Wednesday, 22 December 2010

22/12/2010 - Farewell, 2010...

Well… that was 2010, then. I don’t know about you, but I thought it was a pretty good year. Up and down, obviously, but the positives outweighed the negatives so we can call that progress.

It was a year when, I think, we learned the value of pace and perspective. In an increasingly fragmented, digitised, hyperactive society, we’ve learned the importance of appreciating reality for what it is rather than striving for something intangible and possibly unreachable. To allegorise the current supercar sphere (don’t act like this surprises you), we find a market flooded with manufacturers chasing ever more absurd top speeds, but a common mindset conversely railing against the stratospheric nonsense of the 200mph+ club: when was the last time you drove at, for example, 100mph? It was pretty awesome, right? Can you imagine a need for something that could do more than twice that, but at the expense of a number of common (dare I say practical) factors? Or should we just appreciate the awesomeness of what we’ve got?
See, that’s the post-recessionary consumer talking…

It’s been quite a busy year for Leo Burnett London, in a largely positive way. We found a new ECD, won a load of new business, got a shitload of awards, discovered that Mark Tomblin used to be some kind of shaggy-mulletted rock star, span the reception area by ninety degrees for some reason, hired a load of digital geeks and then made them all sit really close together, and a load of other stuff happened too. Here are the big stories of 2010:

Paul Lawson sold his 911. Can you believe that? He’s specifically asked me not to mention his Porsche habit in JuicyPips, all-staff emails and general conversations, but sod it - it’s Christmas and he’ll have forgotten by new year.
He spent about £200k on that car and his wife made him sell it for £50. Not only that, she made him replace it with a Mercedes CLK and, as if that were not insult enough, insisted that he buy the least powerful and slowest one it’s possible to get. So if anyone needs a good seeing-to under the mistletoe, it’s him. He’s vexed. (Particularly because Andrew’s Maserati [which I’ve also been specifically asked not to talk about] sports Paul’s favourite colour scheme: subtle silver outside, horrifyingly gaudy red inside, like a pimp’s Lincoln Continental in 1975. Edwards is rubbing his nose in it, big time.)

Craig Denyer punched a dolphin in the face. He was holidaying off the coast of Jamaica in one of his slush-fund superyachts when the hapless porpoise leapt onto his poop deck. What would you do with such a cute and friendly sea creature? Offer it a sip of your Krug-and-caviar Martini? Maybe help it back into the water? Hell no, Craig just belted the poor bastard.

Justin Tindall set fire to Le Meridien hotel on Piccadilly. Seriously, the guy’s a lunatic; he was sitting there casually quaffing a ’74 Latour when he took exception to the waiter – who, to be fair, was mincing a little too extravagantly – and just spazzed out. Chairs flew through windows (and trust me, from the upper balcony it’s a long way down to Piccadilly), tables were upended, curtains slashed… much to the surprise of all concerned, he had a squeezy bottle of kerosene in his inside jacket pocket, the contents of which he liberally squirted around the hotel foyer. He flicked a match through the front door as he ran out. That poor receptionist never stood a chance. The screams, the horror.
(Christ, I hope he’s got a sense of humour. I’ve never even met the guy.)

Giles ‘The Hedge’ Hedger published a volume of his innermost thoughts and desires, entitled ‘An Acre of Blue’. His soft, marshmallowy exterior hides a core of, well, soft marshmallowyness, and he just wants to be loved. Don’t we all?
Constructed in a tender jumble of dactyls and anapests, the book (or ‘hope chest in papyrus’, as he’s chosen to market it) has yet to sell a single copy, despite being nominated Waterstone’s ‘Emo Gloom of the Week’. This is why you haven’t seen him much recently. He needs a lot of ‘me time’.

Marc Giusti just fucking loves trousers. Trousers, trousers, trousers, that’s all he thinks about. Have you seen his trousers today? He’s bought a lot of interesting trousers this year. Trousers.

