Hello. It's the start of a New Year. And so what better way to celebrate than by looking back at some of the stories that have intrigued us over the past 12 months? Well a better way would be to watch a bunch of Polar Bears playing soccer to the sound of "Eye Of Tiger" obviously. Except I'm not sure that's ever really happened and if it has I don't know where to find video footage of it. So this is what you get.
I Believe In Danny Dyer.
As a professional cockney and the man who single handedly keeps the low budget film industry alive, Danny Dyer is the sort of chap who often looks to broaden his horizons. As such he remarkably became the poster boy for British ufologists this January after his star turn on I Believe In UFOs. First aired on BBC 3 in January it showed Dyer turning his hand to a bit of investigative journalism. When that failed he joined a cult, got stoned off his box, and said the word "fackin'" a lot in what turned out to be the most bizarrely fascinating 45 minutes of television of the year.
If at first you don't succeed…
Towards the end of the year Mickey Rourke announced he was "committed" to portraying rugby legend Gareth "Alfie" Thomas on the big screen. Rourke believes that Thomas, the world's only openly gay active professional sportsman, and his story would be a perfect follow up to The Wrestler. The film for which failed to win an Oscar largely because he's Mickey Rourke and a bit of a mess.
Winston Churchill was a big fat liar. Or maybe not.
August arrived and duly brought with it a new batch of Government files that used to be classified but now, no, not so much. Amongst them was a report about how Winston Churchill ordered the cover up of a UFO sighting by the Royal Air Force so as to avoid "mass panic". The allegations involving Churchill were made by the grandson of one his personal bodyguards. Apparently the bodyguard overheard the ol' bulldog discussing how such a sighting could damage the British public's faith in religion, and told his family about it. Fifty years later his grandson wrote a letter to the MoD questioning the incident. In unrelated news, Brad Pitt is actually an overgrown toad who was taught to fit in amongst humans by a crazy scientist and a catholic nun. It's true. My friend's, aunt's, step daughter's, hair dresser's, boyfriend's, colleague's, mother once read about it in a Japanese newspaper. Of course it was all hushed up by the Illuminati but they can't keep us down forever. Some day the people will be set free from your oppression, you overgrown lizard bastards.
U. F. Oh?
China is a strange place. For example, when a UFO rocked up in skies above Hangzhou in July, the authorities took it seriously and closed an entire airport, re-routing all incoming flights and grounding any planes about to take off. As opposed to what would have happened here in the West, where the authorities would have claimed it was a trick of the light, then a weather balloon, before finally settling on "What UFO? Man you crazy. You wanna lay off the sauce a little bit, don't you think? Hey Charlie, this dude here thinks he saw a flying saucer! No I'm not shtting you…".
Tsk. China eh? What a weird country.
In February a chap named Kevin Horkin, who happens to be the Director of Parallel Management - a company that specialises in promoting psychics in what has to be the lowest rung on the ladder of showbiz - produced a photo which he claimed was a ghost he'd snapped at Gwrych Castle. Was it real? Was it fake? Would falsifying evidence of the existence of spirits somehow help Horkin's business, which lest we forget is a PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRM FOR MEDIUMS? Enquiring minds demanded to know. Alas The Sun, who picked up the story and ran with it, didn't bother to answer any of those questions. Instead they put all their efforts in to thinking up a witty headline. The result? SCREAMY WINDOW. Well done lads! The drinks are on the house!
2010 was a year when many great people passed away. Here are but a few.
Leslie Nielson – He who single handedly proved that subtlety was the true path to comedy.
Norman Wisdom – Rubber faced genius.
Blake Edwards – Cinema legend.
Lynn Redgrave -Theatrical Aristocracy
Corin Redgrave – Ditto
Tsutomu Yamaguchi – Survived two atomic bombs and yet 2010 bested him. Hell of a year.
Teddy Pendergrass – Classy soul singer who was caught “associating” with a transvestite and paralysed on the same night. Death was probably a walk in the park compared to that.
Jean Simmons – Classic English rose with thorns.
J. D. Salinger – Author of “The Catcher In The Rye”. Recluse. Bonkers. He'll be missed.
Alexander McQueen – Fashion designer responsible for Lady Gaga's wardrobe and therefore her reason for existence.
Dick Francis – Champion jockey whose wife wrote some books that my dad likes.
