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mebWell, that didn’t quite go according the plan. It turns out that not getting paid to write nonsense for someone else’s site isn’t quite as satisfying as not getting paid to write on your own.

So I’ve decided to become a bit more productive and have set myself a goal of contributing more digital noise to the internet. They may be small aims, but at least they’re my own.

Anyway, that’s enough about me, how are you?

 

This list began as a kind of ‘Reasons to be cheerful’ for the year ahead. But after giving it some thought, I soon realised that the smallest flicker of optimism doesn’t stand a chance against the horrifying reality of 2012. So what do we have to look forward to? Well there’s a new series of Game of Thrones, a new Ridley Scott sci-fi film and probably some other stuff but, unfortunately, none of it stands a chance against the following. But on the bright side, if one of the predictions below comes true it won’t matter anyway…

1. Gypsy Come Dancing

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Producers kept Jeff Brazier on speed-dial

While the UK’s annual obsession with, cooking, dancing dogs and semi-talented but visually unappealing people will show no sign of abating, the real star of the televisual annum will be Gypsy Come Dancing, a TV talent contest about travellers teaming up with minor celebs and dancing for their supper (not to mention their own reality series and a Works-warming ghost-written autobiography). This will be accompanied by an ITV 2 after-show featuring a trollied Olly Murs brawling with members of the audience in a Yates Wine Lodge car park and Stacey Solomon fighting off the advances of a celebrity groper in the ‘Caravan of Love’.

2. Jurassic Renner

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‘Wait, so I’m going to be in EVERYTHING?

Did you know that out of the several hundred films being released by Hollywood this year just under half will feature Jeremy Renner? This is a marked increase of 212% on last year and suggests that by 2016 films not featuring Renner will have their own genre. It seems that Jeremy Renner, like hiring a good director, or getting a decent script, is one of the foolproof ways to improve a film’s prospects. So don’t be surprised to see more ‘Renre’ films announced throughout the year – including Blade Renner, where Jeremy Renner has to hunt down clones of himself in the future, Jeressic Park, a bit like the other example but set in the present day and featuring a green and scaly Jeremy Renner with claws and movement-based vision, and Jeremy’s Ladder where an actor playing an Iraqi war vet has nightmarish visions of the future.

3. Sporting comedown

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Exciting: The 2012 Olympics

By 2012 we will have seen every single possible athletic configuration of man and pole. Some will be lucky enough to have obtained tickets to see a man throwing a pole down a field, others will be sitting at home watching some men chasing some other men down a track with a pole. Some will even have to make do with listening to a man jumping over a pole with a bigger pole on the radio. Even though these colossal events are months away, the hype for 2012’s been building ever since Zeus invented Lucozade. But, inevitably, by the end of the year we’re going to be bored shitless of sports. Things are just not going to be that good again. Sure, we’ll have smaller athletic gatherings but they won’t be marked with a £27 million pound Danny Boyle choreographed intro featuring dancing nurses and Boris Johnson firing OAPS from the cannons of the Queen’s new state funded warship to satisfy the blood-lust of Poseidon.

4. The end of the government

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Clegg: used to love Fridays

The coalition government as we know it will no longer exist by 2013. There are already early signs of fracture: Nick Clegg being notoriously unable to handle his booze on ‘Crème du menthe Fridays’, George Osborne secretly seething every time Vince Cable puts on his Chumbawamba CD. When the dust settles, David Cameron will probably grow a beard, buy the jacket from a vagrant and use his retirement from politics to finally try and understand the underclass. Once he receives confirmation that 100% of society’s problems come from the 99%, he will then return in costume to do what he couldn’t actually do in government: beat them up with his fists. Nick Clegg will probably look sad on Clinton cards and then become the world’s first monochrome human being and the government will be led by the least successful Aardman creation since Flushed Away (a title that may have some additional relevance).

5. The Apocalypse

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‘That’s right, £150 with Super Mario 3D’

We’ve had a few false starts in recent years with bird flu, foot and mouth and monkey mumps but 2012 promises to be the biggest yet: an apocalypse predicted the Mayans, who had a great record of predicting every single major event in history – bar their own downfall. The Mayan’s history is littered with successful predictions: the swift discounting of the Nintendo 3DS, Ricky Gervais not actually being as funny and clever as people thought and Cthulu turning up to ruin the opening ceremony of the Olympics (prediction pending) so it would be remiss not to mention it here and use it as a full stop – not just on this article but perhaps on existence itself.

