Monday, 5 December 2016

His & Hers

During one of my many charity shop treasure trawls recently, I found a most coveted item. A game by Paul Lamond. Purveyor of such awfulness as Jason Donovan, Straight from the Heart, which I have played so you don't have to, and Lenny Henry's Stand-Up Comic Game, which I possess but have yet to play. (Stay tuned, I will get the strength up eventually)

The game is His & Hers: The Battle of the Sexes



I could probably leave it at a picture of the box tbh

The aim is to find out which sex is bestest. This is achieved by asking a series of questions to players according to their gender. Pink side of the question card for the ladies, blue side for the men. Obvs. Your response is awarded a certain amount of points. Once totted up these points can scientifically tell us which gender wins life.

Let's see how we do:

Ladies first. And we have a dinner party quandary for you. Think hard, it's a tough one


Now a sexuality question for the men (the right answer is signposted quite heavily lads)


And now a poser for the gals that, if asked in court, would elicit the cry "leading the witness your honour!"


Who do you think is winning so far? Feels like nobody

Next up. A question on the arts


Now that we have put ballet dancers to rights, let's tackle ethics. Careful how you go now


It's all fun and games until someone admits to historic sexual offences!

Some final questions on the workplace and we can tot up the scores:


What decade was this? I hear you cry. Well, the questions sound like they're from the 70s, the box looks like it's from the 80s, but alas, this was 1991. Yes, it's easy to forget in these 'every other letter to The Metro bemoans the cruel hegemony of the PC Brigade' times that we haven't been PC for long, and being PC (or respectful - technical term) is actually not that bad.

And now for a bonus historical yet newly topical question, for these Brexit days. A question about our entry into the EU, or Brentry if you will:


UK = Mostly C

So now that our brief foray into the broader horizons of Europe is over, we can go back to being the narrow minded dicks we were in 1991. And indeed already have in some quarters.

I can't leave the game on that note, it would be no fun. So one final bonus question for you. And it's one you can now answer retrospectively. Unfortunately no points can be awarded, cos you cheated by travelling forward in time 25 years:


And that's GAME OVER. Next time, Lenny Henry. Unless you pay the ransom.

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Jason Donovan Board Game

It's Bank Holiday Monday and it's raining. So that's tomorrow's small talk at the work tea point taken care of. Whew.

It's also a great pretext to stay in and finally play the Jason Donovan board game, 'Straight From The Heart', a mere year after finding it in a charity shop for £1.



Here are the Jason Donovan rules; live by them, die by them:



There are four question categories: Love; Favourite Things; Dates; and Music

Some of the questions are about Jason and some of the questions are 'truth or dare' style posers for 7+ girls.

Here are some of the choicest questions that came up:

DATES: Name the date you think you'll get married - Not fair. Impossible to be proven incorrect. I got a puzzle piece for saying "Twelfth of never" though

LOVE: What do you love most about Jason? - Bit awkward this one. But again, easy to win a puzzle piece. Nobody can disprove a thing.

LOVE: Describe exactly what you would say if Jason phoned you now - Easy "How did you get this number?"

FAVOURITE THINGS: What are Jason's favourite foods? - Healthy foods. Nice and vague that. And smug.

FAVOURITE THINGS: What is Jason's favourite painting? - One he did. One he did? Fair enough, I did actually sarcastically guess that based on other self aggrandising answers to questions about himself but still, that's not something anyone could 'know'

DATES: What year will you be 18? - 1998. Does a retrospective answer count?

LOVE: Describe where you would take Jason on your first date - Pass. Keep your puzzle piece, some games are not worth winning.

LOVE: Name one of your friends' boyfriends you like - Looking to stir up a bit of trouble between the players there Jason?

FAVOURITE THINGS: Does Jason believe in nuclear disarmament? - Yes. A man of peace. A great man.

FAVOURITE THINGS: What is Jason's favourite house? - His house. It's the painting question all over again.

