The Breakfast Club – A Depressing 25th Annual Class Reunion
The Breakfast Club, for those who haven’t seen it, is a hard-hitting John Hughes documentary that detailed what went on in an average American high school detention in 1985. The students in the documentary graduated in 1986, one year after the documentary’s release, and, like most nostalgic, middle age crisis sufferers, they all attend an annual reunion for Shermer High, now run by the son of former Principal, Richard Vernon - creepy. For obvious reasons I wasn’t invited to the reunion (mainly due to the fact that I had never attended Shermer high), but thankfully, I was free that night, so I decided to head down there anyway and find out what The Breakfast Club were getting up to these days. In my head it was research for a puitzer winning article, a real Human interest story; I mean, everybody loved it when Justin Lee Collins bought Grange Hill back together, and now I had an opportunity to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the Grange Hill reunion clashed with the Shermer High reunion, so I had to make a choice between the two. Eventually, after flipping a coin, losing it down a drain, and breaking my knuckle after punching the pavement in frustration, I decided, through a fog of pain, to head to Shermer High as it was closer to my house, and I knew the bus route fairly well.
Unexpectedly (well, not that unexpectedly), I was refused entry by the security guard outside the auditorium, who, I might add, was excessively aggressive in his insistence that ‘[my] name [wasn’t] on the list’. Knowing there was no way into the building I decided to do the next most logical thing. After the auditorium was evacuated due to a bomb threat, issued by a still unknown, and most likely very handsome, terrorist, I found myself surrounded by a giant swarm of middle-aged former Shermer High students. Now amongst the former students, I realised I had no idea how I was going to find The Breakfast Club-ers. Thankfully, I recognised John Bender almost immediately when he tried to steal my wallet. The, still floppy haired, Bender was gracious at being caught and only stabbed me twice whilst agreeing to be interviewed about The Breakfast Club. What he told me shocked me at how libelous it would be in print. So after many minutes of soul searching, the revolutionary inside me (no homo) sat me down, metaphorically, and persuaded me, again metaphorically, that the world should KNOW exactly what happened to the breakfast club.
So here it is:
Then: The Criminal / Now: On the run for Fraud, Embezzlement, Perjury, and Multiple Attempted Murder charges
Bender was always a criminal, and it was hard to imagine he had really changed when the cameras stopped rolling; even his symbolic one-armed salute (non Nazi, I hasten to add) wasn’t entirely believable. This was because he hadn’t changed. He and Claire eloped together a few months later, disappearing into the seedy underbelly of New York City. Before running away, Bender had stolen a swathe of important documents from Claire’s terminally ill father. After forging Claire’s father’s will, Bender assumed control of Mr Standish’s business and proceeded to ransack it’s finances, embezzling half the money into offshore bank accounts, and spending the other half on his and Claire’s drug habits. Claire left Bender in 1998 and disappeared again. Bender, meanwhile, was arrested on charges of embezzlement, which he denied. He was released on bail but arrested again moments later on perjury charges, which he also denied. After, eventually, and I mean eventually, being sentenced to three consecutives life sentences, Bender managed to escape from jail only 2 years later, having hollowed out a tunnel that allowed him to crawl through miles of sewage pipes to freedom. Now on the run from multiple law enforcement agencies, he had decided to return to his old High School to go out in a blaze of glory. He claimed he was ‘annoyed’ that the bomb threat had ‘outshone’ his prepared, now scuppered, Columbine-esque vengeance on the world.
Then: The Athlete / Now: Charity Shop Worker, Transsexual
Andy remained a star Athlete after the documentary, even earning himself a scholarship to California University, where he excelled on the University Wrestling team. Notable among his team-mates was future ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ host AC Slater. However, after graduating Andrew suffered a mental collapse, that saw him undergo several successive trips to rehab, during which time he decided to undergo a sex change operation. Still just about in the public eye, Andrew’s story made major headlines and a tell-all book was released by the former wrestler. The book, ‘The Broken Fast Club’, revealed the years of macho intimidation Andrew had suffered at the hands of his sexually insecure father, the testosterone supplements he had been made to take, how his entire family stood by and ignored his increasingly blatant Rowntrees Randoms addiction, how he was beaten up at school for masturbating openly in the male changing rooms whilst shouting ‘Mr Winky wants to cryyyy!!’, how a string of homosexual affairs at University had not actually given him HIV as he had previously claimed, but it was in fact due to an illicit sexual practice with an innocent orangutan, and how he believed changing genders would grant him eternal life. Regrettably, his body, having been exposed to so much excess testosterone when younger, could not sustain itself after being flooded with estrogen, and collapsed internally. Andrew was left a genderless freak. His compensation paid for a wig and plastic surgery, but left his confidence shattered. He was last seen working in a British Heart Foundation store under the name Verity.
