Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rambo Fragments

The bar scene ran like a shabby commercial for lager, the type where the ends are frayed and the ‘glamorous’ protagonists have but one tooth between them. Flanked by grandiose promotions for both Australian and Irish liquor, each an altar for its respective iconography, the public house swayed to the sounds of The Best Of Generic Pub Music Vol 1 – first a Bohemian Rhapsody to the jowls, then a Rock the Casbah to the groin, all met with the kind of bodily gestures that’d connote insanity outside this madhouse.

Sandwiched somewhere between the spasmodic motions of a denizen or two, were a set of televisions, scattered about the establishment in a luscious ode to entropy. A steaming lump of football was the gawk-fodder of choice, the patterned progress of the ball attracting frequent glances from gaunt eyes. All was to be expected, and wearisome attention was pointed elsewhere. But then, suddenly this macho-posturing of a sport had ceased and a new glow had taken residence in the cathode ray.

Now the televisual apparatuses, shunning banality and embracing a fresh outlook, floated in an aura of headbands and monolithic movie posters. Like a hasty jolt of the sublime under the fingernails, or a haemorrhage soaked in perfection, or filigree fists of fury orbiting a larynx, this flashing marvel, beaten to a pulp by adjectival excess, unleashed its wonders to all the apathetic automatons inhabiting the locale.

Cascading in horizontal chorus across the RGB, a fine mixture of coruscating imagery and opening credits gifted us the confirmation we long sought, scribbling all over the blanks superimposed on our minds – it was indeed Rambo III.

Not the easiest environment for a screening of what I had preconceived as some almighty, hilarious Reaganite adventure full of mullets, sand, the Taliban, contradictions, ultra-right, nationalist absurdity, and enough machismo to melt every dynamic pose struck in Commando. Its reputation circumnavigated my skull as I attempted to get a handle on the situation. A number of problematics arose: the TVs were all muted – silenced by some pretentious barkeep playing the master/slave game with a remote control somewhere in the back – which meant that the film had a brand new soundtrack. What elements constituted this aural composite? Well, a mixture of yob favourites wrenched from thirty-odd years of popular culture, the sound-bites of misogyny steaming off nearby conversations, words (in)articulated with a complete lack of irony, slurs fomenting a negation of sorts in the near to distant future, and a duo of seemingly French ladies to my rear speaking about May 68 and the Situationists...probably.

What also made this viewing difficult was a lateness in the night, a temporal position of substantial remove from the beginning of the evening, that first sip of alcohol was a faint pixel on the horizon, and so there was a certain inebriation in effect here. Add to that a recently downed sambuca, and we start to get a proper view of this almighty problematic clouding lucidity and truncating the breadth of interpretation the circumstances yearns for. The blurred eyes of an optical system under attack from the froth of brain bubbles, plus the smoke of cigarettes and sleaze, create uncertainty and a task rife with impediment.

If one were so brave, you could also whack on to this quagmire the filter of time and the erosion of memory that accompanies it.

The fragmentation is now complete: Rambo III seen through a filter of extratextual sound, intoxication, time and psychological instability. But hey, that never stopped Ebert.

Following the deep and profound indentations of the opening credits of the film, in which we witness a slow waltz partaken by the words ‘Sylvester Stallone’ and a helicopter, we are reintroduced to Colonel Trautman, Rambo’s quasi-buddy from Rambo First Blood and Rambo’s Second First Blood. He’s somewhere, doing something, likely in Afghanistan. I would say the sand was bothering his delicate skin, irritating his disposition and making him frown, for these are the ramifications of not being Patrick Swayze in Steel Dawn. The onus is on him; therefore it is his own stupid fault.

It is not long before the ether is smothered in the stench that we’ve been anticipating, the sweaty, soiled noumenon we envisaged sailing across our field of vision. Underwear dampened, and the finest aroma of excited nervousness swirling up to the ceiling, and there he is, John Rambo himself.

In a prescient reference to Kickboxer, made the following year, the scene has Rambo fighting some shirtless nasty in a squalid back-alley arena, surrounded by a mass of yelling, bloodthirsty spectators. And just then, when we thought things couldn’t get any more terrifying, Love Shack comes on. Cavorting in unison to the dictates of the B-52s, Rambo struck his opponent down in a succession of grimaced punches and unintelligible slander.