DATES: Give a date when you think your best friend's boyfriend will leave her - What larks!

MUSIC: Sing the first line of 'Especially For You' - Especially for you. Toughie.

LOVE: Pretend you're putting on make up - (a) Love? (b) Not even a question

MUSIC: Does Jason like Michael Jackson's music? - Yes. No would have been a little bitchy so an easy correct guess.

LOVE: Does Jason like dinner by candlelight? - Yes. Arrived at by using the classic 'what is the obvious correct sounding answer?' system of guessing.

LOVE: What does Jason think is most important? - Love. Bit easy, given the category.

FAVOURITE THINGS: What is Jason's favourite restaurant? - Any good Italian restaurant. Could you be any vaguer Jason?

LOVE: Describe what you would say if your friend dated Jason - Well, most of my friends are now married so I would ask if their husbands knew, what had precipitated all of this, and in some cases remind them that they have kids to consider.

FAVOURITE THINGS: What is Jason's favourite best friend at tea? - James Maguire. Obviously. Anyone who got that should not just win the game, but be made King of the World.

You have to keep playing until you collect enough puzzle pieces to make a picture of Jason. Which, given the overly specific nature of the questions, can never happen.

Play until you die. Or until you can pass the curse on to someone else a la The Ring, through the charity shop rather than the TV.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Ghost Hunt!

Hey look, it’s another sporadic blog entry!

Sorry, no discipline. It’s just so much easier to post a 140 character Tweet. Maybe that thing about the internet destroying attention spans wasn't a myth...oh look, a poodle...sorry what was I doing here?

Oh yes, one of my infrequent blogs. I suppose it keeps it special though, eh? Like spotting a yeti or a ghost.

And speaking of...

A couple of weeks ago, I went to 30 East Drive. A property billed as being home to Europe's most violent poltergeist.

As you can tell, I'm still alive. That's one spoiler alert that I can't help, sorry.

I answered an invitation from a friend who I met when I was doing comedy. He goes on lots of ghost hunts and has all of the equipment; emf meters, temperature gauges, night vision cameras.

I figured at the very least it would make for a more interesting than usual response to the dreaded “What did you do at the weekend?” question you get at the work tea point every Monday morning. A refreshing change to: “Not much, you?” - “No, not much”

Providing I survived. Which we have already established I did. More spoilers!

As we turned off the motorway on to the a-road leading to Pontefract we were greeted by a huge sign in a field which said ‘Prepare to Meet Your God’. A fantastic omen.

I should probably stop here for a moment and just state my position.

I was going along as an open minded sceptic. I like to think I am logical, rational and all those synoyms – see my previous blog entry on ghosts and how we frame everything backwards according to experience and preconception – however when I was little a few things happened which are hard to explain.

My dad was pushing me on a swing in our back garden. My mum was in hospital having just had my brother. I started waving and saying goodbye to, apparently nobody. Dad asked who I was waving to. I named the person and said they were saying goodbye and going away. When we got to the hospital we bumped into my nan who said that her neighbour, of that name, had just died.

I don't remember this as I was too young, so I can't conclude anything. The only explanation I have is that I may have overheard the grown-ups talking about her. Maybe they were mentioning she was ill or something and my imagination went with it. I didn't know her and hadn't interacted with her. My nan lived on the Old Kent Road and I lived in West Wickham. At that age, I only went there for a couple of hours at Christmas.

The house in West Wickham was weird too. My mum didn't like to be there on her own. When she put the TV on heavy footsteps started going up and down the stairs. Then when she muted it, they abruptly stopped. I used to claim there was an old man in the house, coming up the stairs. I used to run to bed and clean my teeth under the duvet. Again, I can’t conclude anything. I was too young to remember seeing him. I have no memory of any of it. But I have been told all of the stories. Here’s one which is really rather creepy.