Sarah Baumann, as I’m sure you’re aware, was dangerously tied up in the WikiLeaks scandal for some time. She went to a Swiss finishing school with Julian Assange (although she was a button-nosed first year while he was a burly sixth former), and he published all kinds of surprising truths about her. Did you know that she used to be a Soviet assassin? Or that she was General Pinochet’s second-in-command from 1979-81? She’s a dark horse, that one. And when Assange tried to expose her, she pinned him to the wall with a barrage of ninja stars and used an aluminium straw to fill his pancreas with nitroglycerine. If he eats spicy food, he’ll explode.

OK, I might have made some of that up. Er… happy Christmas! Hope your 2011 makes some kind of sense.

The digital nativity

A geeky Christmas to one and all!

Snowman or Fatman?

The greatest festive game you'll play this yuletide season - click the image to kick a series of snowmen (or are they fat men?) in the nuts.

DIY bungee jumping

This is a fucking stupid idea, no...?

Hedgehogs taking baths

There's nothing I can really say here that isn't already given away by the phrase 'hedgehogs taking baths'. But click here, it's very cute.



Eighties Christmas

Stuck for ideas this year? Click below to browse through the 1985 Argos catalogue. Maybe you fancy some Matsui speakers for your car's parcel shelf? Perhaps a Halina camera or a Rainbow Brite?

Misery Bear's Christmas

Genuinely sad, this. Poor old Misery Bear.

Mario vs. GTA

Super Mario Bros. reimagined in Grand Theft Auto. Superb.

The Daily Patdown

Airport security staff: inappropriate. Click here.





Iiro Rantala New Trio - Shit Catapult

I'd like to think that if I was in a band, they'd be as brilliantly odd as this.

That is Racist

Erm... yeah. Click here.





Eskmo/Cyriak

This video broke my mind.

Rejected railcard photos

So, this guy's renewing his Young Person's Railcard. He decides to test their patience by submitting a series of increasingly farcical railcard photos. Click the image to see how he gets on...

Cat Diaries

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? Well, wonder no more...!

London tuition fee protests

Some amazing photos here of the student protests descending into violence and losing all credibility.







Blowing a turkey

There's a 'gobble' gag in here somewhere.

Cat vs. Internet

Poor little kitty, having to compete the the 'puter. Click the image to see...

World's greatest hurdler

I love the belligerent attitude. Fuck you, hurdles!

Festive tampon craft

Click the image to see how to make an interesting alternative to the traditional nativity scene.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Alan Partridge's Mid-Morning Matters - Episode 6

Alfred the Great and a Mitsubishi Shogun? Bullseye!

Supergeeky Christmas lights

The awesomest fucking Christmas lights you've ever seen. This took someone ages.

Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things

There may be a load of bad juju afoot in North Korea, but Kim Jong-Il... well, he just likes looking at things. Click here.





Vegetable Suicide

Um... yeah. Dark.

Someone Else Will Put It Back

Having worked in a supermarket way back in the mists of time, I'm well aware of how annoying it is when people randomly leave stuff in totally the wrong part of the shop. This blog celebrates the hapless change of heart - after a while, some of the juxtapositions start to make perfect sense... click here.





Pixar-Onan

That little lamp, he so naughty!

So, why is WikiLeaks a good thing again?

In the midst of an epic media shitstorm, it would be easy to allow the press to pillory WikiLeaks - click here to remind yourself of what they've achieved.





Kings Firecrackers

This is genuinely astonishing - a lot of very unusual skipping, not a single mistake and a smile on every face. I particularly love how the initially indifferent crowd really get into it as the rope madness escalates.

Jeremy Pacman

A fantastic effort from The Poke - click the image to play.

All I Want for Christmas

...a charming festive ditty from The Amateur Transplants.

I Call Mine

In Belfast, the lads call their winkles 'Gandalf'. Click the image to see what your neighbours call theirs...

