Issue 25
Volume 7 Number 1
January 2002

In This Issue

 •  Contents
 •  Cover Illustration
 •  Editorial
 •  Five Go Mad In Mordor
 •  Recapturing My Flaming Youth
 •  Decking The Halls With Thorazine
 •  Lokta Plokta
 •  Does Your Gut Wobble When I Do This?

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[Plokta Online]

Five Go Mad In Mordor

GOOD evening and welcome to Film 2002. Tonight we have with us the famous faannish film director Rob Jackson and we'll be showing some clips from the smash hit new movie, Fellowship of the Thing. Now, the movie starts when in this first scene, Ploktalf the wizard bursts into Sushi the hobbit's hole...

The scene, a comfortable 15th floor hole in Hobbit City, Nevada. Sushi the hobbit is tucking into her fourth breakfast when there is a "rap, rap" at the door.

"Who can it be at this hour? Perhaps it's another web-based meal delivery dot com? But I thought they'd all gone bust?"

Ploktalf the Grubby, a wizard of ill-repute, bursts through the door in a puff of CGI effects, smoke rings and dubious merchandising opportunities.

"Ploktalf! If you are here it can mean only one thing!"

"Yes, Sushi! We are about to appear in yet another dodgy and completely unauthorised Lord of the Rings pastiche."

"Is that really necessary? There must have been hundreds of previous pieces of bad faan fiction!"

"Ah, but now we have a huge budget, an Antipodean location, and lashings of CGI. You must leave the Shire immediately, and head east. Tell no-one your true purpose. The enemy knows that Sushi Mason is the TAFF Administrator. If anyone asks, you are Ms Overthehill. Go now. Take no-one, apart from these other three hobbits... Jophan, Mariannedoc and Georgewise."

"What! You're lumbering me with two babies and the cat?"

"I fear it is entirely necessary for the plot. I will meet you in Brie, at the sign of the Spatchcocked Quail."

"But what about Shag End? If I leave now, those grasping fishlifters, Claire and Mark Noshaggins, will inherit it!"


The scene fades into a swift montage of hobbits eating, leaving the Shire, eating, screaming at each other, eating, walking over the fields, eating, cruising the Internet looking for hobbit porn and eating. Suddenly, Tom Bombadil comes dancing along with a hey nonny no. He thwacks his codswallop cheerfully and takes a hit from his hash pipe.

"What are you doing here?" asks Sushi.

"Hey doddly diddly do."

"You've been written out of this adaptation, you know."


With a strange swirl he disappears into the dustbin of the director's imagination and is never seen again except in low-budget sci-fi B-movies and video-only skinflicks. The camera zooms over the heads of the squabbling hobbits and focuses on a sign reading "Brie! Population 17 and five ½s." Sushi gives a deep sigh of relief and the hobbits head for the rustic inn. Sushi grabs a beer and pours an entire pint of <product placement> Coke </product placement> down Mariannedoc's throat rendering her indescribably hyper. Suddenly, Marianne is grabbed by a mysterious stranger.

"I think you need my help. Here, let me wipe up that loathsome pool of drool. Oh, sorry Jophan."

"But how do we know we can trust you? My Daddy told me never to talk to strange men. Hang on! Aren't you my D..."

The stranger turns to Sushi, dropping assorted plot devices and bicycle clips out of his mysterious hooded cloak.

"Some call me... Sprogwrangler"

Strange things happen that night in the pub and the next morning, having been barred for life, Sushi and Sprogwrangler lead their little party onto the common in search of elves.

"Coooeee! Are there any elves around here? Sushi's got something to show you!"

"Look! There on the hill! Is that an elf?"

"No, you fool! It's the dread TAFFWraith!"

"What, the 2002 TAFFWraith? I didn't think anyone was running."

"No!! The Pikazgûl! We must run!"

"I'm not allowed to run, I ran last time!"

