Friday, 21 December 2012

I feel fine.

There's these two Mayans. One says to the other "Hey, you fancy a drink?". The other goes "I'd love to but I have to finish this calendar". So the first one says "C'mon man, it's only a calendar. It's not like it's the end of the world".

(Gee Note: BOOM!!! Yeah that’s right. Just when you thought you were safe, I’m dropping comic bombs like a muthaf***a. Y’all should be bowing down to me right now. For I am a wizard of laughter. In fact in tribal times I’d be given the title “Ol' King Funny Man”, carried around on a golden throne, and presented with Curly Wurlys on plates made from the bones of my enemies. Things were better back then is what I’m saying here).

That's right folks, we’re BAAAAACCCCKKK. For one day only I SAW ELVIS IN THE WOODS has taken off its hazmat suit and climbed out of the bunker to claim its rightful place atop of the blogsphere. Long thought dead and buried, instead it rises majestically like some sort of sexy, neurotic, tin foil hat wearing phoenix. The reason? Well, damn son, it’s the End of the World. Or at least it is according to a Mayan calendar, which predicted… something apparently. I don’t know. I tried watching a program explaining the whole thing yesterday but that episode of Futurama everyone loves came on. No, not the one with the dog. The other one.

Regardless a lot of nutbars people think the apocalypse is a-coming, so we’ve decided to do a very special live blog of the day’s events. (Gee Note: Unless of course the planet does actually explode in a fiery ball of death. In which case I’ll probably be too busy rolling around on the floor and screaming in agony to type anything.) So, with no more ado let’s get this badboy rolling.

9:02 AM. Had a dream last night that I got in to a fist fight with a giant salamander over a piece of cheese. Not sure what that means. Anyway a quick peek out of the windows shows nothing untoward going on, except that the fat guy who lives across the way appears to be standing in the street in his underwear again. No dragons, aliens, or flaming meteors in the skyline however, so I’m guessing he simply forgot to put clothes on. Either that or he knows something I don’t. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS YOU CRAZY CHUBBY BASTARD.

9:35 AM. Cup of tea made. Turned on BBC News 24 to find out that there have been absolutely no reports of giant UFOs hovering over The White House. The anchors seem to be talking about how “some superstitions believe the world will end at 11:11 am”. Which I guess is true. But some superstitions also believe rubbing a bull’s testicle on your face makes you irresistible to women. And I’m not sure you should be talking about that kind of thing on the news. After all I rubbed that ball on my face for hours and all I got was a strange rash. Stick to the facts Mr. Newsman, that’s my advice.

People who think the 21/12/2012 End of The World prediction is a load of old cobblers Part 1. 

NASA were so confident the world wouldn’t end on 21/12/2012 they released a video ten days ago entitled “Why the World Didn't End Yesterday” (Gee Note: Which was chosen over the previous working title “Nah nah-nah nah-nah naaaahhh we told you so”), meant to be viewed the day after doomsday by people who were curious to see why the planet didn’t go kablooey. And, look, they’re probably right. Judging by the lack of leviathans rising from the ocean so far today we’re probably in for a regular rainy Friday. But it does come across as a little bit arrogant. You know, like doing a victory dance before crossing the line for a touchdown. What are you NASA, some sort of showboating glory hog? Jim Brown wouldn’t have stood for this shit. Possibly. Actually I don’t really know who Jim Brown is, I just Googled “famous American football players” and his name popped up. But still, I’m almost sure Jim Brown would be furious with you NASA.

09:57 AM. Loud noise outside. Took me three minutes to work out it was just a car alarm. Thinking of taking the saucepan off my head now.

Reasons why the World ending wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Part 1.

Giant arsehole Alex Jones (Gee Note: The conspiracy theorist. Not the woman on The One Show. Although she can f*** off too) would no longer have a platform to stand on.

While we’re on the subject of gun control, let me just say this. Dear United States of America. I love you. I really do. You gave us blues music, and cheeseburgers, and Zooey Deschanel. All of which I’m very thankful for. So I really am saying this from a place of love. Ban guns already. Just do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t discuss it. Don’t let sociopaths with vested interests bang on about the second amendment and that guns are a part of American life. And please don’t wheel out the argument that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. Because the truth is that a lunatic with potato is going to do a lot less harm than a lunatic with a legally obtained firearm. Instead do the smart thing. JUST. BAN. GUNS. People will thank you for it

10:54 AM News lady just fluffed her lines and announced that we’re gearing up for the “aCOCKalypse”. (Gee Note: Pretty sure I saw that movie one time. An asteroid was on a collision course with the Earth and a group of unbelievably proportioned scientists were sent in to space to stop it. By having sex. With each other. A lot. Anyway I’ll give it one thumb up). The Beeb is pretty much convinced that if something is going to go down, it will happen at 11:11 am.

11:10 AM THIS IS IT.

11:12 AM THAT WAS IT???

11:15 AM Yep. Nothing happened. Godzilla didn’t destroy Japan. Aliens aren’t running around shooting things with lasers. It’s not even raining snakes. I’m not sure this apocalypse has got its game together to be honest.

12:22 PM Speaking of Godzilla, guess what turned up on the island of Koh Mai Pei on December 14th.

That’s right, a set of massive tracks. Which could be from a really big snake. Or from that strange motorbike thing from The Dark Knight Rises. You know, the one that has wheels as big as an articulated truck but no roof or doors, meaning it has neither the protection of a car nor the manoeuvrability of a bike. The one that for some reason is Batman’s favourite mode of transport even though he’s a bazillionaire and could probably buy sixteen thousand armoured Ferraris with the loose change in his dressing gown? The one that he uses to entice the law even though there’s nothing between his head and a storm of bullets rocketing towards him? That one. (Gee Note: Bruce Wayne is actually an idiot when you think about it).

People who think the 21/12/2012 End of The World prediction is a load of old cobblers Part 2.

The US government, who posted an item on their blog called “Scary Rumors about the World Ending in 2012 Are Just Rumors”. The best bit about this isn’t actually the content of the blog itself, but instead the comment section underneath which appears to have turned in to a three-way flame war between the religious, stoners, and the clinically insane. For example…

“Mayan's worshiped Venus, and they based their calendar off the birth of Venus.... Venus wasn't anything. Just a stupid false god that they made their stupid sacrifices to.” (Gee Note: OMG!!!! Ur rite. Sacrifices iz soooooo stoopid)

“Apocalypse, translated literally from Greek, refers to a revelation of something hidden. Perhaps it's us that will change, realizing that every human is precious, fully understanding the benefits of cooperation rather than competition.” (Gee Note: Get a job hippy!)

“I just talked to my dad and he's giving it a 50/50!” (Gee Note: Good... good for you. And him. I guess. Why are you telling us this?).

Anyway, reading this is killing time before the walls start bleeding acid.

13:30 AM Right, forget the End of the World. Somehow the BBC have seemingly dug up and reanimated the corpse of former children’s TV presenter Andy Crane, a man who found success by forming a double act with a hand puppet only to be unceremoniously dumped from said partnership when the puppet went solo (Gee Note: No really. Edd the Duck had quite the successful career back in the day. Crane on the other hand went from appearing on national television on a daily basis to asking people if they would like fries with that). Anyway he’s here to tell us all about kid’s shows being moved from BBC 1 to other channels, and sounds terribly bitter about everything. He’s probably bummed that the Mayan prophecy didn’t come true and offer him an escape from his meaningless existence. At least that’s what the sadness in his eyes seems to be saying.

Reasons why the World ending wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Part 2.

There’s a NRA press conference later on today, where inevitably they will blame the recent Sandy Hook tragedy on anything but guns. Unicorns maybe. Or David Hasselhoff. He always looked like a shifty bugger if you ask me.

People who think the 21/12/2012 End of The World prediction is a load of old cobblers Part 3.

The Vatican. According to the Pope’s main man when it comes to spacey things, Fr. Jose Funes (Gee Note: Who may or may not kick arse for the Lord) claimed talk of doomsday was “not even worth discussing”. Writing for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes stated that although there were signs that the expansion of the universe might cause some problems eventually, it wouldn’t be for billions of years and even then Christians would be alright because of the whole 'ascending to heaven provided they’d led a good and wholesome life and hadn’t stolen their neighbours livestock or something' thing. This isn’t the first time Funes has voiced his opinion on alternative matters, as in 2008 he claimed that the existence of extra-terrestrials wouldn’t contradict the Catholic church’s teachings because God was probably busy creating all kinds of wacky shit back in his youth, and going around saying otherwise was likening the supreme being to a one hit wonder. Like MARRS. Or Owen Paul, mostly famous for failing to mime properly on live lunchtime show Pebble Mill back in the 80’s.

15:24 PM Nothing is happening. Well, OK some stuff is happening, but none of it involves the magnetic poles switching or monsters or aliens or anything that’s actually interesting. The stock market is down, largely because there’s a fiscal cliff approaching in the States and Republicans and Democrats are completely incapable of governing a country without it degenerating in to some sort of playschool level spat (Gee Note: I’m pretty sure that at this point Mitch McConnell goes home every night crying because some “big kid called me turtle face again!”). Gangnam Style has had 1 Billion views online, making it the most popular video ever (Gee Note: Oh sure when PSY does it everyone goes nuts. But when I post a video on YouTube dressed in a leotard while trying to teach a horse how to do the Charleston I’m called a “weirdo”. Fickle internet audience. You make me sick). And a former weatherman is the latest British public figure to be involved in an investigation in to child sex abuse. Not a goddam apocalyptic thing in sight. Seriously at this point I’d settle for a two headed goat suddenly appearing in a field in Canada or something. But no, nothing. Not a bloody thing.

16:30 PM What the f*** was that?