Then: The Brain / Now: Disciple of Gongzxlorr
We all remember Brian as the nerdy one that wrote the essay to Principal Vernon, which I might add, fell well short of the specifically specified 1000 words. Tut, tut. Brian apparently kept to himself after the documentary aired, becoming a recluse, as the shame of his virginity manifested itself incessantly, through the muffled sniggers of everyone else at school. Brian eventually found his way into teaching, achieving a passable PGCE mark, after wasting years completing a myriad of meaningless degrees online, amongst which he studied ‘Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows’, ‘Philosophy and Star Trek’, ‘The Art of Walking’, and ‘Cyberporn and Society’.Brian was entrusted the prestigious position of kindergarten teacher at Sherman Junior – the school offering a lifeline to its former highest achieving student. However, it was in March 1999 that Brian Johnson’s life would change forever. For it was on the 16th of March 1999 that he was arrested on charges of child molestation and possession of child pornography. He evaded capture for several months and even attempted suicide once, but the flare gun he was using misfired and blew off all but the littlest toe on his left foot. The charges were eventually dropped (reportedly after a plea of insanity) in exchange for Brian’s participation in an experimental lobotomy program, designed to remove all predatory sexual instincts from the victim…sorry, subject. An ill-fated, and formerly unknown, side effect of the procedure meant that Brian was also deprived of his only asset – his intelligence. Upon his release back into society, the newly abstinent, and significantly denser, Brian was quickly absorbed into a mid-Western cult, the Disciples of Gongzxlorr, who felt they would benefit from Brian’s ‘semi-celebrity status’. It was an unwise move that forced the, deranged, yet otherwise peaceful, cult to move out to a ranch in the country, rejected and mocked by all of society. There, Brian and the other cult disciples still wait; all of them together, waiting for the world to end (which isn’t actually a remit of the Disciples of Gongzxlorr, but just something they do to kill time).
Then: The Princess / Now: DECEASED / Formerly: Stripper, Drug Addict
They say that weed is a gateway drug; that if you smoke a joint then you’ll eventually end up on heroin. But just as easily, you could be stabbed in the arm with a dirty needle, and pumped so full of heroin, that you eyes pop, and bleed everywhere, as your body twists into a malformed husk. Either way, you end up a junkie. Claire Standish, unwisely and unwillingly, took the latter path. Having run away from home to elope with Bender, the pair headed to New York City, before disappearing for a few years. It wasn’t until 1995 that they surfaced as a married couple living on government handouts, and whatever money Claire bought home from stripping. Ironic, isn’t it, that she was once ashamed of being a virgin? It was during this time that Bender introduced Claire to Heroin, through the aforementioned method. After being robbed of her inheritance, by Bender in 1998, Claire couldn’t afford to take Bender to court and so slipped (read: dived headfirst) into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse. It was such a drastic fall from grace that by the end Claire was drinking heroin and injecting vodka into the veins between her toes. She was discovered dead in 2002, having lain undiscovered under a pile of newspapers, for 2 years. The coroners claimed that it was a miracle she could be identified at all, and that it was only through dental records that the feat was possible. Rest in Peace Ms Standish-Bender.
