The Internet Equivalent Of Milk Bottles Being Left Outside The House For Several Days
On my desk I have a picture of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters, made from small pieces of plastic found in Walkers crisp packets, back in 1999. My sour-faced and unnecessary dislike for the cartoon characters of the Warner siblings and Walt Disney was outweighed by my love of crisps, and I completed it first in the office. Ha, in your face other office saddoes! But seriously, what sort of miserable wretch grew up hating Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and friends so intensely that he sometimes fantasised of Tom biting into Jerry's annoyingly grinning head and splattering mouse brains over the wrinkled stockings of the woman who'd shout 'THOMAS!'. I fucking hated that mouse. I wanted him dead. Even though I was only 8 and should have been laughing at his antics until Alphabetti-spaghetti came out of my nose.
Donald Duck was the only one that escaped my childhood fury. How he slipped through Fuhrer Disneys master-race blueprint, I'll never know. Donald had a look about him, a "don't fuck with me, you irritating big-eared mouse shit" weariness and anger at the injustices of the world, that meant it was criminal that he was overlooked for the role of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. I think that would have been beautiful, and would have kept him off the "sauce" that blighted his later life. Still, I hope that Donald one day fucks Mickey up with a bike chain down an alleyway. Or, at the very least, gets cast as Rorschach in the film of The Watchmen.
Anyway, I digress. It wasn't the cartoon picture that interested me, it was what I found underneath it.
Back in the early months of 2000, we set up a dead-pool. A dozen of us sat around the pub one lunchtime and took turns picking out celebrities that we thought would die.
It had quite a complex payout structure, the younger the "snufee", the more money you received.
It was long-ago wound up, and I'd completely forgotten who I'd picked for my list. Then I found a post-it note listing all my picks underneath a plastic representation of work-shy shitball Bugs Bunny, and stammering dullard Porky Pig.
My list has made me go "ooh" and "jesus, that's so unlucky" on three separate occasions. You see, when the pot ran dry, the thing was forgotten about. But I've had three of my picks die since. Jesus, that's so unlucky.
Barry White. Christopher Reeve. Ronald Reagan. I had all of them on my list.
I'd picked Ronald Reagan because he was very old, and was a firm favourite of any dead-pool competition, along with Pope JP, and the Queen Mother (until she actually went and died, slightly disappointing anyone who saw her as a much cherished tradition and seeming immortal anomaly of any dead-pool competition).
Poor old Christopher Reeve was always going to be a pick after his terrible accident. However much you felt sorry for him, there is no room for sympathy in a dead pool. If you want to protect your investment, you have to be aware of all celebrity illnesses and addictions. If you knew about Michael Hutchence's predilection for a beltwank™, in the days before he'd tossed his way to St. Peter's pearly gate, then you could have probably retired on dead-pool winnings. The big money is made with the leftfield suggestions that nobody is expecting.
Sadly, Barry White also had the look of a man not long for this world.
My other picks are all still alive and kicking, and now they are not in the way of me earning, ooh, about 6 pounds, then I hold no grudge against them.
I wonder why I picked some of the others, such as Stevie Nicks. I guess I was under the impression that taking so much cocaine that your nose caves in may be bad for long term health. I also dearly hoped that the "coke up the arse" story was correct, and wondered if cocaine reacted badly with faecal matter. Maybe in some sort of "space-dust gone wrong" kinda way.
I picked Boris Yeltsin for obvious reasons. It seems though that he'd pickled himself undead. Future generations of Russian children will tell scary stories about the VodkaZombie who stalked the country inappropriately touching ladies breasts.
I have no idea why I picked Bridgette Neilsen and Valentina Terishkova, the first lady in space. I guess I was trying to be cool and different. Or maybe I was drunk.
We also had a multiple-choice category, where you could pick one of about a dozen pre-chosen lists, which contained three people. If any of those three died then you'd win money. I had James Bond as my choice in this, meaning that if Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery or Roger Moore 'Only Lived Once', then Kerching!
Most people who play more than one dead-pool have a favourite, somebody they'll pick for no real discernible reason, in every competition they enter. They become like club favourites, always first on the team-sheet every game. My last choice in this dead-pool was one of these, somebody who I'd also chosen in the first death list competition I'd entered, back on nexus in 1994.
For those who don't know, Gordon Kaye played Rene in a British sitcom called Allo-Allo. Inexplicably popular, Allo-Allo was based on the Second World War, but seemed to actually last far longer than that conflict. Some may say, that it also had fewer laughs.
Anyway, Britain had some feisty storms one night back in the late eighties, that we still go on about today as usually our weather is a right pussy. Some people were killed, and a lot of damage was done. The highest profile casualty of this storm was Gordon Kaye. A tree landed on his car and for a long time it didn't look like he'd pull through. He did in the end, but vanished from celebrity life. In my head, this meant that he was still near-death, and as I hadn't seen pictures, I believed that he may have some of the tree still stuck in his head.
If he was lucky, the tree would be deciduous, meaning that in Winter he could still read the scripts being sent to him, and maybe get some work. I half-expected that one day I'd switch on the news to hear about how he'd taken an overdose of painkillers, unable to cope with the noise from the birds nesting on his bonce.
So many questions…
Instead of hair growing out of his head, would Gordon have new saplings popping up every Spring?
Did children try to smash their conkers onto his head every Autumn? Was Gordon's head a two-sey?
Why hadn't Gordon gone to the auditions for Treebeard in Lord Of The Rings? Gordon, where were you?
He popped up again on television in the end. He was on some comedy sketch show last year. He looked no nearer death, and didn't have any foliage sticking out of his head.
I'm glad that Gordon has branched out into TV again, and I'll be rooting for him from now on. I'm glad that he didn't leave us. Maybe I'm being a sap, but I'm glad he's not sick-amore.
Alright, fuck off, you wanted me to update my blog didn't you?