Archive for August, 2009

People what look like their spaceships – an essay by Banjo Fett

August 28, 2009

Seriously. Stay with me on this. I was reading some Nemesis the Warlock t’other day, a character created by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill and published in the British weekly 2000AD. The original one-shot story (and its subsequent follow-up) revolve around the mysterious, revolutionary anti-hero Nemesis battling the repressive, dictatorial authority figure Torquemada.

Torquemada’s fetishistic ruling cult are a nightmarish mixture of the Spanish Inquisition and the Ku Klux Klan (in fact, Torquemada was based on an over-enthusiastic monk at Mills’ Catholic school during his childhood, who named himself ‘Prefect of Discipline’ ). The story was, at its core, a fairly straightforward chase scenario, with Nemesis appearing hither and thither to stitch Torquemada up like a kipper. BUT he did it all from the comfort of his spaceship, the Blitzspear. AND we never get to see Nemesis himself throughout either story… only his ship. Quite an achievement in terms of storytelling and a fairly quirky little nuance for the supposed ‘hero’ of the tale.

When we finally get to see Mr Nemesis T. Warlock himself, his face is obviously based on his ship, the Blitzspear. It’s an odd moment for the reader, as if the author and artist are conspiring to mock us. And as ‘the reader’, we feel tricked, I can tell you. Tricked, mocked, intrigued and knocked for six. And, knowing those devilish fellows as much as one can by reading a few of their comics, I’m fairly sure that was partly their intention.
Nemesis the Warlock, as drawn by the inimitable Simon Bisley
Still, it got me to thinking: surely this has been done before? Most things have, and a little bit of digging round is sure to lead me to other examples, thunk I. And I can prove (FINALLY!) that my instincts were (mostly) right, in a convoluted and meaningless way. So here’s my brief list of ‘people what look like their spaceships (and/or other vessels)’, not including the good warlock himself:

Darth Vader

Yes, really. Ok, so Vader’s Tie-Fighter doesn’t look much like Vader himself or even the consistently awful portrayals of Anakin Skywalker. But hold on a tic, what’s Vader’s shtick? What’s his whole gig he’s got going on, what with being easily the most reviled screen baddie ever? The big fat deal is his kids, right? The pay-off is that he’s actually the good guys’ dad after all… including Princess Leia. You see what I’m getting at? George Lucas left a visual clue for us right there, in Princess Leia’s Danish pastry haircut. Now that you look at it, it’s obvious. Not so his other sprog, Luke, whose starship is reminiscent of a surprised anteater, but the evidence is IRREFUTABLE I’m sure you’ll agree.

BA Baracus

Big. Rectangular. Strong. Covered in metal. Black. Reliable (except for plane journeys). Dangerous. BA was the real leader of the A-Team, not Hannibal. He was the backbone, the guts, the essence of the maverick vigilante bunch. He was the one member who could be entrusted with driving the A-Team Van, and with good reason.  Hannibal was a man of strategy and planning: fair enough, but that don’t put marmalade on your toast. Who led the A-Team into battle (but not onto planes) every week? BA. Yes sir, BA threw his dislike of Howlin’ Mad Murdoch aside every week to bust that sumbitch out of the loony bin, fashioning mig-welders, workbenches and rocket launchers out of a couple of stray peanuts, an allen key and a cat’s hairball without once cussing or breaking into anything more offensive than a sneer Elvis would have been proud of. And the creators of the show gave us a nod and a wink to BA’s ultimate leadership by making the van look as much like him as possible.

Batman

To be fair, this one’s obvious: Batman, Batmobile, Batplane. But this is what Batman’s persona is all about: dressing like a bat so creeps’ll be scared of him (when are audiences going to click that this is a very naive and daft premise for a vigilante?). Therefore everything he designs and builds, to some extent even the Batbike, looks like a bat.

Boba Fett

Easily the best character Lucas ever came up with, and the best spaceship, purely because it looks like an iron that you can fly about in, yet turn it upright and it flies even better. And if that’s not ingenious tie-in marketing then I don’t know what is.

At this point I feel I should come up with some kind of reasoning to bring this all together. But there really isn’t any. The above characters are all arguably anti-heroes – especially Nemesis, who is a fire-breathing demon. BA, on the other hand, is all about getting kids to drink milk and respect their mothers. But he’s rock-hard, black, wears a ton of jewellery and doesn’t fly well… and he throws a lot of rednecks into tables. So he’s pretty left field as far as heroes go.

