Archive for September, 2008

Who will buy?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Anyone who has ever lived with me, been round to my place, or indeed had me in their house, while watching TV will know that I have a tendency to hit the mute button during the advert breaks. In fact, tendency is perhaps not a strong enough word. A compulsion, an obsession, a sine qua non if you will.

I just can’t help it. Come the quarter hour and the remote will magically appear in my hand, finger poised to silence the dire warnings of the lack of car insurance, lady products, or appropriate dog food in our sorry little lives. For me though, as I can’t drive, am not and do not possess a lady, and don’t enjoy the taste of dog food, these are unnecessary interludes.

I fear that moaning about specific ads may become a semi-regular feature on here, as they really do make me want to curl up and buy (nothing, ever again), but here are some of the adverts that have caught my eye recently…

Stella Artois: They’ve finally dropped the “Reassuringly Expensive” thing, as that only works if it actually costs more than any other beer. Which it doesn’t. It’s also not very nice. And makes you want to beat up women (allegedly) hence why it is know as “wifebeater”. Allegedly.

Their new advert features all sorts of exciting medieval/fantasy style computer graphics and people in costumes, and even has a voice over by Patrick Stewart himself, telling us that Stella is from ye olde days and is made with only the traditional ingredients of water, hops, and er… the other ones.  He even promises the excitement of some sort of online game thing. So basically, all the things that would normally draw me in. But it’s Stella. Even if Patrick Stewart came round to my house to read The Lord of the Rings to me, recreated my favourite scenes from I, Claudius, and said “Make it so” when I offered him a cup of tea, I still wouldn’t drink Stella.

Well. okay, maybe if he did all of those things. But it would have to be all three…

Hovis: This features a wee boy with something of the Oliver about him buying a loaf of ye olde breade from ye olde shoppe. But, shock horror, when he walks outside it seems to be slightly less olde. There’s a horse and cart in the street, but when he goes round the corner there’s suddenly motorcar. And then there are some World War I soldiers obviously heading off to war. And then returning (although they have too many limbs if you ask me…)

Yon boy (whose clothes have changed somewhat) turns a corner to find some ruined buildings - yes, you’ve guessed it, he’s now reached World War II. This is followed by a street party and some giggling girls (the 60s?) and then, rather strangely, he wanders between a large group of policemen facing off against a group of strikers. Is that really the best way to depict the 70s? Well, I guess it’s better than him bumping into Slade…

He eventually gets home and is all modern n’ stuff. Great. The point of the advert is that Hovis still make bread the way they used to. Which is blatantly not true. First of all, it’s hard to imagine that it’s baked by hand, otherwise half the country would have to be employed in the process. Even more so, the machines they use now are no doubt faaar more efficient and hygienic than even 20 years ago. Which is a good thing for all concerned as it keeps prices lower.

But the main thing this advert says to me is “British life in the 20th Century was just completely awful and depressing”. If these were our defining moments then I hope we manage something a bit better this century.

The thing is, it’s actually all rather impressive as an advert, and probably is quite affective and effectual for most people. I’m just ye miserable olde cynic.

To learn about the worst of them all, read this here article, which is far more eloquent than I could ever manage. What really gets me is that it’s a pretty good service that shouldn’t be too hard to advertise with just the basic facts. But these are overshadowed by the Hucknell Horror.

However, an extra note on this would be that they have followed Ginger Mick up with… Mel B. It’s got all the same problems as the previous, including a last line spoken by the bearded one himself of “Well, I spiced up her life”. Really? Is that really what you wanted to say? Really? I would have gone with something like “At least all that TV should keep her mind off having Eddie Murphy’s baby.” I’d buy that for a dollar…

It’s not the end of the world as we know it (and I still feel like crap…)

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I guess I have to throw in my 2 (euro) cents about this whole CERN LHC thingy (if you know not of what I speak click here. And buy a newspaper/radio/TV).

Well, the world didn’t end, which was nice. Of course, the pedants among you will know that actually today was just the machine being turned on - the potentially universe-eating moment comes when they get 2 particles to crash into each other and, like, this whole mess of crap comes out (to quote Friends, of all things).

But it was nice to hear on the Radio 2 news this morning that the world was probably not going to end today (this is perhaps something that should be said more often).