19 seconds of weirdness

Dial-a-Date

Everything about this is brilliant.

TeamBlackSheep - New York City

Very cool, this. Does it bounce off the head of the Statue of Liberty...?

New York City from trappy : TeamBlackSheep on Vimeo.

10/12/10 - Mechaphilia

This week’s JuicyPips is the second in which Anna Sweet and Pansy Aung have chosen the theme, having won the right to do so in the recent NABS auction. Their chosen theme: mechaphilia.

Well, that’s just great. The dictionary definition of mechaphilia (or mechanophilia) is ‘attraction (often sexual) towards machinery, such as bicycles, motor vehicles, helicopters or aeroplanes’. I think they might be trying to imply something scurrilous about my personal life, but I’m not biting. Instead, allow me to take the concept to an altogether more wholesome place.

The other side of mechaphilia – the side that isn’t sticky, moist and unsavoury to bring up at the dinner table – is that of pure appreciation of mechanisation, a deeply-rooted fascination with the workings of things. And there’s nothing seedy about that.
I’m kind of unfortunate in that my fascination with machinery lies entirely within my head rather than my hands. I can go into excruciating detail about how and why a turbocharger works or the fundamental physical processes of four-stroke internal combustion, but give me a set of spanners and I go all to pieces. I can do simple car stuff like gap spark plugs or change an oil filter or bolt in a new set of seats, but you should see the mess I made of changing the head gasket on my Nova when I was seventeen. That rocker cover was really bendy afterwards, it was always seeping. I made a right hash of replacing the oil pump on my 205 GTi too; after several hours of lying on my back under the car swearing at it and getting oil in my eyes, I asked my dad to help, who fixed it in what seemed like seconds.
After dismantling my Scirocco’s engine, I forgot which bits went where (every bolt was a sliiiiiightly different size), so I towed the jumbled VeeDub bric-a-brac to the garage with a box of bits, like some immense greasy jigsaw puzzle, and left them to it.
I’m not ashamed of this. My understanding of the mechanical processes is more theoretical than practical, that’s all.

But yes, I am a mechaphile. I’m largely preoccupied with cars and other mechanical objects, things that cleverly do stuff by having lots of metal bits acting against lots of other metal bits to achieve such impressive feats as locomotion, expansion, collision, thermo-conductivity or whatever it is the machine in question is supposed to do. A car, for example, is a genuinely amazing thing; I think it’s kind of unfair that so many motorists (the vast majority, to be honest) have absolutely no idea what having a variety of gears really means or why you need to disengage the clutch when you swap between them, or what the inlet & exhaust valves do or where the fuel goes after you pump it in. Or what badges like ‘16v’ or ‘1.6’ actually mean. People who don’t understand how cars work should only be allowed to drive slow, boring ones, while people who’ve bothered to learn what they do and can thus appreciate them on a higher level should be offered some kind of government grant to buy something fast and fun...

This kind of mechasnobbery does me no favours. You may know that, as you’re sitting there at the traffic lights, you can press the throttle a certain precise distance and dump the clutch when you see amber, and you’ll know just how much tyre-smoke you’ll create and just how much the rear end will shimmy and squirm, but you don’t need to know anything about fuelling rates or diff ratios for that. I’m definitely mechapretentious.

To reiterate, the term ‘mechaphilia’ doesn’t require a sexual connotation. If you were to say someone was a francophile, you wouldn’t be saying that the person was obsessed with having sex with French people. No, they’d have an enthusiasm for French culture, possibly bordering on the all-consuming but never unhealthy. And it is in that sense that I am a mechaphile. I spend most of the time that I’m pretending to be working discussing old cars on a classic car forum, I subscribe to five car magazines and usually buy various other ones as well, I still play Gran Turismo 4 for several hours a week (a whole five years after I bought it [if anyone wants to buy me a PS3 so I can finally move on to Gran Turismo 5, please feel free]), I drag my long-suffering wife to all sorts of car shows/museums/events, I watch more Top Gear than is normal (and have a vast stack of old episodes that I’ve recorded onto DVD, because I’m awesome like that), I’ve owned thirty-two cars in eleven years… it’s an obsession.