And there are more, I’m sure there are. Why, right now as you are reading this, you’re thinking ‘Yes! Michael Knight has the same square face and red-light wavey eyeball as KIT… the Romulans were almost surely based on their Warbirds or vice versa or SOMETHING… Egon Spengler had the same cheekbones as the Ectomobile…”

If you are thinking these thoughts, I urge you to share them… because I have been consumed and befuddled by inane popular culture and I want to be reassured that it’s ok. This shit means something. Please tell me it does.

Tron 2 (spoiler alert)

August 24, 2009

There are whispers in the wind and down by the derelict arcade portending a Tron sequel. I am very excited and am unbearably curious to see the kinds of futuristic new realms to which they will take the story. I should add that I haven’t seen the first Tron. Regardless, here is a theme tune I have written for Tron 2. I am confident that it is the best thing I have ever written and ever will write. I feel it captures the aspirational mood and dark, futuristic morality of what I imagine the Tron films are all about. Here it is:

Title: Your Tron is True

(verse 1)

I saw a virtual woman in the neon rain

She fired a dirty pixel into my brain

I felt a tron fly into my port

We got married and played virtual sport

(chorus)

Sometimes you gotta feel the tron

Flying through the storm

Sometimes you gotta (you gotta) ride the tron

Flying through the storm

Don’t let anyone tell ya what to do

Show ’em your tron-style

Because your tron is true

(vers2 2)

All those fools in the analogue world

Their tron is weak, they tron like girls

I fired a tron right into their eyes

And then they looked at me and realised…

(chorus)

Sometimes you gotta feel the tron

Flying through the storm

Sometimes you gotta (you gotta) ride the tron

Flying through the storm

Don’t let anyone mess around with you

Don’t let ’em take your mind

Don’t let ’em try to break your heart

Or stick their hatred in your port

(outro)

We’re tronning, we’re tronning, we’re tronning for love

(continue to fade)

Spice World

August 19, 2009

“Hot Ribena!” I shouted in triumph the other day when I discovered a VHS copy of Spice World on sale for 50 pence in a charity shop. I could barely contain my smugness upon buying it, and so I didn’t, forcing the be-cardiganed old lady behind the till to take the unprecedented and incongruous step of punching me in my windpipe and telling me to “fuck off”. Still, my over-weening smugness could not be diminished and I skipped contentedly home. It could not be diminished, that is, until I put the video in the player and realised it was not, as  I had hoped, a further filmic installment in the Dune series, covering the adventures of various faintly Jihadic-types on the planet Arrakis, a celestial body renowned for its copious spice resources: a Spice World, if you will. Rather, it was about a silly pop group from the late 1990s. I stamped upon my VHS player until it cried for mercy. Needless to say, I did not watch Spice World. Here is my review of it.

What makes a perfect pop band? Is it matching sweatbands? Possibly. Is it the ability of its members to move their left hands forward from their chests in a gesture of pensive sincerity while negotiating a key change? Undoubtedly. Is it the fact that its members don’t have names as such but rather epithets ending in ‘-y’, which sum up the very core of their inner being? Good heavens, yes! So it is that the five(?) members of the Spice Girls were respectively named Baby Spice, Ginger Spice, Narwhal Spice, Thor Spice and Athlete’s Foot Spice. Baby Spice was so named because of her unfortunate dependence on nappies and her inability to form anything but the most telegraphic of sentences. The other names explain themselves.

Spice World is a rollicking romp (it sure does rollick) through a dystopian Britain where people wear Union Jack flags and utter such Lewis Carroll-esque nonsense-phrases as ‘Cool Britannia’ (a free vorpal sword for anyone who can tell me what this means). Everyone drives around in big red buses and performs synchronised dance routines in public with minimal encouragement or coercion.  In this Britain the Spice Girls have attained a level of influence and prestige comparable to that of Rasputin in the final years of Tsarist Russia. Like Rasputin, their power derives from mysterious supernatural forces , but unlike Rasputin they are benevolent and their eyes are less beady.

On the surface of it, the plot of this film appears ludicrous and infantile (a weaselly oaf tries to destroy music for ever; the Spice Girls put him in a barrel and shoot him off into space). In reality, it is sensitive, challenging and aesthetically adventurous. It is, I swear.