Then: The Basket Case / Now: Living Beyond the Will of God, Billionairess, Possible Black Widow
In Bender’s own words ‘the make over Claire gave to Allison, changed her forever you prick’, and I am inclined to agree with this statement, knowing what I know. What he told me next was this: Having formerly been a social misfit, Allison found that with a bit of make-up she could control any boy she chose. She finished top of her class, and graduated with merits, distinctions, and even a merinction – something her professor made up on the spot at her graduation. It later turned out he was having a stroke. Armed with a distinguished degree and the malevolent charm of Cat Deeley, Allison quickly worked her way up the corporate ladder. She would hand out blowjobs left, right and centre, simply to move up a pay bracket. She became CEO of Coca-Cola at age 27 but soon left when she married her first husband, Steely White, an oil tycoon from Texas. Unfortunately, her happiness didn’t last long as Steely soon tragically died of poisoning, stabbing and shooting all at once, leaving his entire fortune to Allison. Two short rebound marriages followed, both ending in the Husbands tragic passing away, both due to almost identical cases of poisoning, stabbing and shooting all at once. Come 2006, Allison found herself with an estimated fortune of $1.4 billion and not a single police warrant to her name. Her wealth bought suitors and investors, the latter of whom were always warmly welcomed, whilst any prospective suitor poorer than Allison was swiftly turned away. In fact the only suitor to ever enter Allison’s mansion was Sheikh Abdul Jabeer Naseem, but he too was quickly ejected, when it transpired that Allison was an extreme racist – but the more left unsaid about that, the better. Her investments bought her more wealth, but also more fears: a fear of dying and someone stealing her money, a fear of the outside world that so clearly conspired against her, and a fear of gravity. The last record of formerly reformed basket case, Allison Reynolds, can be found in a National Geographic cover article, that detailed, in great depth, how she now lived inside a bubble in a specially constructed anti-gravity chamber, designed to let her live to the ripe old age of 406.
4 Christmas Jumpers that I wish I could burn
If you’re a hardcore Christmas junkie like myself and my housemate, then each year you will subject yourself to the trial that is the Christmas jumper. “Always garish and never trendy” is the motto of the Christmas jumper (and if it was real it would be in Latin, yes), but despite that we still wear them, because we’re festive damn it! However, there are some Christmas jumpers that take the familiar nativity scene that we are so fond of and ask certain questions of it. The questions they ask range from: ‘what if terrorists flew into the stable in Bethlehem?’, ‘what if Jesus was the result of Nuclear fusion gone awry?’, ‘What if snowmen were malevolent?’
It is these questions, and more importantly, these jumpers, that have led to my sleepless nights developing a Patented Skull Baubel Horror Rating System. The following jumpers are accurately graded using the PSBHRS. Read on..if you dare..to encounter an array of shocking puns!
Jumper 1: ‘Snowmaim’
If you’ve ever seen the film Alien then you’ll be familiar with the scene in which an Alien baby rips trough a soldier’s stomach and emerges, covered in gore, as the epitome of space horror. If you haven’t seen the film Aliens, you’ll most likely know this scene anyway. Well, thankfully, someone has created the Christmas jumper equivalent of this moment. There’s something ominous about the caution the snowman is displaying as he emerges from your stomach. There’s no blood? Of course there’s no blood, he’s frozen your insides solid, the crafty snowy bastard. The most terrifying thing to think about, is the fact that the Alien only emerges from the soldier’s stomach because he has been face raped by another alien. Now imagine a big, veiny, erect carrot-like-phallus getting forced down your throat; its hot, sticky, carrot juices trickling down your gullet to fester in your stomach; you think you’ve just got a stomach ache…and you’re oh, so, so, so cold all the time, so you take a few aspirin. The pain subsides but then…RIPPP, another snowy monster (which you’ve been impregnated with) emerges, slowly and coyly from your stomach, ready to shove his (most likely) erect (it is erect; aspirin is like viagra to homicidal rape snowmen) alien carrot cock down someone else’s throat.
Jumper 2: ‘Hark the herald angels scream’
When you see this jumper you’ll most likely see three cute choirboys singing in the snow. What I see is a child sex abuse scene that asks too many questions for my liking:
- Why are their eyes closed, and why are they screaming (come on, they’re clearly not singing)
- What are the strange red marks on the middle boy’s cheeks. No-one else has them. Are they the bruises from a thrust in the wrong direction by a drunken, albeit festive, child molester?
- Why does the snow look more akin to splatters, then delicate Ice shapes? Was something white and sticky (I’m presuming it was sticky) splattered on the boys’ faces at some point? Possibly in their mouths?