It’s not just cars, though. Yes, that is my particular field of interest, but I’m intrigued by anything mechanical or electrical that does something clever from a bunch of otherwise inert parts; televisions, food blenders, elevators, steam engines, remote controls, iPods, screen printers, air conditioning systems, Soda Streams, wristwatches, oil derricks, refrigerators, typewriters, light bulbs, radiators, sewing machines, valve radios, Oyster cards, door locks… I just don’t think people are interested enough in the world around them. I try not to take invention and innovation for granted, but to show some interest in how things actually function. And I am aware of how up-my-own-arse that sounds.

So yes, Anna and Pansy, I am a mechaphile. But not in the way you think, you naughty girls…

Friday, 3 December 2010

Zombies in Retroland

O.M.G! A chilling vision of the future... told in the language of the eighties. Kind of.

The Cup Size Choir

A clever little seasonal activity from La Senza - click the image to, er, play the ladies.

Milky vs Lil Demon

It's so entertaining to see this guy being repeatedly owned by an awesome eight year-old.

Six Degrees of Black Sabbath

Simple idea, this, and devastatingly addictive. All you do is type in the names of any two bands, singers or musicians you can think of, and it fills in all the steps between them. Click the image to have a go.

R/C iPhone

This is potentially a very expensive way to arse around. Cool though.

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Click here to read a lovely little tale of a monstrous pop-up shop.







The world's greatest bike lock

...possibly. Until it slips down and brains someone.

Reuters - Best photos of 2010

Some amazing shots here.





Grandma Reads Kanye's Tweets

Aw, bless.

Smugopedia

Smug opinions you can pass off as your own. Click here.





Nowhere Near Here

This stop-motion animation took over three hundred hours to make, using a combination of light with stencils and long-exposure photography. It's well worth a look.

Nowhere Near Here from Pahnl on Vimeo.

Leslie Nielsen tribute

The first thought on hearing the news was 'Shirley you can't be serious...?'

Here's a little video tribute to a great man.



4th Amendment pants

Don't fancy being full-body scanned at the airport? Get yourself some 4th Amendment underpants...

Fail compilation

There are a lot of videos like this floating around YouTube... but this one really is worth watching!

TEBAATUSASULA!

Oh my God, this film looks amazing.

03/12/10 - What would you change?

If you were able to climb into your Delorean DMC-12, crank that mid-mounted V6 up to 88mph and leave two flaming streaks back into your own past, what would you go back and change? That fumbled first kiss behind the bins at the end of the playground? The time you accidentally called your geography teacher ‘daddy’? The grimace you inadvertently pulled in your passport photo? I have one or two ideas…

The first place I’d go would be Grandvilliers station, 1991. We used to have a little house nearby, and we’d left the car at the station one day and caught a Paris-bound train for a day trip. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, hot chocolate by the Seine – we did all the touristy things. When we got back to Grandvilliers some time way beyond bedtime, we found that some nasty little scrote had broken into the car and nicked the speakers from the parcel shelf. I was only nine. I cried. If I could, I’d go back there and booby-trap the car, Home Alone style. Teach that little fucker a lesson. That was the first time I’d ever experienced any kind of crime first hand, and a little piece of my innocence died that day. The clearest memory I have of what should have been a day stuffed with memories is that of standing in a freezing cold car park, in the dark, trying to fathom just why anybody would want to do something so beastly to another person. It was my first step towards realising that the world is full of bastards.

