Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Big Chip Dale's Christmas Message

I’ve been away for so long, I wanted to prove that I’m still here in Bangor, living the high life. Actually, things have been pretty grim. Gabby never stops complaining that I do nothing but sit in front of the TV and watch ‘Deal or No Deal’. She says I’ve let myself go.

I admit, there might just be a small fraction of truth in that, but I also like to think that I’m the same old Chipster. I’m just going through a period of self-discovery. The only bad thing to happen in my life is that I can no longer fit into all my favourite thongs. It’s now over three weeks since I abandoned the thong in favour of grey brushed cotton tracksuit bottoms.

Anyway, enough about me. It’s Christmas Day and I wanted to thank all of you who have taken time to read Chip Dale’s Diary in the last year. Will The Chipster be back in the New Year? I haven’t yet decided if I will. It depends on my financial situation and the amount of work I can get between now and then. To be honest, I’ve lost my regular bookings. People tell me it’s a slow Christmas, which I have to believe. Then again, life is slow these days. I thought stripping was a hard way to make a living, but it’s easier than writing.

This is Big Chip Dale, signing out until the New Year.

Have a great Christmas, and don’t eat anything I wouldn’t eat.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Two Fakes

If you ask me to name my favourite of all Orson Welles’ films, I wouldn’t say Citizen Kane. Not that I want to dismiss what’s widely (and rightly) regarded as his masterpiece, but there’s another film that’s much more fascinating, less well known, and far more characteristic of the arch-trickster who once made a large portion of America believe that Martians were invading. That film is F for Fake. Yet to describe it as a film is to misrepresent it. It’s more of a documentary, though that isn’t quite right either. It’s perhaps better described as an oddity. There really is nothing quite like it.

It’s about illusion, scam, trickery. Welles the magician steps before the camera to act as our guide through the world of forgery. Cheaply made and, for years, hard to find until its recent appearance on DVD, it’s the story of two forgers, one, Elmyr de Hory, working in the art world, and one a writer, Clifford Irving, who famously forged the official biography of Howard Hughes. Not only is it an example of how Welles used film to tell great stories, it is also a reminder that fiction is somehow more compelling than fact.

All this came to mind this weekend when I sat down and watched The Hoax, another film about forgery, this time dealing with the story of how Clifford Irving came to write the most notorious unpublished biography of the twentieth century. Based on the Irving's account of events, it stars my least favourite actor of all time, Richard Gere, yet it’s among the best films I’ve seen all year. How I equate the two facts, I’m not yet sure. I’m certain, however, that it stands as a testament to his performance, so worthy of an Oscar nod next year.

Gere doesn’t even look like Gere. This isn’t a film about good looks as much as the illusion of piety. Pretty soon, I’d forgotten all about those annoying swaggering performances he consistently turned out in the eighties. He was simply the talented novelist facing ruin when his career is derailed by critics. Finding revenge in a book proposal for the biography of the most reclusive man of the century, Irving’s one small lie soon becomes the biggest hoax in the history of publishing as publishers greedily offer him more dizzying amounts for ‘the book of the century’. He drives the film as Irving’s grip on reality begins to slip.

Set in the 1970s, The Hoax is pertinent to a modern world awash with hoaxes. What gives Clifford Iriving’s story an extra edge, however, is that it is played out against the broader picture of Howard Hughes’ relationship with the Nixon administration, Watergate, and the perpetual willingness of people to believe what they want to believe.

It’s out on DVD in this country in February, but if you go to any American retailer, it’s available now. Irving’s ‘biography’ of Hughes is finally being published next year. I, for one, can’t wait to read it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Tom!

A reminder from Nige, who happily shares this momentous day with the great man, that Tom Waits celebrates his birthday today.

While you're enjoying my favourite of Tom's middle-period songs, the world's biggest self-confessed Waits fan is going to write off the rest of the day and watch 'Big Time' in celebration.

One of Those Meme Things

I don't normally go for these memes but at least it's got me writing something and has cheered me up a little... Thanks to Reading The Signs for this.

