Archive for July, 2012

The Olympics

July 24, 2012

God I love films and TV shows about sport. Here’s a review of the first of an exciting trilogy of dystopian fantasy films, called ‘The Olympics’:

Geoffrey Capes: Uber-Olympian

From the lotus-leafed valleys of the East they came. And from the canyons and frontiers of the West, they came too. And from the boiling plains of the South they also came. All four winds brought them here – the spear-lords, the Fosbury floppers, the velocipede operators, the swinging folk – all came to the ancient burgh of Londinium to do battle.

Ultimately only one man, or woman, would be left amid a field of underachieving cadavers. Some would die of dehydration. Some would perish between the pincers of the long-jump sandpit scorpions. Most would be executed by the Metropolitan Police, on suspicion of possessing firearms. Or for not doing their best. Or for sport.

The hero of The Olympics is a handsome peasant girl by the name of Catnip Humblepudding. Young Catnip has only one dream (‘money for old rope’ said Dr Fritz Jungun, the child psychoanalyst, as he took his fee from Catnip’s mother and browsed EBay for some vintage double-braid). Yes, young Catnip Humblepudding has only one dream. And that is to be worthy of the flag that adorns biscuit wrappers, tubs of butter, certain brands of male grooming product, the rotting bunting that hangs menacingly outside council estate pubs and bottles of Fairy Liquid. Yes, the Union Jack. That symbol of resilience. That image of a proud people.

That flag, that can also be found on tins of baked beans, cartons of minced cow, birth control items, the swimming trunks of the obese, in the small white claws of classical music fans, on the upper arms of people who live in prison, in the fading memory banks of Tim Henman, on cans of lager, hairspray bottles, pencil cases, cigarette lighters, wet towels, dry towels and the stiffened towels that holiday makers forget to take home from Spanish holiday resorts. Yes, that flag, which forgives all sins, accepts all colours, creeds and persuasions, and which stands between the good people of Britain and the horror of everywhere else. That majestic flag, in which will come considerately giftwrapped the collateral damage of tomorrow.

Yes, young Catnip Humblepudding has only one dream, and that is to be worthy of the Union Jack.

While Catnip goes about her athletic business, the camera pans outward to take in the audience. From a gilt–edged spectator’s box, the doughty emperor of Londinium looks down upon the games with a piercing stare reminiscent of Big Brother. Not the iron-moustached tyrant of George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, it should be added. Rather, your actual big brother circa his 15th birthday. Your fifteen-year old brother: the big-boned pustuloid who named his goldfish ‘Madame Speaker’ and claimed that girls were frivolous, while sweatily gripping Aunt Penelope’s copy of Frumpy Diversions and tugging agitatedly at his velcro fly (after the last entanglement, Mother wouldn’t allow a metal zipper within five metres of Boris’s johnson) in a manner that suggested otherwise. Emperor Boris looks down upon the carnage like a fat unlovely boy and sees that it is good.

In the course of The Olympics, Catnip finds herself assailed on all sides by the meaty boys and girls from other, hostile nation states. While performing the decathlon, she hides in a tree. Thankfully, some respite comes when her attackers are eaten by angry metal bees, which emerge from beneath the hurdles humming and ringing like apine mobile phones.  “There is a call for you on line 1” the bees almost seem to say, “And it’s Death!”

At the end of the film, Catnip has triumphed over all of the opposition and stands triumphantly, brandishing her medal in the sunlight. But wait! None of it was real! It was all a simulation. Or a dream. That’s it! A wild feverish dream in the brain of an over-worked junior advertising executive. ‘Heck!’ he exclaims as he leaps from his bed, ‘how are we going to sell certain brands of male grooming product now!’

In conclusion, this film celebrates all that is great about being British: to wit, state-sanctioned murder, biscuits and dreams with no basis in reality. I love it. 10 out of 10.

John Le Baptiste reviews the Fizzy Pops of yesteryear

July 20, 2012

In this post, I have decided to branch out a little bit. Instead of reviewing films I haven’t seen, I’m going to review some wines. Except I’m a teetotaller. So, instead of reviewing wines I’m going to review some old-fashioned fizzy pops. Before I do that though, I should probably go back to when it all started. You know: the beginning…

The international language of carbonated delight needs no translation.