Then I’d skip forward a few months to my tenth birthday. It had been a pretty good day – I’d reached double figures, gone to see the movie ‘Hook’ at the cinema in Westgate-on-Sea, and was playing in the field opposite my house before my birthday tea. A couple of kids from my class at school appeared at the edge of the field and started throwing rocks at me for no apparent reason. (I’ve mentioned them by name in JuicyPips before – Russell Duffett and Aaron Danton – there’s not a lot of results for them when you Google their names, so hopefully this tale of their past misadventures will feature pretty highly in the search rankings. Russell Duffett, Aaron Danton, Russell Duffett, Aaron Danton, Russell Duffett, Aaron Danton.) One of their rocks hit me right in the face. So my most vivid memory of turning ten is bleeding profusely and getting my face stitched up.
So what would I do if I could go back? Perhaps get my retaliation in first, ambush them with a bottle of piss or a bike chain to the back of the head? Wait for them to throw the rock, then run towards them wailing like a banshee, flinging handfuls of my gushing blood into their cold, evil eyes?
No. I’d just make sure I was playing somewhere else.

I’d maybe go back to the age of thirteen and have a little confidence-boosting chat with myself. ‘Don’t be scared,’ I’d say to little me, ‘you can hold her hand. Don’t be embarrassed. She wants to too. And in fifteen years time she’ll be your wife, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.’

The island of Kos would be my next stop, in the year 2000. Aged eighteen, my first holiday with friends and without family. I’d go to that supertacky foam party (seriously, who actually enjoys spending the evening covered in washing-up liquid? The novelty wears off in seconds) and convince myself to stay there for a bit longer, rather than leaving early and walking home alone. Then I wouldn’t have got jumped by a bunch of locals on scooters. I’d have hung on to my holiday money. I wouldn’t have that scar on my arm.

I’d stop my dad from selling all of his old vinyl to the local second-hand record shop for the grand total of £50 all-in back in ‘05, and convince him to give it to me instead. That collection was amazing. The Satanic Majesties sleeve with the crazy hologram, the Sticky Fingers one with the working zip, the Tom Robinson Band album with the graffiti stencil insert, the first-pressing Jethro Tull debut, the mint original copy of New Boots & Panties… an awesome collection. A great shame.

Mid-2009 would be an important stop-off point. I’d stop myself from watching Red Dwarf: Back to Earth, which was fucking awful – a real slap in the face for die-hard Red Dwarf fans like me.

Actually, this is all counter-productive. Yes, I could go back and stop myself from selling that Capri or make myself remember to pack a torch and some mosquito repellent when I went camping in Narbonne last year, but ultimately it would ruin everything. I’m happy with my life now (and anyone else who’s alive and isn’t in imminent danger of dying within the next 24 hours should be able to say the same), and every decision I’ve made up to this point has, in some serpentine and convoluted manner, led to my being here and doing this. Causality is important – watch Back to the Future and see: if you change stuff in the past, your present and future will be unrecognisable. Disengage your flux capacitor and take that Delorean to a classic car meet or something instead. Life’s too short for regret.

Mid Morning Matters - Episode 5

The latest from Alan's firecracker morning emission on North Norfolk Digital. Marvellous.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Queen on Facebook

National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010

A stunning selection of photographs here, courtesy of the Boston Globe.







Dara O'Briain on video games

True American Dog

This is brilliantly weird. Check it out.



Zero-effort Kinect

So, how interactive is the new Kinect...?

Snow Line

Lovely little Santa game - click the image to play. (Maybe turn your speakers down a bit first though!)

Source Code trailer

This looks kind of cool, in a Quantum Leap-meets-Groundhog Day-meets-The Matrix kind of way.

Fly Like a Bird

The clue's in the name, really. Click the image to have a go.

It's A Trap

The third and final installment in the Family Guy/Star Wars trilogy. Hurrah!

Harry Potter obsession/derision

This is unhealthy.




This, however, is brilliant.

Un-PC ads of yore

Click here for a selection of old ads from times when the ASA weren't quite so snippy.