Cheapskate Zeitgeist: Wait For Me by Elisabeth Naughton

#1 on the Amazon Kindle Top 100 Free book chart, as of 21 Jan 2013.

 

We’ve all got a man drawer haven’t we, men? Ha ha, yeah. And have you ever noticed Rawl plugs? Ha ha, yeah.

Wait For Me by Elisabeth Naughton is a romantic suspense, which appears to be a novel about a kind of mystery that stops people fucking, until it doesn’t any more and they fuck.

What Kate’s husband Jake keeps in his man drawer is evidence that his wife isn’t actually his wife but the wife of his former boss who stopped funding for his research into a cancer drug that would have cured his real but dead wife’s cancer and also coincidentally has the side-effect of erasing memories so he gave it to Kate after kidnapping her just as she was about to get onto a flight that crashed so everyone assumes she’s dead and he’s convinced her that she’s his wife now. That’s what he keeps in his man drawer. What’s the deal with fuses?

But then Jake dies in a plane crash and Kate discovers that she’s really married to a playboy billionaire celebrity pharmaceutical entrepreneur which is apparently a thing that exists. He bangs a lot of models because of grief. There is then tension but it is sexy tension which causes “heavy tingling sensations” to shoot “straight to his groin” and various things to flow through her veins to “her sex” (sic).

After some stuff happens they nearly have sex but then her parents come home and they don’t and then more stuff happens and then they nearly have sex again but then her parents come home again and they don’t and then even more stuff happens and they finally do it. Also if you are worried that there might be some sexual health issues in this book don’t be because:

“I’ve been through every test under the sun and I can say for certain, that’s one part of my body that’s completely healthy.”

The sentences in this book are not that terrible if you ignore the actual content but all the characters talk like this a lot:

“Jackass is spelled with two s’s, not one. I would have thought they’d teach you that in donkey school. Good day, Mr. Mathews.”

I don’t know any 9 year old girls but presumably this is a hauntingly accurate rendering of how they talk?

“Lots of girls my age are already getting their periods. […] It’s right around the corner. You’re going to have to deal with it, Dad. And while I’m thinking of it, I need a bra. We should probably go shopping for one sometime soon. Maybe today. […] I was thinking of getting one of those red lacy ones like the girls wear in your Maxim magazines.”

Meanwhile back in the plot it turns out pharmaceutical playboy guy’s secretary is Kate’s fake husband’s real dead wife’s sister and she tries to kill everyone! But she fails to kill anyone! Except possibly she killed the fake husband who didn’t die in a plane crash after all? I started to lose track.

The story doesn’t end here as we need a few more hilarious jokes like:

“He couldn’t even remember what this damn charity event was for. The homeless? Public schools? Models in need of plastic surgery? He didn’t care.”

Yeah, take that, stupid charities! So Kate runs away because she is all confused but it is okay because she sees a family being nice to each other and remembers the value of family (I’m not joking, this is an accurate summary of the penultimate chapter) so runs back to live happily ever after with a husband that she can’t remember anything about, but who is rich and sexy so that is okay then.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading books that you don’t have to pay for.

My favourite line was:

“I swear, words cause more trouble than they’re worth sometimes.”

 

I give this book 5 out of 5 Allen keys.

Grunt My Bluff

Can you pick the real Home Improvement plots from the fakes?

Small World Syndrome

A picture of Kevin Bacon's face
A picture of Kevin Bacon’s face.

The six degrees of separation theory states that everyone in the world is only six social connections away from anyone else (as in, Doug is connected to Fred because they both know Emily). It turns out this theory isn’t strictly speaking true, not least because of isolated tribe, children raised by wolves and so on, but there is something appealing about the idea that we’re more strongly connected to the rest of the world than might be immediately obvious.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon applies this theory to the Hollywood movie industry, suggesting that because Kevin Bacon has been in lots of films and worked with lots of other actors, it is possible to link Kevin Bacon with any other actor in less than six steps (a single step being appearing in a film with Bacon, 2 steps being appearing in a film with someone who has appeared in another film with Bacon, and so on). Also his name sort-of rhymes with the word separation, so it’s a pun.

Again, this isn’t strictly speaking true: The Oracle Of Bacon website, which uses the Internet Movie Database to track links to Kevin Bacon, counts 32 people who are a whole 8 steps away. These people are said to have a Bacon Number of 8. If anyone with a Bacon Number would like to act in a film with me, let me know.