A ~ Available? For parties, hen nights, and poetry readings. Reasonable rates.
B ~ Best friend. Oh, Gabby. Of course it’s Gabby.
C ~ Cake or pie? Cake. Lemon meringue. Actually, at the moment, I’d prefer flan. Keep things simple. Cheese and onion.
D ~ Drink of choice: Water. It's God juice and good for you!
E ~ Essential thing used every day: what else but my thong?
F ~ Favorite color: Black.
G ~ Gummi bears or worms? What the hell is a gummi bear? For that reason alone: worms.
H ~ Hometown: Bangor.
I ~ Indulgence: Lunch when we can afford it.
J ~ January or February? February.
K ~ Kids and names: It’s probably a good idea but not for me at this time in my stripping career.
L ~ Life is incomplete without: a collection of thongs.
M ~ Marriage date: Ha!
N ~ Number of siblings: One.
O ~ Oranges or apples? Apples.
P ~ Phobias/fears: Snakes, frogs, public nudity, failure.
Q ~ Favorite quote: ‘Brace yourself Brenda’.
R ~ Reason to smile: none at the moment. It’s all pretty bleak.
S~ favorite Season – Spring.
T ~ Tag three people: Must I? Okay, Fictional Rockstar, Elberry (since he claims to be back blogging, let’s make him suffer), and Richard Madeley (because I just like making him suffer).
U ~ Unknown fact about me: I’m not really a stripper… No, only joking. I’m really a hugely successful man of letters and have lectured at Cambridge. Okay, I’m six feet two inches tall.
V ~ Vegetable you don't like: the guy at the local supermarket who packs the bags. He had some kind of accident involving metal piping… He’s pretty gone most of the time but seems to have it in for me. He deliberately digs his nails into my fresh fruit.
W ~ Worst habit: snapping the strap of my thong when bored. Just… like… this…
X ~X-rays you've had: once on my back when a traffic warden fell on me during a show.
Y ~ Your favorite food: pasta. I love pasta!
Z ~ Zodiac: Libra. Two hanging cups perfectly balanced just about sums me up.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Chip Dale Guide To Handling Birds

Gabby informed me that we’re not having Christmas this year.

‘You want Christmas, you go have fun with blogging friends. You go with Dick Middlely, The Dirty Referendum, or The Fractional Popstar. Gabby not doing Christmas. We all out of turkey.’

This was news in the shade of the unexpected and with distinct highlights matching my shock and surprise. I picked the remote control from my lap and muted the lunchtime news. ‘Out of turkey?’ I repeated. ‘But what’s happened to Henrietta?’

‘Henrietta’s gone,’ said Gabby. ‘Escaped.’

‘Escaped? You’ve been rearing that turkey for the last six months just for our Christmas meal. She couldn’t have just fled!. Not when we’re so close.’

‘She gone. She jump fence and run away.’

‘Jumped the fence?’ I protested. ‘But she could barely walk. I’ve not seen breasts that big since I visited Richard Madeley’s website and realised that he’s started to post porn.’

‘Henrietta gone and Gabby not know what to do. I grow turkey. Biggest turkey I ever grow. And I looking to cutting off head. Now, what am I to do? Gabby very, very disappointed.’

I sat back on my chair. In the last few weeks, it had slowly begun to shape itself to my immobile torso as my malaise rarely shifted me before the TV. Moping might be a more accurate term for it. Only this was different. This was perhaps the news I’d been waiting for. This could put mustard back in the Chipster’s thong.

‘Well, I’m not going to accept it,’ I said as I slapped my thighs and stood up. ‘I’m going to find Henrietta and I’m going to rescue her.’

‘You find turkey?’ laughed Gabby. She threw herself down on the sofa and propped a cushion under her head before she picked up the latest edition of ‘Choke Holds’ magazine that had arrived in the morning’s post. ‘You go find turkey, then I sit here and read.’

‘And when I do rescue her, I’ll bring her safely back here so you can chop off her head.’

Gabby waved away my promise. ‘Turkey gone. It eaten. A fox get it.’