- Doesn’t the text at the bottom look oddly spaced? Were there letters there that have been erased? Was it originally ‘blah, blah, blah’?
- WHY DOES NOBODY CARE THAT THESE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN MOUTH SEX RAPED BY SANTA?????? (an oddly developing theme if you’re keeping score / an oddly developing trope if you’re keeping score and know the word trope)
Jumper 3: ‘Jingle Hell’
This jumper is so bad that its creator couldn’t even be bothered to give it arms. What is left behind is a pseudo-sweater-cardigan-vest that bears striking resemblances to a Mayan prophecy I found under my sink. Notice how Santa is screaming and his nose appears to have been sliced off. Notice how the snowman is holding a broom – is he a witch? Clearly this is a document in need of professional translating; it could be the Rosetta stone that unleashes the horror of Christmas upon the land. Notice how everything is blocky and pixilated…is life real? Or is it a video game? Do we live in the matrix?! Is that the message being conveyed? One thing is clear though: When the boom and the faeces with legs fly in the sky, we must bury our teddy bears and our Alpine chalets, before a screaming, noseless Santa and a witch-snowman arrive to wreck havoc like a frosty apocalypse: Frostocalypse. Which sounds like the name of a sexy, and icy, member of the X-men.
Jumper 4: ‘Santa = Satan’
This is one of the most terrifying jumpers I have ever seen, Christmas themed or not. Santa’s eyes are BLEEDING. What the fuck?! If we turn and face this jumper, so that it faces jumper number 2 up there, then what we’ve done is successfully recreate a scene from a child molester snuff movie – which is very festive. Santa’s hands are too bold and weirdly defined, looking more like claws or metallic pincers than hands; and his look of upmost shock is the paradigm of horror. What can Santa – a fictional character – have seen, that shits him up, so, so much?! Is he warning us to not go looking for him? I don’t know, but his bleeding face and hollow, dead eyes, is doing enough to convince me to burn this sweater and never publish this article, for fear of putting into motion a festive curse much like The Ring, except with more tinsel. It’s as if Santa has been possessed and wherever he goes, he is always telling you ‘you’ve been very naughty this year’ in a wheedling, reedy voice, and then he kills you in your sleep. And don’t try screaming for Rudolph to help. Those eyes tell me he killed Rudolph and ate his nose to gain his strength and courage. This is why the Ghostbusters should exist. To keep this possessed sweater from ever hurting anyone.
Sleeping outside a Cinema (or how I learnt to hate Twilight)
Does any one word maybe conjure up a more iconic literary phenomenon than the word ‘Twilight’, well perhaps ‘Harotter’ but that’s not a real word, and the only person I know who says that has a cleft pallet and his breath smells of Fisherman’s Friends. No, my friends, the word is ‘Twilight’ and its literacy legacy is as permanent as the night sky after which it is named.
Everyone remembers where they were the first time they read Twilight. And me? I was reading over someone’s shoulder on the underground between London Bridge and Old Street. It was at a time I was snorting a lot because I thought it gave me a regal and aristocratic presence, but where I credited myself with an old world charm, other people thought I was deliberately sneezing on them. If there is anything I hate, it is people who deliberately sneeze on one another. Not because it’s gross, but because it’s gross. So after having withstood my solo barrage of snot for two stops, my human library quickly got off at the next available stop – most likely wetter and wiser. We had only been together for two stops, and I had only read half a page of her book, when she abruptly snapped it shut and thrust it in her bag, but not quick enough for my lightning reflexes to have memorised the cover of the book. As she left the carriage, and subsequently my life (she is a plot device, no more – forget about her), I realised that a seed had been sewn. I, of all people was a Twilight fan. A few days later I saw the exact same book, as the Woman on the tube had been reading, in a Waterstone’s on Staines High Street; I thought it odd that Lloyd Grossman model of choice for the cover of a vampiric novel, but I paid it no real thought and ‘The Only Way Is Grossman’ faded into the dark recesses of my mind.
I was a twilight fan damn it, and no-one: not Lloyd Grossman, nor the Woman from the tube who hadn’t been reading Twilight after all, nor the respected editor of online movie blog Ultra Culture, could sway me otherwise.