Battlestar Galactica (the original series)

August 17, 2009

Like many of my sorry tribe, I have watched (most of) the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series. My verdict: hot stuff! This has led me to try to reimagine the original series, not insofar as I am putting together another remake, but rather insofar as I am engaged, once again, in the act of trying to hypothesise what it might have been about. This is not to say that I have ruled out the possibility of adding my remake to the franchise (watch this space).

The makers of Battlestar Galactica (George Lucas’s brother Ned and Steven Speilberg’s cousin Jeff) had a big vision but limited means. Armed only with sellotape, cardboard and a rudimentary understanding of the principles of dialogue and plot, they sought to create an epic, operatic, dynamic television series involving space, robots and magic. Due to the aforesaid constraints, the epic, operatic and dynamic elements had to be abandoned. But the space, robots and magic remained. Yes!

There are many intriguing points of departure and convergence to be noted between the old and new Battlestar Galactica. For instance, on account of the rebooted Battlestar, we all associate the character of Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace with a tough, blonde female bonktrooper. Many fans of the recent version would be surprised and confused to learn that the original Starbuck was a tough, brunette female bonktrooper. Take a minute to let that elephantine paradigm shift wash over your mind like a liquid mammoth. It is surely true, as Sitting Bull suggested, that on television anything is possible. However, once you have overcome this radical alteration in the character’s fundamental essence, many continuities become apparent. The old Starbuck, like the new one, shouts ‘frak’ and punches a lot of people in the nose. ‘Frak’, it should be added, has the same applications and meanings as the English word ‘fuck’, e.g. ‘Frak off’, ‘They frakked all through the night to hot cybernetic beats’, ‘Motherfrakker’ and ‘Someone get this enormous frak out of my pants right now’.

Here is another hot muffin for all you fact-fans. In the new series, the Cylons are known as ‘toasters’. We are led to believe that this is a derogatory reference to their mechanical nature and demeanour. In fact, it has a much more specific explanation. In the original series the Cylons’ weapon of choice is a toaster. Their arsenal includes toasters that are so immense that they can fire out immense wholemeal loaves which knock out planets right out of their orbit. Caprica was despatched in this way, despite the use of Pop-Tart counter-measures by its military leaders. The Cylons also possess tiny toasters which shoot out little bruschetta-like projectiles that can blow a crumby hole straight through a man’s heart.

The older Battlestar features a lot more laughing. Villains, robotic and otherwise, rarely describe a vicious plan without rounding off their explanation with a deep, crowing guffaw. Similarly, at the end of each episode, the heroes celebrate a victory or the thwarting of an evil robotic scheme with a nice, communal laugh. It is heartening to see the characters’ beefy, macho fronts melt away in soft lulling waves of jovial complacency in which all might paddle.

And so, aptly, to conclude my review. Ha ha ha. Oo dear me. Ha ha. Ha.

Frank – Above the Lollipop

August 11, 2009

Monsieur Fett here. I don’t know if I really saw this film or just dreamed it. I’ve had pig flu for the past few days so I’ve had a bit of a fever. I’ve also watched some really bad films. So I think the following mess is the result of the combination of pig flu fever and a steady drip-feed of very bad films. It’s about a lollipop man called Frank.

Frank – Above the Lollipop

Frank Wallopsworth was an honest man. He was also a lollipop man, but mainly he was an honest man. He’d always chase people down the street if they’d dropped a crown. Sometimes if they’d dropped a shilling. But anything over that was his.

What’s right is right, thought Frank. No point piddling about, he’d follow it up with. I mean brass is brass and if they’re daft enough to… well, anyway the point is, for the most part, Frank H. Wallopsworth was a champion of the common man and a knight in shining armour for the children he helped across the road every day. Unless they gave him a bit of lip. Then he’d clip their ear-holes and shake his fist at them.

Anyway, we’ve established that, morally, Frank was a monument to justice, honour and Werther’s butter-mints, right? Well, mainly the butter-mints, but he was quite interested in the subjects of honour and justice. And half-pints of mild at the club. And keeping women out of the crown green bowling club. But apart from that he was exactly like Batman. Or Rambo.

So this one time, Frank was patrolling his patch, stopping the traffic with his Magical Lollipop of Justice when… hang on, no… the first time we see Frank he’s building a shed. He’s building a shed from Homebase WITHOUT READING THE INSTRUCTIONS. Because he’s like this pillar of truth and justice, so he doesn’t need mundane things like instructions for his shed from Homebase. He just whacks it up, with his vest off. Er, maybe he’s got his vest on actually. He’s quite an old chap and he might catch cold. But he gets that shed up in under two hours, which is pretty impressive.