OK so I just watched the NRA press conference, and I’ll be honest with you, this is a complete bag of batshit crazy. Essentially they claimed they were starting a “conversation” but refused to answer any questions, claimed that people kill people because their minds are warped by videogames and movies (Gee Note: And not by the fact that they have easy access to a weapon that’s only reason for existence is to inflict harm upon other living things. No obviously not. Tsk you and your silly ideas), and that they want an armed guard stationed at every school (Gee Note: Hell, why not arm the kids as well? I mean guns IN schools right? Nothing bad could possibly happen could it?). At a time when the world was screaming out for a humble and caring response to one of the worst events in recent memory, the NRA basically did the equivalent of the F*** You I’m An Anteater pose. Ludicrous and in the end deeply insulting, even their grand plan of stationing Rambo on the door of every school in America was ironically undermined when their own security failed to prevent two separate protestors disrupting the press conference. Maybe the world wasn’t destroyed today, but the NRA’s reputation certainly was.

17:30 PM That’s it. I’m done Gus. The world isn’t ending anytime soon. In fact the truth is nothing has really changed. We’re still here, humans that is, and we’re being as brilliant and as mental and as horrible as we always have. Thing is this blog is now a two-time apocalypse survivor and we wouldn’t have made it this far without your support.

Having said that, I feel I should let you know that it truly is time to hang up the boots once and for all. We’ve had a good run, won awards, and made some wonderful friends. During the time I’ve been posting here I’ve gone from being a fat ginger nerd desperately trying to find a hobby and avoid a nervous breakdown, to a fat ginger dad who doesn’t understand why his daughter insists on trying to hug the television. I’ve survived serious health issues, had a lovely new addition to the family, and I still haven’t watched an entire single episode of Game of Thrones despite everyone I know constantly telling me how it’s, like, the greatest thing ever. Over the past two years I’ve probably had less than four hours of rest a night thanks to a child who appears to treat sleep as their nemesis, and my temples are now so grey my hair bears a striking resemblance to a fox’s coat. But even with all that I am immensely proud of everything we’ve accomplished here, whether it’s getting a shout out from “Queen of Werewolves” Linda Godfrey, or winning a National award. And more importantly I’ve had a blast. Really I have, and if you’ve ever read even just a single word on I Saw Elvis, I just want to say thank you. It’s meant more than you can possibly imagine. I truly love you all.

Signing off.

Gareth “Gee” Davies.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Adventures In The Stream Trade. Part 4.

Here then is the fourth and final part of our special series where I watch stuff that can be found online. And then write about it. Monkey see monkey do and all that. 

One of the things that happens to you when you have a popular blog (Gee Note: Or in my case a depressingly unpopular one) is that every now and then a random stranger will email you looking to pimp their latest project on your website.

Now despite the fact that the regular readers of this blog consist of me, my brother-in-law, and according to my stat counter a single person living in a Danish town that I can't for the life of me spell properly, for some reason I also get my fair share of these. And I usually ignore them. Partly because I don’t really feel comfortable with advertising things I wouldn’t personally endorse (Gee Note: Unless I'm paid for it of course. Then you can put whatever the hell you like here and I'd quite happily lie through my teeth about how awesome it is). But mostly because, honestly, I'd be the last person you'd want to represent your products. No really. I'm a tubby ginger nerd who spends most of his time either shouting at the television, listening to 1950's blues records, or drinking inexpensive wine from a porcelain mug. I have no discernible talent, I'm about as charming as a toad setting itself on fire, and couldn't win a beauty contest even if my only rival was Fugly McUgly from Seadonkeytown. My point is, I'd be as much use promoting your stuff as Abu Hamza would be as a keynote speaker at a world peace rally.

So the "Would you be interested in…" pleas more often than not end up in the bin. Having said that here’s the trailer for “Elfie Hopkins”, a new British movie starring Jamie Winstone and Aneurin Barnard.


(Gee Note: Yes. OK. I know. I’m a whore. A filthy blogging whore. But you have to look at this from my perspective. For a start, the lady who sent me this also included a link to her Twitter page, where the avatar is a picture of her wearing a top hat and a monocle. Secondly, I love horror movies. Thirdly Jamie Winstone is in this. A woman who somehow manages to be attractive while also looking exactly like her dad. Which, considering her dad is professional cockney and all around badass Ray Winstone, is a phenomenal achievement worthy of a hearty round of applause. I don’t know. Judge me if you want to but when you add it all up I can only fight against the tide for so long).

Speaking of movies, Mel Gibson was back in the news recently, after a letter written to him by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas was leaked all over the web like a crab trying to scribble down notes with a fountain pen. Essentially the story is that Gibson hired Eszterhas to write a script for “The Maccabees”, a project detailing the heroic efforts of a Jewish rebel army that took control of Judea some 160 years or so before three wise men spotted a star in the night sky and for no apparent reason decided to follow it. A couple of weeks ago Warner Brothers announced the project had been scrapped and floated the idea that Eszterhas’ script was the reason why (Gee Note: Which means it must have been worse than previous Warner Brothers scripts, such as Catwoman for example. Although, let’s be frank, the only way that could be possible is if it was carved in to a block of frozen urine and every character was called “Dude A”). Joe felt this was unfair, and sent a “private” correspondence to Mel claiming that the director of Braveheart never had any intention of making this movie. The reason? Well according to Joe it’s because Gibson is a big ol’ racist who “hates Jews” and freely uses terms such as “hebes”, “jewboys” and “oven dodgers”.

Now the shocking thing about all this is not that Gibson might be a huge bigot, or that Joe Eszterhas might have written a terrible screenplay (Gee Note: Gibson once screamed “F***ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” while being arrested for drunk driving. Eszterhas wrote “Showgirls”. So there’s a good chance both of them could be at fault is what I’m saying here), nor the ludicrous idea that Warner Brothers would bench an entire film’s development on the back of one bad script rather than just hiring another writer. Nay faithful steed, the mind blowing part is how this rather silly argument has ignited a war of words on message boards around the globe, including one douchebag who commented “Typical Jews. Something doesn’t go their way and they moan and complain about anti-Semitism. Disgusting.” obviously unaware that Eszterhas… er… isn’t Jewish.

But that’s the thing with the internet. In the non cyber-world there’s often a very thin line between exercising free speech and being a complete dick. On the world wide web that line doesn’t really exist, as hidden safely behind their keyboards people feel safe to voice their opinions no matter how stupid they might be. (Gee Note: Although as in the case of moronic Swansea University student Liam Stacey who was recently jailed for 56 days after making hateful remarks on Twitter regarding the cardiac arrest of professional soccer player Francis Muamba, people might want to think twice about this type of thing. It wasn’t the fact that he posted a tweet saying “LOL. F*** Muamba he’s dead #HAHA” that got him in to trouble you understand. It was the reply to someone who objected to it stating “Owwww go suck a n*****s d*** you f***ing aids ridden c***” that did him in. I know right? It’s like political correctness gone mad. Shit like this wouldn’t have happened ten years ago. Back then you could tell people to fellate anything you wanted to and you were considered a goddam hero if you did. Nowadays it’s all “Don’t tell them to blow this” and “Don’t tell them to blow that”. Entire country’s gone soft if you ask me. Possibly due to the lack of d*** sucking).

YouTube however is a completely different beast. In fact an argument could be made that YouTube shows the best and the worst of the internet. While you have some folks who use YouTube like this.

. .

Others use YouTube like this


The above video is a perfect example of what makes YouTube so special. You see a lot of people seem to forget that if you post a video of yourself spouting off a bunch of controversial opinions then you can no longer rely on anonymity to save you. Mostly because EVERYONE CAN SEE YOUR FACE. Now I have no idea if that girl was serious or not when she posted that video. I’d like to think she wasn’t . I’d like to think it was a terrible attempt at a joke (Gee Note: I’d also like to think that unicorns are real and that rainbows are made out of chocolate. But they’re not. The world can be awful like that sometimes). But even if she was at best making a terribly ill-advised parody then, well, I’m guessing her life got pretty rotten rather quickly after strangers started pointing at her in the street and quietly whispering “Ain’t that the girl that hates black people?” .

And yet despite this people still continue to upload videos of themselves saying the silliest things. Here are some examples.

. .

Now while this may seem like an experimental way of telling the story of how one day the Soup Dragon, tired and frustrated by slaving over a hot stove constantly, finally arrived at the conclusion that he was wasting his time making green broth and that he could just eat the Clangers instead (Gee Note: I mean really? That's never once crossed his mind? He's a dragon for pity's sake. He could toast those pink bastard's like marshmallows in about three seconds and have enough meat to see him through to the spring. I mean sure they're his friends an' all, but he's got to wake up and realise he's living on a celestial body with no vegetation on it. Where's the food going to come from when the soup runs out? Companionship schmanionship. It's survival of the fittest), it turns out this strange lass thinks she has the power to channel the voices of a group of aliens known as Pleiadians “Pleadians”. A gift she is apparently displaying here.

Although, honestly, it sounds as if she's making kitten sounds before growling for a bit. But who am I to judge? I tried channelling the spirit of a space cow once. I put myself in a deep trance and connected to the space cow with my elevated consciousness before saying out loud "Oh great bovine of the stars. Willest thouest speakest to me…est". At which point the space cow used my mouth to transmit its message to the earth. Do you know what it said?

It said "MOOOOOOO". Just like a regular cow would. Waste of goddam time really.

Bigfoot enthusiast and Canadian (Gee Note: OK not the greatest description I've ever come up with I admit. Then again, it does sound a bit more respectful than "nutter with a videocamera" which was my second choice) Jim is up next, explaining to us why he doesn't tell people about all the times he's spotted a sasquatch in dem dar trees.

. .

You know I kind of feel sorry for the guy. No really I do. It can't be easy when your peers and colleagues openly tease you for your beliefs (Gee Note: You know, like the time I tried to convince one of Jennifer Love Hewitt's bodyguards that she and I are soul mates and destined to be together. That dude laughed at me too. Well, until he punched me in the mouth because I wouldn't leave and was "causing a scene". Stupid bodyguard. I bet there's not a single romantic bone in his body). So good for him I say. If he wants to spend days rummaging around in the forest looking for giant monkey men then so be it. There's no harm in it is there?

Then it struck me that I was watching him explain that he didn't tell people he'd seen Bigfoot on a computer screen some 3000 miles away from where he filmed it, which 18,000 other people had watched before me. Which caused my brain to malfunction and I had to lie down until I found myself no longer repeating the sentence "Wants to keep his man-ape love a secret so he put it on YouTube" over and over again.