The concept of a Bacon Number is predated by the Erdős Number, a measure of “collaborative distance” between a person and the dead mathematician Paul Erdős, based on writing mathematical papers together. If anyone with an Erdős number would like to work on a mathematical paper with me, let me know. I’m not very good at maths but I could colour in some graphs or something.

Best of all is the Erdős-Bacon number, which simultaneously tracks the Bacon and Erdős numbers of a person who has both acted in films and written mathematical papers. Natalie Portman has an Erdős-Bacon number of 6. If Natalie Portman is reading this and would like to act in a film with me or work on a mathematical paper with me, or just hold hands for a bit, let me know.

Anyway, I’m getting off the point.

Something is missing from our cinemas. The beloved national treasures that were “those fucking Orange ads” have vanished from our screens, after spending the best part of 10 years failing to convince a single person not to dick about with their phone during the middle of the film. Instead we are now treated to an ad for Orange’s parent company Everything Everywhere, featuring none other than Kevin Bacon, who informs us that he, Kevin Bacon, is the centre of the universe.

This is obviously a riff on the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon connectedness concept. Bacon explains that he is connected to everything and demonstrates by pointing at a dog called Rover. Amazingly, Kevin Bacon is even connected to Rover, and he explains how:

“I was in Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks did Philadelphia, Philadelphia tastes great on a cracker, “It’s a cracker!” was Frank Carson’s catchphrase, Catchphrase was on ITV, same as Coronation Street, and we all know where Ken Barlow drinks: The Rovers.”

Needless to say, this explanation is rather unsatisfactory.

Let’s take it apart:

“I was in Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks did Philadelphia,”

We’ve now connected Kevin Bacon to the film Philadelphia. Fine.

“Philadelphia tastes great on a cracker,”

Here there’s an unstated connection here, between the film Philadelphia and the cheese Philadelphia. But they are both named after the state Philadelphia (although the Philadelphia cheese brand was actually started in New York) so this is just about acceptable.

“‘It’s a cracker!’ was Frank Carson’s catchphrase,”

The ‘connection’ here is purely wordplay. Carson is not referring to a cracker biscuit, so there’s some etymological reaching required at the very least.

“Catchphrase was on ITV,”

The problem here is that the quiz show Catchphrase had a stupid name, as it was not about Catchphrases. It did include catchphrases, “Say what you see”, “It’s good but it’s not the one”, “Mr Chips is having a wank”, etc, but the actual puzzles were just about phrases, like “a bull in a china shop”. I don’t think that’s a catchphrase, unless it belonged to music hall act I’m not aware of. So all we’ve got is that both Frank Carson and the show Catchphrase have catchphrases. (Catchphrase did do celebrity specials, but Frank Carson never appeared on one. Frank Carson is now dead.)

“same as Coronation Street,”

I mean, fine. They’re not made by the same production company, but okay.

“and we all know where Ken Barlow drinks: The Rovers.”

Even if the dog was called The Rovers, having the same name as a thing is not the same thing as being connected to that thing. You can’t change your name to Kevin Bacon and expect to share his fat Everything Everywhere cheques, can you?

(If you get a dog, why not call it The Rovers?)

The dog probably isn’t called Rover in real life. He’s almost certainly a special acting dog with a different name like Charlie. So why not just say he’s called The Rovers because his owner really liked Coronation Street?

However, all of this is irrelevant as Kevin Bacon has a much stronger connection to Rover: they’ve both appeared in an Everything Everywhere ad. Rover (or whatever the dog is actually called) has a Bacon number of 1. I would assume that he doesn’t have an Erdős-Bacon number, but you never know.

Posited relationship between Kevin Bacon and Rover the dog
Posited relationship between Kevin Bacon and Rover the dog
Actual relationship between Kevin Bacon and Rover the dog
Actual relationship between Kevin Bacon and Rover the dog

The reason the ad invokes Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is that it shows that Kevin Bacon is very well-connected in Hollywood; this is a metaphor for how connected you will be if you purchase an Everything Everywhere phone contract. But by the ad’s own terms, you may actually find your connection highly variable, to the point where sometimes it barely exists. This is disappointingly unrigorous and Everything Everywhere (and Saatchi & Saatchi, who made the ad) should be ashamed of themselves.

