Sunday, 3 January 2016

Post-Christmas Reviewapalooza: Ten Examples of Crap I Waste Other People’s Money On!*

It’s odd, when people ask me ‘what did you get for Christmas?’ I always feel really self-conscious and give a standardized vague answer ‘oh, the same stuff, books, DVDs, some toys’ and then maybe mention one or two specific items the person I’m talking to might find agreeable, I just feel very guilty about having things and the more things I receive the more guilty I feel and as I have a big family plus over 10 good friends whom all buy gifts for me (and I, them) and a mother who always goes overboard with gifts at Christmas and Birthdays I get enough at Christmas to make me feel REALLY guilty. In person. Writing this on the other hand is easy, I think it’s those ‘show us your new purchases’ threads on forums that did it, they made showing off your new shit on the internet seem required, that and Dinosaur Dracula always does his Christmas Fallout posts, I didn’t’ realise I was ripping him off until I started writing but, yeah, I am, I can’t help it, Dino Drac is just the blueprint for good blogs.  

Count Ted!
That is actually his official name. This flat out amazing vampire teddy is from Spiral, you know Spiral? They make Goth T-shirts (of which I own many) and a few other things with their designs on, my bedsheets for instance. I was very excited to get this, it was a total surprise from my mother and a surprise made even more surprising by him coming packed in a little plastic backpack (because how else would a T-Shirt company pack a teddy bear? I think they had a load of them left over from… fuck knows what, and decided to save some money on packaging their first foray into horror bears), so I had no idea the present could be a teddy. I covet horror themed soft toys but due to their price and my lack of bedroom space I don’t own many (beyond my Werebears) and so every new one is very special, in this case Ted became my sidekick for the whole of Christmas Day, I faintly amused my family throughout by making him interact with everything from Christmas Dinner to re-runs of Top Gear. The only reason this didn’t continue this into Boxing Day is because I had to drive to Devon and didn’t want to take Ted out of fear of him getting left in a service station (or in Devon) or dirty in my dad’s shitty old jeep.

TMNT Piggy Bank!
This was from Asda, if you missed Asda this year; Asda of all places had the best Christmas section of all the shops. I don’t require a new money box, I have a very functional Sonic the Hedgehog shaped one but function rarely comes into my need for TMNT merchandise, I have several Ninja Turtle lights and have never had a bedside table pour example, so I needed this, my mum realised I needed this, she told me ‘you need to own that’ and she was right because not only is at big-ass pig coloured like a mutant Turtle, not only does it have the shell sculpted into it meaning that someone wasted money on an entirely new tool just to bring this to the 20 or 30 geeks per county who would want it, but it’s Raphael and he’s my favourite turtle, everyone knows this, in fact I have a stuffed Raphael I also received this year looking at me from above my computer while I’m typing this, I am the angry red turtle’s biggest deciple and they made a pig out of him and I own it, December is a good time.

Images You Should Not Masturbate To!
Now obviously this had to be included, it’s a book titled ‘Images You Should Not Masturbate To’ and it provided us much hilarity on New Year’s Eve (me and my friends did presents on New Year’s Eve this year to due to scheduling conflicts) but what to say about it? I mean it’s an entirely visual gag and this is a written medium I’m working in here and also its images you shouldn’t masturbate to, so what to say…? Hmm, oh yeah – GEORGIA AND DALE YOU ARE THE MOST DISTURBED PERSONS I’VE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO CALL  FRIENDS AND I AM GLAD YOU EXIST. Images included in this? Pickles, a Winnebago, sausages, a sandwich toaster, suggestive trees, a shitting dog, the face of Christ and an atomic explosion – and they’re just the ones I can remember. Personally I think of this book as a challenge and that may be too much information for you.