Then some hullabaloo, distorted and twisted in a bevy of mental negotiations. Slight glimpses of Kurtwood Smith, meetings igniting stratagems, headbands being unleashed from a long retirement, the sand granules interfering with Rambo’s attempt to reread Nabokov’s Bend Sinister, and burkas replaced by naked male chests.

The narrative was progressing along, the few stumbles coming mostly from large heads penetrating the tranquillity of my televisual vista. But concentration dedicated to Stallone was also injured in the hostile dialogue between a man determined to mispronounce every name he could think of (and that was quite a few) and the antagonist valiant enough to question his sexuality. Then there’s the redneck wannabe, complete with befuddled expression, surfeit girth and punctured ear lobes, who mounted an inquiry as to my own place of origin, taking any answer that was not California to be an outright lie, and taking any retort to be an outright declaration of aggression.

A quick turn of the head and Rambo III was back in view, but oh no, bad happenings were afoot. No less than a moment had passed, as the glories of Stallone’s triumphs on foreign dirt were manifesting themselves, before the channel was changed. And changed to what you might say? To the most detrimental action to the Stallone Project imaginable – golf.

Yes, that one, the bourgeois sport full of green and tartan. I was shocked and disappointed, and would have submitted my contempt for the orchestrator of this travesty had I not been distracted by a bear-trap strapped to some curious gent’s back.

I can only say that Rambo III is probably the best film of 1988, and would be the most joyous cud to ironically chew over for a prolonged period of time – such as is necessary to tease out the philosophical intricacies perceptible in Stallone’s belching of the screenplay.

The viewing may be bogged down in doubt and obscurity, but its effects were no less powerful. Last night, after stumbling into bed, I was visited upon by a deeply unsettling apocalyptic reverie: the dream was of massive air-ships, each of which were constructed to resemble Stallone’s head in Rambo III, crashing into a nearby metropolitan centre, causing mayhem, mass confusion and an increase in Rambo III DVD sales. The startling nocturnal illusion was like the Hindenburg disaster meets Hiroshima meets the Stallone Smirk – that this is some new reinvention of the Planet Hollywood brand that only my subconscious has thus far been privy to is the only interpretation I can accept at this point.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society - Starring Gary Busey

He slinked out the side-exit of the bus with a stammering motion and an expletive in the throat, like a man cocked and loaded with a vat of liquor shots in the liver. Too verging on fact that statement is; unassuming and unpaid for measures of whiskey downed so quickly they still remained swirling in their glasses long after Busey left the bar. Now, with the bus a bland slice of red amongst a homogeneous collage of blurs and gelatinous outcroppings of colour, Busey stumbled upon a hobo more beard than man, who turned out to be, in fact, a rose garden.

Shunning the banal reaction of outraged pain, and actually taking encouragement from the junior puncturings, Busey ran on, thorns accentuating his caution-sign aura, increasing the font of the exclamation mark that stretched over his bones. A quizmaster attempted to shout Busey into cessation, but was consequently rammed by the vanilla whip frenzy intercoursing on our hero’s pate. Like a backspace eroded by prosodic indecision, the quizmaster found himself pummelled into the bitumen of the road by the index digits of Busey’s twitching claws.

A long-shot of the planet revealed Busey indenting the crust with an obnoxious kick in his kicks. Sometimes he even looked up – at what? At his own consciousness, projected high above the putrid iconography of modern day life – of Ms, of Is and Bs and Ms, of Gs and Ms, of Cs and Ks. Swells of parasitic, recuperating, incorporated viruses; regretted tattoos from nights before spent breathing alcohol – swishes and apples and senile Kentuckians. Vision molested, manipulated, browbeaten to the extent that it clouds with sickness at the idea of a visual space not sprinkled with interconnecting rows of LTDs and PLCs, blank eyes staring out from suits stitched in bank notes and exploitation, noxious multicoloured roundels plundering the human condition, a slimy layer of grime imprinted with hyperboles extrapolated from market-survey results, not simply violating the limited mortal existence, but stealing the very lives of the populace – larceny captured on the CCTV of the quotidian, broadcast straight to the neural networks of us all, yet accepted, embraced, eyes too close to the picture, “I can see the clock and the ant”, but oh no, so much more can be glimpsed were you to just pull that head away from its rut of a perspective, you’ll see all sorts of other details and you might be shocked and surprised and enlightened.