Speaking of which, I don't know if you know this but writing poetry is really really hard. OK that's not true. Writing good poetry is really really hard. Writing terrible poetry is pretty easy. Look, I'll show you.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Dogs go "Woof woof".
And space cows go "MOOOOOO".

"But what about poetry about aliens and the end of humanity/birth of a higher plane of existence thanks to the Mayan 2012 prophecy which actually isn't really a prophecy at all?" I hear you cry. (Gee Note: I don't really. You've probably never said that sentence in your life. It's just I had to get here somewhere and, well, you were a convenient stepping stone. Really don't think of it as being used. Think of it as being useful). Well this chap has given that very thing a bash.

. .

And, er, you know writing good poetry is really really hard. (Gee Note: Although to be fair it's not that bad. And I'm sure his girlfriend is very proud of him. What was that? Well of course he has a girlfriend. Handsome guys like that don't stay single for very long. Oh wait... I get what you’re saying. You're right. He probably doesn't want to be tied down to one woman. Young buck like him. Sure, he wants to play the field a bit. And why not? Probably has a different woman every night. A right little ladykiller that one. Huh… no I'm sorry. I don't understand. What exactly do you mean by "gay"?).

Still he can take comfort in the fact that he's not entirely alone. A lot of people on YouTube are looking forward to 2012. Including this fella.

. .

I don’t know why but every time I watch that guy I hear someone shouting “GET YOUR HAIR CUT AND FIND A JOB THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE DEALING CANNABIS YOU WORKSHY HIPPY”. And then I realise it’s me.

 Learn from my mistakes kids. Don’t get old.

And don’t believe everything your government tells you either. Because they’re a bunch of lying scumbags who went to the moon then came back to Earth and faked the moon landings. Why would they do this? Because they’re drunk with power and just like f***ing with us of course! Oh and aliens, according to this.

. .

Right two things. When Jack Schmidt is talking about “boulders” he’s not subtly referring to hidden extra-terrestrial artefacts on the lunar surface. He’s instead making a joke about the size of his balls. I mean sure it’s not a great joke. But shit no one ever claimed the dude was Jackie Mason. Secondly if you have to flip a picture upside down and Photoshop the bejesus out of it before you can get that squiggle looking a bit like a face but not really, then what you've got is less of a smoking gun and more of a moist flannel to be fair.

Still it’s not just the government that’s fibbing to you of course. Music executives are too. Especially the ones trying to get away with MURDER. I present exhibit A.



(Gee Note: OK. This may make me a bad person, but I had a blast watching that. The “he must be evil because he’s Jewish” rhetoric. The way she describes the passing of Whitney Houston as “unfortunate” in the same way one would refer to a framed picture falling off the wall. The maniacal laugh at the end as if she’s planted a bomb underneath someone’s car. THE PICTURE AT THE FINALE COMING OUT OF NOWHERE. Of course, deep down I know that she’s somewhat deluded and that this type of thing is one step shy of being a full blown hate crime. But dammit if I didn’t howl with laughter all the way through it).

The undisputed King of YouTube conspiracies is of course my good friend (Gee Note: Not really. Pretty sure he thinks I’m bit of a douchebag actually.) Maggador.

. .

Ah Maggy. My old Swedish meatball. I could listen to you talk for hours…

…and I would still have no idea what the hell you're banging on about. Something about Christopher Columbus and a place called the "Vattykan". I don't know. I zoned out after about 30 seconds if I'm honest. Also, I hate to say it Edward, but you're looking pretty tired these days. Remember that young, spritely, lunatic wandering around a field telling everyone he was an alien and that we should all hug each other and sing songs? You ever wonder what happened to him? I sure do. That guy was all kinds of awesome. These days though Maggador you just look angry and sad. Which in turn makes me angry and sad. So much so I have to put on my cape (Gee Note: I say cape, it's more like an old curtain with tassels sewn on to it. But hey, you gotta start somewhere right? Real capes cost a lot of money. Which is why you never saw any of those "Occupy Wallstreet" folks wearing one. Bruce Wayne on the other hand wears them year round. No good moneybags orphan. It's like he's mocking the rest of us) and run around my kitchen pretending to fly until I feel better.

My point is, you need to go back to your roots man. Lighten up a bit. Turn that frown upside down bro. I mean even if the world is controlled by evil doers who are constantly doing evil to us, there's no need to be all Mr. Surley-Pants about it now is there?

I'll show you what I mean. Here we have some of Maggador's Swedish countrymen playing that all time classic Suspicious Minds. In front of what looks like around 50 of the most unenthusiastic audience members since Harry McStack's one man five hour show "Things you always wanted to know about beer mats but where afraid to ask". But does that get them down? Heck no it doesn't. They just keep playing their little socks off until the song ends.

. .

See? Those guys are using YouTube properly. Maybe you should think about taking a leaf out of their book. Form a band perhaps. Learn some great tunes.

Just stay away from spouting nonsense. In the end it just makes you look a little bit silly. 

Friday, 30 March 2012

Adventures In The Stream Trade. Part 3.

Hello. Here's the third part of our special four part series where I review stuff that can be found online. It's like I'm Adam West, the internet is Burgess Meredith, and both of us are intent on fighting each other to the bitter end. Who will win? Find out next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Dur-nur-nur-nur-nur-nur-nur-nur...

If you live in the UK there’s a strong chance you will never have heard of The River. A TV show that premiered on ABC in the States earlier this year, it boasts movie making legend Steven Spielberg as a producer and Hollywood’s favourite Israeli born profit making machine Orin Peli as its creator. Considered a hot prospect when pitched to the studios, ABC won a bidding war with NBC to secure the rights to screen it and in May 2011 they green lit the production of an eight episode first season to be added to their schedule in early 2012.

In an astonishing development however The River failed to find a home in the UK. Despite an ever increasing number of cable channels popping up on the TV guide like whack-a-moles (Gee Note: Celebrating unethical ways of dealing with pests since 1976 y’all), The River was seemingly deemed too expensive to be worth a shot. And so instead it is now available to viewers here in Blighty exclusively on iTunes, where it will cost you a princely sum of £10 to watch it from start to finish in standard definition on your computer screen.

(Gee Note: I wouldn’t advise it though. Outside of an incredible sequence in the pilot episode where some dude gets eaten by Flubber’s evil twin, The River is a bunch of irritating people stuck on a boat investigating mysteries that wouldn’t have made it in to even the weakest episodes of Scooby Doo. And when you consider that in Scooby Doo 9 times out of 10 the main antagonist turned out to be the caretaker wearing a wig, that’s a pretty damning indictment)

Now this is rather disturbing on a number of levels. Firstly, because British television is incapable of making anything other than period dramas, we rely quite heavily on American genre shows to fill the void. And despite the fact that The River hasn’t exactly been met with universal critical acclaim across the pond, the team of Spielberg and Peli should have been more than enough to attract any broadcaster looking to plump up their autumn line-up a little bit. But despite that, no one in Britain took the bait. Which means that, no matter how attractive the package, UK channels are no longer in the market for new imports without an established audience. Which in turn means that cheaper alternatives will need to be found to occupy the airwaves. One of these will be repeats. Another will be non-scripted reality shows that can be made for next to nothing.

Shows like Our Psychic Family, for example.

Our Psychic Family is the study of the Hamilton-Parkers who “are just like any other British family, except they’re all psychic” according to the opening voice over. The problem is of course, having lived in Britain all my life I can confirm that the Hamilton-Parkers are about as far removed from British families as the Addams Family are from American ones (Gee Note: By the way I originally wrote that as “the Manson Family” and not “the Addams Family”. But then I found a video of Ted Cassidy doing a song and dance routine in character as Lurch and, well, I couldn’t in all good conscience not include it here for you.

See? The sacrifices I make for you guys. And do you ever send me a fruit basket as a thank you? No. No you don’t. I don’t know why I bother sometimes).

Instead the Hamilton-Parkers consist of patriarch Craig (Gee Note: An incredibly dull man who is trying to spice up his image by growing out a mullet, in spite of a rapidly receding hairline. As a result he looks a bit like Terry Nutkins but without the sex appeal. Think about that), mother Jane, elder daughter Celeste, and younger daughter Jack from Mass Effect Danielle. The premise is a simple one. A camera crew follow the family around on a day to day basis capturing the wacky world of the modern medium. Or at least that’s what I think they were going for. Alas the finished product never quite gets there. For a start Celeste has recently given birth to a baby boy and as such is scarcely around (Gee Note: A shame too, as amongst this bunch of basket cases she seemed to be the most sensible one. I know that’s a bit like being named “Prettiest jailbird in Ohio” but it’s better than nothing I suppose), while Danielle is too busy helping Commander Sheppard save the universe from The Reapers both slightly embarrassed by the whole "psychic" thing and about as charismatic as a trout with a lazy eye.

And so it’s up to Craig and Jane to carry the majority of the show, with a little help from their “Psychic Protégé” Nicholas, a camp Asian who has eyebrows so thick they could be used to scrub saucepans. In the opening episode entitled “Fated to Date” it appears Nicky’s main role is to bail the other two out when their clairvoyant powers fail them. As the show kicks off Craig performs a reading with a woman where he correctly guesses that her dad had a bad chest before he died and that she knows someone called “Jack”. But he starts to falter when he gets a bit too ambitious and it turns out her grandson doesn’t have an imaginary friend, nor does he enjoy football all that much. Thrown off his game Craig hands over to N to the Sizzle, who states “I sense that you’re not very happy in your job”, and like Mel Gibson after a PR disaster they’re back on the wagon. “Everything you’ve just said was a hundred per cent right” says the woman, completely forgetting that five minutes ago Papa Seer was clutching at straws so badly he may as well have been feeding a donkey. 

