This is either going to make sense or sound prickish, let’s see: it was really quite difficult to do this Things I Waste Other People’s Money On Christmas post this year, not because all my family and friends decided to stop giving me gifts or because everyone gave me crap presents but because of the complete opposite. The way I do these posts - which I respect are just filler posts but I enjoy them – is that I don’t choose ‘the best’ items but instead I choose between five and ten that I can think of a paragraph or so of text for, I joke about this but this is genuinely how I decide what purchases or gifts end up being spotlighted – the problem this year is that everything was on roughly the same level and that means that just about everything qualified, even the random complimentary Fidgit Spinner.
I’m still not satisfied with this, perhaps when I tell you that this article still doesn’t include a three foot light up man nor anything Kinder Egg related nor James May nor a pop-out cartoon Wampa nor a wind-up Chewbacca robot nor a near-life size Ghost Type Pokémon nor a unicorn candle that cries rainbow tears you’ll understand my (first world) issue. But anyway, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:
So I Quite Like Sting…
That’s Sting the wrestler not Sting the tantric-sex-having-rainforest-saving-message-in-a-bottle-sending-reggae-ruining-Quadrophenia-and-Alanis-Morissette’s-cover-of-King-of-Pain-are-the-only-good-things-about-him singer Sting (BELL BOY!). I do like Sting, he’s one of my favourite wrestlers, I’ve been a fan since I was a kid (Pre-Hogan WCW used to be shown on terrestrial telly in the UK) but this is actually a complete accident, the only Sting I planned on unwrapping this December 25th was the Hasbro WWF style one in the middle. Then I finally found a Raphael as Sting (who’s been a bitch to find here) in (of all places) Tesco while I was getting the Christmas Day/Boxing Day shopping with my family so my mum bought it for me as a last minute gift THEN I found Defining Moments Sting in Home Bargains while doing last-minute present shopping (I was desperate) and the till went down and would only accept cash and I didn’t want to line up for an ungodly amount of time AGAIN (because everyone else was desperate and in Home Bargains) and the only cash I had was some my grandmother had given me to get some presents for myself earlier in the month that I still had so he became a Christmas Present ‘by necessity’ and as I’d used that money I gave it to nan to wrap up and that’s how I ended up with three Steve Bordens. God I’m boring.
Unicorn Fruit Loops!
Just…just…look at that! That is fucking art. Limited edition rainbow Fruit Loops with unicorns on them, that combines special junk food with unicorns, that is so relevant to my interests it may as well come with a starburst printed on it that reads ‘made just for dwitefry’. A friend of mine bought me this (thanks!) because unicorns are one of ‘our things’ if you will but I am genuinely a unicorn fan independent of that, and not just recently because they’ve become a fad – unicorns are Fabulous Attack My Little Ponies and I’ve loved them since I was small. I have long since come to terms to with the fact that I am the gayest heterosexual man in England.
Speaking of which:
I’m on a bit of a knock-off and bootleg toy kick at the moment but the ‘vintage’ knock-offs of the 80’s and early 90’s are expensive and rare and it’s really hard to find modern bootlegs that have the same ‘feel’ as them, it’s understandable, fads change, art styles change, technology evolves. That’s why Beautiful Princess was the first thing I bought on Boxing Day, I bought it from a fly-by-night stall that's probably gone by now (though the regular battery-operated toy stall in Liberty 1 has this for £2 dearer) because this has that feel to it, the box art, the logo, the colours, the sculpt, if you didn’t know what Frozen was (let’s assume you’re a blind, deaf Martian) I could tell you this came out when I was 6 and I think you’d believe me. I particularly like the logo; it looks like a sports centre from 1998. What does Beautiful Princess do? She lights up everywhere, twirls and sings the same three lines from Let it Go over and over, you better believe I made a gif of it:
This is every fairground in Britain. I could watch that for days, though I assume it would drive everyone I love from my life in about 80 seconds.
So I Quite Like Five Nights At Freddy’s…
It has its own tag on this blog, this shouldn’t be surprising, the reason I include this here is not because of a series of holiday slide-show level boring ‘amusing’ tales about buying wrestling toys but because my granny bought me all of these things. There’s just something delightful about sweet old pensioners gifting you items that revolve around multiple child murders including a toy of character that I’m pretty sure has a dead child inside her or at least has had one at some point and saying things like “the man said that’s the main character” like it’s fucking He-man or someone.
