Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Now, why would you call his mother a garden tool?

With all the gardening and other heroic stuff I've been doing lately (Gee Note: Seriously, with no thought for my own safety, over the past two weeks or so I've been tackling giant life forms with my bare hands. Admittedly they were all large plants but, still, it's like I'm a ginger Flash Gordon or something. There should really be a picture of me with my shirt undone to my navel while women swoon around me. By the way I love the Flash Gordon movie. Remember that bit where Flash uses the guard's helmet like an American Football, and the chief bad guy gets all his men in a huddle and goes "He's playing a game. You must match him. Like this!" and then Flash gets knocked out because the weedy scientist can't throw properly? Fantastic stuff. Also it has Brian Blessed. And a great soundtrack. Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun FLASH aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. Words can not describe how awesome it is.) things have become a wee bit backed up. Both my Facebook and Twitter accounts lay dormant, as does my email inbox. In fact it turns out that I haven't actually replied to any email that's been sent to me in the past three weeks. Which I'm sure is in no way related to the fact that a lot of people think I'm a jerk.

And so with that in mind, here's some of the stuff I need to catch up on:

Three emails from our old friend, the online psychic Tara - Tara has obviously decided that reasoning with me is a waste of time, and so has started shouting at me in the hope that I'll send her some money for a psychic reading. No really - her last email literally read "WHAT IS GOING ON Gareth?". I swear I've had relationship break ups that involved less drama than this.

Two emails from Facebook - Funny story. It turns out that Gareth Rhys Davies is also a male model, previously employed by Storm Model Agency. In 2007 Gareth made the movie Cut Sleeve Boys. Here’s the synopsis from the film’s official website.

MEL and ASH are two British Chinese gay men who studied and drink lychee martinis together. After attending the funeral of GAVIN, a closet case from their university days, they start examining the crow’s feet on their faces and questioning the meaning of the labels in their wardrobes.

Mel, an aging scene queen with the ego of Norma Desmond, believes life is a beauty pageant with him always the winner. He rejects the love of Todd, a provincial boy from the Welsh valleys who moves to London to be with him, in favour of quick-fix Botox sex to fight his insecurities. But how long can he sashay down the catwalk when his eye bags are bigger than his Gucci bags? And who is going to be waiting at the end of the rainbow when there is no place like home?

Yeah, I have no idea what Botox sex is either. Regardless Cut Sleeve Boys was a minor cult hit in the gay community, and seeing as Gareth’s character Todd was shown walking around shirtless for - oh gosh - the entire time he was on screen, it made him a bit of a star. So to cut a long story short, every so often I get a friend request from someone living in Eastern Europe who is listed as:

Gender: Male
Interested in: Men
Relationship Status: Single.




Two emails from Rob at Generation Minus One - One with a link to an online podcast in which a group of friends discuss who would win in a fight between various made up monsters. The other to tell me I'm a loser and his website is better than mine. Probably. I don't know.

One email from Bonnie Fairbrass - Delightful Bonnie Fairbrass sent me a mail to tell me she was enjoying the blog. Also that she was slightly tipsy. Which may or may not be connected.

One email from John Henry Fleming - A creative writing lecturer from the University of South Florida. Mr Fleming stumbled across this blog because apparently his next short story has a sleep walking Elvis strolling through the woods. And, let's face it, who wouldn't want to read that? John has a book on sale called "Fearsome Creatures of Florida" that I would give somebody else's left arm to read (Gee Note: An arm's an arm right? No sense giving one of yours if you don't have to) but apparently you can't get it here in the UK. So either some benevolent soul will have to send me a copy from the U.S. or I'll have to resign myself to looking longingly at it from a distance. You know, like the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 boxset I've been after for the past two years. She will be mine. Oh yes. She will be mine.

