Category archives: Toys/Manky Toys
Found this wretched ‘n’ beautiful chap in a charity shop earlier.
He’s obviously built on a Masters of the Universe chassis, but the legs don’t move. Neither does the waist. In “points of articulation” terms he’s a bit shit.
The shrieking demonic head makes up for it all though. Anyone know what he’s based on, or what his provenance is?
Every so often, on charity shop hunts, one comes across a…thing that makes it hard to resist reaching for the acronym “WTF”. Today was one such occasion. Bought, for 50 cents, in the St. Vincent de Paul outlet on Thomas St., Limerick was…this.
Here’s a close-up…
Goggle-eyed, orange mouth askew, blonde locks shooting off at wild angles – it was obviously hand-made, by someone moved by a strange need to create this. My first thought was that it was some sort of crude/offensive take on a Golliwogg. Or some sort of crude/offensive spin on a Rastafarian/Jamaican stereotype. But the more I look, the more boggled my mind becomes.
Its colourful/ragged hot pants cling upsettlingly tightly to its woollen bum cheeks.
And, um, they’re removable…
As is the mega-crude, falling-to-bits, “Aran Jumper” thing it’s wearing. Throw in a little (non-removable) beanie hat and we’re left with a knitted melange that is hurting my brain.
So there we were, Betty Octopus and I, in a newsagent queue. All ready to buy the reasonably-priced jellies and chocolate and water that we planned to sneak into an afternoon showing of Black Swan (like the mad, thrifty bastards that we are), when my idly-wandering eyes alighted on this.
Five seconds later and my memory centres were launched on a Proustian rocket ride back into the (usually) dim and (always) distant past. Clacton-on Sea, circa 1976. The elder sister and I shyly stand by the door of a promenade apartment as an elderly woman shuffles over to her card table. She lifts its lid and produces two small boxes. One, an “Animal Snap” game of some sort (which she places tenderly into my nervously-outstretched hand).
The other? My sister’s prize? Old Maid. The exact same Old Maid. Same (glorious) font; same lurid colour scheme; same thin and sweet-smelling cardboard. 34 years…erased in an instant. I was so utterly transported I nearly forgot to buy a jumbo-bag of Maltesers.
Anyway, delicious as the exterior is/was, it is but a taster of the delights that await within. I have no idea how you play Old Maid (even after reading the enclosed instructions), so I’ll take a cue from the title, and 1940s aesthetic, and assume it’s all about not getting “left on the shelf”, like a mad, dessicated old cat lady.
The pack is divided into pairs of hunky and eligible bachelors
There she waits, the patron anti-saint of non-romance – dooming all who touch her to an anguish-stuffed life of unutterable loneliness and despair. Yay! Root through the purse of any single woman of a certain age and you’ll find (tucked away at the bottom) a tattered card such as this. A grim reminder of the youth, hope and dreams that now lie smashed and shattered. The Old Maid smiles, thinly. She has won…again.
What you should have done, single ladies, is picked one of these majestic specimens. They are the cardboard embodiments of all that is good in manly man. Look at all we have to offer? There is simply no need to die alone and unloved in a dank, dark house where (because of your weird, off-putting spinster-ness) your body lies undiscovered for weeks. The cats probably eat a bit of you too. All because you were too proud, or fussy, or intellectual or something. Look what you missed out on.
Proto-Top Gun studs in bulgy suits!
Big Caruso baldies with tiny feet!
Wet sucky-lemon-faced Tory minister types!
Passionate artist chaps who’d get all sexy and paint you nekkid!
Golf ball smashers!
Outdoorsy Victorians who hit fish with big sticks!
Um, lady cyclists…
And, my personal favourite, sharp-suited, pipe-smoking, dreamy motorcar enthusiasts! Look at the crease on those slacks! Swoon!
If, after all this, you still insist on turning your disdainful, womanly nose up at the above catalogue of wonders…then I suggest you grab the nearest cat and disappear into the gloom and the silence. The chaps (Tally ho!) will carry on regardless. The “Old Maid” – eternal, terrible and deathless as the deepest sea – will add another soul to her collection.