I nipped to the bedroom where I put on an insulated thong and my waterproof vest. As soon as I reached the door, Gabby came running.

‘You really do this for Gabby?’ she asked, suddenly full of eagerness.

‘I’m doing it for my Christmas lunch,’ I said.

She patted me on my chest and ran back into the living room. When she returned, she had a gift for me. ‘Be careful,’ she said as she pushed a large knife into my hands. ‘If you find Henrietta, you not let her peck you. Chop off head before you get hurt.’

I took the knife and was about to slip it under the narrow band at the side of my thong. Then I had second thoughts. ‘I not going to get arrested for carrying a weapon,’ I told her as I concealed the knife down the spacious pouch of my winter thong, ‘but there might well be charges of gross indecency before the night’s out.’

The obvious place to start a turkey hunt was at the last place the bird had been seen. The allotments were unusually quiet when I arrived there around three. It was a brazenly cold afternoon, with a stiff breeze cutting across the open patch of land. My nipples were hard and tingling, like two sensors set to white meat as I began my search around the turkey enclosure. It was there that I noticed some heel prints in the soft mud that ran to a small gate that led to the series of small cottages that sit to the rear of the allotments. It seemed a bit too obvious a lead but I thought I’d check them out first.

The garden of the first cottage overlooks Gabby’s allotment and belongs to an old doctor who retired from the profession some years ago, about the same time as he was struck off the medical register. As far as I knew, he still lived there with his sister. It took me no time to get around to the front of the house and ring the door bell. Moments passed before it opened to a dark crack.

‘Yes?’ asked a soft voice from within.

‘Oh, hello,’ I said as a pair of wizened eyes came peering out to greet me. ‘I’m looking for a bird…’

‘A bird?’ said the voice. The door opened a little more and a little old lady wandered forward and began to peer at my groin. ‘What on earth are you wearing, young man?’

‘It’s a thong,’ I said.

‘A thong? It doesn’t look very warm.’

‘Oh, it’s very warm,’ I assured her. ‘Very spacious too. Can you believe there’s a weapon packed in there?’

‘A weapon?’

‘For the turkey,’ I said. ‘That’s what I’ve come for. My girlfriend owns the allotment at the bottom of your garden and our Christmas turkey seems to have gone missing. I was wondering if it might have escaped over your fence.’

She gave me one of the oddest looks I think I’ve ever received. ‘And when you find this turkey, you’re going to kill a turkey with you weapon?’ she asked and pointed to my thong.

I shrugged. ‘That’s the general idea,’ I replied.

She waved me after her. ‘The turkey is out back. Let me go and get my glasses. I want to see this!’

Sure enough, Henrietta was sitting in the rear garden, trapped by four sides of trellis fashioned into a makeshift pen.

‘It was my brother,’ whispered the little old lady as she emerged from the house. She’d wrapped a shawl around her shoulders and a pair of glasses now rode the smooth incline of her nose. ‘He’s been watching that turkey grow all year,’ she continued to explain. ‘He’s rather naughty, I’m afraid. I told him he shouldn’t steal it but he said you wouldn’t notice.’ A she smiled, yellowing false teeth moving uneasily on thin gums. ‘Now, I believe you promised to show me how you’re going to kill a turkey with that “weapon” of yours.’

‘I was planning of cutting it’s head off,’ I said, though now I had found Henrietta, I didn’t think I had it in me to do the wicked deed.

‘Chop off its head?’ asked the old woman. ‘I thought you were going to bash it unconscious. I was quite looking forward to watching you giving it a good bludgeon. Mind you,’ she laughed, ‘it’s so many years. I can’t remember what a good “weapon” really looks like…’

To be honest, I think she was a little senile. She wasn’t making a word of sense. I pulled out the knife and held it up to the light.

‘Just a standard carving knife,’ I said. ‘The handle’s a bit fancy but nothing too modern. Surely you have knives like this?’