I meant to do a blog post about these pics a couple of years ago but, struggling for context, I left them to dwell for a couple of years, because…well, you’ll understand when you see them. Let me explain, a couple of years I was enjoying a leisurely cup of tea with my neighbour, who had recently moved back up north from the big smoke. She spent a lot of her time down there appearing as an extra in such notable TV shows as Eastenders (where she mingled with the likes of ‘Big Ron’) and films like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Interview with the Vampire (conversations about which would normally be proceeded by ‘When I was working with Tom Cruise…’).

Anyway, she produced a book she bought at a car boot sale. I can’t remember what it was, if memory serves it was a collection of oil paintings of cats but that my just be wishful thinking. Regardless, she bought this book from a car boot sale near Pinewood Studios. According to my neighbour, everyone who’s anyone would have their stuff sold at this car boot sale. In my mind this conjured up images of Stanley Kubrick pitching up to clear his archive of ceramic dogs, or Ridley Scott getting there early doors to build on his famed collection of brass horseshoes. The ‘reality’ however, wasn’t far from the truth. Check out this letter…

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and these were the images…

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OK, so it may be doubtful that Spielberg circa-87 would struggle to afford the likes of Patrick McGoohan and Sid James – though there were clearly other factors prohibiting the latter’s hiring in 1987 – despite what he tells the mysterious ‘Derek’. It’s equally unlikely that he used the story of an ex-convict exposing his boss’ corruption as an inspiration for Empire of the Sun, though he did hire Sean Connery for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989.

Perhaps the biggest mystery is what Derek and his brother David made of the check for 5 million dollars, which was notable for its absence among the collection of painted cats. Maybe they didn’t receive it? Who knows? Who cares? I don’t really know. I’ll be back next week with a more comprehensive post – though I can’t guarantee it’ll make any more sense. Until then, have a better one.

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For the inevitable big screen adaptation of “Pop-Up Fookin’ Pirate”.

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There’d better be sago at the end of this…

A friend asked me the other day if I had an SEO strategy in place for this site. I replied that I barely have a site, let alone a strategy. But that led me to investigate Google Analytics to see how people are finding idbuythatforadollar.co.uk.

The results were alarming: while most people search for the name of the blog (hooray!) there were a few notable exceptions. Unfortunately, these searchers often bounced off when they realised they weren’t going to find what they were looking for. Looking at their keywords, they probably never will but, anyway, not feeling particularly inspired at the moment, I’ve decided to investigate further.

Example 1: Little Big Vern

Keywords: raoul moat penis size

What were they after?

It seems people are still picking up the pieces from what could well be Gazza’s most disastrous fishing trip of last year. Several months later, there are still many unanswered questions, some of which are only coming to light now.

While people are busy looking for answers to: ‘Did Moat have help?’ and ‘How was he able to evade capture for so long?’ it’s inevitable that some questions will fall through the cracks, lost in time, like Tears for Fears. So it’s clearly up to armchair detectives to uncover the biggest mystery: how big was the little version of the real-life Big Vern?

What did they find?

When searching ‘Raoul Moat penis size’ on this very site it brings up the following: ‘Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.’ Which is either a comment on the negative side effects of steroid abuse, or the kind of sobering statement of truth you’d expect from an emotionless robotic bastard. Either way, our have-a-go Hercule was probably disappointed to find my Sports Champions review.  If you’re out there, please don’t give up. Or do. Whatever.

Example 2: The search for sago

Keywords: where can I buy sago pudding in morecambe

What were they after?

Lacking the keen detective sense that should be entrenched after years of James Ellroy novels, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that our searcher probably lives in Morecambe, or visits when searching for sago pudding – a quest that has so far proved fruitless.

What did they find?

I find it quite hard to describe some of the content of my site; it’s quite rambling, strange, and humorous. If someone were to ask me what it’s like I wouldn’t have a clue. However, if someone were to say they were looking for sago pudding in Morecambe, and ask if my site could help, I would have to say probably not. Though they’d hopefully find some comfort in my CODBLOPS review, while they rubbed their sago-deficient tummies.

Example 3: Lost valley of the dildosaur

Keywords: buy dildo

What were they after?

While I have no experience of the item in question, I respect the workmanlike phrasing of the request. The searcher clearly was just in need of a dildo…”and don’t give me any of your bullshit, Google. ”

What did they find?

A search for ‘dildo’ brings up my Dead Rising 2 review, which is clearly ‘bullshit’ – at least by the aforementioned definition.  And while it may amuse and enlighten, it’s unlikely to satisfy their brusque sexual desires. Then again, it’s free and doesn’t take batteries. Silver linings and all that…

Example 4: Covered in cow-tit

Keywords: “cow covered in tits”

What were they after?