(Scene: The interior of a modest semi-detached house. The décor is fussy, chintzy and predominantly brown. The general air is one of mildew and despair. Christmas decorations have been placed hither and yon in a bid to lift some portion of the gloom…but they are of poor quality. On a (fussy, chintzy and predominantly brown) sofa sit two figures. On the left is Kathleen Ni Houlihan – the personification of the Irish nation in female form. She is wearing a filth-encrusted slanket and is munching contemplatively on an After-Eight. On the right is Gorgothogohnx – bringer of despair. A bipedal, demonic reptoid from the the 14th Orbiton of Balthodox.)
Kathleen Ni Houlihan: Ochón! But it’s been, like, a mouldy old year for Ireland. And, of course, by extension, myself, being the the personification of the Irish nation in female form and all. It’s been one flippin’ punch in the tits after another, hasn’t it Gorgothogohnx?
Gorgothogohnx: Tits. Yes.
Kathleen Ni Houlihan: (*sighs, dramatically*) I sometimes wonder where it will all end. Do you like my slanket?
Kathleen Ni Houlihan: (*chuckles*) You’re a gas man, Gorgothogohnx! (*flips through channels with remote*) There’s never anything on the telly. Do you fancy a cuddle?
Kathleen Ni Houlihan: Ha! You’re not wrong, Gorgothogohnx! A bit of whatever you’re having yourself. So…
Kathleen Ni Houlihan: (furiously) Well piss right off back off to the 14th Orbiton of Balthodox so, why don’t you?! I hate your scaly cock anyway. It’s bad enough being the personification of a *totes* fucked nation without having that scaly cock of yours humping me, mechanically.
Kathleen Ni Houlihan: (*sighs*) G’wan so… It’s the last one. But that never stops you. Ochón, I’m shocking depressed now, Gorgothogohnx. Flip on your Balthodoxian vidi-screen there and let’s have a gawk at what’s happening in Limerick. It’s the jolliest place on earth. It always cheers me up.
Gorgothogohnx: Yummers. Obliging.
(On comes the vidi-screen. The image is fuzzilated at first. Indistinct. But then, slowly, a clear picture begins to form. A different semi-detached house. A man. A woman. Two cats. A toddler [sleeping, hopefully]. Some cheap alcohol. A giant sack of mank. The national mood is about to be given the ride of its life.)
9.00: *sings* “There is no place I know that compares to pure i-mank-ination”. Yes. Forget the birth of Santa. Forget Christ’s eventual graduation (with second class honours) from college…or whatever it was. This is where the xmas-winter-fest really begins. Our shit is gonna blow your faces off – like a gold, frankincense & mir bomb. I’m well into the Beaujolais. My lovely helper, Jess/Bettyoctopus, is slobbering into a tin of Polish beer. Time to kick your bums. Welcome.
9.03: Right. To boot us off – let’s go Billy Barry on this mother and get jiggy with it. As a mood-setter I offer you a seasonal classic so magnificent and indestructible not even the monstrous evil of U2 could totally wank all over it. Darlene Love – take it away:
9.09: Okee dokee do. Hope that has you (like me) weeping into your sherries – like the wimpy and maudlin bastards that you are (and I am). Toys! Let’s get to the toys!
9.12: Fans of Strumpet City will appreciate this one. The toy of choice for we who now squat muck-covered and destitute in our cardboard negative equity boxes. I give you…Dire Rat.
9.16: Bleeeurrgh! Note the top left corner. “Wonder World of Nature”. Er…”Horror Planet of Vermin and Disease” more like. It’s a toy dreamt up by Werner Herzog – who sees nought but decay and brutality and savage bloody murder in this thing we like to think of as cuddly and sublime (and watercoloured) old nature. Jess opening it now. Report imminent.
9.20: Jess’s findings: 1) “Texture = Human organ filled with gravel”. 2) “Smells of nothing”. NOTHING!
9.22: Garrr! She’s just fucked it across the room at me. My thoughts (as I recover from the trauma) are…ancient used condom stuffed with haemorrhoids.
9.25: Right. Enough of the gooey and organic and pus-filled natural shit. Bring on the robots! They’re better than us (and rats). They don’t poo or leak or carry the plague. Let’s boogie – “Interstellar Combatant”:
9.29: “The Truth Who the Eyes Met Before”, says our combatant (sounding like a new romantic album title, or a perfume ad from Veidt). Thus bewildering and circuit-fucking his enemies’ digital brain-boxes. Jess unboxing him. While we wait I draw your attentions to his “futuristic” microphone. Beloved of Britney Spears, Will.i.am, and the interstellar combatants of the telesales world.