Eventually I had become so obsessed that I started substituting the word Twilight into my everyday lingo. I didn’t use Twitter, I used Twilitter. I didn’t drink Twinings, I drank Twilightnings, and I certainly didn’t eat Twixs, I ate Bounties (I preferred the texture of the coconut, and still do).
One morning a few weeks later, I awoke, the tang of coconut still fresh on my tongue, to some wondrous news – A Twilight movie was to be released! It was called ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’. I marvelled at this title for quite a while; was I to see the literal breaking of dawn after the twilight of the night sky, or was Dawn some kind of equine beast that needed taming. I held no apprehensions over either case as I enjoyed star-gazing and had a natural affinity to animals – my personal motto was ‘If it’s big enough I can ride it’. Sure, it’s a statement of bold and brave intent, but it was also a statement that had met with a muted response and a suspended jail sentence one afternoon in London Zoo.
The newspaper said that the film was to be released in four days and that crowds had already started massing outside the cinema. I had to join them! After quickly rushing upstairs and throwing a few things into a bag – a Terry’s chocolate orange wrapper, some shampoo and a week old Daily Mail into a Marks & Spencer’s bag for life, plastic not fabric – I proceeded to pack what I would need for the next few days: a few t-shirts, reversible underwear and a multipack of Coco Pops cereal bars. I packed sparsely as I imagined that Twilight fans would have their own luxury set up outside the premiere of, what was effectively, their movie – Our movie. I was wrong. How wrong I was. I was more wrong than people who believe Babybels are real cheese and not the product of glue gun orgasm. In other words – Super wrong.
As I hopped off the bus, a homeless man stopped me and kindly showed me his knife whilst asking for a little change equivalent to the value of my watch. Now, I make no claims to be a good guy as I think I’m pretty comfortably nestled in ‘great guy’ territory, so, naturally, when I see another human being suffering I feel I have to solve the situation. So after handing over a little change equivalent to the value of my watch (in the form of my watch) I took the homeless man to get a coffee. He explained how and why he was so bad off in the world, but that has no place here, as this is my story, and not his. Let me assure you though that it was intense, heartfelt, and sincere enough to make me want to aid this homeless hero. This smelly stallion of men. This big issue peddling pioneer. This man, alone in the world. So I did all I could of to help him out: I offered to get him a bacon butty and another coffee to keep him warm, and when he went to the loo I slipped a little cyanide capsule into his drink.
‘Sleep well sweet Prince’ I whispered as I gently removed my watch from his wrist, put it back on my own wrist and left the coffee shop, to a chorus of admiring screams of ‘Stop him! Stop him!’
With a belly full of coffee, a wrist full of watch, and a song in my heart – which might have been the Twilight theme song, but I couldn’t be sure – I arrived at the Odeon cinema in London, and what greeted me shocked me (Ed. Ahh I see you’re finally linking back to the ‘Super wrong’ paragraph now). There were swarms of tents as far as I could see, and moving amongst them, scurrying like plague carrying rats, were girls and women of all ages, and not a man in sight. I thought I might have stumbled into a concentration camp for Amazonian women who were too short of weak to survive in the tribe, but I realised that was a stupid thing to have thought and pushed forward, deeper into the Heart of Twilight (note: Joseph Conrad pun doesn’t work, change later).There were towels and flags declaring ‘Team Jacob’ or ‘Team Edward’, but when I asked who Edward or Jacob were I merely got a disgusted tut, followed by a disgusted slap. This happened six times, but seventh time, as is usually the case in some cases, was the charm. I approached a dark haired woman, who was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the pale face of a wild haired teenager, a face so common amongst the tents he was like the Che Guevara for the menstrual cycle.
‘Hey’ I said, as mysteriously as I could
‘Er, what?’ she replied
‘Mind if I hang out with you whilst waiting for the film to open? I’m a huge Twilight fan’
‘So am I! And so is my daughter, Tania. Tania come out here’ she yelled, a bit loud for my liking, but I’d only just met her and felt rude telling her to shut up. Whilst my ear drums ached a small, wiry, rat faced little girl emerged from the tent next to the dark haired woman. I presumed her to be Tania,
‘Hi, I’m Tania’ said the presumptuous little bitch, aggressively assuming that I was interested in her life, her story, and her feelings.
