shots, I've joined the queue with my two books I've just bought because I foolishly didn't think to take any number of Neal Stephenson books I own....

After takinga few more establishing shots, I've joined the queue with my two books I've just bought because I foolishly didn't think to take any number of Neal Stephenson books I own....

"I notice some of these are already signed. Can I get one of those and grab an second signature?" (happened to me with a George RR Martin book once. True story!)

"I notice some of these are already signed. Can I get one of those and grab an second signature?" (happened to me with a George RR Martin book once. True story!)

"He seems like a nice guy! Maybe I could get him to sign other peoples' books that I also like?"

"He seems like a nice guy! Maybe I could get him to sign other peoples' books that I also like?"

No, I'm not about to faint at meeting one of my all-time favourite authors. Or if I am, I hope the security cams capture it : I'd love to get a shot of Neal Stephenson being induced to be concerned about my welfare...."

No, I'm not about to faint at meeting one of my all-time favourite authors. Or if I am, I hope the security cams capture it : I'd love to get a shot of Neal Stephenson being induced to be concerned about my welfare...."

"I don't suppose you could write a full message of your high regard for the degree of my fervent admiration for your talent? I'm happy to wait, or provide some key turns of phrases you could incorporate...."

"I don't suppose you could write a full message of your high regard for the degree of my fervent admiration for your talent? I'm happy to wait, or provide some key turns of phrases you could incorporate...."

"No, I will NOT do that ' "Sistine Chapel" finger-thingy', as you call it"

"No, I will NOT do that ' "Sistine Chapel" finger-thingy', as you call it"

Neal Stephenson.

Neal Stephenson.

So... that was pretty awesome. Neil Stephenson is not somebody I thought I'd ever meet or get to snap of photo of, or get a book signed in the presence of.

You should totally buy (and/or read, but certainly buy) his books if you're after big, dense ideas (and yes, you should totally rush down to Forbidden Planet and see if they have any signed copies of 'The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.' left!).

My signed "Snow Crash" (damn straight it's not for sale!!)

My signed "Snow Crash" (damn straight it's not for sale!!)

My well-worn and well-loved copy of Neal Stephenson's "Anathem" - not just one of the best books I've ever read, but also one of the most... uh... useful hardcover books I own. (nope, I'm not elaborating)

My well-worn and well-loved copy of Neal Stephenson's "Anathem" - not just one of the best books I've ever read, but also one of the most... uh... useful hardcover books I own. (nope, I'm not elaborating)