9.35: Unboxed. Batteries inserted. On switch activated. And…sweet mother of robot Christ! He sounds like the apocalypse, falling down a flight of stairs! We had to rush him into the next room for fear his shrieking would awaken our (human) child. To my (deafened) ears he appears to be roaring:
LET’S SHELTER IN THE MUD-SKIPPER! 3! 2! 1! FOLD!!!
Oh, Interstellar Combatant…you’re a gas man.
9.39: The “Thunderclap” portion of his subtitle is no idle boast. He is like a robo-Brian Blessed after a bin-liner of crack. Think I’ve developed tinnitus. To go with the dose of plague I caught from Dire Rat.
9.43: He’s obviously gifted in interstellar Orwellian double-speak too. “My Mission is Exterminate the Enemy. Maintenance Peace”. Total peace, means total war. Or, in this case, total hearing loss.
9.46: Time to go (like the big corpo-Mammon-whores that we are) to a message from our sponsors. This may upset you. Back in a bit.
9.51: The laughs grow ever more manic. The mouth gapes opener and opener. The cute little girls roar hysterically as their teeth fall out and rivers of blood spurt from their eyes. And into that swirling vortex of a mouth Baby-gobble-a-soul sucks your eternal essence. Happy Christmas!
9.56: Moving on from robo-overlords and demon dollies…let’s say hello to “The World of Animal: Species Diversity”. A toy for snot-nosed little Richard Dawkins lovin’ punks everywhere.
10.00: On the face of it, a fairly uninspired collection of big scary safari (and polar) badasses. Open the packet, however, and out tumble cards of the purest fabulousness. What they prove, as they narrate the tale of some wolves who eloped to Canada (I think…who can tell?), is that Manky Toy-mongers should never over-reach themselves in the prose department. Example one:
10:07: Mr Shotgun! You horrible murdering cunt! Leave Fuzzy and Buzzy (whoever they are) alone! Moving onward and madward:
10.11: Mr Shotgun and his “intimates” (Matron, please!) forcing the innocent to move to Canada (for fear of murder)? Is this a coded expression of the Irish national situation as we enter (oooh, er) 2011? And more…
10.17: “Be prudent, hide in a cave” – words to live by in difficult times. As for the sad lament of the wolf…
“I look like a dog. But people and animals are all afraid of me because I like eating them”.
…it’s hard to sympathise. Didn’t Jeffrey Dahmer once say much the same thing in his defence? Call me narrow-mined, but when someone is gleefully eating me I tend to struggle with empathy and the bonhomie. Finally, kangaroo-size-accuracy purists may wish to look away for a moment.
10.24: Humans. They can be the size of an atom or as tall as a Godzilla! Except they can’t. And neither can kangaroos. Dawkins would go mentoid if he read this shit. It’s evil-er than a giant Hitler-shaped bin stuffed with all the world’s religions. Righto. Time to hit the ads, the booze, and the jacks. Be back in two tickety-boos of a rat-sized kangaroo’s tail.
10.36: When your “toy” isn’t actually for anything and only does one thing that nobody would really want to do anyway (as it causes dizziness, pain and, ultimately, premature agonising death) then having someone constantly shriek out “What?” is a stroke of evil genius. Thus its WTF-ness becomes all mysterious and enigmatic (and whiplashy). Readers old enough to remember “Big Ed Loves Mona!” will sympathise.
10.41: Oh, and there’s also a great group shot of Swing-Wingers lurching over the brow of a hill. Like the shittest invading Z-Movie alien army of all time.
10.42: “Go check on the cat”, Jess just said to me. “Huh?”, says I. “The cat we’re growing“, says she. “Huh?”, says I – until I remembered. Now I wish I hadn’t…
10.44: This beauty was gifted to me by the good people of Spanish Exposition HQ (who’re out gallivanting tonight presumably). As gifts go – it’s about as welcome as an envelope full of smallpox. It had been sitting in a Petri dish of water for some hours, not doing much…or anything at all, but having just checked on it now I’m desperately hoping that Ireland has some equivalent of those super-cool CDC hazmat suit-wearing fellas you’d see in the X-Files. The whole thing is covered in grotesque, pulsing fungoid type growths. I kid you not (I wish I did). Worse still, some of said growths attached themselves to me as I was transporting it from the other room and my hands are now covered in a toxic orange paste. I also may have breathed some of the spores in. Mummy…
10.52: To take my mind off my impending descent into “Fluffy Grow Pet”-Ebola madness I’m going to grab some man stuff. Raaarrgh!! Kill!! Here’s what Fergal Crehan (@Fergal), the mannest man in the manverse, sent me…
10.56: Is that the best glaive? Is that even a glaive? What’s a glaive? “Modern Style and Good Toy” – Oh, manky toy makers – god bless your misleadingness.