The 1 minute story basically ran with the facts:

1. World’s largest science experiment starting today

2. To uncover the secrets of the Universe

3. Took years to build

4. Cost lots of money

They really should have stopped there quite frankly. But they added:

5. Might kill us all

6. Probably won’t

Unless you had already heard about the extreeeemely small potential for black holes they really shouldn’t have mentioned it. There’s nothing like being told that everything will almost certainly be okay to scare the bejesus out of people. They even had an expert to reassure us that the experiments would not destroy the Earth, as more volatile particles hit the planet every day. Who was this expert? Well, apparently it was Stephen Hawking, but quite frankly it could have just been Terry Wogan with a voicebox.

(okay, that was a cheap shot and I’m sorry)

However, I was wondering though if anyone took the whole thing to heart and started preparing for The End. You know the sort of thing - telling people they shouldn’t that they love them; committing crimes for a laugh; selling all their stuff and spending the money on that Amazing Spiderman issue 1 they always wanted, and then burning it.

For the record: I have always loved you, I would never do anything illegal, and I have nothing worth selling.

So if any of you did anything like this (or even considered it) why not leave me a comment below so we can all laugh at you. Hey, what does it matter if we do - the world might end tomorrow…

…and we’re back

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Right, time to get back into this blogging malarkey. I need to learn how to write shorter, but more regular posts. Apart from this one probably…

To give you an update on what’s been happening with me recently, I’ve been promoted (although of course I won’t be telling you what I’ve been promoted to), I’ve been doing some dating (more on that later, maybe…), and I’ve been eating slightly too much, drinking plenty of fluids, and generally having fun.

Three things that have made my life just that wee bit better recently:

Home Cinema: My flatmate has been borrowing a video projector from his work at the weekends allowing us to watch films on a screen roughly the size of your house. It’s great, and some films really do benefit from this. Those watched so far include The Empire Strikes Back, Hellboy, and er, Knocked Up (which probably didn’t gain much). Of course, as we are watching these through a computer we can also have giant Internet - this means big screen BBC iPlayer, 4OD, or Demand Five, plus an shows on DVD. So I have also been watching giant Family Guy, huge Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the ultimately experience that is Neighbours on a cinema-sized screen. Only in my dreams have I imagined such a thing…

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue: One of my friends lent me a whole bunch of episodes of I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue on CD which I have been enjoying on my way home from work. Walking through the park while listening to the best punning in the world ever is a great way to recover from a hard day at the office. Although people give me strange looks when I burst out laughing for no obvious reason…

The Wii: My flatmate also has a Wii, which I’ve been playing a little too much. I’ve manage a bowling best of 236 and a Wii Fitness age of 21 on Wii Sports, but I’ve mainly been playing Guitar Hero. More on this later, but basically it’s another good way to waste time after a day at work.

So hopefully I been feeling these pages with lots of meaningless drivel over the next few weeks, months, and years. Watch this space…

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Finally, as I haven’t posted anything for a while I suppose I should give you an update on the World as it currently stands, following on from my first ever entry. Let’s see…

News:

  • The credit crunch continues, and everything costs more and more these days (anything below £3 a pint of beer seems alright these days…)
  • Gordon Brown is still Prime Minister somehow; Alex Salmond is First Minister; George W Bush is still President but not for much longer (Obama and McCain are now the official candidates; the Conventions happened over the past 2 weeks).
  • Physics might, but probably won’t, kill us all. On Wednesday.

Sport:

  • The Olympics finished two weeks ago, and Team GB (shudder) did better than anyone expected, and the whole thing was rather enjoyable. The Para-Olympics start today.
  • Andy Murray is in the semi-finals of the US Open later today. And hey, he’s going to be 4th in the world after this tournament, so maybe he’ll win. Against Nadal. Maybe…
  • Scotland are currently losing 1-0 to Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier.
  • This may well be the last time I mention sport on here until the next World Cup…

TV and Entertainment:

  • Big Brother has FINALLY finished. I managed to watch about 9 seconds of the whole thing, and I feel proud. Decent programming might now return to Channel 4 and E4. Or at least lots of reruns of Scrubs.
  • A new series of the X-Factor has started and it’s exactly the same as every other year.