Give It A Sly Look.

Apologies in advance, you’ve already missed the shipping deadline.

In case you hadn’t noticed it’s almost Christmas. With only two days left everyone is going in for that last desperate rush to make this Christmas as perfect as the one before, a job made much easier by the fact that a perfect Christmas is an eternal impossibility. But never mind if you haven’t got the perfect gift for that certain loved one or cherished colleague, because guess who’s here so save Christmas this year and add that extra bit of sinewy oomph to the bottom of the tree? That’s right, Sylvester Stallone. It’s a no-brainer really. Stallone may look and sound like he’s just suffered a life changing stroke but don’t be deceived – he is much more intelligent than many give him credit for (I for one have never written and starred in an Oscar winning movie) so who better to provide us all with some last minute gift options at this time of year? On closer consideration I’m astonished Stallone has never released an official Christmas movie, though I must have faith in the fact there is still time and that the world is easily bizarre enough to stomach one.

Anyway, if you have been caught short in the giving department please allow me to direct your gaze towards the official Sylvester Stallone merchandise website where you can still pick up a treat to sate the appetite of anyone in need of a little extra Xmas punch, whether they like it or not. Of course, this isn’t strictly a Christmas site, indeed it isn’t remotely a Christmas site but then what does it matter, Stallone is the gift of a stallion that keeps on giving and there is the extra thrill of knowing that with every purchase you are topping up his bank account, ready for another round of dubious plastic surgery and steroid shots (that is an unofficial and unauthorised assumption, which is why there is no reference to either on the website). And let’s face it, we all secretly want at least one bit of Sly merchandise in our lives, and he must know that once you start buying this crap it will be almost impossible to stop.

You could start, for instance, by thinking of the kids and popping a John Rambo mugshot t-shirt into the cart (yours for just $29), a reference to a violent, adult audience based film which only children subjected to the worst kind of parenting could expect to have watched by the tender age of 7. But fear not, because this can be outdone with the purchase of a Rambo coloring (sic) book, this time referencing the even more violently inappropriate sequel in which our titular hero casually wipes out half the population of Vietnam whilst coated in a thick sheen of vegetable oil and fake tan. Such is the complete absence of any shame whatsoever this coloring (sic) book cover features Stallone in a shot from the film, topless and doe-eyed menacing, every muscle bulging, every vein thick and twitching in the manner of a silverback’s erection. You would have to be a very disturbed individual to think of purchasing this for a ‘kid’, but we’re talking about the fan base of a man who made the postmodern classic: ‘Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot’, so it almost kind of makes sense.

It is fortunate that Sylvester Stallone’s marketing team recognise that his fanbase is predominantly made up of men over the age of forty with big imaginations and tiny genitals, and so most of the rest of the clothing is clearly aimed at this demographic (in fairness the site does rather thinly attempt to corner the female market too, but fails at the first step, as if almost to concede that there are only so many women who aren’t hysterically Republican bodybuilders that would find Stallone’s particular brand of ego driven, rampant, bloodthirsty alpha male hijinks in the least bit attractive). Would-be tough guys can buy all manner of vests and t-shirts and hoodies, most pandering to their deluded fantasy that in another life and with completely more favourable circumstances they could be big enough to give Rocky and Rambo a run for their money; not to mention Lt “Cobra” Cobretti, Lt Raymond Tango and, of course, Lincoln “Link” Hawk from the eminently forgettable, arm wrestling botched abortion of a film: ‘Over The Top’. With these garments on full show men will feel compelled to run up steps whilst dramatically howling the name “Adrian” to nobody in particular, or seriously discuss whether there is any chance they might one day find the last American POW still alive in south-east Asia. Such dreams may sound ludicrous to the mentally fit and yet, rather brilliantly, the Sly Stallone merchandising juggernaut has one final ace to play.

When it come to shopping at this level it is the world of replica props that begs the greatest financial investment for the least intellectually invested. Only here can you buy a replica Rocky fedora that looks enough like a five quid pork pie hat that it will do little more than give passers by the impression you are the member of a deeply substandard Madness tribute act (which is quite an achievement given that the actual Madness are substantially substandard in the first place). Only here can you find a wide range of gaudy replica Rocky Balboa boxing shorts and robes to wear during a fantasy boxing match with yourself in the living room and, should you come out victorious, you can be rewarded with $350 worth of Rocky Balboa World Heavyweight Championship belt; money you wager very well spent until your wife opens her presents only to find a pair of Marigolds and some hastily crafted ‘Rocky Balboa love tokens’. And only here can you purchase a full scale replica of the “Heartstopper” – 15 inches of terrifying man-blade from the opulently, insanely savage late career ejaculation of blood-shedding that is ‘Rambo: Last Blood’. This is thoughtfully advertised as being the only Last Blood knife endorsed by Sylvester Stallone himself, which must be a source of endless comfort to any idiot prepared to let go of $195 for their own foot and a bit of chest splitting cock extension. And what is more it is designed by Sly too. Who else would bother with such details? You see, when it comes to Christmas gifts this year you need to look for something that has care and consideration written all over, preferably in blood. Thank you then, Sylvester, for a splash of light in the dark of 2022.

G B H. 23.12.2022

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