Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A little challenge

So - it's been a while. Almost two months since my last post, and several months since I posted anything like regularly. I apologise. After a couple of years of blogging semi-regularly without trouble, I was struck down with momentous ennui. A state from which I wish to emerge.

The cure, I hope, will be a gimmick. A forced march back into the fetid marshlands of bloggery, with all the unnecessarily florid prose which that entails. The rules of this effort are as follows:

> At least one post per day. No limit on the maximum number of posts.
> No link posts. The post can centre around a link, but must contain original analysis, opinion or commentary.
> Posts should be at least a short paragraph or so in length. No one's going to be counting words, but try to keep it from looking like Twitter.
> Posts should be readable. If we're only requiring a few sentences a day, then getting most of the grammar and spelling right shouldn't be too hard.
> In the event that a day will be missed (due to holiday, absence from internet, etc) the post can be written ahead of time and assigned as "for" a date in the future, or a suitable substitute poster may be nominated.
> Rules are subject to change
> First person to miss a day is a big smelly loser.

Any and all are welcome to participate alongside Bambi and myself - simply start posting on the 1st of October, and don't stop...

N.B. Feel free to request rule changes as we go - it's all pretty fluid. Scoring systems may be implemented too...

Monday, 28 September 2009

The arrogance of Piers Morgan


choice quotes:

"As Muhammad Ali said, it’s hard to be humble when you are as great as I am,”

"I think it’s time the talent fall back and go, ‘hang on a second, without us, you don’t have networks'."

"I am looking to at least double it (his salary of £2m). I’ve got no problem if they take it away from somebody else who feels guilty about this type of thing, because I have absolutely no guilt issues about my salary whatsoever. I think I’m worth every penny."

Anyway, that's what's been annoying / amazing me this morning.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Badverts 2

A second installment of the TV ads that have got on the wrong side of me recently for one reason or another.

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Squares

Not a bad advert in many ways. A simple idea - puffed rice community lives on chocolate volcano - executed well enough with CGI krispies and volcano, obviously aimed at the kiddies to make them pester mum and dad whilst doing the weekly slog round Tesco. What I take issue with here is the accent of the narrator. He's supposed to be from the Caribbean or somewhere in that region. That's what I just about get from the way he mangles the opening sentence anyway. But after that ignorant piece of rice plucks a seemingly innocent flower from the cocoa crater he calls home, the narrator seriously loses the plot. Where the hell is that accent meant to be from? Somerset, perhaps? Maybe Wales? Or somewhere that doesn't actually exist? I'm going to go with box number three please, Noel. I mean if they wanted a Caribbean accent, instead of hiring someone who really really can't do one, why didn't they just go for the much easier and obvious option of, oh, I don't know, hiring a voiceover guy who comes from the Caribbean? But they didn't, and so we get this embarrassing, chewed up, offensive-to-your-ears-whether-you're-from-the-Caribbean-or-Crewe monstrosity of an impersonation. I'm guessing I'm not the only one of this opinion, as the advert has since been changed and now runs with a different voiceover who's supposed to sound like David Attenborough on a nature programme. He doesn't. It's still shit. Not quite as bad, nor as offensive, but still shit.


An advert that lies (for me, at least) on that fine line between a campaign that's quite brilliant and one that's just plain wrong. But in so many ways it lands firmly in Wrongville. The advert has almost nothing to do with the product, reducing the snack being advertised to little more than a prop in the story it's telling. This is not a problem in itself, as any self-respecting drum-playing gorilla will tell you. But that means the company, having shunned the more traditional "buy our product because it's great" route, now has no choice but to promote the values associated with their product to make people want to buy it as it fits in with "who they are" and "what they're all about". And what values does Mikado have, according to the advert? Well, that it's "a bit cheeky". A young woman working in an office accidentally sets off the photocopier whilst kneeling on it trying to reach a Mikado stick. Oooh, cheeky.

But it's not. It's really, really not. This isn't Barbara Windsor giggling whilst clasping her boobies in a Carry On film. It's not even a rebellious teenager pulling his already-halfway-to-his-ankles trousers down and xeroxing his clammy posterior. The woman in the advert is wearing a short skirt and straddling the copier, meaning that she's either making copies of her knickers or her, ahem, "front bottom". See why it's not so cheeky any more? But it doesn't stop there. The male co-worker who had previously exited the copying room now re-enters, and is clearly somewehat surprised by what he sees Little Miss Knickers doing. At this point, the makers of the advert make sure that their advert cannot be rescued in any way, shape or form by slapping on the most inappropriate slogan for the scene which we are now gazing upon: "More than a little bit tempting". Fair enough with regards to the woman wanting a Mikado stick, but genuinely alarming when considering its alternative focus. Apparently the values that Mikado stands for are centred around office rape. If that's who you are and what you're all about, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Diet Coke

This one doesn't really need a huge amount of analysis. Annoying vacuous chart pop music. Annoying slogan that's trying to be oh so hip. So, a good start then. We then get a montage of women being, to put it bluntly, twats. Ruining wedding photos, trying to starting fights in bars, pissing around during a coworker's office presentation. And thinking they're hilarious whilst doing it. I could go on and on about how vomit-inducingly irritating all the women in this advert are, but that would be to waste far too much energy on them. Essentially, Coca Cola are saying if you're a woman and you drink Diet Coke, you'll become a complete dickhead. Great ad, guys.


