THE BIT BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE THAT SETS OUT THE ARTICLE’S AGENDA
It’s always a risky affair when one kicks off a competition thing; at least, that’s what I’VE found.
About 18 months ago, after a few slots on Brainburst and a bunch of inane postings to uk.trading-cards.magic.misc, I became decidedly miffed with this dear pastime/hobby/occupation of ours and set about off-loading my collection by means of a cryptic quiz (it was called, hilariously,”EVERYTHING MUST DRAW-GO!”). Initial response was great – about thirty or so entries for round one (I was offering Masticores and stuff as prizes), but as it became clear that further effort was required from punters, the replies dropped off until, after ten rounds, those in the top three positions were the only ones left playing. It wasn’t as if I’d shut out anyone else – sneaky little ‘random draw’ prizes were available along the way just, and this was all, for sending me an e-mail.
My email is very important to me, you know. During last summer, which I personally regard as probably the most fun I had while writing, I would regularly receive downwards of two or three emails a week! How my self-esteem took a bruising, especially when fellow scribblers boasted of traffic-volumes akin to mail-bombing, or having to reply to only the first two hundred messages because they needed to take a crap now and again, after all!
And then Rizzo sends me stuff like this:
“Did anyone ever tell you? Yeah, that’s what I thought/Although, I’m still not convinced.”
Followed by the filthiest and funniest reply to my ‘Twenty Questions’ I think it is possible to produce.
“Question: How long has Magic got left?”
“Answer: Longer than Magic Johnson does”
And as regards the”pus” bit… Wash your mouth out, John, there may be children watching!**
What was I saying? Oh, yes — competitions. Well the response to my questionnaire and poem game has been cool, but there’s enough material to construct a follow-up article with! Maybe not on the reply-scale as those magnificent Meridian Magic diversions of the early Spring, but we’re getting there.
Keats? Git outta here! Ted Hughes? Scram!
e e cummings? Y d(ont) U
(From Mark Wallace, to the tune of”I’m A Little Tea Pot”)
“I’m a can of whoop-ass for three red
Toughness of one, but six to your head
When I hit the table, it’s often said
Ball Lightning is the card they dread”
(I’d probably stick an ‘-ed’ on the end of ‘dread’ there, Marky Mark – oh how fickle the environment is)
The 1st Of 20 Questions: Who Is The Best Magic Player In The World Today, And Why?
Some tried flattery, some tried narcissism, some were honest (therefore dull), but IvantheRussian gave (in my humble opinion, as always) the best answer:
“Probably someone who doesn’t play. With a world population of six and a half billion, there is probably someone out there with the capacity to beat all the Finkels/Mahers/Buddes you can throw at them.”
I just love this sort of ‘chimp-whipping Neanderthal’ theorising. That’s a foiled common for you, sah.
The 2nd Of 20 Questions: If <Your_Answer_To_Qn_1> Was A Buffalo…Etc
EmpSchao took things a little too literally with his/her reply”I didn’t answer buffalo”; Laurence Parsons would go ‘all the way’ (snigger), and Jon Blevins would hit the”Richard’s” kidneys****
However, Daniel Crane takes the proverbial biscuit by answering ‘Tony Boydell‘ to question one and then saying”Since my answer to question one did happen to be a buffalo…” – cheeky young bleeder! Get back to school, you young tyke, before I box your ears! By the way, ‘Grapes’ is a euphamism for haemeroids in the UK, so being ‘God O’Grapes’ has a somewhat anal focus…
(From Mary Van Tyne)
Mary (of Doom)’s favourite card,
Alas, right now it’s hard
Getting the perfect deck
Explaining why it’s tech
So why, they all ask me?
Countering spells for Red
Often hard to see
Never very common. When you
Take three points or more,
Especially against red, which
Swiftly destroys you,
Then you’ll be dead and crispy
The 3rd Of 20 Questions: Measuring From The Other End Of The Buffalo
Jimmy Halfhouse was one of the few to be unintimidated by this question, preferring to start from the hoof, while the aforementioned Monsieur Parsons recognised the danger element immediately (but then he did want to go all the way, didn’t he?).
The 4th Of 20 Questions: If You Were A Magic Card, What Would Your Special Ability Be?
Now this is where I began to touch a nerve… Flanking for ‘flankers’; Protection from control.dec; IvantheRussian thought he was Mystic Snake;”When Mike Mason comes into play, your opponent can’t cheat no more” (sounds like a Motown lyric);”Tap, knock on your library twice: topdeck like Jesus”*****; and”Put a 1/1 flying squirrel token into play” (Mr Blevins)
However, one must award the Qn.4 prize to Mary Van Tyne, who would be”Uncounterable; because you cannot stop the force that is Mary (of Doom [doomity-doom])” – any special ability that has a bass echo steals it for me EVERY TIME.
The 5th And 6th Of 20 Questions: Colour-Oriented Stuff
Pretty ordinary stuff, except from Rizzo**, Mark Wallace (Ovaltine), Mr Parsons (Vermillion),”Frasier” Crane (Fleecy Cerulean), and John Cochrane (Purpure – is this a typo or a pretty obscure shade?)
(from”Jared” or”Pamela Zarrilli” – I’m confused, so don’t ask, okay?) (It’s Jared – The Ferrett)
This little Monger went to battle
This little Serra stayed home
This little Saproling Burst has tokens
This little Blastoderm has none
And all my opponents cried”Wee, wee, wee!” cause I beat them all
The 7th And 8th Of 20 Questions: Best And Worst Plays…
The general problem with these questions (apart from some wilful mis-interpretation of the original questions with answers such as”Oedipus Rex” or”Henry the Fourth, Part II” – you know who you are) is that they’re approaching”sensible” – so I’ve decided to oust them in favour of some deliberately surreal, but funny, words:
Poetical Interlude #4
(from Jimmy Halfhouse)
Jack and Jill went across the hill
To fetch water from the fountain
And just for fun, they tapped for one
And learnt it was a Conversion’d Mountain!