Last year, when the dark was closing in, the fatty dollops were making my life a misery. Whenever it rained they would come pouring in through the catflap and slap about on the floor, leaving a sticky residue that gummed together the strands of shagpile something cruel. It was getting hard to relax. So I moved house.

Since moving, I have found my new neighbourhood to be a bonny one. The trees dance in the febrezed bourgeois breeze and the neighbours all have dogs called things like ‘Mr Jenkinson’ and ‘Brightsnout’. No-one challenges me to a knife-fight, even in jest, as such things are frowned upon here. It is a good spot to call home.

A day or two after moving in I discovered an intriguing shop on the corner of my street. It is a paradoxical place. Let me explain how. The proprietors are a religious couple. I know this because the husband has a special hat. Yet the top shelf of the newspaper section contains the most comprehensive selection of pornography magazines I have ever seen – an achievement not to be neighed at in this age of saucy jpegs and filthy peekvids. The magazines are arranged alphabetically, from ‘Accentuated Clefts’ to ‘Zipper Mishaps’. Besides vagina-themed periodicals, the shop also sells biro pens, ‘With Deepest Sympathy’ cards, baked beans, sponges, novelty make-up and some other stuff in the back-room that I have thus far been too frightened to look directly at.

But the most exciting items in the whole shop are undoubtedly its numerous retro fizzy pops. They are arrayed boldly and garishly in the refrigerator like an insane blind robot’s idea of what a rainbow might look like.  Since that first day when I discovered the shop, I have sampled every one of those pungent, sugary brews. Some of them are delicious. Some of them are disgusting, like Expendables 2. Here is a short yet instructive guide to retro-fizzy pops.

Tizer: This tipple, as I have had cause to remark elsewhere, tastes like lemonade mixed with the blood of Barry Chuckle. It is a cheerful savant of a drink. I would probably have a glass of this with a Scotch Egg and some alphabet letters.

Dandelion and Burdock: D&B is, in essence, a hipster’s version of Vimto. When quaffing this jazzy potation, try saying something ironic. It will improve your experience of the drink tenfold. D&B is probably my favourite retro fizzy pop. But then I would say that, because I am cooler than Coolio, the former rap star who now works in a coathanger factory.

Ginger Beer: A mouthful of this formula hits the gullet like a bracing, coruscating thump in the giblets. It is Banjo Chutney’s favourite fizzy pop, and he usually brings me a tin of it when he comes round to my house to help me kill the fatty dollops. He was first inspired to try Ginger Beer when he learned that it was the Famous Five’s potable of choice. That, incidentally, is also why he ended up becoming a professional catcher of smugglers.

Apologies, Fizzy-Pop fans. My Limeade review will have to wait. I have started passing luminous green fluid. I’ll post a sequel when I get out of hospital.

Sling Blade

July 14, 2012

Little Billy Bob Thornton wasn’t always this way. No sir. Once he was a superhero. That’s right – a superhero called ‘Sling Blade’.

So called because he had a penchant for throwing razor blades at the folk around town. And that’s how our story begins.

“Mmm-hrrrm,” grunts Sling Blade, placidly admiring his plate of chips and mustard.

Chips and mustard is uncommon in them thar parts. The townsfolk accuse him of witchery.

Sling Blade gets The Fear. He transmutes, growing in size until he dwarfs even the tallest cedar.

Aglow with radioactive energy, he uses a pair of parked pickup trucks as roller skates and proceeds to mow down the townsfolk. He’s all aplump with murder-glee.

Radcliffe P. Algernon Esq., a young orphan the meta-human has befriended, convinces Billy Bob to desist.

“There’s trouble at the old Fuley ranch!”

Sling Blade returns to normal size and rushes to the ranch. Young Radcliffe catches up to him around about three fifty three pee em.

Sling Blade's 'come see' moment

He din’t right know what to make of what’n he’d saw up in them woods. Fer t’were ol’ Billy Bob, that’s sure ’nuff. But what were in that old place, none could tell. And none would never speak of it again.