One email from a Mattress store - No really, a mattress store. Apparently they read the blog and have decided that they would give me a free mattress for a "competition prize" in exchange for heavy promotion of their store. Now while I'm really not above selling out, I have no idea what to do with this. Do I accept their offer? If so what the f*** am I going to do with a mattress? "Hey guys, it's competition time!!! And we're giving away this fantastic mattress!!! To be in with a chance of winning all you'll need to do is answer this question: What is the Dover Demon? Is it A) An unknown creature allegedly spotted in the Dover, Massachusetts area in April 1977, B) Ted Danson, C) A really big burger served by Pop's All American Diner, or D) Your mother?". See, I'm not sure the mattress people really read this blog.

One email from iTunes - “Here is you receipt for WITCH DOCTOR by the CARTOONS” said the email. “Huh?” said I, “I don’t remember purchasing that.” And then I remembered that I got drunk one Friday night and, sure enough, decided that my life wasn’t complete without some Ooo Eee Ooo Aaah Aaah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang.

One email from Rachel - My friend Rachel sent me mail to tell me that she thinks her new lodger is a terrorist.

Another email from Rachel - It turns out, no, they're not a terrorist.

One email from my dad - My dad actually rang me about six seconds after he sent it to tell me exactly what this email was about. Which seems like overkill I agree, but then my dad doesn’t really trust technology. Or politicians. Or supermarket cashiers.

And, finally, one email from myself - Now you may be wondering why I would send myself a mail. Well the truth is I have an attention span about the same size as Mel Gibson’s chances of making Schindler‘s List 2: Back To The Camp. All too often I’ll have an idea that is lost as soon as I see something shiny. Or something with buttons you can push. And so if I happen to have a flash of brilliance or, more likely, think of something I want for dinner that night I’ve made it a rule to either write it down or mail it to myself. This one was, well, something I had completely forgotten about. It simply read “Don’t forget to do something on the Lake Van Monster soon”

Let's go all the way back to year 1995. The world was in mourning as music legends and entertainment juggernaughts Kid N' Play disbanded. Leaving a massive hole in my life the show business world, the music industry concentrated on filling the void with such pop classics as "Boombastic" by Shaggy and, er, well that was about it. Movie studios, realising that the cash cow that was House Party would be no longer, faired slightly better. Indeed 1995 saw the release of the incredibly good Godzilla vs Destroyah, the almost brilliant Die Hard: With a Vengeance, the spellbinding La Haine (Gee Note: Which was the launch point of Vincent Cassel's successful attempt to appear in every French movie ever made), and everybody’s favourite Sandra Bullock film, While You Were Sleeping. Sadly however their attempts at putting a smile on the world's collective face was marred with insufferable tosh such as Showgirls, Batman Forever, and Waterworld.

It's not known whether news of the loss of Kid N' Play travelled all the way to Turkey. What is known is that around the same time people started to claim that something fishy was going in Lake Van.




Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, measuring 74 miles at it's widest point and a recorded depth of 1480 ft. It has no outlet, instead receiving water from numerous small streams from surrounding mountains. Due to the lack of fresh water flowing through it, it has a high level of sodium carbonite and other salts. In fact it is so salty that upon tasting it Gordon Ramsey would probably spit it out and shout at someone. It's also the only known home to a breed of fish called the Pearl Mullet (Gee Note: Sounds like a redneck's haircut) which are potentially endangered due to the fact that fish are stupid and can't learn to avoid nets.

Now Lake Van has been like that for centuries and no one has really thought twice about it. That was until sometime around 1995 when reports started coming in of a "monster" in them there waters. It was described as being Plesiosaur like, around fifteen metres long with spikes on it's back. Still nobody took any notice, for a number of reasons actually. For a start Kid N' Play had recently broke up, and people had much more important things to discuss. Secondly misidentified animals are reported all the time. Heck only this morning I was walking over a footbridge on the River Tawe when I could have sworn I saw an alligator swimming towards me. Turns out it was a duck. Not even a particularly bad ass duck either. Just a regular quacking, beak nosed, feather wearing duck.