Then we see him doing some weeding, but he’s doing it like a ninja. He’s doing somersaults round the garden, plucking weeds out with this crane-style three-finger attack. You know like Cruel Pai Mei does in Kill Bill when he whips that mermaid’s eyeball out? That’s what Frank’s doing with his leafy spurge.

After that he’s going down the Post Office to send some letters. There’s quite a queue but he still lets this old lady go in front of him. Because he’s a monument to truth and justice.

And then he visits some really old people at the retirement village. He’s brought them some cakes and is helping some of the nearly-dead ones to eat the cakes. Because he’s a pillar of… look, we’ve established his heroism, yeah? Right, so this time when he was on a stakeout at the crossing, helping the infant school kids get across a really deadly patch of road known as THE DEVIL’S DOGLEG, he sees this suspicious character. Squinting, and gripping his Magical Lollipop of Justice, Frank decides to follow the suspicious-looking man. He’s not black or anything, because Frank gets on great with black people and they love him too. It’s a different kind of suspicious-looking. Like, a generic suspicious-looking bloke that you might see in, say, a Steven Seagal film.

Anyway, turns out the suspicious-looking bloke leads Frank on a trail of corruption that goes right up to the Mayor’s office. And I mean the Mayor with the big hat and the spangly-dangly chain, not the council leader type of mayor. Oh and there was a bomb. But Frank stopped it from going off by throwing it up in the air, then whacking it with his Magical Lollipop of Justice. It looked a bit like he was serving a ball at Wimbly, except the ball exploded in space.

And there were some kung fu bits in the Mayor’s office, when all the Mayoral aides ran in to defend him, but Frank used his Magical Lollipop of Justice as a big kung fu stick. Then he sat down and had a cup of tea. What a day, thought Frank, good job I’ve got me trusty old Magical Lollipop of Justice.

THE END?


(Yes)

Pariah Rustbucket Reviews…’Das flammende Herz’: A Ballet-Biography of Shelley

August 10, 2009

News has reached this reviewer’s Inbox that a ballet inspired by the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley is to be staged at the Staatsballett Berlin. I refuse to go and see it, so here is my review based on a complete absence of first-hand knowledge, factual information, or indeed anything whatsoever.

‘Das flammende Herz’ sounds like somebody having a coughing fit, but it isn’t. It is, rather, a ballet celebrating the life of Shelley, and so we must expect from the outset that it will contain scenes of an immoral and vegetarian nature. If you are of a nervous disposition, look away now.

The first act, which traces Shelley’s childhood and school-days, was somewhat pedestrian; Shelley blows up half the stage, sets fire to the butler, and leaves the remaining cast rather at a loss. The scenes dealing with his expulsion from Oxford were slightly more developed. Shelley argues irrefutably against the existence of a deity by twirling round and round like a pansy before stunning the Fellows of Oxford with a series of star-jumps, leaving the audience marvelling at the weighty and philosophical matters unfolding before them. His meeting with Godwin is also portrayed in this act, with Shelley tap-dancing on Mary Wollstonecraft’s grave as Godwin throws himself into bizarre, incomprehensible attitudes, representing his ongoing bowel problems.

The second act, and the most thought-provoking in this reviewer’s opinion, centres on Shelley’s poetry and its political agenda. The curtain rises, and a spotlight throws a turnip at centre stage into sharp relief. Shelley approaches the turnip with motions expressive of pain, indicating the plight of the labouring poor, and possibly wind. Such poems as ‘Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant’ are translated into dance form, and you really haven’t lived until you have witnessed a pig perform a grand jeté. The fact that the pig then fell through the stage is a minor flaw. Shelley’s treatment at the hands of the reviewers is interwoven into this scene; Shelley throws off some spiteful arabesques before pelting his detractors with pig shit (warning: you may wish to bring some sort of umbrella or large hat with you to the performance).

The closing act movingly figures Shelley’s untimely death aboard the Don Juan and subsequent cremation, watched by Leigh Hunt, Trelawny, and Byron. The mourning of these three figures is gracefully enacted. Hunt pulls the shape of a Grecian Urn, Byron imitates the shape of a plate of potatoes and vinegar whilst Trelawny runs about the stage like a tit. The curtain falls on a collection of unnamed dancers, representing Shelley’s future audience, who smear the pages of his work with the remains of the pig shit whilst falling into raptures.