11.02: I’ve banged this pair of “glaives” against the shield for some minutes now and I’m still not being let get surprised and pleased. Boo! Time for some more man stuff – to hit Jess with till she cowers ‘neath the glaive shield like a whimpering little woman! Mwaaa haaa! I call thee forth – God of Archer!
11.07: Not only is Jess cowering, she is also deeply confused as I – acolyte of the God of Archer – whip out a tiny sword and shield combo. Um…she’s stopped cowering now. And her best glaive has made shit of me. Sniff. In fairness, my hand is being consumed by a fungoid lurgy of death as we speak. It’s reached the wrist. Crawling with ruthless purpose toward the brain (or anus).
11.12: Ok. Warrior Jess involved in the opening and deconstruction of a complex, turd-like piece of mank. To keep us busy for a moment, let’s gaze once again on the wonders of our sponsors. “More creepy doll shit!”, you shout? Don’t say you didn’t ask…
AAAHHH!! AAAAAHHHHH!!! AAAHAHHHHHHHHHHAAAHHH! AAHHHHHHH!
(*stops for breath*)
11.23: In a bid to help you regain some semblance of your shattered composures – I give you this. The boring-est kind of non “God of Archer” cack that well-meaning (but gormless) relations used to give you in a futile attempt to force “education” (yuk!) upon you. Jess has been banging away at it (waaa!) for some time.
11.38: Like all dreary toys that purport to be edu-taining, they come with instructions. Lengthy grey instructions. The AT-AT never needed fupping instructions! Bah.
11.31: Is this supposed to be loosely attaching itself (like a clingy scarab) to a muscular sexy kind of Indiana Jones archaeology? Or a spooky, groovy & curse-filled Egyptology where mummies eat your face? Or, even, the…actually I can’t think of a sexed-up pop-culture version of entomology. Whatever the case may be, we’ve both smacked the crap out of the mud dough to the point of red-faced exhaustion and we’ve yet to make a dent. The “chisel” is actually a miniature plywood door wedge. Woefully unsuited to the task. Mank: 1. Science: 0. Professor Marty: -1.
11.39: Hokey doke. 2 hours and 40 minutes (and 3/4 of a bottle of Beaujolais) in. And there’s no let up for the wife. After watching her scarlet-cheeked and maddened, down on all fours walloping the scarab-containing (?) turd with a toothpick (in impotent rage), I’ve got her doing more make-and-do…with goo. Behold “Dough Make a Car” – the Queenly donation of Alexia Golez.
11.44: My glamorous assistant’s conclusion? “Dough make not a car (though it does smell nice)”. Basically you mash the dough into a car mould, bang on the chassis and push. Upon removing the mould you find…*gasp* a lump of shapeless dough atop a set of wheels. It’s like a car made entirely of sick and ear-wax.
11.51: Jess wants to go to beddie-byes. What a lady-girl! You’re with me man-chaps, aren’t you? Yeah! Gird up your loins, let loose your balls of war, and feast your testoster-eyes on this beast.
11.55: When you’ve got a dirty job. A job that’s suicide, dammit. A job that even the the most war-gorged kill-junkie won’t touch. Who do you go to? You go to the fupping best. You go to – “Peashooter Soldier Force”!
12.02: “Gentlemen. Each of you has been brought her for two reasons. One – because you’re the best. Two – because every goddamn one of you is capable of acts of scintillating. Particularly you, the guy at the back with the moustache. No, that guy. The guy behind you. Ok, just forget it! Grab your peashooters. Let’s scintillate this mother!”.
12.10: “I’m starting to have my doubts about the CE mark”, opines commenter Simon McGarr. His doubts are justified. Not only does the “Peashooter Soldier Force” rifle lack a trigger (making acts of scintillating problematic at best) it also constitutes a choking hazard so severe that only “children” over the age of 14 may go near it. 14!
12.16: We’re into the a.m. but there shall be no let up in the gun-ishment.
