Tag Archives: shopping

The biggest jigsaw shop in the world – a review

We were in the Lake District recently and happened across this place:

Barney's News Box Jigsaws

They’re very modest on the sign. “Probably the largest selection of jigsaws in the world” they say. Probably! And it does look like an ordinary shop from the outside.

downstairs

This is the sight that confronts you on the ground floor. Impressive. Still, you’ve perhaps seen bigger jigsaw displays elsewhere. But then you go upstairs:

upstairs

This is the view from the top of the stairs, and the point at which things get a bit overwhelming. With jigsaws piled high from floor to ceiling you might struggle to make out that narrow opening on the right there. What’s through the rabbit hole?

rabbit hole

Here I am at the centre of the cardboard cave. A place where the walls themselves are towers of terrifying puzzles and distance is as meaningless as direction. A person could lose themselves forever here. And what did I find in the furthest corner of the labyrinth? This:

Downton Abbey jigsaw

A classy extension of Downton Abbey’s brand identity there. So which other cultural forces have taken jigsaw form in this brave new world?

Twilight jigsaws

It’s Twilight’s Edward and Jacob, in Puzzleball form! £6.99 each – a bargain. Finally Bella can have both! Who else is here?

hannah montana jigsaw

It’s Disney’s Hannah Montana of course! “Made in 2D, Displayed in 3D” – will Miley Cyrus EVER be able to move on?

jigsaw names

Here’s a selection of the generic jigsaws. The size and scope of the industry that keeps crazed fans in a constant supply of fresh puzzles had never occurred to me before. What evocative names.  Blooming Cart. Proud Peacock. Gotta Love Snow! Yes, you gotta. Is there anything a bit more racy though? Well…

naughty dots jigsaw

Oh this is the stuff. Really Really (Really) Naughty Dots – Explicit Jigsaw Fun For Adults Only. It’s the future our forebears fought for. It even comes with a special pen! Mind you, how many stages of frustration do you want to put yourself through? You’ll spend hours doing the jigsaw, and then you have to do the dot-to-dots, and finally you’re supposed to get some sort of erotic thrill out of a phallus you’ve drawn yourself with a wipe-clean pen.  I suppose for some people the anticipation’s everything. Here’s something a bit gentler for a happy finish:

young farmers

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TV Pitches: Muse

Will Muse’s rock career be alright after billions of people around the world have heard their official 2012 Olympics song Survival? I mean, it’s awful, isn’t it. It’s ridiculous. (Yes, it’s both those things but I love it.) Here are some TV pitch ideas for the lads in case they have to step back from music after this.

Muscle Museum

The concept: Horrific documentary in which the boys investigate body parts left behind by serial killers.

Dom: That’s a nice peroneus longus you’ve got there Chris.

Chris: Yes it’s in very good condition isn’t it. Shame they couldn’t salvage the mucous sheath after this poor fella got flayed.

Matt: I can’t find my guitar. What’s happening?

Sunburn

The concept: Ill-considered revival of the mediocre Michelle Collins vehicle. Nicki and the gang are back from the Med and working on the pier in Muse’s home town of Teignmouth. Matt and the boys play amusement arcade attendants who get into all sort of hilarious scrapes.

Chris: If we don’t find that bag of 5p coins before Brian Conley gets here Nicki’ll have our guts for garters!

Michelle Collins: I heard that! Go and clean out the Penny Falls machine with a toothbrush.

Chris: (muttering) At least no-one’d ever make a shitty tv show out of Penny Falls.

Plug In Baby

The concept: The boys get their own shopping channel segment selling electric baby substitutes to the lonely and/or barren.

Matt: And THIS one will crucify your enemies!

Dom: No, Matt! That’s the gentle tears and real nappy action model.

Matt: (flipping baby roughly over) Aha! I’ve exposed your lies, baby! The underneath is no big surprise! Now it’s time for changing! And cleansing everything!

Dom: (sigh)

Time Is Running Out

The concept: Sapphire and Steel spin-off in which the boys chase the physical embodiment of Time through a building and try to stop it “running out”.