Your reviewer came away moved, if slightly malodorous, and in conclusion, this is a must for anyone with an interest in Shelley, turnips, pigs or bowel complaints.

Benny Hill to star in Brad Pitt biopic

August 10, 2009

The Agoraphobic Reviewer would like to offer its sincerest apologies for the erroneous information given in the last entry. The AR has long been one of the few bastions of accurate, reliable information, not only on the internet, but in all human affairs and dealings across the globe. This makes my balls-up all the more nauseating.

In the last entry I claimed that Brad Pitt was to star in a Benny Hill biopic. I have been informed, by Wikipedia, that in fact it is the other way round. For all of those movie fans who are still mourning the death of Pitt following an abdominal cascade three years ago, I am truly sorry. For Benny Hill who, I have learned, is still alive and enjoying compos mentis, I am sorry, truly. Let this brief bit of promotional snippetry on the film be the beginning of my repentance.

Benny Hill will play Brad Pitt in a life-story spanning from his first filmic performance in Thelma and Louise, via his thumpy period in Fight Club and Snatch and ending with his earnest, smirking role in his last film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This is a different sort of role for Hill, and many naysayers question whether he is capable of conveying the fierce intellect and complex personality of Pitt, who is still regarded as one of Hollywood’s foremost thinkers. Indeed, Pitt still holds the record among his acting brethren for the most number of thoughts had in a day (8). To date, Philip Seymour Hoffman has only had 5, though he claims otherwise and is undergoing extensive training in the hope of increasing his daily thought yield.

In spite of these doubts, Hill remains confident that he can do justice to Pitt. “I will keep the high-speed groping to a tasteful minimum” he stated at an impromptu press conference in the Milton Keynes Somerfield supermarket car park yesterday. “When it does appear, it will do so only to shed light on his complicated relationship with Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie and their respective tiny, brittle bums” said Hill, sticking his tongue out in a stylised expression of mock-lechery and waggling his hands as if grasping at two miniscule bottoms.

Michael Winner will direct the film. Chumbawumba will compose the score.

Brad Pitt to star in Benny Hill biopic!

August 5, 2009

Hark ye to this Agoraphobic Reviewer exclusive! The story is so exclusive that you will probably not read it anywhere else, ever.

Brad Pitt is to play Benny Hill in an upcoming biopic of the corpulent, busy-handed comedian. Speaking to a journalist, Brad said that ‘he had always been a fan of Benny Hill’s work, even before either of them existed and were but abstract potentialities swimming, as ’twere, through the soupy cosmos of what-might-be.’ Asked what he liked about Hill’s work, Pitt immediately replied ‘the ass-grabbing, bro, the ass-grabbing’.

Christopher Nolan will direct the project, entitled ‘The Fastest Milkman in the West’ and it is hoped he will bring some of the dark psychological intensity of his earlier work to this piece too. Nolan is on record as saying that ‘Benny Hill’s off-centre, speeded-up experience of reality, his powerful obsession with ladies’ bottoms and his refusal to show us the ‘real’ Benny Hill behind his charismatic persona would make for an excellent Christopher Nolan film.’

The project has of course had its share of detractors, including the late Bernard Manning, who took a break from being skewered by demons on a rack of eternal damnation, to say that ‘Benny Hill was not racist enough to have a film made about him’. Jeremy Clarkson shouted words to a similar effect when the Agoraphobic Reviewer had the misfortune to bump into him in a pub toilet, struggling to adjust his catheter within his tight Levi jeans.

Moby is composing the soundtrack.

Peeping Tom

August 4, 2009

I don’t like horror films. I like documentaries about bottling plants. Naturally therefore, I have not seen Peeping Tom, the 1960 horror film that was so evil they had to ban it (by ‘they’ I of course mean Stanley Kubrick, Jimmy Saville and Giant Haystacks, the erstwhile champion of British wrestling). Here is my review:

Have you ever seen Jaws? How about that scene in Reservoir Dogs in which Michael Madsen puckers up his heavy pork-chop face into a nasty snicker and whittles off a policeman’s ear? If so, there’s a good chance that you have unwittingly participated in an illegal and inhumane act. Little did you realise, as Jaws spunked up from ’neath the puffy billows of the ocean, and took clumsy, bitey chomps out of delicious portions of mankind, that through the simple act of observing it on a two-dimensional screen, you had as good as become a cannibal. For, there is a persuasive school of thought, spearheaded by directors such as Lars Von Trier and Michael Haneke, who argue that to view is to be complicit. Save it sir, save it for your lawyers. I don’t make the rules. We must each deal with the moral burden that falls unto our ethical bumbag (as ’twere). You saw it: you done it.