Also, Kevin Bacon doesn’t have the magical ability to create little planets and stars that orbit around him and then throw one of them at a dog. He can’t do that. It’s a lie. (It also seems unlikely that he’s heard of Catchphrase, but I suppose the wanking thing is on Youtube.)

As it goes, Kevin Bacon isn’t even the centre of the Hollywood universe. Dennis Hopper is. Kevin Bacon is the 444th most connected actor in the Hollywood universe. That’s lower than Derek Jacobi (346). And Natalie Portman (420).

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that Everything Everywhere should throw the Kevin Bacon thing in the bin and make a new advert where the metaphor for the strength of their connections is me holding Natalie Portman’s hand, forever.

Taylor Swift Gets Lost

Click to hear this post being read LIVE in a PUB!

Taylor Swift opened her eye. She was on a beach! She did not remember going to the beach. Hadn’t she been flying in an aeroplane to one of the 58 sell-out dates of her Red Tour for her amazing album Red?

Taylor Swift got up and looked around. Oh dear was that Ed Sheeran’s head all cut off and smashed into a tree? He’d never be able to support her now on tour. What a shame.

Suddenly all of a sudden a man ran towards her. It was Jack from Lost! “Hello are you ok I am Jack from Lost I am a surgeon for if you need any surgery or such.”

“Where is this mysterious place Jack from Lost and will I ever get home?” asked Taylor Swift curiously.

“Hello are you Taylor Swift from music?’ said Charlie from Lost who was also there. “You may remember me from music or being a heroin addict” he said and then he sang his song.

“Taylor Swift this is an mysterious island and I’m sorry but you are trapped forever with us and our mysteries,” said the fat one from Lost

“Oh well,” thought Taylor Swift, trying to make the best of it because she always stays postive “at least they seem friendly.”

But suddenly all of a sudden the two foreign ones from Lost came running up the beach shouting all in foreign, as you know they often do.

“I think they are shouting the foreign word for smoke monster!” Jack from Lost shouted and everyone was very scared because of smoke monster.

Desmond from Lost who was also there because this was set during Season 3 of Lost when he was there. held Taylor Swift’s hand because she was very afraid but she did not cry because she is strong and also pretty. “Do not worry Taylor Swift if we are strong together we do not need to be afraid, brother.” Taylor Swift was glad and squeezed his hand.

But then smoke monster came rushing towards them and turned into… a person… like when it turned into the priest one’s brother or something like that. And the person was…. Jake Gylennhall

“Oh no can’t I get away from you anywhere Jake Gylennhall” said Taylor Swift.

“Taylor Swift please come back to me I am sorry I was mean to you it was not me a man from the future had all gone inside of me and made me do those things I promise.” said Jake Gylennhall pathethically.

“No Jake Gylennhall that is the plot of that film you were in you stupid idiot. This is just like when you missed our date “because an aeroplane fell on you” or when you kept spitting on things and calling me Heath.”

Jake Gylennhall looked pretty stupid I can tell you.

“Don’t worry Taylor Swift I know how to stop the monster, brother” said Desmond from Lost and they held hands and threw magnets at Jake Gylennhall and he turned back into smoke and blew away.

Everyone said hurray but they were still sad because of being trapped on a mysterious island even if some of them were discovering new feelings.

Taylor Swift said “I know what if I sing one of my songs” and she sang the song Love Story which has sold nearly 8 million sales around the world. It was so beautiful it melted the mysterious island’s heart and they could all go home apart from Ed Sheeran who was still all smashed to bits and dead oh dear how sad now she has to find a new support act.

“Taylor Swift, brother… maybe we could go home… together, brother?” said Desmond from Lost and they held hands and flew away on the magic of romance…

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2 MAYBE THERE IS A WEDDING AND A GHOSTBUSTER STAY TUNED.

This was written for the inaugural meeting of Talking About Things Aimed At Teenagers, and is also available on fanfiction.net.

One Life Left: Our Game

Last year’s run of Europe’s biggest award-losing video games radio show include a semi-regular series of contributions from a man called Mick Rossiter. You can find them archived below:

One Life Left: Our Game #1

One Life Left: Our Game #2

One Life Left: Our Game #3

One Life Left: Our Game #4

This year Mick may be writing further letters to One Life Left, which can be heard on Resonance 104.4 FM every Monday at 7PM, or on the internet. No, I have never heard of Chris Morris, who is he?