These days it seems like every dime-a-dozen Hollywood actor can perform back-flipping, gravity-defying, arse-kicking martial arts miracles on celluloid. Once upon a time, it was only the like of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Samo Hung and Jet Lee who had the training and the discipline to master these athletic
feats of physical excellence. Lately, though, even willowy "last time I had a square meal it was from my mother's nipple" actresses like Cameron Diaz are pulling off barely-believable high kicking moves on film. Their secret? Clever editing (of course) and judicious use of the wire rig. Ironically, given that movies have recently been given far more scope by advances in CG technology, fight scenes in Hollywood have been greatly enhanced by paying lots of wiry, well-trained and hard as nails Chinese guys to tug on wires. All the black-belt CG guys have to do is then erase the wires.
But anyway: I'm thinking - given how ubiquitous these wire-fu scenes are becoming, it won't be long before they start to impinge into everyday life. Enter the Portable Personal Wire Rig. Not as catchy as some of Bruce Lee's movie titles, but there you go. I'm more "Drag on" than "Dragon".
Basically, it's a big trolley on castors. Made out of perspex. With yourself in the middle, wearing an uncomfortable harness (full length leather jacket and shades are optional). Four perspex legs on wheels - each staffed by a martial-arts trained Chinese guy holding onto a wire - and linked at the top by a very strong rectangular frame which binds the whole thing together. By some nightmare of engineering, the perspex frame is also telescopic, which unrealistically ensures that the width, length and height of the frame can be altered by tiny motors at each corner of the frame, extending or retracting the bars as necessary, ensuring that you can get yourself into a "tight spot" with the minimum of fuss.
Useful in pub fights and such - you might be able to pull off that bicycle kick you've never managed before: alternatively, just get your well-paid chinese martial arts masters to hoist you up out of the way of any mischief, and let them deal with it. Still, I'm thinking this would be better suited to grabbing a jar of jam from the top shelf in my local supermarket. In an imposible backflip kind of way.
"Where's the toilet roll?"
"Aisle 5. Halfway up."
Suddenly everything seems to go in slow motion as I leap backward down the aisle, olympic-gymnast style - I get halfway-down, just past the dogfood, then handstand-cartwheel across three lanes. I land with a thump, palm on floor and legs spread out dynamically in some made-up kung-fu stance.
"Extra quilted. Super absorbent." Glance towards tills. "That'll do."
Grab bogroll. Leap sideways from floor, twisting vertically through the air as I take my place in the "10 items or less" queue.
"Does Sir have a loyalty card?"
Four sweaty, overworked Chinese men suddenly all groan in unison.