I am very grateful. The Freddy Files is really damn good, no website, not even one as comprehensive as Wookiepedia or Bulbapedia is as user-friendly as a guide book you can flick through, tabbed browsing can only go so far. I haven’t read The Twisted Ones yet, I was going to read it straight away but then my dad gave me the 25th anniversary edition of Jon Savage’s England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock or Malcolm McClaren: The Blowjob and a) anything even tangentially related to Joe Strummer trumps even killer animatronics and b) it’s so thick you could beat a killer animatronic to death with it and do no damage to the book – so The Twisted Ones is going to have to wait, I enjoyed The Silver Eyes though.
Snot is me.
It’s that simple, Snot is a limited edition £10 plush produced by and exclusive to Smyths Toys for Great Ormond Street Hospital, he comes with a little book and the tagline of ‘the toy nobody wants’. So it’s a toy (a thing I’m very interested in) for a hospital that treated me for all my childhood (I have hearing and other sensory problems) that’s a reject, is bald and a bit fat and trust me in a year when all my friends have gotten into (and then sometimes out of) relationships while I have remained single and VERY unhappy about this I am the toy nobody wants, the toy everyone glances at, thinks ‘they’re ok, cute-ish but I’d rather have that’. So I relate to, no I identify with Snot, he has joined Gudetama as co-mascots of my worthless existence, Gudetama now represents how I feel about myself and Snot represents how I feel everyone else feels about me.
Pathetic and self-pitying yes but it’s pathetic and self-pitying for charity so bite me. Also Snot’s super cuddly and feels like the nicest sweatshirt, the one you never throw out even though it’s ancient and disgusting and in my case still has some expandable foam stuck to the arm (I can’t get it off! Though it didn’t help that the person I asked for assistance actually gave me the method for getting chewing gum off clothes, expandable foam is a lot sticker than Bubbleyum). The designers deserve a toy award for Snot, he’s a concept executed perfectly, he even comes with a little kids book to tell you his tale of woe and make you love him even more, he’s like Paddington, only snot. On a quick tangent, here in Blighty Paddington has become all the rage thanks to his two (awesome) films and it’s brilliant – Marks & Sparks had a kind of all-purpose licence to make Paddington shit this Christmas and it’s the first time I’ve enjoyed going into Marks & Spencers since they got rid of those big security camera balls that made it look the shop was being invaded by Daleks (Boots had the best ones, they were black).
The Werebear Octopus!
*Gets all excited and runs around the room flapping arms* Werebears are my favourite toy, so that’s THAT future countdown list spoilt. This little SUPER CUTE cephalopod is the same concept with the exact same method of transforming him. I’m very nostalgic sometimes and it takes me a while to get used to changes - and I use this blog to express those things fairly often so you may think I’m always like that but I’m not: I fully respect that while some things were better when I was young or when you were young a lot of things aren’t, no matter what the Daily Mail and half of YouTube says there are areas where things are 1000 times better than when we were kids, the fact that I can take a great quality video of Beautiful Princess on my phone and turn it into a gif in 5 minutes and know I can expect to NOT be judged for owning a princess toy while being a boy is proof of that. I warn against falling into the trap of nostalgia even if it’s not blind nostalgia and This is Yesterday is one of my favourite Manic Street Preachers songs buuuuut there are some things, like Beautiful Princess or Aldi or TeeTurtle’s Minis here, that I like solely because they remind of something from when I was younger, remind of Werebears, Boglins or the Real Ghostbusters and I will love your product on sight. This was bought for me by the same couple who bought me the Images You Shouldn’t Masturbate Too book by the way.
Geeki Tikis Donatello!
Thanks Rich, thanks for giving me this and costing me £25, that’s not how presents are supposed to work, they’re not supposed to cost the receiver money! This is last not simply because it’s hard to follow up Tiki Turtles but because it’s not really a Christmas gift as such, my mate got it in a Loot Crate…crate and has been meaning to give it to me (oh yeah?) for months but only got ‘round to doing so (oh yeah?) at Christmas. But it’s just too cool to not take a picture of in front of Christmas lights - these are perfect items, they’re perfectly tiki-like and they’re TMNT - I’d bought the other three brothers before he’d left. I put up a new shelving unit last month and these are going on it, right at the front, just like Elvis in Blue Hawaii.
I’m done – thanks to everyone who bought me gifts (even if they haven't arrived yet), if you do stumble on this don’t be offended that yours isn’t here, it doesn’t mean I liked them less. And thanks to everyone who put up with me this year, especially the ones who aren’t related to me and thus feel some kind of obligation to tolerate my miserable-ass shit, and thanks to anyone who’s read this blog this year - you’re all amazing!