Gary Busey, his jarring discontent immolating the frame of this image, a trident wrapped in the last linguistic freefall of bullshit spouted from the orificial black-holes of the power elite clasped in his fists, a molten ravine of white teeth and unsteady eyes fuzzed into a totality, grinding along, cessation disappeared, unimportant responsibilities forgotten, sweated out with yesterday’s hit of gin.

The Busey machine, now tunnelling a passage labelled subterranean, and with shards of critique visibly rectifying corneas abused by years imprisoned in the latter chunk of the twentieth century, began to mutter legions of a philologist’s nocturnal sleaze-fests. They were words, but not words contaminated with the condescending raison d’etre of advertising, or the narcissistic Gestapo slogans of organised mysticism. Slinking out in a dance of repetition, these words gesticulated to one of our favourite members of the Frankfurt School, good old Herb Marcuse.

With retinas orchestrated in the key of shredded manuscripts of Marcuse’s classic tome, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, Busey’s lips cradled and moulded the words first spun out of the German cycle-spin back around 1964. The infectious oratory mingled with elves and goblins and unicorns and altruistic corporate bodies and other such fictional entities. Busey’s pulverising trip downward had continued to spit rhetoric at the “halt” pleadings from the weak and reactive media commentators who gathered to objectively cover what one inarticulate Harvard graduate named ‘The Busey Bulldozer’.

But the barrels of Busey did not stop for inane front-page headlines. Magma sweeping his intestines, he eliminated silence by shoving the information of the one-dimensional society at us, where technological rationality signs the death knell notice glued to our faces; administered society where the logic of paperwork dictates all; technology that, rather than free people from the burden of toiling, turns them into “fungible objects of organisation”. In short, cogs in the machine, little cogs enveloped in flesh and with consciousnesses that yearn for something beyond the mechanical. Rationality controls the natural, a scientific miasma descends on the elements, and subsequently, to put it in Heideggerian terms, the ordering is extended to humanity, classified and filed away in some perverse tribute to The Trial.

Revolutions of Busey limbs cause a platypus to take up checkers, with the ultimate intention of moving up to chess. A towering and potent cyclone oozing erudition seemed to be catalysing occurrences rarely imagined, as more and more Busey bullets sailed through the societal fog of myopia. Beginning with a diatribe mirroring Marcuse’s own critique of the analytic school of philosophy, the logical analysis and mathematical abstractions, the Xs and Ys, the Wittgensteins and G.E Moores, and the tautological thought underlining the technocratic milieu blowing in off the sea, he segued into a vicious tirade highlighting a late capitalism that perpetuates labour, fear, subjection and a total acquiescence in mind and body.

It was then that Busey ceased his movement, for he had come to the Earth’s core. Had this place too been infected with the commodity spectacle so rife beyond its periphery? Was he to discover more products to buy, more people to sell, new and exciting ways to subordinate creative minds to the mandate of work-sleep-buy-die?

His ears puckered up to the empty winds that sang in this vacuous tomb, deficient of the tampering, profit-driven fingers of the systemic malady that has totalitarian status out in the exterior. It had the sort of stillness and placidity that’d be used to sell deodorant as soon as you could say “put the bikini girls over by that wellspring”. Truly a paradise. But this tranquil place was not for Busey, too corrosive his biting angst was for this serenity. And so the motors deep down in Busey’s being fired up once again, their pistons burning with furore and the critical knife-edge eyes required to emancipate the masses, embroiled in the compulsory negation of life as they are.

The one-dimensional man is he who’s subjected to the narrowest of thought paradigms, imprisoned in an ideological construct that dominates the individual and establishes false needs in order to sustain the system.