The 9th Of 20 Questions: Tell Me A Joke…
Shame on you all! Apart from Mr Halfhouse’s one-word”Microsoft” submission, all these answers were either a) too rude to reprint, or b) just plain rubbish and wouldn’t stand up to Trading Standard’s scrutiny as ‘jokes’. So I’ll have to tell you all one myself:
Zebra dies and goes to heaven. At the Pearly Gates he says to St Peter:”Could I get to see God sometime, as I’ve got a question for him?” St Peter says:”Run it by me, maybe I can help?” So the Zebra says:”Am I a white horse with black stripes or a black horse with white stripes?” St Peter scratches his head and says”That’s a toughy – I’ll make an appointment with the main man”. So a couple of weeks later, the Zebra is galloping joyously across the Paradisical plains when he gets the call to go and see The Almighty. Nervously he approaches numero uno (Universe-wise) and says:”Oh mighty God. Am I a white horse with black stripes or a black horse with white stripes?”. There is a momentary pause, and then the big man replies (somewhat cryptically):”YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE”. The Zebra trots away none the wiser and St Peter collars him by the all-day buffet:”Well?”, says the Heavenly gatekeeper,”What did he say?”. The Zebra says:”I don’t really know – he said: YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE, but I still don’t know if I’m a white horse with black stripes or a black horse with white stripes?””That’s easy” says St Pete,”you’re a white horse with black stripes…””How’d you figure that?” says the Zebra.”Easy,” says St. P,”if you were a black horse with white stripes, he’d have said: EMAIL TONY FOR THE PUNCHLINE – THE FERRETT, WHO OCCASIONALLY PLAYS GOD.”
Better get a butterfly stitch for those split sides! Moving swiftly along…
The 10th, 11th, and 12th of 20 Questions: Partner-related stuff
Too dull to contemplate. And, no, I wasn’t inviting offers.
(from”Vampet” Israel Lidsky)
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on her tuffet
Dishing out Stompy deaths
When along came a mise-r
Who soon moat-erised her
And blew Miss Muffet away
The 13th Of 20 Questions: I LIKE MAGIC BECAUSE…
“…casting spells and stuff is cool, like” (Jimson HH)
“…it gives me an escape. Something that I don’t have to think about…” (Darren ‘Can’t be very good at Magic if he doesn’t think about it’ Langley)
“…it periodically refreshes itself with new card sets…blah blah blah bleeding obvious stuff yadda yadda” (my additions at the end of Mike Mason WAAAAAAAAAY too sensible response)
“…it’s not overrun by poofters…” (Mr Cochrane, a”marked man,” no doubt)
But the winner is the smart-arse that is EmpSchao:”…I don’t know why YOU like Magic…”
The 17th Of 20 Questions: How Long Has Magic Got Left?
I know I’ve missed out a couple of questions, but I started this article out in good faith and with a whole bunch of enthusiasm – that enthusiasm has waned to the size of STRANGE QUARK, so it’s time to put this particular baby to bed. Everyone thinks Magic will go on for ages – I happen to disagree, but the heat of the afternoon precludes me from any physical conflict over this point (I sweat a lot – maybe Rizzo sweats a lot, which is why he’s permanently naked?)
Oh, and people felt cheated that I didn’t actually have twenty questions.
Travelling across the world
Here and there, far and wide.
Edmond finally found
The one place that he could abide.
After three years of
Being a vagrant outcast,
Edmond had discovered this
New blast from the past.
A lot like his home, with sparkling
Ceilings so bright.
Living at the Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale,
Edmond was perfectly all right.
Although he had to pay an upkeep every
Pleased he still was, and (Tony’s Note: This has turned into Yoda Poetry)
Edmond really couldn’t discern.
Nothing is perfect though, and this
Dormitory was not any different.
relatives had to use lots of ink on the
Envelopes sent to their son so vagrant.
Legendary land or no legendary land,
Letters stopped coming to him.
Very sad was Edmond
And he decided it was time for a new place’s nymn (Tony’s note: Nymn?)
Looking back at the Vale, as he wept boo-hoo.
Edmond went to the place with the shortest name, called Karoo.
Great stuff, Maris, truly great – and this would have won you the Rage by a lap or two had you NOT FORGOTTEN THE ‘R’ LINE IN TABERNACLE! Still, he can always get a Rage or three using his Feature Writer”wages”, so don’t fret too much, dear people.
So who wins the best Invasion rare? Well, it’s Roger Johnson with this peculiar epic:
Got a problem with
Evil things are
Tough for Black to break.
Other colours have no
Hated white can Disenchant ’em.
Red, can waste ’em too.
Eventually, you have no choice.
Xiphos upraised, you send some fool
In to do the job.
Another Thrull to be sacrificed.
(Xiphos is Greek for ‘sword’, apparently)
Well, there you have it. Another article draws to a close – many thanks to everyone who took time out of their lives to put finger-tip to keyboard and send me stuff. Better luck next time to you losers, and congrats to all you winners.
Quick! Hide in the wardrobe! The wife’s just come home!
P.S. – All you winners send me an e-mail with your postal address and a pair of my soiled Y-fronts will soon be yours!
P.P.S. – Are any of you guys coming to GP London in September? I’ll buy you some beer***!
* – With A Guilty Conscience, Though
** – Vulva is not a colour, John, it’s a”texture”
*** – Luke-warm, of course, like it SHOULD be
**** – Beware the man who names his buffalos…
***** – Jesus Christ – winner of PT: Bethlehem