The woman looked confused. ‘Oh,’ she said, and touched a hand nervously to her throat. ‘I… well…’ I thought a blush illuminated her thin makeup from beneath. ‘Perhaps you should just take back your turkey,’ she said, her manner changing from enthusiasm to casual indifference, as though she didn’t want me around any more. ‘I’ll make sure my brother doesn’t steal it again.’

‘You can tell him from me that he needn’t go stealing it,’ I replied, not liking this change of mood. ‘I’ll make sure we save him a breast. After all, it is Christmas and there’s more than enough turkey for all.’

As I led Henrietta past the front door, the little old lady reappeared again.

‘Oh, young man,’ she said. ‘You never told me your name.’

‘Chip Dale,’ I replied. ‘And the turkey is called Henrietta.’

She waved me over to the doorstep. ‘Listen,’ she said, ‘there’s nothing like stuffing at Christmas, so when you do cook your turkey, you must use this.’ In her hands she held out a small box of Paxo. ‘It goes wonderful with meat.’

‘That’s very good of you,’ I began to say but before I could finish, she grabbed the front of my thong and shoved the box of Paxo down the pouch.

‘Very spacious,’ she cooed. ‘And like I said, there’s nothing that can beat a little stuffing at Christmas.’

Monday, December 03, 2007

Help Wanted: Angry Mob

Here’s a post to keep my blog ticking over while I’m relining my thongs, reoiling my hips, and giving my buttocks a closer than normal shave. I came across this little offer of free tickets when I was researching my chances of appearing on 15 to 1. Although I’m not going to take the offer up myself, I was hoping that there’d be an angry mob out there who could do the job for me. Gabby suggested that she contact friends in the Romanian military but I think I can do a better job by using the power of the internet.

If you know an angry mob, or perhaps you yourself are an angry mob, could you get yourself down the studios and spend an whole afternoon jeering. I’ve written letters to television production companies suggesting that Gabby and myself would make a better job of hosting this show, while Jordan and Andrex can get back to what they do best… Okay, you’re right. I don’t know what that would be. They could just disappear and stop rubbing our noses in it.

Are you with me, angry mob?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Few Mini Film Reviews

Not a stellar lineup this time but I thought I'd post the rest in order to encourage you all to see the first.

Rescue Dawn

Christian Bale gets thin again. This time he’s in the jungle and not eating enough rice. Gabby spent two hours waiting vainly for Dawn to turn up and missed an oddly commercial film from Werner Herzog. The last time Bale ‘got thin’ was for 'The Mechanic', one of the great amnesia films. This prisoner of war film, set during the Vietnam War, is an equally good. Okay, I'd say it's even better. I’d recommend it from its fantastic slow motion opening sequence to the end credits that were only ruined by somebody shouting 'I don't get! He was Dawn?'


Only we Brits could make such an odd thriller about the weather. Heavy storm produces a tidal surge that floods the Thames. Not a bad premise once you stop reminding yourself that Londoners would be saved had they either climbed on top of The Dome, or simply moved upstairs for the duration. However, not a bad film considered the rather low budget and David Suchet's poorly dyed eyebrows. Actually, if you do watch it, there's a really impressive bit in the middle when one of the minor actors has a scene in which they're totally silent. Perhaps it was my imagination but I thought it really great piece of acting that made the whole thing worthwhile.

The Last Legion

Gabby chose this one. Ben Kingsley has a very bad beard in this rather brainless romp which isn’t as bad as you’d think. Lots of sword action to keep Romanian commandos happy in this version of the King Arthur legend told in a very roundabout way. I, myself, was taken with a rather lovely woman from the Indian subcontinent who had a way with the knives that reminded me of somebody who is now snoring not two rooms away from me.

Resident Evil: Extinction

Well, another of Gabby’s choices. Young athletic woman gets to wield large caliber weapons and very sharp knives in the vicinity of zombies. An odd thing to say but I’ll say it anyway: should have been longer. I quite enjoy a good post-apocalyptic scenario but why the producers insist on filling them with mindless action, I don’t know. I, myself, was taken with the rather fine Milla Jovovich who had a way about her that reminded me of... Oh, you get the picture.