Jane follows this by holding a session with a mother and daughter looking to contact their son/brother who took his own life. Well versed in the art of saying nothing and making it sound impressive Jane mentions the young man owning a hoodie which bowls over the two guests. (Gee Note: I know right? Imagine predicting that someone under 20 would own a hoodie. I nearly fell off my chair!). She then says a lot of stuff about how sorry he is that he committed suicide and how he now realises it was selfish, which gets the two women welling up. This time around Nicholas is a wee bit less spectacular, mentioning that he feels the man in question was under a “lot of stress” (Gee Note: Wow. A suicidal person suffering from stress? I’ve never heard the like. I’m surprised he didn’t go all the way and say “they also had a touch of the gloomies” as well). Still despite being fed an A-Grade line in bullshit Barnum statements, the women leave singing the praises of the Hamilton-Parkers.

I have to admit at this point my patience was wearing thin. Rather than the knockabout Osbournes-esque farce where crazy characters talk to dead people over an afternoon cup of tea I had been expecting, Our Psychic Family comes across as an extended advert for the Hamilton-Parkers’ private practice. The problem is that, on this evidence, they’re not actually all that good at what they do. There’s no stand out moment where you think that they have legitimately contacted the spirit world, largely because there’s nothing that either Craig or Jane come up with that couldn’t have been achieved by even the most incompetent mentalist. So disheartening was this programme that I was ready to turn the whole thing off and find something else more important to do after about ten minutes. Like making a cloak out of an old curtain so I could pretend to be a super-villain who terrifies people with unusually large vegetables. Stuff like that.

So thank the maker above for Johnny.

The Hamilton-Parkers next project is to hold a special dating night in a bar in London. A group of singles get together and are paired off by Craig and Jane using their psychic powers to match those who are most suited to each other. One of these dateless wonders is the aforementioned Johnny. Hailing from “somewhere posh” according to the subtitle (Gee Note: Research is overrated anyway), and looking like a cross between Tim Vine and Boris Johnson (Gee Note: Phoooawrr. Am I right ladies?), the J man isn’t one of those desperate losers who can’t get a female companion for love nor money. No way Jose. The reason why Johnny is still on the market is because he is too selective. According to the man himself, "The kind of girls I normally go for are tall, brunette, slim," he says in a plummy voice "with nipples I can see coming through the t-shirt”.

And with that one sentence Johnny became the best thing I have ever seen on television.

Obviously feeling he was on a roll, Johnny followed this up with some dating advice for the men out there. “I value good breeding which you don’t often find. A good lineage like a horse or a greyhound. People, dogs and horses are very similar I find. You’ve got to look at the pedigree”. By the time he’d finished I was begging the producers to abandon this silly idea of a family of psychics and instead follow Johnny around on blind dates as he gets a variety of drinks thrown over him. Seriously, I’d watch that show every night. I’d tell my friends to watch that show every night. I’d drunk dial random strangers late at night and berate them for not watching it. Bottom line is THIS MAN NEEDS HIS OWN SHOW. He certainly saved this one, as after that point I couldn’t turn away for a second less I miss more Johnny awesomeness.

Sadly more Johnny was apparently not on the menu that night. What followed was five minutes of sheer tedium as the production team checked in with the awkward couples as they forced small talk. One fella forgets to bring his date cutlery. Another attempts to win over his voluntary hostage with lame jokes (Gee Note: Exactly like one of my dates. Except without the rope. And the bolt cutters. And the crying.) Unsurprisingly, despite Craig and Jane sitting at the bar with self-satisfied smirks, only one of the couples agree to see each other again. With the rest it appears the guys are keen, while the women are about as interested as Paris Hilton would be in the history of cement between 1834 and 1902.

Saving the best till last we finally get a comment from Johnny who appears to have made the best out of a bad situation. “I had a bit of a squint around and I didn’t see any tall, well formed, brunettes with really good figures. And as soon as I didn’t see that I realised I had to lower my bar a little bit. If I had my beer goggles on I think I’d definitely reprioritise”. I had to rewind that three times to work out if that meant he had enjoyed himself or not. I’m still not sure.

And then it ended. Now I’ll be honest with you, I felt quite empty inside after it was all said and done. Partly because I knew I’d never see Johnny on my television ever again. But mostly because Our Psychic Family had failed to connect with me in even the most basic ways. I wasn’t amused by people pretending to be all Haley Joel Osment seeing dead people. I wasn’t angered by the sheer cheek of them charging people money for this rag tag, bargain basement, mind reading schtick. I didn’t care that I’d just been subjected to the worst parade of haircuts this side of the 1980’s. Instead it felt like I’d just spent 23 minutes in the television equivalent of a void in space.

Still, if the fate of The River is anything to go by, those of us in the UK should try and get used to this type of thing. After all, this time next year there’s a good chance we’ll be balls deep in shows like Our Psychic Family.

Yeah. I agree. It does suck when you think about it.

Our Psychic Family is available online to both Virgin Media and Sky customers. If you aren't a customer of either of those then watch this instead. Trust me. It will rock your socks.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Adventures In The Stream Trade. Part 2.

Hello. Here's the second part of our special four part series where I review stuff that can be found online. You could say I watch the stuff you don't want to. You could also say "Wow. That Gareth Davies is like a hero or a ninja". Both of which would be completely true.

The big controversy coming out of the 84th Academy Awards wasn’t that The Tree Of Life got nominated for Best Picture (Gee Note: Let’s face it, at this point Terrence Malik could film himself farting in to a cardboard box for two hours and the critics would hail it as a post-modern masterpiece), nor that Gary Oldman didn’t win Best Actor. It wasn’t even that Bret Ratner uses the odd gay slur here and there. No siree, the real scandal involved British one joke wonder Sacha Baron Cohen. In an effort to promote his new movie The Dictator, Baron Cohen had announced he would be arriving at the awards in character as Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen. Fearing something untoward was about to take place the producers of the show threatened to revoke Baron Cohen’s tickets to the event, and only relented when he promised that no disruptions would occur. A deal was therefore struck where Sacha would arrive in his Dictator costume, do some interviews on the red carpet, before changing in to his tuxedo in a specially arranged dressing room and performing a skit during the main broadcast.

So of course, Sacha being Sacha, he rocked up to the Oscars red carpet and did this.


Except it’s not. Not really. Sure if this was 1995 then it might raise a giggle. But shock humour like that just doesn’t have the same impact it used to. We’ve seen it all before, from Dennis Pennis harassing Kevin Costner to Little Ant & Dec asking Sarah Michelle Geller if she ever got sick of Freddie Prinze Jnr. Instead this comes across as a desperate plea for attention. Look at me. Look how zany I am. I’m dumping pancake mix all over Ryan Seacrest. Aren’t I kerrr-azy? Look at me. Please. Please will you look at me?

Now had this been in another era then Baron Cohen’s ass would have been shown the door quicker than you could say “Oh sweet Jesus. Billy Crystal is doing his Sammy Davis Jnr impersonation again. Guy's been dead for 22 years. Why does he keep doing this?”. But the Oscars are very much a wounded beast, scared of becoming even less relevant than they already are. After a couple of disastrous years where viewers have been subjected to Hugh Jackman’s one man musical theatre show and James Franco stoned off his box , the Academy Awards are desperate for anything that might strike a chord with the audience. And as the artist formerly known as Bruno seems rather popular with masses, he was escorted directly to his dressing room where producers expected him get changed and carry out the rest of the plan as normal. Well Sacha did get changed, but then promptly did a bunk to the Vanity Fair viewing party and ditched the main show all together.

So how did the Oscar hierarchy react to Baron Cohen’s blatant snub? They pretty much held their hands up with a smile and said “That’s our Sacha!”. Not a single word of criticism or condemnation escaped their lips, ensuring that short of climbing up the balcony, taking out his tackle, and weeing all over Angelina Jolie, Borat can do whatever he likes and get invited back time after time.

Compare that to Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd doesn’t get invited to the Oscars anymore. Now that’s not because he’s a grown man with the mental age of a spoilt teenager like Baron Cohen. Nor is it because he had a meltdown on stage involving several n-bombs like Michael Richards. He didn’t even rape a 13 girl like Roman Polanski did. Oh no my friends. Aykroyd’s crimes are much worse than that. He committed the most heinous act one can in Hollywood. Dan Aykroyd simply stopped being popular.

And it wasn’t just the Oscars that gave up on poor Dan. Hollywood itself shrugged its shoulders and walked away. Despite making approximately a film a year since 2001 Aykroyd has only received top billing on one of those, a Canadian comedy called White Coats that was so awful no respected movie critic bothered to watch it. Maybe that’s a good thing though, as since 1998 almost every single motion picture Aykroyd has appeared in has been met with the same reception Chris Brown would get in a women’s shelter (Gee Note: Speaking of which, I mean not really but keep up, have you ever tried reading Rihanna’s twitter feed? It’s just occasional random thoughts and words that don’t go together. Like playing an advanced game of Boggle with a telepath. Or “BogglePath” as it will be called in the future when humankind has developed mind powers due to radiation and stuff. I’ve read comic books, I know the score here). Bear in mind this man created Ghostbusters. And The Blue Brothers. And wiped the floor with John Cusack in Grosse Point Blank. And was nominated for an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy. And yet somehow he can’t get his name above the title for a movie about Britney Spears finding herself by writing f***ing awful poetry.

Which is probably the reason Dan has decided to diversify himself as a business man. One of his projects is an alcoholic beverage that… well… look I’m not going to even bother trying to explain this. Here’s a video instead.

(Gee Note: Crystal Skull Vodka. For those of you who enjoy both a drink and scaring the bejesus out of the family dog. Also is it just me or does Phil Powers look terrified when the camera cuts to him? Poor man. Aykroyd must be a horrible guy to work for. “BAH!! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!? YOU PROMISED ME THE PUREST VODKA AROUND!!! DO I HAVE TO START BEATING YOU AGAIN POWERS???” “No Mr. Aykroyd sir. Please sir. We’ve filtered it three times now sir. There’s nothing else we can do.” “WELL THEN FILTER IT AGAIN YOU MORON!!! BUT THIS TIME DO IT THROUGH DIAMONDS. YES. THAT’S IT. DIAMONDS. CLASS THAT SHIT UP A BIT!!!” “But sir I really don’t see how dia…” “ARE YOU QUESTIONING ME POWERS?!?!?!” “No sir. Not at all. Diamonds it is. I’ll get right on it.” “EXCELLENT. NOW… GO MAKE ME A SANDWICH”).