12.25: The “Police” not only have “A Passion for the Peace”, they’re also big into their nonsense (but cool sounding) buzzwords (just like Dubya used to be). Counter-Strike! Fight Terror! Collateral Demankining! Here’s a police force that does everything, and nothing. That ID wallet kicks ass though. I’m actually going to draw a crude picture of myself on it (in crayon) and hang around crime scenes, telling grief-stricken relatives of murder victims about my passion for the peace.
12.35: Important things to remember for any “Police/Passion for Peace” Cadet: “THE THINGS CAN’T BE PUT INTO MOUTH” (Boo!) and “CAN’T AIM AT PEOPLE’S SHOOTING”. With nancy-pants bureaucratic restrictions like that, how the hell can they be expected to get the job done. Putting things into mouth and aiming at people’s shooting is at the core of police work. Without it, they are nothing. And their passions will wither away and die like mist in a soda-stream.
12.42: Final word from the sponsors. This one is (appropriately enough for the time) dreamy.
12.52: The eerie refrain of “Open the door…for your…mystery date” is like a tag-line pulled straight from a stalk ‘n’ slash 80s exploitationer. The twist is, of course, that the dreamboat in his tux, or skiing gear is a dead-eyed psycho, and the slovenly, stubbly fatso is actually trying to save the stalked lassies. Or something. It’s all about the dangers of shallow judgements based on superficial appearance and how to avoid going on a date with Michael Myers.
12.58: Wine gone? Check. Audience gone? (*gazes into empty interweb*) Check. Time for a couple of ultra-quickies before collpasage into bed. If there’s one thing worse than the kind of bootleg “Transformer” that transforms only with considerable difficulty (and muscle strain), it’s a bootleg “Transformer” that turns out not to be remotely transformable at all. Such as the case with “The Bravest Warrior”, whose shameless “Try Me” suggests something to try, or do, or change, or transform.
But then you unpack him and…he’s just a static non-changing robot. With two even more static plastic-robo-tigers as pals. You kind of hoped they’d click together to form a giant awesome kill-bot, or an airline-carrier or something. But, instead, they non-click and just stand there. Separated and useless. “Once Own, Nothing Can Instead” whisper the enigmatic words on the box – somehow summing up the melancholy & disappointment. Saying nothing, but speaking volumes.
1.16: Aaaannd, finally – as I collapse face-first and brain-shattered on the keyboard – we finish on the girliest of notes. It’s the “Mini Perfumistas Fashion” brigade.
They’re basically small girls you wear…and…um…smell…
If you’re into that kind of thing. Which of course you are. You filthy, disgusting bastards.
1.23: Righto. That’s yer lot for another year. Rest now. I’m off to Canada on the morrow, to prudently live in a cave and thus escape Mr Shotgun and his intimates. It’s either that or perish. I’ve been forced the option. We’ve all been forced the option, isn’t that right, Gorgothogohnx?
Gorgothogohnx: Affirmative. King Diamond. End.
Well…no, not really.
Due to bits and bobs (and a toddler who’s a mite pukey) tomorrow night’s scheduled Manky Toy Show is hereby postponed.
We’ll meet, instead, on Saturday, 18th December, at 9 P.M.
Spread the news around. And stop crying.
Frozen, sad-eyed, defeated people of Ireland. Prepare to ignite your dormant pleasure centres. Ready yourselves for giddy fun-times. I come (like a bearded man with a magical sack) to inject hope back into your (Yuk!) collapsed veins.
One week from today, at 9 p.m. (when gloaming has given way to deep, dark freezingness), the 4th annual Manky Toy Show will kick off here. Right on this very frequency. A fully live, completely unscripted, barely-planned celebration of all that is cheerily cheap and life-affirming.
Bring booze. Bring yourselves. Bring strong opinion and hilarious comment.
Together, we can take 2010′s vale of frozen tears and turn it into liquid joy. Or, y’know, an arsenic-based life-form.
Friday, 10th of December, 9 PM: Join us.
In related news, my 1,400 page magnum-humpus, The Insatiable Necrophilic Blood Lusts of Saint Teresa of Ávila,
In not-so-related news, the event of the season – the 4th annual Manky Toy Show – is almost upon us. Every year I ask for donations to the cause. And every year you let me down – like the disorganised horde of doe-eyed bastards that you are. So this year, please shovel your X-Factor addicted arses off the couch, go to your nearest emporium of 2 Euro tat, pop said tat in an envelope, and address said envelope to me.