Mum says I had a toy bunny, like the ones in the Duracell adverts, which I used to play with to excess. It was taken off me one day to give my parents some peace. The batteries were taken out and the bunny was placed on the top of a wardrobe out of my reach. In the middle of the night what do my parents hear? The bunny. Batteries back in, marching around my bedroom floor whilst I watched on from my crib. If I'd have been on the ball I would have said “They're heeeeere” in a squeaky voice. Ah, l'esprit d'escalier.

I can't think of an explanation for that one. But the absence of an explanation still doesn't mean ghosts. So yeah, open minded sceptic. More things in heaven and earth, only know I know nothing etc etc.

Whatever, back to the ghost hunt!

30 East Drive is an ordinary looking, fairly modern council property. A strange place for a black monk to haunt you might think. He should be in an abbey or a castle. But apparently there was a gallows on the site of the house and he was hanged for a crime he didn't commit, hence the restless spirit roaming the earth story. There is also supposed to be a little girl in there, and according to the neighbour, an evil elemental in the bathroom. Quite off-putting when you're on the loo I expect.

First impressions on entering were: it's freezing, it smells funny, the atmosphere is tangibly 'orrible. The former two were down to the property being uninhabited, the latter because of the story behind the house. It was odd though, being that struck by the unpleasantness of a place, despite the rational explanation.

(The d├ęcor didn't help. The guy who bought the house – the producer of the movie about it, which we watched in the house that night, woooooo! – has done his best to recreate the look of the place at the time of the poltergeist activity. Old furniture, old carpet, bare beds, creepy china dolls. He has bloody well succeeded)

The cold was weird though it has to be said. I've been in a house that hasn't had the heating on for a long while. This was a different cold. Extra cold. It clung to you. Literally. There was a point in the night where I thought someone was squeezing my legs (actually there was a point where someone really did this – hid under a bed and grabbed my ankles in the dark – I didn't flinch and am therefore, in the words of Alan Partridge, braver than ten firemen and a dozen policemen) The time I am talking about though, I was standing alone in the main bedroom. It felt like something tightening around my legs. I stood there for ages, trying to be objective about this weird feeling. Then I looked down and it turned out the cold and damp had caused my jeans to cling to my legs really tightly. I see now why people on Most Haunted keep insisting that someone is touching their leg (apart from the need to fabricate activity for their TV show that is) There were also sudden drops in temperature in certain isolated spots now and then.

“But were there any weird occurrences?” I don’t hear you say because how could I? Well, one or two.

When we were setting up for the baseline tests my friend found that all of his fully charged batteries had drained to zero power. Apparently this is something commonly reported at 30 East Drive. He put them in the wall charger and we went off to do some of the tests as a group. When we all came back, the wall charger had been switched off. Nobody admitted to doing it. We were all upstairs and the front door was locked. That was interesting. Not beyond explanation but interesting.

During the early hours light orbs were seen on film and on still camera – some say this is supposed to be ghosts trying to manifest, some say it's reflection and dust. So debatable and explainable. There was however an unexplained light which flashed brightly when we were asking for activity. We were in the sitting room and it flashed past the glass door connecting to the kitchen. It was like a car headlight but much more focused and very bright. Our resident die hard sceptic was in the kitchen at the time and my mate said that it had pained the guy to report that there were no cars going past when it happened. That too was interesting and we can't find an explanation for the source of the light. All of the lights and torches were off and the biggest sceptic among us was in the room where the light came from.

The best bit of the night was when we all went off to sit in different parts of the house in the dark. My friend went into the coal shed, where the dad who lived there at the time of the poltergeist activity got locked in by unseen hands, apparently. A friend of his who was standing outside in the kitchen asked “Where are you in the house? Are you in the coal shed?” At which point the motion sensor outside the coal shed went off. My friend leaped out of there and ran at his mate, who kicked the kitchen door shut behind them. My friend decided to put that down to setting up the motion sensor carelessly and it falling over by itself. Amazing timing though eh? Only time in the night it went off.

In the absence of actually seeing a ghost, shaking its hand and having a chat, I remain an open minded sceptic. It was a fun night though and I would recommend a ghost hunt whatever your perspective on the matter.