Another project of Aykroyd’s during his down period is Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs. A documentary directed by David Sereda it was initially released on DVD before, like a Z-list celebrity sex tape, it found its way online.

So of course I had to watch it.

I’ll be honest with you though. I don’t know quite what to make of it. For a start there’s probably more video footage of alleged UFO sightings contained within this documentary than you’re likely to find anywhere else. Of course most of it is “grainy, hand-held camera, could be an alien spaceship, could be a large bird lighting up a smoke” kind of stuff. But every once in a while Sereda throws in something genuinely intriguing, such as recordings from NASA appearing to show objects in space defying the laws of physics. These are coupled with sound bites from various witnesses and experts, including Stephen Basset, Paul Hellyer, and Gordon Cooper. In fact the Cooper material is arguably the most fascinating. A former astronaut, test pilot, and Colonel of the United States Air Force, Gordon’s testimony about being outmanoeuvred by “strange saucer looking vehicles” is probably the finest achievement of this feature.

But, frustratingly, all that is relegated to 10 second filler pieces here and there. Because this documentary is about one thing, and one thing only. And no, it’s not about UFOs. Stop being silly. This documentary is all about how brilliant Dan Aykroyd is.

Right from the off we’re told of how in awe Sereda is of his subject. During David’s opening voice over he states “One time I had this long conversation with Dan Aykroyd about UFOs, and I thought it was like Einstein was hiding inside of a comic genius so that if he told us the real truth you wouldn’t have to believe it. If Einstein had told us UFOs were real would you have believed him? He never spoke about it.”. (Gee Note: No really. That’s how it starts. A big bag full of boot licking. And yet it doesn’t make an ounce of sense. I mean I am the only one who doesn’t understand a word of that? What difference does it make if Einstein had an opinion about UFOs or not? It’s like saying “If Muhammad Ali told you that tickling the tummy of a kitten cures cancer, would you believe him?”. It’s a completely pointless statement. Also comparing Dan Aykroyd to Albert Einstein? Really? I’m surprised that Sereda didn’t also inform us how tight and firm Dan’s buttocks are, or how he once saved an entire orphanage from a fire by carrying all the children out of the burning building on his back, like a giant super tortoise).

The problem is though Aykroyd doesn’t look like a genius. He looks like Dan Aykroyd. Sure that’s not a bad thing (Gee Note: Although Dan is shot in such an extreme close up that you can clearly see the sweat glistening on his face. Either that or he spent that entire afternoon getting one lap dance after another and is now covered in glitter. Movie stars eh? Bloody spoilt they are). But as he chain smokes his way through 80 minutes of uneven UFO talk, at no point do you get the impression that Aykroyd has anything truly thought provoking to say on the subject. Partly because Sereda does such a piss poor job of feeding Aykroyd questions to answer that all they talk about are their vague theories on what Jack McSpaceman might be up to. For example, the blatantly obvious question “Dan, there’s a lot of skeptics out there who contend that UFOs can be reasonably explained as everyday natural occurrences. Is there a specific case from history you would point them to? If so, what would you say to them?” is never asked. Instead because Sereda believes in alien visitors from Jupiter so strongly, all objectivity is thrown completely out of the window.

So in place of something that could have been truly entertaining with Aykroyd passionately arguing the case for the existence of UFOs, we’re instead treated to statements such as “It’s important that some branches of the military and the police be briefed on those and told they are real, people are being abducted, there’s mind control at play here. And that we have to be vigilant”. Which led to me shouting at the top of my voice (Gee Note: So loudly I woke up the baby and the Future-Ex Mrs. Davies at the same time. That was a fun conversation let me tell you) “Why? Why do we have to be vigilant? What led you to that conclusion? WHERE DOES F***ING MIND CONTROL COME IN TO THIS? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”. There’s no context, no counterpoint, just an extended talking head interview with an ex-SNL cast member that in any other programme would have been edited down to two minutes tops. It’s like you’re forced to listen to a conversation between two people you don’t know, who never acknowledge your presence, about something you don’t necessarily agree with.

That’s not to say that Aykroyd doesn’t make some good points. When discussing a recent sighting in Mexico being explained by the authorities as swamp gas Dan says “I don’t know if swamps gas is capable of completing a complete circuit around an aircraft and then taking off at high speed”, and when talking about space travel “These beings have anything from a thousand to a million to ten million to a billion years advanced when it comes to technology”. But these are soon lost in a sea of pointless twaddle including “Who would Dan Aykroyd like to meet from history?” and “What would Dan Aykroyd say to an alien?”. (Gee Note: Seriously. I’m not making that up. Throw in a couple of cushions and a dog and we’ve got ourselves an OK! Magazine cover spread.)

And that’s the thing about Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs. It’s difficult to see who this is aimed at. UFO fanatics will already know about every event touched on here only in much greater detail. UFO skeptics will find nothing that will shatter their reality and make them think twice. The only people for who this could possibly hold interest are die hard Aykroyd superfans. And even then the over the top brown nosing to the Canadian funny man might be a touch too much (Gee Note: In the end credits it reads, and I swear to Sputnik this is true, “Starring Dan Aykroyd. In honour of his courage for bringing the UFO issue in to full public disclosure.”. Sigh. Look, he’s a dude who knows a lot about flying saucers. He’s not Ernie F***ing Pyle).

Especially when you consider that the moments of levity during this broadcast are practically non-existent. Sure Aykroyd speaks eloquently and at length, and he really does know his stuff when it comes to little green men. But all it is are his theories on what UFOs could be, and what could happen should aliens make contact with humans. Outside of one amazing story about Aykroyd’s Sci-Fi show Out There never airing because some shadowy men in black in an invisible car spiked it for getting too close to the truth (Gee Note: I… oh I don’t know. Although I’m pretty sure an invisible car would be against the Highway Code. You could probably report them for it. That would take them down a peg or two, the suit wearing bastards), Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs isn’t zany enough to be fun viewing, and isn’t challenging enough to be captivating.

And it’s a shame because Dan Aykroyd investigating alien abductions and sightings is actually a concept I can totally get on board with. But sadly in the end, no matter how sycophantic it is, Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs doesn’t do justice to either Dan Aykroyd or UFOs.

Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs can be found on the US version of Netflix. If you don't have access to that you can also view it on Google Video here. Or you can watch that video of the baby panda sneezing for the 698983726382380th time. That's the beauty of the internet. Multiple choice. Well that and porn.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Adventures In The Stream Trade. Part 1.

Hello. Our TV broke down last night. By coincidence here’s the first in a four part series of posts where I review things that can be found online. If that doesn’t sound appealing then, well, I don’t know what to say. Sucks to be you I guess.

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article on this ‘ere internet-ma-doodle about conspiracy theories. The premise was a simple one. I was going to attempt to make my fortune by positioning myself as a spiritual guru, enabling crazy people to send me tons of cash and allowing me to fulfil my life long goals of owning a top hat made of gold and training a Tapir to make me sandwiches. Using David Icke as my template I made up uncovered a startling truth about the rulers of the Earth being birds instead of humans and how they were hell bent on keeping us oppressed by feeding virgins to werewolves and manipulating world events to meet their feathery needs.

Anyway I did what I always do when putting together stuff for this blog. I drank a cup of tea, bashed it out on a keyboard, agonised over it for about twenty minutes, drank another cup of tea, thought “f*** it, that will do”, and clicked “submit”, before heading off to bounce my daughter on my knee and silently curse the makers of pre-school television (Gee Note: Like the bastards behind “Something Special” for example, which if you aren’t aware of it involves a clown called Mr. Tumble who has the IQ of a dead marmoset. No really. Yesterday he spent twenty minutes trying to work out if a book should sit on a shelf or go in the fridge. TWENTY MINUTES. By the end I was ready to attack the TV with a knife). And after that I didn’t think all that much about it.

Until about three days after it was posted that is. I was catching up with my email, trawling through my inbox and deleting several items with titles such as “Gr0w Y0ur Pen1s 5ize” (Gee Note: You know what bothers me about those? How do they know I… er… I mean why do they assume I have a small penis. I could be hung like a horse over here and have absolutely no need for their product. I mean I’m not obviously, but I could be. Really, I would write them a stern reply pointing out their presumptuous behaviour if they weren’t offering me 20% off), when I stumbled across something completely unexpected. An email addressed to me sent from someone I didn’t know with the words “David Icke – I Saw Elvis In The Woods” in the subject line.

“Wow”, I thought to myself. “Fan mail. Actual legitimate fan mail. Normally I have to beg my friends to read this thing. Not even The Future Ex-Mrs. Davies will do it unless I promise to take the bins out. And yet this person here has not only read it, but taken the time and effort to compose their thoughts about how much they enjoyed it and sent me a lovely message to let me know. Awesome. I should send them something as a thank you. A cupcake perhaps? Yes, that’s it. I’ll get their address and send them a cupcake”. I’ll admit as I double-clicked on the envelope I felt a bit giddy.

Here’s what the email said:

Dear Dickhead.

How DARE you call David Icke a snakeoil salesmen! Icke is a truth seeker and a hero. Something you obviusly ARE NOT! I bet you’ve never even read one of his books or been to a lecture. While you sit there in your smug glass palace throwing stones Icke is telling the REAL TRUTH! You are so wrong that I would say that you are part of the Illuminati itself. An attempt to put us off the scent and TRICK us. But I don’t think the illuminati would waste there time with an idiot like YOU!

Shit. And I spent ten minutes looking up cupcake recipes for nothing.

The tirade didn’t end there dear reader. Oh my word no. On and on it went. And on. And on. And on again. In the end I was called an “idiot” seven times – three times in CAPS - Icke was labelled a genius three times, a hero twice, and the grand finale was a long winded rant that questioned my parentage using the words “backwads” and “gulible”.