Matt: Bury it! Why can’t we bury it?!

Chris: We tried that Matt. It regressed us all to toddlers and made us dig it up again.

Matt: Murder it then. Why don’t we murder it? Or smother it! Or–

Dom: I wish we could take time back to before the Olympics.

Supermassive Black Hole

The concept: Science exploration show in which the boys join forces with Professor Brian Cox for some fun with astrophysics.

Matt: Oh baby, don’t you know I suffer?

Chris: That’s because the Schwarzschild radius is directly proportional to mass, while density is inversely proportional to the volume. Since the volume of a spherical object (such as the event horizon of a non-rotating black hole) is directly proportional to the cube of the radius, the density of a black hole is inversely proportional to the square of the mass, and thus higher mass black holes have lower than average density.

Dom: You got that off Wikipedia.

Professor Brian Cox: Hey you do all realise this song sounds exactly like Do Something by Britney Spears, don’t you.

Monsters at Home: The Cenobites

They’re explorers in the further regions of experience!  Demons to some, but angels to others! Or, as Wikipedia puts it a little less poetically, they’re ‘extradimensional sadomasochists’. But how do Hellraiser‘s scourges pass the time when they’re not reaping souls and refashioning flesh?

Not shown: Choc ices

WHAT DO THEY EAT When the Cenobites first appear in the novella The Hellbound Heart, we’re told that they smell of vanilla. So I tend to imagine they’ve just been scoffing a box of Asda choc ices. At 8 for £1 (at time of writing) they’re not exactly a luxury treat, so it’s the perfect conflicted experience for beings who like to blur the line between pain and pleasure. Butterball, the fat Cenobite, probably gets taunted and comes off worst. Like most fat characters in films he’s portrayed as always hungry, as we can see from his gaping stomach wound and constant lip-licking. I bet the others just give him the stick to sniff once they’ve eaten.

HOW DO THEY SOCIALISE With those costumes that evoke the S&M scene AND the priesthood AND butchers’ leather aprons, we can say with some confidence that the Cenobites spend quite a lot of time shopping for clothing and grooming products. So Saturdays find them ambling through the retail district of Hell’s labyrinth, stopping in at their own versions of Debenhams for some underwear (“We Have Such Tights To Show You!”) and Timpson’s to get their boots repaired (“We’ll Tear Your Sole Apart!”).

WHAT DO THEY DRINK The Female Cenobite (yes I know, sorry, that’s how she’s credited) unfortunately has the front of her throat held open by wires so it’s unlikely she gets to enjoy any drinks very much at all past an initial taste. And with Chatterer’s teeth clattering away constantly he doesn’t get much down his gullet either. Still it means there’s always someone to get Pinhead and Butterball home safely after they’ve got slaughtered on cocktails with Leviathan.

WHAT DO THEY WATCH ON TELLY As two of the Cenobites seem to be effectively both blind and deaf, this is probably something of a sore point. But still, the others have found themselves drawn to ITV1 on Saturday nights where hapless humans attempt to solve the challenges of a mysterious Cube which acts as a gateway to pain or pleasure. “Tears are a waste of good suffering!” barks Pinhead at the screen as a hapless estate agent from Billericay slumps defeated amidst a pile of brightly coloured ping-pong balls.

WHAT DO THEY DO FOR FUN We know that they can only reach our world through the solving of puzzles (and not just the Lament Configuration box – we learn from the book that origami can be used to summon them) and so they keep a close eye on new mental and physical challenges. The Sudoku fad left them unimpressed but they’ve had a great time recently sketching hooked chains and bloody foetuses on Draw Something.

HOW DO THEY REPRODUCE Well the dull answer is that they convert other people into Cenobites. It seems they retain some memory of their human pasts though, enough for a confused recollection that intimate fun can involve the insertion of appendages into orifices. But as we can see in this picture of Chatterer and Kirsty, this leads to all sorts of hilarious misunderstandings. Better luck next time!