Note the quotation marks, this searcher won’t be pacified with just “tits,” nor just “a cow” and the result of “a cow” stood near some “tits” would probably serve only to incense them. Hell, “a cow” bearing one pair of “tits” would probably not suffice. No, this searcher is all or nothing; bring me “a cow” COVERED in “tits” or don’t bother coming home you search engine bastard.

What did they find?

My CODBLOPS review referred to the Call of Duty brand looking like ‘a cow covered in tits’ through its publishers’ special ‘money goggles’, so it’s not like we’re in the wrong ballpark here. In fact, for some reason I feel a special kinship with this visitor, despite the fact he probably hates my guts for reneging on the promise of boob-strapped bovines.

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Is Charlie Kaufman working in the straight-to-DVD market?

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“It’s actually wool. I know, crazy right?”

As part of my best man duties last year I took it upon myself to try and track down some celebrity well wishers for my mate Dan’s wedding. Part of this was because he managed to snag an autographed photo from tall and handsome millionaire Peter Jones for my wedding the year before, and part was just due to the fact that even if my speech was a dud, who’s going to remember when faced with a good luck message from the French policeman off Allo Allo (who, believe it or not, wasn’t really French)?

I drew up a short hitlist of targets to approach, based mainly on silly in-jokes, bad films watched (and re-watched) and musicians you’d only admit to liking among polite company.

Commando was one such inspiration. The tale of Arnie trying to get his daughter back from his former comrade and the General of possibly the worst army this side of Walmington-on-Sea, left a colossal imprint. Whether you enjoy it for the ‘plosions, or the plot holes, it’s a film that keeps on giving. So getting a message from one of the cast was a must. And there was only one real choice.

Commando’s villain, Bennett, is an eternal paradox. He’s supposed to be in peak physical condition, as befits a man going against early career Schwarzenegger, but seems to break sweat scaling fences that wouldn’t trouble Warwick Davis. He’s also supposed have been a part of the almost unbelievably hetero sounding fighting force ‘The Unit’, but with his leather pants, weird pseudo chainmail vest and large moustache, he seems better suited to the kind of combat that happens between consenting male adults, and rarely leaves permanent physical injury.

On one hand, Bennett claims to hate Col. John Matrix (Arnie – though I doubt I have to explain the plot machinations of Commando), but he’s also completely obsessed with him, and even turns money down for a chance to “get his hands on him”.

When people mention 80s films that feature the wrath of scorned lovers they always mention Fatal Attraction, but I’d argue Commando is a better example. For one, aside from the villain, only a rabbit gets killed in Adrian Lyne’s film, but in Commando, an entire country’s worth of metaphorical rabbits get boiled in a pan (not to mention shot, blown up, impaled and have their heads sawn open).

Of course you could argue that Commando’s protagonist was not a willing participant in the affair, but if you’re going to have a go at Michael Douglas for fucking something he shouldn’t you might as well lecture a fish for being wet.

Largely pointless digressions aside, I contacted Vernon Wells’ agent and got the following reply.

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Awesome! I wasn’t expecting such a friendly, positive response (mainly because Vernon wore assless chaps in 2 of the 3 roles I’d seen him in).

Preconceptions to ventilative legwear altered, I forwarded Dan’s phone number and an address and waited. Eventually I asked him if he’d had an ‘interesting’ phone call. He hadn’t, so I sent Vernon another email.

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But that was the last we ever heard of Vernon.

Part of me can’t help but think that perhaps Bennett and Vernon aren’t so different after all. He’s got Dan’s number, so maybe he’s just waiting for the day when he can kidnap his daughter, call him up and taunt him.

Although he probably just forgot.

Anyway, I’d consider getting an email from the great man an achievement in itself. And I did manage to get some reserve autographs.

Pics below:

Duncan 'Stop' Bannatyne

I see your Peter Jones, and raise you one dour Scotsman.

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Dominic West aka McNulty from The Wire. Best message ever.

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James Gandolfini aka Big T. He wrote this on vacation and his assistant Fed Ex’d it to get there on time. What a trooper.

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When I read Empire or Total Film I always skip the last few pages lest someone nearby sees me thumbing through the mucky ad pages and thinks I’m stealth-reading a wank pamphlet.

But the geniuses behind such ads are clearly hip to this and have created an ad that works as a rallying cry for the dirty mac brigade, but also lets over-shoulder-readers think that they may just be about to engage in an act of civic duty.

“Older ladies waiting at home to talk”.

Most people would read that and think of a lonely old dear sat at home on a Monday night, checking her carriage clock to see if it’s time for the following Sunday night’s episode of The Antiques Roadshow.

Then again, such people would have to divert their gaze from multiple ads for a wide range of bongo vids, so it’s not quite effective yet. And until it is, I will continue to be embarrassed by the last few pages of my film mags.