On Nottinghamshire Naming

Nottinghamshire is the kind of a place where a lingerie store and a chip-shop-come-takeaway can both be called ‘Maid Marian’s’.

Alas. ‘Maid Marian’s Secrets’, or whatever the Edwinstowe lingerie shop was called, has closed now; but at least the Mansfield takeaway is one of the better and more reliable ones.

So yeah, everything has ‘Sherwood’ or the name of a Robin Hood character in it somewhere. It’s also likely the only reason the city of Nottingham retains the archaic and now ceremonial post of Sheriff.

Everywhere does this shit though. Whitby won’t shut up about Captain Cook and Dracula. It even has an entire goth-themed & decorated B&B, which assumedly gets enough visitors to keep running. In Coventry, everything is Lady Godiva.

You can’t really blame them. The tourist pull is self-explanatory, but even in places like the parts of Nottinghamshire where the likelihood of tourists is very-low-to-none calling your business ‘Sherwood this’ or ‘Little John’s that’ helps give it a sense of local identity and is much more interesting than just putting your own boring-ass name on it.

If anyone from Coventry is reading, by the way, firstly: you have my condolences. Secondly, Lady Godiva’s would be a terrible name for a lingerie store. The whole point is that she didn’t wear anything, and you don’t have to pay for no clothes.

It’s always historical figures too. Again, makes sense. You don’t want to end up with the ‘Sir Jimmy Saville Children’s Centre’ or owt. I mean building and street names can be changed, but it’s embarrassing for the owners and the council. Besides we don’t really know if our current famous residents are worth it yet. In Mansfield for example renamed a swimming pool & gym complex after double Olympic gold winner Rebecca Adlington, which is fair enough, but I don’t think anyone’s clamouring for a greasy spoon called Richard’s Bacon’s.

Or a lingerie store for that matter.

But I think maybe there’s merit to digging up lesser known old names to use if they’re awesome.

For example, we discovered that in the ‘30s my school was attended by one Burly Higgins who went on to become a fighter pilot in World War II.

Now with a name that badass and the whole fighter pilot thing going on, I reckon you could clean up with a shop called summat like “Burly Higgins’ Manliness Emporium” selling the beer/bacon/bears/beards/bourbon paraphernalia that half the internet seems to think constitutes modern masculinity. Not that I’m criticizing. I enjoy bacon and whiskey, and it’s one of my biggest on-going disappointments that my genes mean most of my thickest and darkest facial hair is on my neck. Thanks dad.

I guess what I’m saying is the world would be a better place if more shops/brothels/solicitors firms should sound like they’re named after periphery Indiana Jones characters from The Mummy.

Image: Planetware

We’re the Millers; or, Damn it Hollywood you can’t always have it both ways!

It’s been a while since I saw We’re the Meet the Millers, so I apologise if I get anything wrong, but now is when I feel like writing about it. It’s also why I go on about the spider/testes situation so much, as the film was so middling (originally this was going to be a Mediocri-City article) that though I remember the plot I don’t remember too many specific scenes or jokes beyond that one.

You can’t have it both ways, Hollywood. No, put that wallet away. Money won’t help. It’s not that kind of problem. Yes. No, there are some problems you can’t just throw money at. Continue reading

Super Mario 64 and Freedom, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

 

What I only realised recently is how the game teaches you that you don’t have to play the stars in order on the very first level. Right at the beginning of the game you have no choice. You must tackle star one on level one -‘Big Bob-omb on the Summit’.

After being dropped in you’re taught how to read/speak to things. This is the only thing the game forcibly teaches you, as it is the only thing it can’t teach you through reading or speaking to things, all of which is optional. The game encourages you just learned on a friendly, fuchsia explosive (remember, this is Mario), but you don’t have to.

If you do elect to, he/she/it confirms what would probably be your natural inclination based on the star’s name: to head to the top of the level’s only hill, where the personable pink ordinance tells you an important bad-guy is waiting.

Your path to this moustachioed munition however takes you right past a caged star in plain sight, guarded by a huge Chained Chomp (a massive, vicious metal ball with teeth and eyes, for those unfamiliar) whose chain is held in place by a wooden stake hammered into the ground.

You know you can ground-pound (If you read the manual. This is the 90s.), and that post looks awful stomp-able. But surely, it wouldn’t let you get that star this early… would it? Dodging the chomp, probably taking a few hits and retreating to get some health-giving coins [insert satirical comment on US health system/future of the NHS], you eventually land the three required butt-slams to drive the thing completely into the ground, freeing the chomp. Liberated, the beast galumphs in happiness, smashing the cage before bounding away to freedom. You grab the star, and upon re-entering the level discover that it was actually the sixth (of six). The blinkers are off.

Continue reading

Super Mario 64 and Freedom, Part 1

So shortly before it stopped, ByteXplosion was putting together a collab piece for Nintendo’s 125th anniversary where we all contributed around 200 words. This was mine:

Even with all my nostalgia for it, playing Super Mario 64 isn’t as amazing as it once was.

It’s of its time. The controls now feel a little stiff, sure; but that’s not it. We’re simply too used to 3D now.

Before Spyro, Banjo, Ocarina of Time, Grand Theft Auto III and Skyrim there was this. You pushed the stick and – provided there was ground under him – Mario would keep going in that direction, jumping over and belly-sliding through anything in his way. This doesn’t sound much, but you have to imagine you’d never played a 3D game before; not even Doom-style shooters or into-the-camera Star Fox.

The game’s progression matched this newfound sense of freedom. You were checked by star totals, the castle was split into thirds by Bowser levels. That’s about it. You could stay on one level getting all the stars in order and move on to the next when you’re good and ready, even ‘skipping’ levels by farming enough stars on previous ones, or do the bare minimum on each level to see everything new as quickly as possible, the freedom was such you didn’t even have to do the stars within a level in order…  and I’m out of words. Might have to do a standalone article on this.

As the ending hints, I approached the editor to see if he was interested in a full article and got the go ahead. Tbh I probably would’ve written it for my own (this) blog had he not be interested anyway. But before even the first, collaborative piece could go up, the site was discontinued. Here is the follow up article. Continue reading