‘I like Edward, but Jacob is so fit! I can’t believe Bella marries Edward! I’m sooooo jealous’ she squealed, selfishly hogging the conversation.
‘I’m Tom’ I replied in a tone that I hoped suggested ‘I-might-have-murdered-little-girls-before-but-i-might-not-have-what’s-it-to-you?’
‘And I’m Janet,’ interrupted Tania’s mother, ‘we’ve been here for a week already. Tannny can’t wait to see the stars when they arrive! And to be honest, nor can I! That R-Patz is a dream! What about you?’
‘Yeah, I dig Twilight, I’m probably, like, the number one fan in the world’ I said casually
‘Pfft huh-uh! I’ve got all the films and read all the books. And I’ve got all the dollies and a duvet and, and, a tent and a pillow and a torch, and, and, and…’ Tania’s sentence was cut sort as she had started hyperventilating due to her boasting.
Feeling that Tania probably deserved her current breathing difficulties, as she was a boasting little cow who obviously didn’t know the first thing about Twilight, I left her in her mother’s weeping embrace and wandered off to find someone else who I could connect with.
After, once again, passing row upon row of tents, with middle aged women and little girls sleeping outside them, often alongside life sized cardboard cut-outs of the wild haired, pasty teenager, I finally stumbled upon a campfire. It was late and quite dark so I settled myself in next to the fire, only moving one sleeping girl out of my way, as I reasoned she wouldn’t need the heat, as she was asleep. The conversation around the campfire was insane. It seemed as if the group of people sat around the flames believed themselves to be vampires, and were ceremoniously handing around a jug of cranberry juice masquerading as blood.
‘Pass that here!’ I said, parched from my travels.
‘And who are you stranger, that approaches our fire uninvited, hisssss?’ said a thin teenager wearing an inappropriate amount of black clothing – lots.
‘I’m a weary traveller, who enjoys Cranberry Juice and Twilight’
‘And what team are you on?’
‘What team are thou on?’
‘Are you real vampires?’ I asked as I drank the rest of the Cranberry juice that had been handed to me.
‘Of course we are, Why wouldn’t we be?’ huffed a fat, short haired woman seductively
‘Well you’re drinking cranberry juice instead of blood! I whispered
‘What did you say?’ said a voice accusingly
‘Well you’re drinking cranberry juice instead of real blood!’ I shouted. This raised a few giggles from nearby tents,
‘Not even real blood!’ came from the surrounding darkness, followed by a snort of a laugh.
The vampires were getting restless and agitated. Clearly they felt the urge to feed.
‘What team are you on traveller? What team?!’ asked a small girl, who looked an awful lot like Tania, but the last time I had seen Tania, she had been wrapped up, unconscious, in meaty arms of her mother…there was no way she was here…unless..
‘Oh shit’ I said, ‘you really are vampires.’
The group paused and watched me as I got up slowly. Sure slowly. I wasn’t about to get fucked up by these vampire bitches. But then they started to get up as well, rising on their hind haunches (legs) to slowly approach me for their feeding. I fell to my knees in fear,
‘Look, I’ve got no idea what vampires have got to do with Twilight, but please let me live! I’ve so much more to give’ I pleaded in a brave, masculine voice. This seemed to do the trick as the vampires paused.
‘What have vampires got to do with Twilight? What are you talking about? Said one of the women in a tone of voice I didn’t much care for.
‘Yeah, Twilight is all about vampires stupid’
‘What are you doing here if you don’t like Twilight?’
There were so many voices, I was surrounded…unless they were using their vampire telepathy to confuse and befuddle me. Still on my knees I made the sign of the cross with two fingers, hoping that this would save me.
‘Hey, where’s Kelly gone? She was in her sleeping bag just now!’
‘What Kelly’s gone? Where was she?’
‘Over there where that guy was sitting just now!’
And just like that the vampires were gone. I had done it. The cross I had made with two fingers had worked like some sort of lucky charm. So, finally, I was free to escape and as I made my way out of the camp I noticed that the little girl I had moved away from the fire was no longer in her sleeping bag. I didn’t pay her a second thought, and that night I slept soundly in my own bed.