So, I'm at the cinema, awaiting the start of whichever film I've chosen to see. The advert starts, and this one comes on. I've not seen it before. So I begin taking it in. As it unfolds before me, I start to consider what it could be for. A new drama series, maybe? Perhaps a charity? I keep watching, still unable to put my finger on it. The advert continues. The kids are walking on a beach, there are homeless people living on the beach - could be about conservation at a fair stretch? Then the kids start doing the whole "throwing stones at the sky to break up the clouds" bollocks. At this point I've given up trying to work out what the hell this advert is for, because I've run out of things that could possibly fit with the colossal amount of pretentious wank that is being played out before me. This advert pretty much ticks all the boxes for being everything I hate. Child actors being annoying - yep, there they are; token foreign-looking kid in a half-arsed, last-minute attempt at diversity and political-correctness - most certainly; lashings of oversentimentality - oh yes sir, plenty of that. And still, I'm none the wiser as to what is being advertised to me.

As the children dance in the sunlight, which they have apparently never experienced before, playing whimsically with a damaged umbrella without a care for the used nappies and hypodermic needles that have likely come into contact with it, Patrick Stewart puts me out of my desperation and reveals that this heartstring-tugging tale is in fact an advert for ITV1. My jaw drops. ITV1? The "brighter side"? Really?! So, the channel that brings us The X-Factor, Tonight (which might as well be named The Daily Mail: TV Edition) and The Jeremy Kyle Show, turning on this channel is like, and I quote, "being able to make the sun shine whenever you want"? This advertising campaign is so ill-judged and egotistical, it's laughable. I can't think of many things that deserve such overwhelming and histrionic praise, let alone self-praise. But ITV1 is somewhere near the bottom of the list. I could go on and on about the things that this advert does wrong, but I'd be here for a long, long time.

That wraps it up for this second entry. Chances for a third installment? Well, that all depends on whether companies and advertising agencies continue to make terrible adverts. So, quite likely then. As always, if there are any ads that have caught your attention and/or got your goat recently, please let me know.

Friday, 18 September 2009

In the dollhouse

Last week, I watched Dollhouse. (Don't read too far down, spoilers there be) WHICH HAS TOTALLY EATEN MY BRAIN. Normally I daydream about sex, or my unfulfilled career as a stunt double/stand-up comic.

But at the moment, I'm daydreaming about Dollhouse and wanting the next series now. One night, I actually fell asleep thinking about it and woke up still thinking about it. The received wisdom seems to be that the first episodes weren't that good, but I actually enjoyed them and found everything compelling. Admittedly, things do pick up dramatically at episode 6, but to me it felt like a natural build up.

I don't really feel the need to empathise with the central character, who has her personality re-formatted at the end of each episode, because there are a lot of interesting side-acts to keep me hooked. It may be because it's such a welcome distraction from the rest of my life that I've found this show so compulsive, but I got through all 13 episodes in less than a week and I'm currently doing the re-watch with commentaries thing and working my way through most of the special features. I'm not sure what I'll do when I get to the end. Meep.

When I was younger, I quite liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I recently managed to get round to watching seasons 6 and 7. They were diverting, at times entertaining. Watching them needed doing, I needed to finish the saga. But they were as morphine to the heroin that is Dollhouse. Or Firefly. Maybe I've matured (fingers crossed), maybe Joss Whedon has matured. Maybe Firefly and Dollhouse are just more to my taste. Maybe they haven't been going long enough to get crap (Firefly certainly hasn't). But I think they are both streets ahead of Buffy. And Dollhouse is getting a second series. Woo!

To anyone interested in Whedon's work, I would definitely recommend you check this out. I didn't really have any preconceptions about it and just loved it.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

best advert ever

well may be not, but I found it vaguely amusing

Upon clicking Yes it takes you to a Green Card Lottery site, which seems odd seeing that I just said Yes to wanting to miss my chance to live and work in america. But then I guess I'd still miss my chance even if I did sign up for the lottery and I'd probably lose some money too and possibly dignity and maybe a limb. So I guess they're just being honest