Travelling through space/time, and along the axis of a line graph, Busey reflected on this, deducing an affirmation in the generally negative frameworks of critical analysis as laid out by the Frankfurters, and how absolute criticism is the epithet written all over that clichéd first step. Busey trundled the banks of the real with these ruminations fizzing and rapturing inside his mind.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The House That Fahey Built

I believe it was Pierce Brosnan who said, “No Jobe, I can see the pixels in that CGI from Saturn.” To which Fahey in the Jobe-suit replied, “Well here’s the deal Dr Angelo, you might be able to play with all the CGI you like in the Doubting Fires and the Die Die Another Tomorrows, but this is me, this is all I got, this is what people will remember for the rest of eternity, my career summed up in 107 minutes of VR prescience, the film people will need to cite when invoking my name, a name lost and forgotten in the mists of time, vanished like a needle in a Sci-Fi Channel original, this is the highlight, the apex, the shining beacon of my career, and never again will the populace be privy to the name of Jeff Fahey.”

But Fahey was only partially correct.

It was sometime between the days and months of last year that a bunch of news ricocheted through the ether, and how startling that news was. In an unexpected and wholly surprising event, Jeff Fahey’s name was to be shifted from the past to the present tense, as all of a sudden he was attached to the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez exploitation reminiscence Grindhouse.

This cinematic gospel came to me late one night, not whilst I dreamt of seeing Tom Hanks tangled in the brown of an envelope, but during an insomniac cavalcade of IMDB browsing. Ever reliable for dispelling the myths of hearsay, it told me of a film imitating the classic routine of B-movie double features, where two schlocky, low-budget gems of taboo and excessive spectacle were conjoined into one almighty cinema-going experience. Obviously, from the names of the directors and a wealth of connotative prior knowledge, this was a transparent nostalgia trip, a couple of fanboys rollicking in the underground grime of midnight movies.

All was moderately anticipated. Truly an occasion for positive sensations, maybe even some haptic gaiety, but all sans over-zealousness, for what might the mention of such a project bring about in normal, everyday lived existence?

A hasty conversation with a newsagent, stilled by a barrier of cultural (in)difference, suddenly Grindhouse is brought up in an effort to circumvent anymore silence, and before the syllables tumble down the inner-ear a debate about which Kill Bill was better has erupted. A phone-call received from the pernicious fiends of telemarketing, flatlined by ideological (in)difference, suddenly Grindhouse enters the fray to abrogate the discomfort, and before the binary beeps of the telephone transmogrify into speech a soliloquy of Pulp Fiction quoting has commenced.

There was risk attached to this film, or to be more precise, risk strapped to the tingles of my sensory organs, each and every one of them eagerly awaiting this filmic release. I could hear the Doomsday Clock ticking towards midnight as I sat there gawking at the screen.

Then, unforeseen by a cortex enmeshed in the present, tensions were alleviated, lifted off to a land not seen since Mario last got trapped between a pipe and a hard place. This mighty anodyne gush, assuaging a mass of contradictions and distressing cultural arrogance, was the revelation of the fact that Jeff Fahey was to have a role in Grindhouse.

This brings us up to the present, to a temporal position placed some four months before the release of the film, and to this piece of writing, this assemblage of morphemes and lexica indulgence, made entirely possible by the presence of Fahey in the cast list.

This is a cast list that doubles as an aphrodisiac to all fans of bad movies, its magnetism bolstered twofold by the inclusion of Michael Biehn and Kurt Russell, Nic Cage and Tom Savini, and many others. However, their names, regardless of how arresting the font is, would not open the gates to written commentary in quite the same way that Fahey’s does.

What is Fahey’s role in the film?

Fahey stars in the Rodriguez-directed part, ‘Planet Terror’, as JT, the owner of a Texan barbeque eatery, often frequented by sordid and dodgy types travelling off the beaten track. In fact, there is a rumour that Michael Biehn is going to be playing the beaten track. But anyway, JT is especially proud of his barbeque sauce, which he hopes to make it big with. In the course of the narrative, Fahey’s food emporium, and now I’m speculating, probably becomes inundated with a troupe of local citizens infected with a mysterious virus, leaving Fahey to fight it out with the other protagonists, or so the synopsis would suggest.