I don’t know who or what ‘kelly’ was - at the time I assumed it was Latin for ‘forgive us, forgive us!’ – but whatever it was, I never bothered to find out; but I had found something else out They say that before you die your life flashes before your eyes and it’s true; mine did when the vampires surrounded me and (surprise, surprise) it was awesome. I had had an epiphany! And that epiphany was that Twilight is SHIT. I didn’t know what the teams were, who the pale, wild haired teenager was, why these adult women had taken time off work to live in a squealing shanty town, why the young girls weren’t at school, what vampires had to do with the Twilight, where Lloyd Grossman fitted into all of this. I fucking hated all of it, none of it made sense.
Thankfully, I’ve got a bad short-term memory – not as bad as Drew Barrymore in ’50 First Dates’ though, in fact come to think of it, I’ve probably got one of the best short term memories I know – and come the breaking dawn (clever, I know) of the next fair morn, I had forgotten all about it.
Because it sucked.
My 24 hours on ‘I’m a Celebrity…’
‘Freddie Starr is…sick! We…need…you..!’ wheezed an ITV producer down the phone to me. I paused a moment, solely for dramatic emphasis, and nodded my acceptance of his terms before sliding back and relaxing my head under the soapy foam of the bath. Upon emerging from the suddy depths I noticed that besides having a beard of Da Vinchian proportions, I also still had a question to answer, mainly because I hadn’t given an audible response, instead opting for a nod as quiet as a demon’s whisper.
‘Yes’ I shouted exuberantly down the phone.
‘About bloody time, how long did you expect me to hold for?!’ replied the producer, masking his excitement with feigned anger.
And that’s how it all began – my tenure in the jungle that is, not my frosty relationship with the ITV production staff (on a serious aside, I’d just like to say that I highly doubt any of the so-called staff on ‘I’m a Celeb…’ could even cut it on CITV, so what they’re doing in the jungle is beyond me). Anyway, Several hours later I was at the airport.
And several hours after that I was on the plane.
And several blocks of several hours later I was touching down on the soil…well, dust, of Australia – Britain’s problem child, and sadly proud of it (Ed. Is this racist?)
The reason for my sudden appearance of the jungle was nothing more than fate, sure, ITV clarified several times that Freddie Starr was deadly ill, but I knew better. Producers claimed that Starr’s (in my opinion over) reaction
‘Could be due to a spider bite, he might have reacted badly to a leech or a tic, or even a snake he hadn’t noticed. He might have reacted badly to the bark of a tree he leant on, or a leaf he touched in passing.’
The bold font is my own choice, but I think you get the picture. ITV were desperate to get rid of Starr at any cost and their haphazard press release just goes to prove that; I mean, spiders, leeches, and tics? He was under the care of Britain’s seventh most loved television channel (after BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, Sky One, UK Gold, MTV, Cartoon Network) in the Australian jungle for god’s sake, it’s not like he was being babysat by Noel Edmonds at the Deadliest Insect exhibit at London Zoo – a sure hotpot of disaster. What it boiled down to in the end was that Starr was never the ratings winner I was, and I had the VHS of that episode of ‘Big Break’ I was on, to prove it.
With a minder carrying my luggage I made way into the jungle, looking around in awe as the early morning sun shimmered off of the leafy dew. I saw that the jungle was the real deal – there were trees, there was dirt, there were insects, and high above, somewhere, in the canopy were Ant and Dec, most likely making sarcastic comments at my expense – the Geordie bastards! That first day was wonderful. I met the other contestants, lovingly referred to as ‘guinea pigs’ by the production staff, took a tour of the campsite, settled myself in, and spent three hours on the phone with ITV lawyers convincing the Australian immigration service that yes, I did bring something to their economy; namely my raw charisma, my wry sense of humour and my animal magnetism (non-metaphor).
Unfortunately it was my animal magnetism (metaphor) that caused my first discomfort in the jungle as I awoke that first night to find myself covered in all sorts of creepy-crawlies. I screamed loudly, prompting TOWIE star Mark Wright to ask Lorraine Chase if she was ok. Lorraine was still sleeping softly so Mark turned his attention to me and asked if I was ok. I nodded quietly, confused as to how such a masculine yell had been mistaken as Lorraine’s. I’d seen Mark before on that god awful ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ program, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt but casting him spuriously aside
‘Awwite guvnor,’ I said, cleverly disguising my Bristolian / Surrey accent behind a thick fog of what I presumed ‘essex-ness’.
