The Challenge II – Crackers, Tobogganing and Street Art

It’s 11.30am and our three victims are up bright and early (for students), ready to face their fate. Squeamish photographer Williams refuses to conduct ‘the milk-drinking challenge’ (whereby the lads try to drink three pints of cow juice, suffer lactose overdose and vomit everywhere) on the grounds of ‘taste’. Consequently the much tamer option of cracker eating is taken up.

All the lads are oozing confidence. Being tax-dodging work-shy students, these kinds of games come easy to them. In fact, I’m sure some sort of pub game proficiency is now a prerequisite for University of Plymouth entry, especially for the Surf Science course. Apparently, course leader Dr Findlay is a cracker-eating champ…but then he is a jock. He’d chew up a Jacobite in an instant. (History students may chortle here. The rest, forget it and move on.)


Eastwood — from here on known as Zoolander or ‘Z’ for short — is talking the talk big time, and giving everyone his Uncle Clint’s Fistful of Dollars stare. Matt follows suit, but picks the wrong Clint film and looks as scary as Clyde the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose.
Onto the duel. It soon becomes apparent that Zoolander is the Audley Harrison of cracker eating. When it comes to the crunch he stuffs in as many crackers as possible as fast as possible, but ends up spitting half of them on the floor. Z, mate, you can’t cheat the umpire when you’re stood in a pile of cracker crumbs! He claims 20. He’s given 10 and a yellow card, and made to sweep up the mess. Guernsey lad Le Maitre sets the level for the rest of his Challenge performance (piss poor) by only managing a paltry 12! He can’t understand why anyone would want to eat a cracker without a nice dollop of Beluga. Boletta takes victory with an honest 15.

Round One
1. Christian — 15 crackers
2. Matt — 12
3. Scott — 10

Street luge. Can you imagine it? Three surfers whizzing down the steepest street in Plymouth dodging the traffic on skateboards! YES! Unfortunately our lawyers said that we couldn’t afford to take responsibility for the cream of Channel Island surfing getting run over by a ten-tonner. (We’ll save that for the Croyde crew.) Thus we’re off to the Plymouth Dry Ski Slope toboggan run, a mini version of the Cresta Run made out of old sewer pipes.Within minutes Zoolander is trying to charm the attendant into giving him speed tips in a chummy ‘metrosexual’ kind of way. Apparently he has previous experience, having taken disadvantaged kids round the park. This ploy is quite obviously a crock of shite used to further increase his attractiveness to women, and soon he’s even trying it on blonde curly-headed lensman Alex to gain favour! Luckily we’re all staunchly hetero here at CARVE and thus Alex is oblivious. However, the attendant’s obviously been polishing someone’s, er, equipment and Z comes home first, beating Christian by two seconds. Obviously Matt’s last. Can’t fight fate lad.

Round Two
1. Scott — 34 seconds
2. Christian — 36
3. Matt — 37

This round of The Challenge entails the boys grabbing a pack of coloured chalk each and drawing a nice pretty picture on the pavement. The plan is to do this in Plymouth city centre, a hotbed of rock-hard yobs, ram raiders, druggies and cider-soaked street beggars. Hopefully one, or preferably all these social groups will take offence at a trio of surfer / student types strutting about on ‘their patch’, and this’ll kick off a proper surfers vs street scum ruck. After all, no-one likes an arty-farty street artiste getting in the way and messing up the pavement, do they? Joy!However, we haven’t planned on one of our surfers having a right supermodel-type strop at this point. Z claims to know people in Plymouth (probably model agency types and very camp barmen), and thus refuses to perform in Plymouth city centre. So it’s off to the well-known metropolis of Plymstock, second only to Milton Keynes in the league table of the UK’s blandest towns. Still, it’s 3.30 and school’s out so hopefully the boys will get accosted by a few gangs of mouthy teenagers.

Within seconds of setting up, a gaggle of jailbait is drawn into Z’s airborn pheromone stream as if hypnotised by David Blaine. Luckily, being streetwise 14-year-olds, their instinct to gob off without provocation is still way more advanced than their instinct to cop off, and thus they launch into a tirade of abuse of Z’s art: ”Wot? It’s a wave, is it? Bovvered! Am I? Do I look it? Yeah, whatever. McDonald’s worker…”

Visibly shocked at his loss of attractiveness, Z is momentarily rendered speechless. Boletta, meanwhile, cashes in on the popularity of his scribble and unexpectedly raises £2.20. The girls grab the chalk, eager to impress the street Picasso, and begin scrawling GCSE Art-style drawings all over the pavement, while trampling poor Matt’s‘masterpiece’ (which has deservedly gone unnoticed). Ten minutes later, the girls still refuse to give the chalk back. The Challenge is abandoned before they break out the B&H lung-bleeders and White Lightning, in which case the hormones would definitely kick in and Z would be a dead man.

Round Three
1. Christian £2.20
2. Scott £0.40
3. Matt £0.00

And thus the second Challenge draws to a close. And what an event it was! Z’s temporary loss of handsomeness has been a shock to us all. To make matters worse, our judges report that he also totally refused to take off either his sunnies or his hat for the entire Challenge, and is thus disqualified. For therapy he’s booked straight into a Plymouth nightclub to regain his self-esteem. Boletta does okay, but he’s off to Bali the next day, and is thus demoted to second in a pique of jealousy by the judges. Which leaves only Matt. Matt is living the Homer Simpson dream. He would have lost every challenge if Z hadn’t been disqualified in the cracker eating, but we kinda like that. The boy’s got game. Sure, it’s a bit like Birmingham City’s, but for today at least, he’s king.