Random Reviews Christmas Special

Useless Present Review

Here it is then, a time to reflect following all the festive frivolity and cheer. A time to wonder to yourself 'where on earth am I going to keep all this rubbish?'

Now, don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate the fact that anyone thinks to buy me a present at all. As such I want to make sure these reviews are wholly objective; for clarity I have awarded each gift a uselessness rating out of 7. Who knows, some of them may even serve a useful purpose one day...


Cheeky Monkey

W-w-w-what a lovely....erm...
monkey, Nan...

The Cheeky Monkey

Ah, the monkey. Cheeky bugger isn't he. Let me tell you all something. I love my Nan. She's great, and not only that she is the last grandparent I have left, so she's very special to me. Nan, in the unlikely event you're reading this, I love you.

Nan, you've bought me a monkey. I like monkeys, I've met monkeys, and I may even be as my Nan so eloquently suggests a bit of a cheeky monkey myself. Unfortunately I don't feel the need to have a really camp monkey blowing kisses at me and occupying shelf space. What's worse I can't throw it away, because I love my Nan. I have such an array of useless presents in various forms from her that I could start a gallery.

I've actually left this one in the boot of the girlfriend's car in the vague and frankly uncharitable hope that some grave misfortune will befall it (hence my crude visual representation). It's useless really isn't it? My god she'd be mortified to read this. I'm going to hell, and hell will be full of camp monkeys.

Uselessness Rating: 7/7

Baked Beans Book

"Beans, beans, good for your heart"
erm, etc...

Bean Recipe Book

I really love beans. Beans on toast is the ultimate comfort food, and that's what I use beans for. Imagine my surprise when I found out, via this gift from my brother, that you can use beans with practically anything! I must admit I'm cheating a bit, as I haven't tried any of the less obvious recipes yet, and for all I know the oyster and bean combo suggested in here is the best thing I have yet to taste. But I doubt it.

The formula for this book seems to be take a recipe everyone likes, add beans. It's clever, and might well shift a few extra tins in 2007. But is it useful? Well there's a great page with different types of beans on toast on it.... actually who am I trying to kid? It's totally useless.

Uselessness Rating: 5/7


There it is, on the fridge... Forever.

Bottle Ball

To paraphrase the packaging:

The Bottle Ball has 3 fabulous uses!

1) It's a bottle opener which plays commentary (Goooooaaaaalll!!!) whenever it touches a metal bottle top!
2) It has magnets so you can really usefully stick it to your fridge (where you keep the beer I presume).
3) It's great fun - you can throw it to your friends!

Wow. Who would imagine a bottle opener could be so much fun. Who would imagine a bottle opener could be so irritating. Actually for someone who doesn't know me that well I can understand the thought process. He likes beer. He likes football. This combines the two, what can go wrong? Well, it's nice and all, I'll just put it with the other 9999 novelty bottle openers filling up my cutlery drawer. Or stick it to the fridge I suppose. Anyone else thinking of that Alanis Morrissette song right now?

Uselessness Rating: 4/7

Jack Daniels

I'm happy because I have JD.
Well no I'm depressed actually.

Jack Daniels (70cl)

"Oooh Jack Daniels that's a pretty good present, what's it doing here?" That's what you probably aren't thinking. Either way, allow me to explain.

There's a love-hate thing going on with Jack Daniels. On one front it's a drink I've always enjoyed, a precursor to some wonderful evenings of in depth conversation. On the other hand, it's a symbol of doom, a death knell to my sensibilities, and a gateway to depression. Melodramatic? Probably. Spectacular? Occasionally.

My girlfriend's parents will never know the symbolism of them buying me this every year. Unless they read this, of course. Hmmm.

Uselessness Rating: 2/7

Remote Control Submarine

It's a very small submarine.
And it's remote controlled

Remote Control Submarine

'Da da da da da daa daaaa, da da da da da, etc...' No, it's not James Bond but it might as well be, because 'Q' (AKA my Dad) has fitted me out with this great new gadget, and I'm going to shoehorn some kind of use for it into an improbable underwater fight scene and then swim my way to safety! Ahem.

I wanted to use this before I wrote this review, because I'm a fair minded man. So I ran the bath, stuck all the little bits together, and put all the batteries in. Having completed the complex preparations, I released the tiny vessel into the tub for its maiden, erm, voyage. It did nothing. I took it out and switched it on, before returning it to the tub. It went round in circles, went down, came up again. A bit like a sub.

You know what, this present is useless. I don't care though. Christmas presents should be about toys and tat, and for all I know I could have a cracking time if I took it down to the Lido on Hampstead Heath in the summer. I could stick a fin on it and pretend it's a little yellow Jaws. Or fit a webcam and get myself a restraining order. It'll be fun!

Uselessness Rating: 6/7