‘Ay?’ he responded quizzically.
‘Year, just finking bowt da bunse I’m a get from dis gig innit, it’s reem!’ I cursed myself inwardly for using the showbiz term ‘gig’, but I think I covered myself by using the now nationwide detested ‘reem’.
‘What are you talking about mate?’
‘Don’t you know? Just reemness innit. ‘ere get that grin off ya boat and get dis down ya reem greg,’ I said as I offered him one of the insects crawling over me to eat.
‘Nah thanks geezer, I’m alright, I was just checking youz was alright, I’m going back to bed now, need me beauty sleep!’ He laughed as he said it.
‘Dench reem innit’ I shouted back.
Mark looked at me and then went back to sleep. We wouldn’t speak again for the rest of my time in the jungle.
The next morning I awoke coughing as the smoke from the campfire wafted lazily over me. I thought this curious, as I had deliberately laid out my sleeping bag down wind only yesterday. It seemed as though 3 years of cub scouting had been a waste. Eff you Baden-Powell. Anyhow, I noticed Mark sat next to the woman from Real Hustle and waved at them. She waved, he didn’t. I had watched ‘The Real Hustle’ before and I decided that Jessica-Jane Clement’s wave had been just a little too keen for my liking. After hiding all my valuables (Iphone, DS, Herbs – rules were a LOT more relaxed this year…or I just hidden that stuff damn well!) behind a nearby tree, I wandered down to the campfire to get to hang out with my fellow ‘guinea pigs’.
Breakfast was a quiet affair, as Mark regaled one and all how he confused my frightened yelp with that of Lorraine Chase the previous night. As he made the others laugh, I made a mental note never to get stuck in a burning building with Mark as he would most likely laugh at my screams for help, rather than do anything useful. The morning fire was cheering me up, as was knowing that my valuables were safe from any ad-hoc heists, and seeing how Mark was boring everyone else I seized my opportunity and launched into a morning sing along with the camp.
Now, the word raucous is used a lot these days, but let me assure you that it wasn’t used once in this event, as my sing along quickly crashed and burned. No one, not one single person joined in, including Dougie from McFly, and he’s in a band!
‘But you’re in a band!’ I would tell him later on.
‘I know, but I was embarrassed,’ he would confess (also later on), ‘with McFly it’s different. Screaming girls don’t demand anything other than a catchy chorus and a pretty face. But sing-alongs? Sing-alongs need harmonies and a strong voiced leader to start them off’
‘I carried that harmony well,’ I would insist.
Dougie, without needing to nod in agreement, would stay silent in agreement. I understood him loud and clear.
It was my first full day in the jungle (and it was to be my last :-( ) and there had been no trials, no fun, and no sing-alongs (and not for lack of trying on my part, let me tell you!), and as the evening sun began to set, the wrinkles on ‘Benidorm’ actress Crissy Rock’s face began to deepen as the shadows caressed her leathery skin – at the time I thought she probably should have used a stronger factor sun-cream when on the set of ‘Benidorm’ – but this manifested itself as a whisper to former Jockey Willie Carson in the vein of ‘leathery old bag has probably got skin cancer!’. This coaxed a giggle form the excitable little leprechaun (Ed. Offensive?).
Well, anyway, an hour later I was escorted out of the jungle and put back on a plane to Britain post haste. Now, I’m not going to sit here behind a computer screen and sling faceless accusations around, but Willie Carson is the only person I made that comment to and he laughed. He LAUGHED, ok? Now, if Willie Carson then repeated that comment to a certain someone else, perhaps Coronation Street actor Ant Cotton, and a certain Coronation street actor didn’t get the obvious satire…then shoot the messenger! Do not shoot the source! Absolutely ludicrous I tell you. In fact I made all of the above comments – word for word – in the internal tribunal that ITV held for me. I may also have implied that I didn’t care for Cotton’s acting ability, but I’m an Eastenders man – it’s a given