After recovering from the shock of discovering that David Icke not only has passionate followers but also that they have no idea how to use a spell check, I was in two minds about whether to reply or not. After humming and haaaing about if for a while I decided against it. Partly because I tend to avoid confrontation like Wesley Snipes avoids the IRS. And partly because deep down I know they’re right. I am an idiot (Gee Note: No joke, earlier on today I nearly destroyed my kitchen by accidentally putting a Pringles tube in to the blender). Not just that but I’ve also never been to one of David Icke’s lectures. Sure I’ve read a couple of his books. And I watched the documentary “David Icke: Was he right?” that aired on Channel 5 a couple of years ago. But when it comes to stumping up my hard earned cash to see Davey strut his stuff live on stage, I must admit I’ve been sorely lacking.

Oh. If only there was a way I could see one of David Icke’s shows without having to pay £139 for the privilege (Gee Note: Which is how much the remaining tickets for his performance at Wembley Arena will set you back. £139. Now, unless he has live dinosaurs juggling fire, it’s pretty hard to justify spending that amount of money to watch a middle aged man howling at the moon for three hours straight).

Well thanks to the Netflix, there is. Having launched their UK service back in January, the on-demand internet streaming company has initially struggled with content. Britain it turns out is a mine field when it comes to who has the rights to show what and where. And so while on the American version of Netflix you can watch all 3 seasons of the awesome British supernatural drama Being Human, here in Blighty itself you have to make do with The Little House. Now I have no idea what The Little House is about but I highly doubt it features ghouls and ghosts kicking several bells of shit out of each other. In that respect Netflix UK is a bit of a lame duck.

But it does have one hidden treasure. Yes siree folks. Lock up your children and put your pets to bed. Because dagnammit if Netflix isn’t home to a little ditty known as David Icke: Live at the Oxford Union Debating Society.

It all kicks off reasonably enough. Diamond Dave introduces the show with a brief history of Oxford University, which he claims is “a major Illuminati centre” where students are groomed in to becoming mini-overlords of the Earth so that those currently in charge can kick back and spend more time in the Alps. He then launches in to a story about former President of the Oxford Union Debating Society Sir Ted Heath, of which Icke says “The last time I looked in to Ted Heath’s eyes, as I talk about in my books, they turned jet black and I had a very very strange experience with him” (Gee Note: By “strange experience” do you just mean the eye stuff? Or did you end up back at his place with a hose pipe and a bearded lady with three fingers on her right hand?).

Sadly in those initial five minutes, we encounter problems that dog the rest of the broadcast. Firstly despite claiming at one point during his talk that his theories are “Not something I’m trying to sell you”, Icke is constantly plugging his books. In fact in a two hour period David uses a variant of the phrase “I cover this in more detail in my books” at least eight times (Gee Note: I’m told that’s once every 15 minutes. The reason I’m told this is because I’m a grown man and I still have to use my fingers if I want add or subtract something without the aid of a calculator. Still who needs maths when you’re as pretty as I am?). Secondly, and more importantly, what we have here is a theme that dominates the whole proceeding - all style and no substance. Take the mini-overlord grooming, for example. Having made such a grand statement, one would think that it would be natural to follow it up with an example or two of how such a thing would be accomplished. Do these evil forces tie these naïve clever clogs to chairs and brainwash them using mind bending videos? Do they slip reality altering drugs in to their organic couscous? Do they take them in to a dark room somewhere and say “Listen Daddio. World’s, like, all ruled by us and shit. You want in?”? Alas Icke never elaborates on this, or anything else for that matter.

Instead what follows is a two hour snooze fest only occasionally brightened by David Icke unintentionally channelling the spirit of David Brent. During his speech he constantly quotes honest-to-God great thinkers like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr, Oscar Wilde, and even comedy legend Bill Hicks. Hell he even closes his statement with Hicks’ amazing “It’s just a ride” routine. The difference of course being that while Hicks was appealing for unity and love the world over, Icke has twisted it in to a call to arms against those “oppressing” us. And then there’s George Orwell. Orwell gets the biggest props of the night, as the term “Orwellian State” is used over and over. Speed cameras – That’s the Orwellian State that is. CCTV – Another example of the Orwellian State we live in. Having to provide a proof of address in order to rent a DVD – Big ass Orwellian State up in here.

But it’s not just quotes from famous folks taken out of context. There are also funny pictures with captions to be had. We have one of a sheep watching Fox News. Geddit?!?! (Gee Note: Not really. Do sheep vote Republican?). Then there’s the one of an elephant sitting on a sofa between two people that signifies… wait for it… the elephant in the room. And then there’s the one with a picture of Hitler and George W. Bush with the text “Same Shit. Different Asshole”. Which is pretty edgy stuff I think you’ll agree. Thankfully the good folk of Oxford seem to be well aware of Godwin’s Law and aren’t swayed by the idea that the 43rd US President is responsible for the death of six million Jews.

By the time that sexy beast rolls around we’re about 45 minutes in, and the wheels have completely fallen off Icke’s wagon. It’s not that David isn’t a good orator you understand. He’s passionate, articulate, and has obviously honed his craft over the years. But his content is as weak as Happy Shopper lemon squash. He’s forever talking about taking a step back and “seeing the bigger picture” but he never explains what that picture is. It has something to do with the Illuminati, I know that much. And that the planet is being manipulated by an “unbelievably few” people so that they can form a one world government and rule us all with an iron fist. But as to who these people are and what motivates them to go to all that trouble in the first place, I haven’t the foggiest. Are they doing it for kicks? Because they like playing God? Or is it just a global prank by tricksters looking to sell the footage to an intergalactic version of MTV? I don’t know. And the sad thing is, I’m not sure Icke does either. At one point Davey even exclaims “The Illuminati… and often they don’t give themselves a name. You try researching an organisation without a name. It’s not easy. But Illuminati is one they do use” (Gee Note: I just Googled “Illuminati” and there’s over 42 million results for it. For a secret society who want to stay under the radar that’s got to be disappointing. They should have gone with something else. Like The Larussos. Or The Zeperrinos. Goggle those and you either get results for the Karate Kid or the mugshot of some guy who got busted for drunk driving. Either way, no one would suspect a thing).

This might go some way to explaining why he’s so fuzzy on the details. After all if you can’t research something then discovering hard facts about the subject must be a pretty tough task. (Gee Note: You know, like driving blindfolded. Or spending ten minutes with Chris Brown without giving in to the urge to set yourself on fire as a form of sweet relief). Possibly because of the alarming lack of solid evidence, the former Captain Turquoise seems desperate to hammer home the few things he can prove. At one point he wails almost in delight about Prescott Bush, father of George H. W. Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush, funding Hitler. Icke claims people had called him mad when he said that Bush the Elder had secretly given financial aid to the Nazi Party, only for Government documents to rock up in the early 2000’s and prove him right. “See?” he says “It’s all connected. Same shit. Different asshole”. Except that the truth is a little less explosive. Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of the Union Banking Corporation, which was controlled by the Thyssen family, a set of wealthy German nationals. The leader of the pack was Fritz Thyssen who certainly did give money to the Nazi party before 1938. After 1938 however Fritz began to think that Hitler might actually be an unstable lunatic rather than a sound politician and started to speak out against the Nazis. Until he got arrested and locked up that is. Now whether Prescott Bush was aware of any of this is, at best, debatable. What he certainly didn’t do was send blank cheques to Germany PO BOX 1 made out to Mr. A. Hitler as Icke would have you believe. Really the worst Bush can be accused of is doing business with someone who might have been a casual racist. And considering you could probably say the same for anyone who has bought fruit and veg from a white man in East London in the last fifty years, it’s not exactly a damning indictment.

Yet even with “facts” on his side, the big fish just seem to keep on escaping David’s net. When he announces rather grandly that he’s “going to start talking about 9/11 now” an uncomfortable tension seeps across the Oxford Union. But it turns out they need not have worried. You see while there’s no question in David’s mind that 9/11 was an “inside job”, the problem is he obviously has absolutely no idea how to prove it. And so he goes with a picture of a scarf found in the wreckage alleged to have come from one of the passengers that day. “Look at that! The scarf! How could that have fallen 1500ft? It’s not even dirty”. Which is a good point. An even better point however is WHAT ABOUT THE TWO PLANES SLAMMING IN TO THE F***ING SIDE OF A SKY SCRAPER??? And even when Icke gets it right he gets it wrong, such as the part where he discusses the possibility of Osama Bin Laden being CIA trained. David treats this as if it’s a big secret that he and he alone has unearthed, which seeing as it was being reported by the BBC all the way back in 2001 makes him look just a little bit silly.

And that, I guess, is the overall story of David Icke: Live At The Oxford Union Debating Society. Despite his best efforts, all Icke brings to the dance are half-truths and controversial opinions presented as if they are facts. By the time he gets to the real wacky stuff, such as the CIA stapling a colostomy bag filled with highly addictive drugs to one of their operatives chests to keep them loyal, or that the universe is a giant hologram and the only thing that really exists is the human mind, it all seems rather pitiful. Largely because the audience, having been thoroughly bored to tears, honestly could not care a jot. (Gee Note: No really. You can clearly see several of them yawning and stretching their arms out. There are even some of them who leave halfway through for a “loo” break and never return. Not to mention the guy sitting at the back who, I swear to the various Greek Gods, seems to be entertaining himself by drawing cartoon versions of male genitalia). You could have told them you keep the head of Walt Disney in your freezer and only bring it out to use as a sex toy and they wouldn’t have given a monkey’s uncle at that point. For the ones who turned up to mock him, David Icke the loon simply wasn’t bonkers enough. For the ones who came to support him, David Icke the profit wasn’t profound enough. Instead he was just kind of there for two hours.

Still they did manage to find one person who enjoyed the show, a young chap who attended the event and was given a talking head segment after the dust had settled. Said he “He’s preaching quite a positive message especially espousing the infinite consciousness and the fulfilment of potential before it’s constricted by societal constructs. You can juxtapose that with the quite negative images portrayed in mass market media and choose your own way, as he says.” (Gee Note: Ooooh somebody got a dictionary for Christmas. Me? I got a DVD boxset of Count Duckula. Maybe that’s why I never went to Oxford?). Mind, the guy saying this is also wearing a t-shirt with Icke’s face on it, so he’s clearly a goofball. A well-spoken goofball sure. But a goofball none the less. Outside of him, the interviews with audience members are mixed at best, with such statements as “I think people were open to hearing what he said. I don’t in any sense think they took on board and followed what he said literally” and “People shouldn’t necessarily come to the conclusions he has, I certainly haven’t.”. And these, bear in mind, were probably the least critical voices the production crew could find.