The Drop 1-3 by Koji Suzuki… on Toilet Paper!
Despite the previous book I think this may be the strangest present anyone has ever given me, so it could only come from Sam (actually just by being related to toilets mean it could only come from Sam). The bloke who wrote The Ring and Dark Water wrote a novel and two sequels and published them only on toilet paper because why wouldn’t you do this? I feel like I should make some not-quite-racist joke about the Japanese and how crazy they’re known to be, maybe involving references to tentacle porn, but it feels like a cliché – or it would if a crazy Japanese man hadn’t published his next works ON BOG ROLL.
I haven’t read this yet, I’m not sure how to go about it in all honestly – obviously I’m not going to wipe my arse on it when I’m done with each chapter because, well, this is the author of Ringu! I’m not going to smear my shit all over his work even if he intended that to happen – I may just sit in bed, unrolling it and reading it as I go and then try in vein to re-roll it to read it again. I have tried to find a .pdf file of it online so as to go not go through all that difficult re-rolling frustration but haven’t had any luck so I’m legitimately considering scanning this as I go. 

My dad has this theme to his gifts; at least for me (but really for most people), he only buys me things he personally likes, failing that he finds things he wants to buy then figures out who is least likeliest to complain about receiving the mad thing and goes with that. A huge Hot Wheels in the shape of a shark that lights up, revs up and then speeds along chomping and MAKING CHOMPING NOISES is what happens when he does both of these things and it works perfectly, this thing is the shit. My kitchen (well the kitchen of the house I’m imposing on) is one long straight corridor and is perfect for unleashing bizarre toy vehicles down, and don’t let this boxed photograph fool you into thinking that I’m somehow preserving this like some kind of collector, fuck that, he’s been up and down that kitchen, and my loft, and the extension and…

Unicorn Pencil Holder!
From my lovely friend Annie and fuck knows where she got it from, I think she may have actually bought it from an actual unicorn. In my enthusiasm to get this bizarre contraption out and figure it out I foolishly ripped the box open and it got thrown away during the ‘clean up the mountains of wrapping paper’ portion of Christmas Morning so I don’t know who made it or what it’s officially called (I’m calling him Doug though) which saddens me because I want to buy one for all my friends, all of them are massive children and a set of coloured pencils sandwiched between two halves of a leering unicorn is right up all their alleys. The pencils are incidentally really good, especially for a novelty item, the yellow doesn’t show up so well but that’s yellow all over really, jaundiced bastard.

Books about Lesbians!
You better believe I’m utterly in love with IDW’s new Jem & the Holograms series but I’m saving that for the Look At this volume you better believe I’m doing for this reviewapalooza. Spectacles meanwhile is hilarious and poignant and just what I’d expect from Sue Perkins, if you’re not British or are but don’t watch The Great British Bake-Off of QI, Sue Perkins is part of a comedy duo Sue & Mel that have been going since the 1990s, they used to present Light Lunch, if you do watch Bake-Off or QI, she’s the one with the short hair and glasses. I’m happy to admit that with most autobiographies I read I’m interested in something other than the person/persons the book is biographing (automatically? Autonomously? What does the ‘auto’ in autobiography mean? Actually I’m not sure I know what the difference between biography and autobiography even is), I’ll buy a band’s autobiography because I want to know that went on during the making of some of their albums, say, but I wanted Spectacles because I genuinely just wanted to read about Sue Perkins talking about her life. I just really like Sue Perkins; I’d like to have Sue Perkins for a mate (as in, friend, not as in breeding Bonobo apes, though Sue Perkins is infinitely fuckable she’s somewhat a raging lesbian, and a famous person, so my chances are absolutely zero) and I wanted to know more about her and I knew it’d be funny and poignant. I’ve also learnt a sweet new saying, ‘what the absolute fuck’, which I shall be using regularly.