One man was convinced there was something to it however (Gee Note: The monster in Lake Van I mean. Nobody cares about the duck I saw this morning). Unal Kozak, a 26 year old teaching assistant from local Van university, became obsessed with the monster, interviewing the ever increasing number of folks who claimed to have seen it. He spent many a day circling the lake, finding a nice spot, and setting up a video camera - hoping to catch a shot of the wee beasty.

For two years Unal sat around waiting for a miracle to happen. And then in 1997, one did.

It was CNN who broke the story. Under the headline "Sea Monster or Monster Hoax?" (Gee Note: Well it isn't a sea monster for a start. Because it's in a lake. Not the sea. So there's half your question answered right there. I know, it's like I'm Sherlock Holmes or something.) posted on June 12th 1997, it featured the overjoyed Unal claiming to have finally captured footage of the creature. Said video was then supplied on the website and, copywrite infringements be dammed, posted all over Youtube.



So definitive proof that large animals previously unknown to science not only exist, but are splashing around willy nilly in the waters of Turkey. Surely there was much rejoicing to be had?

Well, not really, no.

You see the people who are serious about this type of thing are a sceptical bunch, and soon all sorts of questions were put forward. Like why does the camera never pan left? Why is the creature moving in a straight line rather than side to side? Why does it not breath in, just out? Why oh why oh why do they keep repeating shows on TV? All of which remain an unanswered. In fact, until the beast is caught, filleted, and served on a plate in front of them with a potato fondant and a red wine jus (Gee Note: In an unrelated note I've been watching a lot of Masterchef recently) then many people simply won't believe it. It also doesn't help that the large amount of publicity the monster has attracted has boosted tourism to Lake Van, so much so that the local government has erected a statue in it's honour.




(Gee Note: When I was I kid I used to have a couple of toys that were a bit like Transformers. Except that instead of turning from cool cars in to giant robots they turned from eggs in to dinosaurs. Not very successfully I might add. You'd end up with a T-Rex's head on a fat egg shaped body. For some reason the Lake Van Monster statue always reminds me of them).

Couple that to the fact that Kozak immediately had the good sense to cash in on his video and write a book about the monster, and you can understand why folks may dismiss the entire thing as hogwash.

Still it's a good old yarn. Enough to attract a Japanese film crew to the lake a couple of years ago (Gee Note: How come every lake rumoured to have a monster living in it get's a visit from a Japanese film crew? Seriously, every time I look up one of these things online I always find something about a Japanese film crew with a motorised submarine. Loch Ness, Heaven Lake, hell there's even been one in Llyn Tegid. Seriously these guys get everywhere. Which means there's either hundreds of these crew's waiting to mobilise the moment some fruit cake mistakes an otter for a woolly mammoth, or they're one highly specialised crack commando unit dedicated to filming lots of rippling waves while nothing happens. Actually, that would make an awesome sitcom. Think about it. A group of whacky scientist living together, lead by Matt Le Blanc who thinks that their one big break is just around the corner. "Hey Guys!" he'll say at the beginning of each episode "A badger with David Letterman's head and wheels for legs has been spotted in Lake Sottoshaw. Let's get in the van!". "Oh not agaaaaain!!!" the rest of them will say. And upon hearing this catchphrase the audience will start laughing, whooping and hollering. Cut to a theme song by some neutered middle of the road soft rock ensemble and BOOM we've gotta show.). And maybe, just maybe, there is something lurking under the surface of Lake Van. Since 1995 alone there have been over 1000 sightings of the creature, a number that's added to all the time. Which in itself is arguably enough to suggest that Lake Van does contain some type of mystery.

Or maybe it's just one big hoax. And if it is, it would hard not to begrudge Unal Kozak his moment in the sun. Because, despite the scepticism, his video of the Lake Van Monster has never been thoroughly discredited to this day. Instead it remains an intriguing enigma.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to email myself a new idea for a TV show before I forget.

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