Still it’s only fair that we give the last word to David Icke himself. Early on in the proceedings while explaining the public backlash against him in the early 90’s, Icke muses that “If I am seen as sane by a world this crazy, I’m disappointed”. Which is fine I suppose.

The problem is though David, on this evidence the world doesn’t see you as crazy. Just boring.

David Icke: Live At The Oxford Union Debating Society can be found on Netflix. Also on there is The Princess Bride. If you have two hours spare, choose the latter option. You’ll thank me for it later.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Here endeth the lesson.

No matter how hard I try I simply cannot muster a single ounce of sympathy for The Sun newspaper.

Last week, in what associate editor Trevor Kavanagh described as a "Witch Hunt", five of The Sun's journalists were arrested in connection with alleged corrupt payments to police officers (Gee Note: In order to get "scoopz" I guess. I highly doubt they were offering coppers cash for a neck massage or something). Coming off the back of the recent phone hacking scandal that saw the demise of their sister paper the News Of The Screws World, with fresh revelations arriving daily from the on-going Leveson inquiry in to media ethics (Gee Note: Which has seen witness statements for celebs such as Charlotte Church and Steve Coogan, all of whom have agreed that News International is home to a bunch of sociopathic scumbags), these arrests couldn't come at a worse time. True to form however, rather than hold their hands up and admit that they probably shouldn't have been doing something illegal in the first place, an article penned by the aforementioned Mr. Kavanagh instead criticised the police for… er… doing their jobs rather than receiving large unmarked brown envelopes and keeping quiet about it.

But then The Sun has always had a borderline personality disorder when it comes to those who cross them. Take the case of Chris Bryant MP. In 2003 Bryant was tasked with questioning then Sun editor and Rupert Murdoch acolyte Rebekah Brooks as part of the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee. During the interview he asked her if while under her stewardship either the Sun or the News Of The World had been involved in various improper acts. Brooks replied that "We have paid for police for information in the past" and had to have her bacon saved by colleague Andy Coulson who maintained that these payments were made lawfully. The Sun's response to the embarrassing faux pas? Fire Rebekah Brooks perhaps? Issue a memo banning all employees from saying stupid things in public? Call up some lawyers on the off chance that someone might take the idea of illegally paying police officers for information seriously? Well it was none of those things. Instead a series of articles were published mocking Chris Bryant, including one where the openly gay politician was shown posing in his underwear on a dating website. In that respect The Sun is a bit like the mafia. You don't mess with them, and should you be foolish enough to do so then they will come back at you tenfold. (Gee Note: It's just like Sean Connery said in The Untouchables. "They pull a knife, you pull a multi-national media empire". As true today as it was then).

Another issue with The Sun is that often the stories printed in it are about as far from the truth as Mel Gibson is from winning "Tolerant Gentleman Of The Year". Whether it be an article claiming that Liverpool football fans involved in the Hillsborough Disaster urinated on people's lifeless bodies, or one claiming Elton John hired rent boys and was such a diva that he had his dog's voice boxes removed so that their barks wouldn't keep him awake at night (Gee Note: No really. They actually printed these things. The Elton one they had to retract after he sued them for a £1million. And it took 20 years for them to print an apology for the Hillsborough piece. By which point circulation for The Sun had dropped to just 12000 in Liverpool. Which means that you could sell brown linen rags soaked in the Ebola virus for £20 a go out of the back of a camper van and it would still be more popular in Merseyside than The Sun) The Sun has always had a reckless attitude towards printing actual facts. Such is the case with the Siberian Woolly Mammoth.

On the 8th February this year The Sun reported that a live woolly mammoth had been captured on video. This video in fact.

Now you'd only really need to watch it a couple of times to come to the conclusion that it is not on the level. For a start there's something ever so slightly off about the creature, such as the way the head stays rigidly still, or the way it creeps forward despite only using one of its front legs, or - from the mammoth's perspective - the alarming lack of a dome on top of its noggin. Also I’m no expert in elephant behaviour, but I would guess that a pachyderm crossing a river would probably raise its trunk up a little bit in order to, you know, breath (Gee Note: Unless our furry friend is tired of living that is. In which case, DON’T DO IT MAMMOTH. YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR. I mean sure, all your friends probably died in the ice age. And it can’t be easy getting a regular job being a giant wild beast with no fixed abode. And you can’t exactly pick up the phone and call the Samaritans, what with no opposable thumb or fingers to dial the number with. But it’s not like you're Bobby Brown or something. I mean that dude is a complete mess. Although it is understandable considering Whitney’s dead and that he’s spent the last several years taking drugs like he was a one man pharmacy. What I’m saying is Mammoth, things could be worse you know?).

But even without all that the alarm signs are aplenty. The fact that the video is inexplicably only 10 seconds long (Gee Note: “Hmm. This large previously thought to be extinct creature sure is interesting, but I’ve got to save the battery for Mika’s surprise birthday party. I wouldn’t want to miss catching his face when the stripper arrives. Oh it’s going to be priceless!”). Or that it’s blurry and out of focus despite this being 2012 and I can record a crystal clear film of a dog taking a dump across the street using just my phone if I wanted to (Gee Note: Not saying I would want to do that mind. I bet you would though wouldn’t you? Weirdo). Or that there’s a copyright stamp on the video, which means someone somewhere is trying to make some dollar dollar by promoting this footage. It all adds up.

They copyright is the biggest give away of all actually. For this is apparently the property of one Michael Cohen. If that name sounds familiar it is because (Gee Note: Like me, you are a fat nerd who spends way too much time watching pointless videos) about a year or so ago a news story about an alien being filmed in the Brazilian jungle broke, complete with a video which was also owned by Mr. Cohen. Like the mammoth one, it was obviously fake but garnered a lot of media interest none the less.

Which is probably why Mikey tried his hand at it again. And this time he shopped it exclusively to The Sun, who did no background checks whatsoever and ran with it anyway. Reads the article.

The jaw-dropping footage was caught by a government-employed engineer last summer in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region of Siberia, it is claimed.

Alas we never find out the name of the government-employed engineer, largely because he never existed (Gee Note: Although you’d think that making up names would be the best part about writing this piece. You could use anything. Chesty McHercules. Ivan Funtackle. Horty L. Wingjuzzler III. See? Pretty awesome right? It’s not even that hard. Honestly it took me three seconds to come up with those. It’s like these tabloid journalists aren’t even trying). In fact the video was never Michael Cohen’s to begin with. It was shot by a documentary film maker named Lou Petho (Gee Note: Hey that’s a pretty good one. Wait. What? Lou Petho is a real name? Well I’ll be damned), who was so annoyed by his footage being used against his consent that he made a video of his own.

Damn son. Shit just got REAL.

So Michael Cohen did something stupid and now may be sued for it. That something being, of course, taking someone else’s video and pasting a computer generated Mr. Snuffleupagus on top of it. But that’s not the point of this tale. Oh no dear reader. For that we have to go back to the article in The Sun.

You see it is more than likely that the folks at The Sun knew this was all bobbins to begin with. And while as a group they may be morally reprehensible, as individuals themselves they are highly intelligent human beings. But they still decided to publish it anyway. One can only guess that it's because they put stock in the notion that a good yarn is more important than the actual truth.

Now while some may argue that the extra publicity generated by The Sun can only benefit things like Cryptozoology in the long run, inspiring regular readers to take an interest in woovy bezerk animals, in this case it has hurt a hell of a lot more than it has helped. Because even though The Sun may have exclusively printed the initial story every news organisation under the… er… glowing orange thing in the sky, from Fox News to the Huffington Post, have reported that the video is a hoax. And because of its high profile, it tarnishes those who do work within the field of undiscovered creatures by association. It doesn’t matter that most serious minded cryptozoologists like Loren Coleman and Karl Shuker thought it was at best a misidentified bear chomping on a fish. It doesn’t matter that most online forums and comment sections were filled with sensible people who, having been burned by stuff like this time and time again, were pessimistic about its chances of being legit. Because public perception is now “Hur hur hur look at those geeks who thought it was a real woolly mammoth”. And while it’s true that cryptozoology will never be respected by either the mainstream media or the scientific community, it’s a bit harsh that it should be dragged down just because Michael Cohen was looking to make a quick buck and because The Sun doesn’t care what it publishes as long as it gets people buying their paper.

So here’s the thing. Next time you pick up a copy of The Sun and see a startling exclusive headline about a dinosaur being caught on camera in Dorset or something, do yourself a favour. Put it down and buy another paper instead. It’s the only language The Sun really understands.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Einstein flunked out of school, twice.

Here’s a quick tip. If you’re thinking of becoming a professional boxer, you need a snappy nickname.

You see the noble art of punching someone in the head - otherwise known as boxing - is about as close to those rinky-dink travelling carnivals as sporting events get. While on the face of it boxing is a battle between two brave warriors testing their strength and courage against one another, the reality is the world of boxing is ruled by promoters trying to make as much money as they possibly can. Now the easy way of doing this is to pair up the best fighters in their weight class, make sure you talk long and hard about how impressive both guys are, get them to talk some smack about each other, and then let them fight. However should the best fighters not be available at the time then… well… you have to get a bit creative.

Take the case of Peter Manfredo Jr. In early Spring 2007 “The Pride of Providence” was gearing up for the biggest fight of his career, preparing to take on the undefeated WBO super middleweight champion and proud Welshman Joe Calzaghe. Manfredo, the son of former World Kickboxing Champion Peter Manfredo Sr, had made his pro debut in 1999 and it had taken eight long years for his star to rise to the top of the super middleweight mountain. But how did he get there? Did he start knocking out perennial championship challengers like he was Mark Wahlberg taking on terrorists aboard a Boeing 767 (Gee Note: “Hey there terrorist. I like your beard. I had a beard like that in The Perfect Storm. Did you see that? Did you? Did you see that terrorist? No? Well, say hi to your mother for me OK?”)? Did he have a ball-bustingly great fight with a highly regarded opponent that was the talk of the sporting world for weeks on end, propelling his profile skyward at a rate of knots? Did he get in to a bar room brawl with 24 men and best them all within 52 seconds before running a comb through his hair and saying something cool?