Here are some photos

The group at the start of the night


Sign on the kitchen door


Creepy decor


Using the emf meter in the coal shed


Stairs where the black monk is supposed to walk


Watching the film about the house, in the house


Waiting for something to happen in the dark


Lights out selfie

Monday, 26 January 2015

Now *that's* magic

Hi. Sorry for never blogging. It's a combination of being way too busy and not interesting enough.

Anyway, before I disappear back into silence, I wanted to show you something.

My friend Jane got me the birthday present to end all birthday presents: A personalised message from Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee.

Drink it in:

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Wit & Wisdom of Paul Daniels

If you were to say to me “so, read any good books lately?” the answer would be a definite “no”

But who wants to read a good book when you have Under No Illusion, the life story of magician Paul Daniels, at your disposal?

It is better than good. It is bad. So bad it is bad and therefore good. But mostly bad. Very bad.

I would like to share with you some of the highlights. Brace yourselves.

We start with his dramatic entrance:


We experience the cold, budgie-killing reality of war:


Something that really gets up his nose by the way, bloody war:


The Holocaust didn’t bother him that much though, until he saw a film:


He finds fat ladies far more traumatic:


Not as traumatic as he finds homosexuals though:


Thankfully nobody has ever thought he was gay, no sir:


He has urges:


And casual sex (a whole chapter thereof):


And rages with lust:


Although his erotic nightmares do point to some sort of issue with women:


As well as his treatment of prostitutes:


And his description of their lady bits:


Oh and his attitude to women in comedy:


And the fact he thinks they are all filthy:


Oh and by the way, as a grown man, he bites toddlers:


He has an interesting name for his penis:


Has an even more interesting take on racism:


Has a yet even more interesting take on the teachings of Gandhi:


He hates cheese, not like you, you idiot:


He once got covered in poo from a faulty boat toilet. One for the memoirs:


He’s not dead, obviously:


He abused his position in local government to spy on his first wife’s lover:


And then presented the lover and wife with a dossier whilst they were in bed:


But things turned around when he met Debbie McGee and they had sex in a rowing boat:


And finally, his most valuable life lesson. Take note:

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Gachapon



This blog has been a long time in the making, which is ironic as it will be my least read given that it's about a bit of a niche subject; Gachapon.

Gachapon are capsule machines each containing a series of toys, gadgets or phone/console accessories. The name is onomatopoeiac - 'gacha' being the sound made when you crank the handle and 'pon' being the sound made when the capsule drops down.

There will typically be six prizes in any given Gachapon series with some being harder to get than others, so you can end up with loads of duplicates in the search for the one you want. However at only 100/200 Yen a go, it's no big deal, and as we discovered on our last trip to Japan, if you go to a collector store in Akihabara you can sell them straight back. People can then trawl the racks looking for the one they're missing:



When we go to Japan, we always end up wandering around the huge Gachapon floors of stores like Yodabashi at length...





Partly to buy a few interesting ones and partly to just browse the weirder stuff on offer:

Like dog wigs...


...Dangling cats


...Cat's paws - perfect for businessmen's top pockets (?)


...Cat's bum hand mirrors


...Pigs in boots


...Polar bears dressed as men (and other bears)


Actually, that's the one thing we made an effort to get the full set of (plus a couple from the panda version) We just found them amusing:


Some of the best ones we've picked up include:

A Doraemon gacha ball which turns into a standing figure


A Super Mario pipe attachment for the DS


A Super Mario egg projector


Super Mario light up mushrooms


Mini games consoles and controllers


And arguably the best one, a Rilakkuma mini planter, which I have grown from seed and which is now in the back garden





















(Waiting for that plant to grow is the reason this blog has been a long time coming!)

And finally, the icing on the cake. On our last trip we picked up a toy Gachapon machine

A toy of a toy machine. Meta.

Here ends my geekiest blog to date.