This at least is the sub-textual premise of Peeping Tom. He peeps on womenfolk then kills them; you peep on him doing it therefore you also kill them (or him – I forget which). Frequently while watching this film I had to remind myself that it was not I holding the murderous drill. On the contrary, I was clutching a family bag of Minstrels, an extra-large Fanta and my mobile phone. This however, as Rumpole of the Bailey would have objected, is merely circumstantial. I saw it: I done it.

Such indeed was my fear at being arrested and convicted of the crimes of Peeping Tom that I spent the larger part of the film constructing unconvincing alibis in my feverish brain and worrying about how I would afford a defence lawyer. This diminished my viewing pleasure considerably. The only way to avoid culpability, it seems, is to find out the entire plot of a film before going to see it so that you can find out whether anything illegal or creepy happens in it. If it does: stay at home. If not: go to the cinema, but keep your hands up by your eyes so that you can shield them quickly so as not to become complicit in case any unexpected unsavoury acts are occurring on screen.

So that you might escape my fate, here is a distilled summary of Peeping Tom: As a youth, Tom pleasures himself with a Black and Decker drill; his nanny peeps on him and remonstrates with him; this turns him into a serial killer; he peeps on a succession of women then kills them; he gets caught and, in court, tries to pass himself off as a harmless Ham-Burglar-style comedy villain; the judge falls for it; he gets off with two weeks community service. The end.

Pariah Rustbucket Reviews…Monopoly: The 2009 Edition

August 2, 2009

Who has not whiled away a happy hour or twelve with the Parker Brothers’ finest creation, Monopoly? As Pope writes:

‘What dire offence from all the Utilities springs,

What mighty contests rise from Old Kent Road’.

To commemorate nothing in particular, this year has seen the release of Monopoly: The 2009 Edition. This updated version of an old favourite is bound to enrage and insult the purists; however, with new streamlined gameplay, updated locations and a fresh contemporary look, Monopoly: The 2009 Edition will quickly win fans too.

Gone are the traditional playing tokens: the Scottie dog, the Iron, the Top Hat, the Racing Car, the Battleship, and the Boot have been replaced by the Spoilt Shih-Tzu, the iPod, the Pete Doherty Trilby, the Skateboard, the Pushchair of the Juggernaut, and the Syringe of Botox. The game no longer starts with passing ‘Go’, which is an all-too-positive  injunction for these apathetic times. Rather, tokens must begin the game on a square marked ‘Meh’. The £200 salary has been replaced by the Dole Cheque. The first player to take their turn is decided upon not by rolling a double six, but following much debate as to whether it is worth the effort. This increases gaming time rather significantly, but is a minor flaw in the design.

The familiar locations have been updated to reflect contemporary housing estates. So the sonorous names of The Angel, Islington, Marlborough Street and Leicester Square have been replaced by such locales as Jade Goody Close, Coronation Street and Bluetooth Plaza. The Utilities remain unchanged, but have been privatised and sold off to companies at outrageous profit. As an added touch of authenticity, the 2009 Edition entitles whichever player holds the Utilities to dig up the streets of their fellow players without notice and with the utmost disruption and inconvenience.

The Stations also remain substantially unchanged, but are largely unreliable and haunted by Carlsberg-swilling youths, with the addition that players holding all the Stations can now forbid another player to land on their respective squares, impose a bus replacement service and still charge Rent.

Chance and Community Chest have been replaced by Apathy and Social Breakdown. In previous incarnations of the game, Chance and Community Chest introduced a random element into gameplay with the opportunity for both positive and negative outcomes. In the 2009 Edition, the outcomes are largely negative but become positive with some insightful liberal interpretation based on background and upbringing.

Jail has become a redundant feature of contemporary society, and Monopoly: The 2009 Edition reflects that. Instead, the Big Brother House occupies the former site of the Jail, and ‘Just Visiting’ has been replaced with ‘Viewing Figures’. Whilst a player may land on the Big Brother House, and be deemed ‘Viewing Figures’, it is best not to remain on this square for too long. ‘Go to Jail’ has accordingly been replaced by Davina McCall, and Free Parking is no longer available. But then, you can’t have everything.

In conclusion, this game receives the Rustbucket Seal of Approval, and is available at all crap stockists.