Alas no. It was none of those things. Instead Manfredo appeared in a reality show on NBC called “The Contender”. The brainchild of Sylvester Stallone, The Contender pitted a group of pugilists against each other competing for a $1million prize. Plucky Peter got knocked out of the competition in the first round when he lost to the unfancied Alfonso Gomez. However thanks to a bout of chickenpox and contestants dropping like The Playboy Club’s ratings (Gee Note: BOOM. That show sucked. Turns out that if something is really boring it doesn't matter how many boobs it has. I know. Shocking right?) Manfredo was brought back in. Playing the comeback kid schtick to the hilt the show concentrated on Peter as he made his way to the final where, in true Rocky style, he went the distance with Sergio Mora only to lose via a controversial points decision.

A star was born. And it didn’t matter that he wasn’t really in Calzaghe’s league. Promoters put the fight together hoping to play off Manfredo’s “underdog” personality and that he was a home grown boy chasing the American Dream. Calzaghe agreed to the fight largely because Manfredo’s presence meant it would be covered by HBO, allowing him to showcase his skills to the lucrative US market. He even vacated his IBF title in order to take the fight.

So the scene was set and the talking was done. It was time for things to be settled the way they did in olden times. A bout of non-homoerotic, shirtless, fist fighting. Here’s what happened.

(Gee Note: If you want to skip to the important bit, it’s at 04:21 mm:ss. Although I’d honestly advise against that because then you’d miss the penguins. No really. Penguins. For, like, absolutely no reason at all. I mean none. It took me a while to get my head around it at first. Then I started think that more sports could do things like that. For example, if there’s some down time in the Superbowl, why not cut to a cow in a field going “Moooooo” for five seconds? Then everyone would be all "Did you see that cow?" and you could say "What cow?" and they would say "The cow! It was right there man! On the TV!!!" which you would follow up with "What cow? We're watching the Superbowl. Are you OK?". This would eventually end with you convincing everyone that they need a good lie down and then you can eat their share of the food. I call it the Cow of Win).

It took just three rounds for Joe to do away with Manfredo, and even if you claim the referee stopped the match a tad early, it was pretty clear that this was a mismatch of such epic proportions that it’s amazing Calzaghe didn’t give Peter a wedgie before placing his hand on his forehead and watching him swing his arms wildly.

Now this all has a point (Gee Note: I know. Amazing isn’t it? I actually think I’m going somewhere with all this waffling about folks walloping each other. You got to admit I’m determined). Before the fight no serious Boxing analyst or pundit gave Manfredo a hope in hell of winning. Everyone agreed that Calzaghe would hardly break a sweat, and likely finish it within six rounds. Obviously the promoter themself would have also known this. Which begs the question, if the contest was going to be farcical at best, why put the show on in the first place?

Well it’s because there was money to be made, either straight away or in the long run. If Manfredo had managed to somehow defeat Joe then it would be the Cinderella story of the century, with pumpkins turning in to huge piles of cash. If it went the way it was expected to then you’ve introduced Joe Calzaghe to the American public and can sell them on fights with him and legit top tier players later down the line. Either way, it’s a gravy train. In fact the only thing you have to worry about is a couple of anoraks complaining that Peter Manfredo Jr vs Joe Calzaghe was a waste of time.

So that’s why if you do decide to become a boxer you’ll need a pretty good nickname. Largely because a promoter is much more likely to book you if you have one. It’s not very easy to sell plain old Freddy Jones. Freddy “I’m going to tear your head off and then spit down your neck and then be mean to your pets be offering them treats and running away without giving them any” Jones on the other hand can be marketed. And the easier you are to market, the more money you’ll make. It’s the carnival school of business, just jazzed up a bit. You don’t have be a good boxer. But you have to have something that will make people pay to see you box.

In a strange way Cryptozoology has a lot of similarities to boxing (Gee Note: Weren’t expecting that were you? Neither was I if I'm honest. Still we're here now. Might as well keep going). Cryptid’s names are an important part of their mythos. Take the Loch Ness Monster. Would dear old Nessie be as popular if she were known as “The Loch Ness Green Giraffe with Flippers or Paddles or something. I don’t know. Wait. Are you writing this down? Why have you drawn a face with its tongue sticking out next to where it says “Witness Statement”? I don’t think you’re taking this seriously.”? Probably not. But the Loch Ness Monster? That evokes something untamed, wild, slightly dangerous even. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?

Now Nessie with her longevity, her reported size, and her elusiveness has definitely earned her “Monster” status. But the problem here is even the slightly crap cryptids have grandiose titles. Like the “Enfield Horror”, for example.

Now if you’ve never heard of the Enfield Horror take a moment to picture what it could possibly be. A giant rampaging bat with blood dripping from its fangs perhaps? Or a ten foot lizard with a tongue made of fire? How about a normal man with a giant head that looks like a boiled egg left out in the sun too long (Gee Note: You know, like Newt Gingrich)? Whatever it is, it must be pretty scary right? Horrors generally are.

Well, here's the fizzle to the chizzle. On April 25 1973 in Enfield, White County, Illinois Henry McDaniel was kicking back in his pad minding his own business when he heard a commotion outside of his house. Thinking it may be a racoon or an opossum trying to get in, McDaniel did the sensible thing and grabbed (Gee Note: A broom and attempted to “shoo” it away) his .22 revolver with the intent of shooting the poor bastard right between the eyes (Gee Note: Oh. Sure. You could do that as well I guess). When he opened his front door he came face to face with a strange creature. He would later claim “It had three legs on it, a short body, two little short arms coming out of its breast area and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood four and a half to five feet tall and was grayish-colored. It was trying to get into the house”. A little bit shocked McDaniel pulled the trigger over and over, claiming he emptied all four bullets in to the beast. Rather than do something sensible like die, or lunge forward in a fit of rage, Stumpy Tri-legs “hissed like a wildcat” before turning around and making its escape. By taking three jumps that covered 75 feet.

The Enfield Horror almost certainly looked nothing like this

The morale of the story? Never ever leap out from behind a bush dressed as a clown and carrying a meat clever in front of Henry McDaniel. Because if you did, you’d get your f***ing head blown off.

Eventually Henry calmed down and stopped shooting things long enough to call the police. Christ knows what he told them but they sent an officer to have a look around regardless. They reported strange scratches on the side of the building and prints on the ground that resembled a six toed dogs paw and measured between four inches across. Also, assuming all the tracks belonged to the same animal, it was judged that whatever it was could possibly have had a tripedal gait.

On May 6 McDaniel was woken in middle of the night by the sound of neighbourhood dogs howling their heads off. Again he grabbed his gun (Gee Note: Thankfully he didn’t own a bazooka, otherwise I’m guessing large parts of Illinois would be nothing but smouldering craters) but as he peered out in the darkness he saw the crazy sumbitch was someway off in the distance. "I didn't shoot at it or anything," he said. "It started on down the railroad track. It wasn't in a hurry or anything" .

The media started taking an interest in dear Henry and his wacky three legged friend, writing breathless reports of a monster on the loose. The hysteria became such that White County Sheriff Roy Poshard Jr. threatened to arrest McDaniel for causing a mass panic. In fact only a couple of days later Deputy Sherriff Jim Clark locked five men up for wandering around tooled up to the gills with firearms. These intrepid travellers claimed to have seen something grey and hairy in the underbrush and let off a couple of rounds (Gee Note: Gandalf? You bastards shot Gandalf! Now Frodo will never make it to Mordor to throw a ring in to a volcano for reasons that aren't entirely clear. You've doomed us all idiots). Two of the group said they were confident they had hit the thing, only for it to take off at one heck of a speed.

Even more curious, reports began to surface of a young boy named Greg Garrett. The Garrett’s were neighbours of McDaniel and on the night when Henry had first spied the critter, Garrett had been playing in his backyard. About half an hour before Henry went all kinds of Chuck Norris on its ass, the strange fiend rocked up to Greg Garrett and stepped on his tennis shoes, tearing them to shreds. Garrett, outrage by this, pulled out his revolver and shot at the creature. Nah, not really. Instead he freaked out and tore a path to his house, slamming the door shut behind him.

Then it was the turn of the professionals. Rick Rainbow (Gee Note: Who, let’s be honest, sounds like something a male stripper would call themselves) was at that time the news director of radio station WWKI in Kokomo, Indiana. Searching desolate places for anything suspicious, he saw something grey and stopped over near an abandoned house. Too far away to catch a good look at it, Rick grabbed his tape deck and made a recording of the strange high pitched wailing sound it made. The house wives favourite Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman soon arrived in the area to find out what all the fuss was about, and while he never saw the Enfield Horror himself he reported hearing the same noise while investigating the area surrounding McDaniel’s house.

But that’s where the story pretty much ends. As is so often with woovy bezerk wild things, staying power proved a problem. The sightings dried up, and the strange sounds stopped echoing through the night. Everything just went back to normal in that little part of Illinois. In fact the only other interesting event of note was that Greg Garrett was eventually shot and killed by his wife in what was deemed to be in act of self-defence.

So back to my original point. Because it was so scarcely seen and had such a short shelf life it would have been easy for… whatever the hell it was… to have been forgotten by the passage of time. But because it’s been labelled The Enfield Horror, and because Coleman has penned the odd article about it here and there, it remains a hot topic in some circles. Problem is, more so than any other cryptid, the Enfield Horror fails to live up to the hype. A seemingly bullet proof nuisance? Sure. A small scruffy kangaroo with either an extra leg or a surprisingly large penis? Possibly. But a “Horror”? Not even close.

Still if it is a kangaroo and - like so many of its brethren - it does happen to step in to a boxing ring, at least it will have a snappy nickname.