"Just get a move on before they catch us! Quick, they can't cross running water, all we have to do is get over the Easterbrook and we'll be safe!"

Cut to the party of hobbits accompanied by the mysterious Sprogwrangler entering the magical Elvish technology park of Swindondell. They are met by a tall, slim, ageless elf with a full head of long flowing hair.

"Ah, Master Eadlong! I'm very impressed with the effects of your low-carb diet."

"Thank you. Of course the CGI helps as well."

All the party, by now including Ploktalf the Grotty who has reappeared through an unexplained continuity error, attend the council of Eadlong. Sushi is horror-struck by the ageless elf's crude and explicit suggestion.

"Have we no alternative?"

"No, I'm afraid not. I have made my researches. Although it appears to be a force for good, in fact it is wholly evil. Anyone who comes into contact with it will eventually be corrupted. Previously friendly folks turn to war when they are affected by its baleful influence. There's only one thing for it."

"You mean..."

"Yes. TAFF Must Be Destroyed."

"But I am the Administrator, I am sworn to its safekeeping."

Ploktalf adds his weighty arguments to the elf's, along with a couple of thumbscrews, a red-hot poker and a blank cheque drawn on the Bank of Bywater. At last this convinces the recalcitrant hobbit.

"There is only one thing for it. You must throw it into the Cracks of Doom. I'll come with you... it's not that I don't trust you, I just want to make sure you write your trip report. And of course Sprogwrangler must go to look after the hobbits. We'll need a leggy elf to give Sushi some sex interest, then there's Sir Busty Borrowmore the Bloody-minded (because otherwise she'll scream and scream until she's sick) and I guess for reasons of racial equality and disharmony you should also take the Dwarf, Grumpi son of Hmmph."

"Hmmph," (said Steve).

"What are we up to? Nine? That's my lucky number! Off you go and remember, whatever you do..."


"Don't come back."

Virtual calendar pages peel off and blow away as the fellowship meet with previous administrator Bilbo Kincaid Speller, enervated and half-transparent from her years in thrall to the Dark Lord's fan fund, hurriedly leave Swindondell in case it's catching and finally agree to head south for the lack of anything else better to do. Eventually, they end up sitting under a rock, next to a lake lost somewhere in the Misty Mountains (except in the German translation where they have to be Foggy Mountains for scatological reasons).

"We're lost! Lost! I'll never see my cosy hole again! I don't believe any of you know where we are!"

"Well, it wasn't helped by you turning left instead of right in the middle of Mirkwood."

"How was I to know it was the other left? I'm going to sulk!"

"Sshh! We should be somewhere in the vicinity of the fabled gate to the dwarven caverns of Moria, but we're near a lake in the Misty Mountains and you know what you get in these lakes?"

"What do you get in them?"

"Giant Third Age mutant ninja squid. It's well known that they live in these lakes where they survive on a diet of hobbits, ponies and passing wargs."

"Nonsense! You're just trying to scare us. Whoever heard of such crap! How are we going to get into these wretched mines when we find them, anyway?"

In the background, a key grip pretending to be a rock dumps more dry ice than you've seen in your life into the lake. Mist rolls in towards the party. A tweedy English librarian type wearing glasses approaches the lake but is jumped upon by squads of studio security and is dragged away never to be seen again.

"Well, if this were the entrance to Moria, and of course you realise it isn't really, then all I'd have to do is hit this rock with my staff and say 'xyzzy!' "

There is a twang of special effects and a Microsoft Windows logo appears on the rock followed by mystic elven writing. It reads "Speak Mellon and enter historic Moria, home of the svartalfar and secret passageway through the Misty Mountains." Ploktalf at least has the grace to look embarrassed.

"Right, now all we have to do is work out the mystic password, open the door and get inside. Then of course we have to defeat the usurper Lord Blackthorn, restore order to Britannia and find the brass lantern inside the white house without being eaten by grues. Now, it's just a guess, but maybe we have to say 'Mellon!' "


"Okay, how about 'mellon', or maybe 'MELLON', or even 'Me110n?' What about in Elvish, Mellon?

Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing!

George the cat in a cloak"I don't want to worry you, Ploktalf, but I can see strange pixellated CGI effects rising from the surface of the lake! It looks to me like that kraken is waking up just in time for the advertising break!"

"Haha! I've got it! It was almost too easy! 'Password!'"

The boulder glows for a second and gradually fades out revealing a tunnel into the cliff. A voice echoes out...

"Your password is 527 years old and has expired. Please change your password now."


"This password has been used before. Please select a different password."

"Help! The kraken's attacking us! It's eating the ponies! Help! Help! Help!"

"Password acceptable. Now loading level 2, the Mines of Moria."

Dramatic music rings out as the party scuttles into the tunnel. The camera watches the Fellowship pass and disappear into the dark of the tunnels. Night descends. In the distance, there is a faint echo from the uttermost depths of Moria like faraway thunder or the sound of countless polyhedral dice being rolled.

"Now then children, be very quiet, don't touch, don't pick up anything without asking a grown-up and don't feed the balrog."

"Mummy, I'm huuuungry!!" wails Mariannedoc.

"And thiiiirsty!!" adds Jophan.

"Who are these children, and why do they keep calling me Mummy?" asks Busty Borrowmore.


"Hush now kiddies or I'll leave you down here for the orcs and to hell with the plot."

"Look, there's a well. I wonder how far down it goes? Let's drop something down. Like George?"


With a howl, a huge and horribly ferocious balrog emerges from the well holding George in one hand, hissing and spitting.

"Did someone drop a cat? Why Ploktalf, my old friend, how's the plan for world domination coming along? Just remember, any time you need a head of security, you've got my card."

"Umm. Errr. I mean.... Oh foul and unspeakable spawn of evil, begone!"

With a single bound, Ploktalf leaps upon the balrog, exhibiting a dazzling range of screen fighting skills that would have done credit to the cast of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. They battle back and forth, up and down walls, over bottomless chasms and past a massive three-headed dog guarding a stoned philosopher.

"And a 3, and 7 and we break through the door, then when I shout 'now' we both jump off the bridge. OK?"

"Whatever you say Plokt, old boy."


With a great cry, Ploktalf and the balrog topple into the bottomless pit. Thank goodness we're rid of them. Let's hope he doesn't come back as Ploktalf the #FFFFFF in the sequel. Meanwhile, the rest of the fellowship dash across the bridge, press the fire button on their mouse in just the right sequence and... It's the secret level of Lothlorien!

"Yes! We're safe! Well, temporarily anyway."

"And we've got rid of Ploktalf so we can touch anything we want!"

"If you touch that, we're going to lose our PG rating! Keep your filthy little hobbit hands to yourself!"

The party wander down to Lothlorien, bickering all the time. Suddenly, there is a shimmer of light and there appears the famed Swedish stunna, tall blonde sorceress without portfolio, Ulrika of Melniboné.

"Welcome to Lothangeles, travellers! Here I have gifts for..."

We cut to the banks of the Great River several weeks later. Sushi is whinging.

"It's no use. I can't go on. I've got a nasty feeling that there are five hundred orcs hiding behind every bush. And Borrowmore the Bloody-Minded has spent the past two hundred miles muttering about how she would make a much better TAFF Administrator, if I should just happen to accidentally stab myself in the back.

"There must be some other way to destroy TAFF."

Tobes, lost king of the Valois, and Sir Chris of Shea arrive, clacking four coconut shells together.

"Found you at last. We've been looking everywhere for the TAFF Administrator. We're both going to run for TAFF!"

The Fellowship look at each other.

"OK, that should do the trick..."

They go home and all live happily ever after, except for Busty Borrowmore, who was hoping for a noble and tragic death scene, and spends the next two decades sulking. No one notices any difference.

The one ring

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