My favourite incident of this whole Fahey/Grindhouse phenomenon has been the film’s official website, where if one were brave enough to penetrate its front page, a deluge of knowledge would be exposed to the eyes. And if that same person were to click over to the ‘Planet Terror’ section, and then to click the characters/crew tributary that flows from it, they would be able to observe a wonderful flash-led cut-out of Fahey surfacing and resurfacing at the click of ‘JT’. And there he is, attired in the sort of chef’s outfit that’d give you food poisoning at the very sight of it, with the baseball cap and one-week-beard of the everyman, the guy at the bus-stop still waiting for the American Dream to pick him up.

The bus has now arrived for Jeff Fahey.

Visit the Grindhouse official website here -

Monday, January 15, 2007

Three Men and a Little Ubermensch

Guttenberg woke up immured within a bad metaphor. Raising his head was like the shift of a tectonic plate, lifting eyelids like prising open a bureau encased in titanium, yawning was a cry filled with a thousand echoes - and other such nonsense, all building up the impossibly Sisyphean task that seemed to engulf the man.

The image of the previous evening was a cloudy vapour rapidly dispersing; the faint swirls belying some as of yet unremembered shock. Deprived of full cognitive function, Guttenberg sat at the end of his bed, gawking around at the room, deficient in size as it was. The spectre of bile eddied through his stomach; he had secretly always resented the fact that Danson took no hesitation in claiming the larger of the two bedrooms.

Guttenberg had cohabited with Danson for years; yet without the lease on hand no one would have known it. Playing out the dreams of the misguided, Danson spent the majority of his time being prey for the cameras in Hollywood. Intermittent calls back to home-base were the best Guttenberg could ask for; their short conversations acting as an excuse for Guttenberg to execute his pre-rehearsed lines for what anarchy had occupied his week. All lies of course; Guttenberg ate inertia for breakfast. But regardless, he never failed to compile a list of startling incidents and wholly marvellous coincidences for the occasion.

Just then the circulating bile took a wrong turn, and Guttenberg vomited right at the bow of the bed-ship, which he had been manoeuvring in a stupid gesticulation to some awful film.

Wiping his brow with a balmy hand, he stumbled forth into the hall. Sliding southbound across a sheet of kaleidoscopic wallpaper, and resisting a second deluge of stomach reflux, his eyes met a blinking answering machine.

Danson? Getting the first flight out, back in the afternoon? Sounded urgent.

Fumbling at the pyjama bottoms he wasn’t wearing, Guttenberg deleted the message and moved on.

His routine of untruths had almost had the effect of supplanting the reality. As if the imaginative narratives concocted in Guttenberg’s head had taken on a sense of facticity, negating the dreary actuality. With the amount of rumination required, they almost were true, or at least truer.

The life that was to be veiled from sight was, in fact, barely a life at all. In the afternoon he worked in the local laundrette. In the evening, he would eat his dinner (over the sink, to prevent mess), and then take to the sofa to flaccidly watch the Steptoe and Son movie. The existence was tedious, but Guttenberg still held some hope that Danson would return to rescue him from the monotony. Was that why Danson was flying back here? Is this urgency predicated on years of built-up guilt over his desertion?

Guttenberg hiccupped in rhythm with the sonic drone of the air conditioning unit. The bulky outcropping of aluminium took up a third of the living room – a consolation gift sent by Danson last year. It was then that Guttenberg noticed a figure lying on the sofa. Rifling through his Gutten-hair inquisitively, his curiosity prompted him forward.

He knew the guy lain out on the sofa - this guy aping the foetal position, this guy re-slurping rapids of bacterial mucus from the corners of his mouth, this guy whose blotched trousers intimated of a night full of incandescent amour - the bristles of his moustache were unequivocal. The sleeping curio was none other than Freidrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.