Corey Haim – Ah where to start? The Lost Boys. Where to end? The Lost Boys. God's speed Corey.
Peter Graves - “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”
Malcolm McLaren – Once managed The Sex Pistols. Was able to turn that in to a career long after they disbanded.
Gary Coleman – Really? I don't have to explain this right? It's Gary Coleman for chrissakes. It amazes me he doesn't have a national holiday already.
Dennis Hopper – Actor and director who kick started a revolution in Hollywood with Easy Rider.
Alex Higgins – Controversial snooker player who was blessed with such natural talent it didn't matter if he was sober or not.
Tony Curtis – Never won an Oscar. Proof that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gets it wrong more often than it gets it right.
That was the Sheik that was.
In April Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi announced that the recent wave of earthquakes suffered in the region was all the fault of women flashing their ankles in public. "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes. There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes." he said. "Viva Las Vegas!" my friend Simon said, before spending a week in the gambling capital of the world, and then a further two weeks getting treated for a venereal disease. Still at least a building didn't fall on top of him.
Ringo wants to sing more.
The Soccer World Cup in the summer will be forever remembered for two things. One, Diego Maradona's reaction when a newspaper reporter asked him if he was gay. And secondly, Paul the Octopus. Using psychic powers in a way that would make Uri Geller go green with envy, Paul successfully predicted all of Germany's World Cup results as well as the outcome of the final. Which of course meant that Paul became a media sensation. Alas the fame went to Paul's head and after the final of the World Cup he spent the next three months partying with Slash from Guns And Roses and snorting cocaine off the back of crabs. In October Paul was found dead in a hotel room in Munich after an emergency call was placed from on of the seven prostitutes he had hired that night. Or he passed away peacefully in his tank. I forget which one. Anyway the moral of this story is "Just Say No Kids".
Blondes have more fun.
There were very few extraordinary cryptozoology stories this year. However one that fit the bill was the tale of Tim Peeler. As reported by WCNC, the North Carolina native was kicking around his home one day when he was disturbed by an unusual grunting noise. He went outside to investigate he was confronted by a creature that was "10 feet tall with beautiful hair, yellowish hair, and a yellow beard.". Peeler then proceeded to do what he does whenever he finds something "beautiful". He got a big stick and poked at it until it ran away. After that he called 911 and asked the all important question of "Would I get in to trouble if I shot and killed this beast?" to which the operator replied "Dude. It's a blonde bigfoot. How the f*** should I know?". Well OK, not really. Turns out NC's police department is a lot more professional than that. But, you know, their University mascot is a Dorset sheep with it's horns painted so I really wouldn't put anything past them.
In March the very last episode of MonsterQuest aired, and to be fair it went out with a bang. While most of the show was pointless filler material following three half-baked crackpots wandering around in the woods for no real reason, the finale delivered a shocking twist. During an interview, conducted by werewolf historian Linda Godfrey, Steve Cook admitted that the “Gable Film” footage had been staged all along. Indeed that thing charging at the camera wasn't a werewolf, but instead a bearded fellow wearing a blanket named Mike.
The thing is, even though the Cook confession was one heck of a scoop, it's a shame that it was the most memorable moment of MonsterQuest's last ever episode. What should have been a huge celebration about hunting for cryptids, and a lasting memorial to those who toil in the field of cryptozoology, it instead turned in to a swell of anger at a radio host who, let's face it, came across as a complete dick.
By the way, during the fallout I ripped in to Cook on here after he'd tried to justify his actions online. Much to my surprise Linda Godfrey herself mentioned it on her own blog. And even more surprising, she was quite complimentary about it. On a personal level that mention alone remains one of the highlights of my year and her kind words were a wonderful thing. Although how she came across I Saw Elvis in the first place I have no idea. Seriously I know people who solely write post-it-notes who have more of an online presence than I have.
Speaking of which...
It's been a crazy old year as far as yours truly is concerned. I got engaged. Then I found out I'm about to become a father (Gee Note: Due February 4th folks. So be prepared for the gushy “isn't life AMAZING” post around that time. You have been warned). And I just want to say that to anyone who's enjoyed something they've read on here over the past twelve months, thank you. It means a Hell of a lot.
And to those of you who haven't, why not come back in 2011? It won't be any better but, hey, it can't get any worse can it?