Necessary Ghostbusters Nerd Paraphernalia!
I haven’t really gone on about my Ghostbusters obsession here, not because I’m ashamed but because the only film that’s been written about more on geeky blogs is Star Wars, and unlike Lucas’ cash cow Ghostbusters hasn’t had a new film (yet) to excuse me adding to the pile. But I am a big, big, sad, sad Ghostbusters fan and have been since I was small and The Real Ghostbusters ruled my viewing and playtime. Thus two of my friends – Mike and Hannah, both ginger – rightly decided that I was lacking a couple of essentials as a Ghostbusters fan and rectified this this Christmas, to wit: An expensive and disturbingly in-depth book and a framed signed film slide.
Again they were completely right; the film slide is going up on the wall this afternoon (which is the day after I received it) in pride of place by my Critters poster and just above where my Scrooge McDuck soft toy sits (a truly revered spot) and I’ve read most of the Ultimate Visual History already despite not getting home from our New Year’s do until two, meaning I was up at half 3 in the morning reading about the making of the Scoleri Brothers – if you don’t read that and instantly accept it as something worth doing then we won’t ever be friends, sorry.

Motherfucking Clangers!
I think the Clangers may be the best children’s television show we’ve ever produced and I’m happy to fight Bagpuss fans to the death to decide the matter. Clangers are my ‘utterly depressed’ thing, when I’m to down to even read Touching From a Distance1, I watch the Clangers and it legitimately gets me through until such time I can function enough to do something other than watch whistling socks. The space mice have just received a new series and to merchandise this Character Options Limited have made one of my toy dreams come true by producing action figures of all the main cast, I cannot stress how much I’ve wanted these to exist nor how happy I am that they do, nor how happy I am that I received a complete set for Christmas, for those convinced that present opening as an adult cannot be as exciting as it when you’re a child you should have seen me unwrap a three inch plastic Soup Dragon. These were from my mum btw (as was the Jem book) proving that she knows me very, very well.

Thematic! Remember from the start of this article (I know it feels like a long time ago now) I said I covet horror themed soft toys but due to their price and my lack of bedroom space I don’t own many, and the ones I do are treated like a new niece or nephew rather than a vaguely disturbing stuffed animal? Well it’s still true at the end of this waffle too and George is amazing! Like Count Ted (to whom he is now a mix of Robin and Igor) he became my sidekick all through New Year’s Eve but unlike my family my friends are exactly the sort of people who find a grown-ass man acting vicariously through a zombie teddy bear completely acceptable.   
He’s one of the Build-a-Bear store’s Halloween exclusives from 2015 that the sneaky bitch that is my friend Simone bought while I was in fact in the shop (and shopping centre) with her, I’ve often thought that she may be a ninja but this (and the various dead people) has convinced me. Few Build-A-Bears have names so I’ve dubbed him George after George Romero because, well, every zombie since Night of the Living Dead has been based on that bloody film rather than actual zombie legends/truth and while no undead has ever been as face-smooshingly-cute as this bear before he’s totally a modern post-Romero zombie. And I probably didn’t need to write a paragraph about why I named the zombie bear and you probably didn’t need to read it but I just needed to moan about the zombie thing, sorry.

Bonus Number 11: All of this!

Like I say I have a big family, both sets of grandparents are still alive (and hopefully will remain so for a little while yet, touch wood) and spoil their grandkids (or just grandkid in my maternal grandparents case), we’re very close to my paternal uncle and his wife and two children, I have three great aunts, so I tend to rake it in when it comes to money in Christmas Cards, and having received all the books and DVDs I could want and with there being exactly one video game out at the moment I want to play (Yoshi’s Woolly World, which I also now own) most of the money went on toys (and books about women who present cookery programmes), which is why we’re doing this reviewapalooza, I was planning to review what figures I got for Christmas anyway (as I always receive a few) what I wasn’t planning on was to buy five Monster High dolls and end up with four World of Nintendo offerings, three WWE figures, two NECA and a bunch of Pokémon, proof positive that the Post-Christmas sales really are worth trampling old ladies for (I got one MH doll for £7!) so now it’s a series of themed posts, beginning now, aren’t you all so lucky?

With that out the of way I’ll just say thanks to everyone who spent money on me this year, I appreciate it a great deal and now if you don’t mind I’ve off to wank over a sandwich toaster.

1 The autobiography of Ian Curtis (lead singer/songwriter from Joy Division) by his wife, I’ve read many books while suffering from bouts of depression and have through the process of elimination worked out that this is the best suited to that mindset. 

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