Danson arrived dishevelled at his front-door, hold-all on one arm, a great dangling mass of keys extended from the other, and a whiskey flask hanging precariously out of his jacket pocket. The flight had been bad to Danson. Bought last minute from a freemason hiding under the bread counter in Tesco, the ticket gave him a first class seat on a fifth class plane. When he was not being hounded by paparazzi on jetpacks, he was being seduced by the modish goat to his right who had taken a liking to Danson’s idiosyncratic appropriation of the Antarctic chic look. To top off this airborne persecution, they showed a Tony Scott movie! And it wasn’t even Last Boy Scout.

All was not well indeed, violins crushed under the weight of Ron Howard’s self-important testicles were strewn with indifference across the circumference of Danson’s head.

Working his way through the door, a waft of vile energy was sucked out through the draft. Blindly ambulating around the hallway, his wide-open eyes could perceive only the dense hue of purple that Guttenberg had seemingly saturated the house with. Then he stumbled into the abyss that had usurped the core of the domicile.

In the kitchen, at the dining table, sat at one end, Guttenberg, at the other, Nietzsche. Guttenberg’s eyes were wrapped in cling-film, his thoughts atomising to the tune of asphyxiating scat, as he slouched a quotation from Notre Dame, motionlessly and without demur. Nietzsche too was silent and inert, a copy of the TV Times, rumpled at the edges, hinted of an opus already browsed a myriad of times that morning. It was as if someone had put this image of emasculated Russian roulette on pause, the spectacle of gunless conflict and awkward glances too tempting an image not to hold for the most flinchingly-long length of time.

Penetrating the ambience with his presence, Danson too sat down. This seemed to rouse both benign combatants, each lifting their dejected complexions to stare at the neo-Aryan configuration of hair Danson was sporting these days. This icy rebuttal to global warming tried to ignite the flames of information, but sans success. Eventually, when Danson threatened to put on a VHS of Loch Ness, both mute protagonists combusted into conversation.

Turned out Nietzsche had arrived last night, slightly sloshed on vodka rums, with two large tablets of stone, one displaying the double-dimples of Guttenberg, the other the brink-wall countenance of Danson. These stones were the last will and/or testament of Nietzsche’s deceased lover, Zara, daughter of the mighty genius prophet who cast out the absurdities of mystic narcissism and reaffirmed the living existence, who heralded a new age of humanity in the most poetic and beautiful way possible and communicated the necessity of a total critique of things and concepts, all whilst on an epic journey through an ancient caricature of testaments old and new.

But Zara Lundgren was now dead.

In her death-throws, she left a small child, nurtured under the shade of Nietzsche’s moustache up to now. But the extinguishing of her life brought the knowledge that it was perhaps possible that old F.W was not actually the pater of this familias. Her final whispers spoke of an illicit affair with both Guttenberg and Danson one morning beneath the flight path at LAX.

It was then that Nietzsche took to the podium, pacifying the room with a sudden bout of flatulence. Up ‘til then, this regale had belonged to Guttenberg, but Nietzsche could take no more of the value-laden vomit-talk from, as he called him, “fuck-cheeks”.

Zara had constructed the stones so that her Prussian consort would know who these guys were; just in case Nietzsche hadn’t seen Police Academy or Getting Even With Dad. A stupid misconception indeed since these were two of his favourite cinematic masterworks.

So, after his arrival, Nietzsche had informed Guttenberg of all that had dragged him some four-thousand miles westward - the long drawn-out stories of Zara’s rabies and whatnot. When they ran out of pertinent plot points to reveal, they broke out Danson’s vintage wine collection, supping a cellar’s worth of decades in only a few hours, before each passing out.


The acceleration of the narrative arc bustled us forward, and loose-ends were discarded, as Danson demanded to know what Nietzsche wanted with all this, what were his intentions?

Nietzsche replied, hyphenating all his words, that this child would become the daughter of the three of them - just like in that film with Tom Selleck. They would all move into Guttenberg’s purple palace, where the three men would awkwardly try and raise the little lady to be the best person she can be in this harsh and relentless world that we live in.

