2019: The year in which Deckard blows away his replicant friends in Blade Runner, teenage bikers go on the rampage in Akira, and Schwarzenegger quip-slaughters his way through The Running Man.
We’re not quite living in any of those dystopias yet, so things could be worse. Still, some sobering news to kick off the year: astronomers have announced a definitive date for the end of the world. It appears that bastard the Large Magellanic Cloud is going to smash into the Milky Way (the galaxy where we live, not the yummy light and fluffy chocolate bar), sending our solar system cascading into the void of deep space. The shock wave could destroy Earth. Bummer. The good news is it won’t happen for another 2.5 billion years, give or take a fortnight. You would hope by that time we’d have spaceships and shit, or have evolved into beings of pure light and cookie dough, but don’t hold your breath. Get your thumbs out of your arses, NASA! The doomsday clock is ticking!
Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I once tried writing an adult horror sex comedy version called Lake Flaccid. It mostly involved jocks and cheerleaders being devoured by scaly fish creatures and mole men. Strangely, publishers were not eager to sign this potentially industry-saving opus. It’s still available, Penguin. Call my agent. Now Netflix have stolen my thunder with Bandersnatch, the new interactive episode of Black Mirror. In a sort-of ground-breaking moment for television, you can use the remote to steer the narrative by selecting what breakfast cereal the main character eats, what music he listens to on his tape Walkman, and whether he gets involved in ninja battles with his therapist. So far I’ve found five different endings, although in typical Black Mirror style, none of them are what you might call cheery. How far will this go? Will I be able to select which characters get eaten on The Walking Dead? Choose Rachel’s hairstyle on Friends? Obviously I’m bald and don’t watch Friends, but I know about the hair thing. Friends is still on, right?
Netflix continues to destroy the fabric of society with lame Sandra Bullock movie Bird Box, which you’ve probably seen because 45 million people streamed it in the first week and since it was the holidays, couldn’t be bothered turning it off once Malkovich began shout-acting. Now I love being blindfolded as much as the next filthy pervert, but robbed of my vision, I tend to walk straight into the nearest telephone pole. How does Sandy run through a monster-infested forest with two kids and only trip over a log once? Implausible! Bored after Xmas, fans started the #birdboxchallenge, in which they attempt everyday tasks while blindfolded, sometimes involving their offspring. Sensing catastrophe and possible lawsuits, Netflix have asked people to refrain from piloting leaky rowboats down rapid-strewn rivers and driving their cars to the store with the windows blacked out. Quit it, morons! Blindfolds are wholesome, innocent garments and should only be used by firing squads and couples who can’t stand to look at each other during sex.
I’m no tennis aficionado, but for those who derive sick pleasure from watching a yellow ball bounce back and forth, the Australian Open starts next week. Usually, the sun tries its best to kill the grunting, sweating players and someone you’ve heard of wins yet again, but this week saw a curious match played in the build-up. In the Hopman Cup, Roger Federer and mixed doubles partner Belinda Bencic faced off against Frances Tiafoe and his partner, who happened to be Serena Williams. This was the first time Federer and Williams, who are both 37, had ever played against each other. In a close match, Switzerland won. Rumours abound that Netflix has secured broadcast rights for next year’s tournament, allowing audiences at home to choose whether players hit forehands, backhands, volleys or crack the shits with the umpires. Also, the option will be there to blindfold Federer and force him to carry a ball boy under each arm, in order to give his opponents a fighting chance.
Finally this week, a new form of transport has sprung up for Australians looking to get away from inclement weather. Dubbed the Outback Uber, it involves riding a python. Kununurra residents Paul and Anne Mock snapped footage of 10 cane toads hitching a ride on the 3.5m python named Monty, who lives in their backyard. Yes, we live in harmony with serpents, arachnids, sharks and crocs down here. Last summer a huge wolf spider made a nest in the tree outside my window. I called him Boris. A flying shark ate him. That’s what I call the tawny frogmouth owls that terrorize the neighbourhood. They sometimes carry off small children and have killed at least three postmen. Monty the python was happy to give the toads a lift to safety after a storm, although the lack of mints and bottled water sadly meant he only received 3 stars for the trip. He is also available for private hire, though apparently doesn’t do airport pickups.