And so it was. Many hilarious moments would materialise over the years, such as the infant urinating all over Danson’s air-con unit, the cheeky scamp, or Guttenberg getting an ice-cream in the face at Mardi Gras, how adorable, or Nietzsche sitting the now-adolescent female down for a chat about “you’re developing into a, erm, young woman now and, um, you’re going to start to get, well, things are going to happen…”

Many years went by until FOX finally accepted Guttenberg’s reality TV show idea – Über My Two Dads. The half-hour bi-weekly would go on to net Guttenberg seven Emmys, reignite Danson’s film career, and allow Nietzsche to host his own chat show, Twilight of the Idols Live from New York.

Commentary on the appearance of Stallone on the cover of today's Guardian

Visiting the student union shop earlier, I was faced with a swarm of apathetic undergrads raping my vision, each one fondling bird-seed confectionary snacks wrapped in a marketing student’s homework. Like all foul stinks, they took an age to dissipate. When an opening in the body of the congregation invited my passer-by card, I slid between the cleft grouping. Pirouetting to avoid a trio of public schoolboys in rugby shirts talking about yesterday’s Telegraph, I lunged forward in the direction of the counter. And just then, as I was positioning my Diet Coke in the ambit of the shop-keep, I saw it.

Smirking like a demented wasp sucking crack rocks, I was drawn towards what, I guess, predicated on that analogy, could have been my mirror image. It was today’s Guardian, but rather than informing my myopic eyes of the latest blunder in Iraq, or the diminution of civil liberties, it instead gave me much fodder for mirth.

Straddling the cover, in what could have easily been a prankster’s witty superimposition, was our favourite sporting proletariat everyman, Sylvester Stallone.

Headed by the words “Rocky goes to the football”, the image, placed mighty prominently in the centre of the front-page I might add, shows Stallone in football fan attire (jeans, padded coat brandishing sporting insignia, excess abdominal girth, etc) on a football pitch, holding aloft a sporting scarf, and punishing the photographers’ sanity with the most excruciatingly emphasised smirk I have ever seen. His face, wizened by the progression of time and Assassins, is surely one large black hole to nonchalant gazes; I dare say the spectators at that sporting event came away with the image burned onto their corneas.

Smacking away the hands of a Comparative Literature student, I wrenched a copy from the receptacle. Clenching it in my teeth for fear of spontaneously exploding a tide of guffaws at the lady behind the counter, I paid for it and the aforementioned soft drink, and took my leave.

Now, back at HQ, I can engage with the image’s finer points without fear of someone misunderstanding my deep glances for some homoerotic enchantment.

Although, with that last point in mind, one can’t help but notice a bulbous package of denim emanating from below Stallone’s belt. It’s a protuberance given even greater stress by the effect of light and shade in this groin chiaroscuro; it could only be fate that drives the interplay between the peaks and valleys of Stallone’s haemorrhaging coital organs.

Such is the massive power of the smirk that Stallone appears to be lifting off the ground, floating northwards perhaps, as if formerly-dormant genes are now dictating his gravitational limits and/or facial expressions. Where could this lead him? In some sort of icy crater, surrounded by thousands of smirking befuddled strangers, their perma-smirks causing granules of ice to shake from the fringes of the topographical cavity only to coalesce at the base into shapes of cyclopean terror, and all ruled over by a maniacal technocrat from the east of the west?


Anyway, apparently this is Stallone publicising his new film, Rocky Balboa (hereafter known as Rocky VI). I know what you’re thinking, where is the logic? Does it even exist? And if so, did it leave for a while last Tuesday?

Well, in reverse order, no, yes, and let me tell you.

You see I understand the perplexity that might befall the casual observer of this occurrence, but it’s all fairly simple. Rocky VI is a film about boxing. Boxing is classified under sport in porn rags. Sport has an allure to many people with nothing else in their lives. Ergo, it is popular. Football is too classified under the banners of sport. So there we have it; Stallone, getting all freeform discursive on it, promotes his sport film by visiting another sports occasion, and what’s more, due to the size of the throng, many people will be dealt empirical evidence that Stallone did not in fact die in 1998.

It’s quite an artistic masterpiece when all the threads are properly delineated; turns out the logic was in Stallone’s parka all along, nestled below a Yorkie.

(N.B. Since I could find no digital copy of the image in question, I decided to go with something of corresponding stupidity, enjoy.)