7 sleeps til Disney!

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When i was a kid i was never hugely into Disney. I enjoyed The Lion King and Aristocats but found the surplus of princess based films a little bit girly. My brother and i were never like the kids in those insufferable adverts.
Now, as a adult, i find myself practically bursting with excitement at the prospect of spending christmas and new year at Disneywold Florida with my lady. I have resolved to get into the spirit thoroughly and make up for lost time. I wonder if she’ll still stand next to me if i wear this Mickey hat for the entirety of the visit…

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Fill your stockings

Swannui and Cygnus Be All; End All The Merfoxiad
Swannui and Cygnus
Be All; End All
The Merfoxiad

My three poetry books are on sale at Beccles Books, Halesworth Library and Lowestoft Library. They are £4 each. They make a great, unique christmas present and help to support independent, self published, creative arts.

The Sainsburys advert

After seeing English supermarket chain Sainsburys new ‘christmas advert’ I can only guess at the ideas that didn’t make the cut:

British prisoners of war line up in single file, emaciated and weary as the SS officer walks amongst them. As he points them individually towards the labour camp or the mass grave a rustling can be heard as one cheeky soldier munches away on Sainsburys Ready Salted crisps, now with 33% extra free.

Helmand Province, an infantry patrol approaches a suspected Taliban-held village. Suddenly an IUD is triggered, three men are hit. The medic rushes towards the worst hit soldier and pulls new Sainsburys basics cheesecake from his pouch. The injured man nibbles away and his maimed leg miraculously heals as “Buy one, get one free” scrolls across the screen.

The young brigadier kicks his spur into his mount, the cannons loom in front of him as the Light Brigade tears into the valley. His men fall, screaming from their horses, all around him come the cries of the dying and the roar of cannonfire. The officer reaches into his jacket pocket and admires the swanky new packaging on his Sainsburys Lime Cordial.

Yes, please give money to and honour our veterans, but please don’t try to sell shit or make war pretty.
As Robert E.Lee once said “It is well that war is so terrible, or else we would grow too fond of it…nearly as fond as I am of these Sainsburys bourbon biscuits!”

Jetsetting

Before this year the last time I had been abroad was September 2009, to Washington DC. This year I’ve already been to New York and now this week I’m going to Paphos in Cyprus and Florida for Christmas.

I’m not expecting it to be scorching in Cyprus at this time of year but it should be a good ten degrees centigrade better than the UK and I might see that thing that people abroad call “the sun”.

Look forward to obligatory photos of hotel pool, cocktails and beaches. Going to do my very best to get a tan.

I can’t wait, even if I did choose to spend 4 hours layover in a Greek airport just to save £40. I mean, Greek airports can be a lot of fun too, right?

Why You Shouldn’t Watch Television With Me

I tend to comment on everything i see on television. Most things annoy me. I often sit and provide a running commentary of why a program is insulting, redundant or just shit. I imagine people don’t enjoy watching television with me. This is also why i do not have a television myself, as i only enjoy half a dozen programs and cant sit still for long. I also need to do something else whilst watching a show, such as play Football Manager, browse random websites or type blogs about how much television annoys me. Right now i’m watching Community. Its better than most but its not quite the best comedy I’ve seen, i’d give it a 7.
What annoys me most about television is the adverts. Don’t get me wrong, i hate adverts in all contexts (except adverts for cars i like), but in a magazine or on a billboard they are far easier to ignore, they don’t scream out and seep insidiously into your subconscious as they do on television. I am thankful, however, that i don’t live in America. From my brief holiday there two years ago and occasional streams of American broadcasts i get the impression that they get a lot more adverts than us. The half time break on the Fox Soccer coverage of Liverpool v Chelsea the other week ran thusly; 4 mins adverts- 25 seconds in the studio with a pundit asked 1 question- 4 minutes adverts- back to the studio and another solitary question- 4 minutes adverts- back into live coverage of the game. I think i would find that level of intrusion genuinely unbearable. In my strangely frequent trips to the cinema of late i have wondered whether the irony of 35 minutes of adverts (yes adverts, maybe 2 movie trailers involved), including three about the public killing cinema (“you wouldn’t steal a car so don’t download a movie” and “an experience shared…lost”), is lost on people. Cinemas are killing cinema by charging £9 for a ticket and £4 for a drink and then making us wait around for 35 minutes before a film. That’s not even taking into account that i mostly go to the cinema on dates, thus doubling the cost, or the stupidity of the adverts. I do not go to the cinema to be with other people, i strongly dislike other people; they sweat, talk and rustle throughout a movie. I would much prefer to watch every good movie in my bedroom, in my bed with a blu ray rip on my 32in 1920×1080 tv alone or with a girl, so you’re really not getting my support for your campaign to stuff 100 strangers into a room and charge them a ridiculous amount. As for equating torrenting a movie to stealing a car…come on! I’m not going to sit here and justify my download of a blu ray rip as being somehow morally positive but i would look at the absurd inflation charged by my own establishment before accusing everyone of being hellbound car thieves. I appreciate that movie piracy/cinema pricing is a chicken/egg conundrum so i won’t extrapolate further but i think that with all the problems in the world one only has so many fucks to give out and the cinema industry isn’t gonna receive one from me.
Anyway, enough preamble. Yes, that was preamble, i warned you that i can get carried away typing sometimes. This is a blog about television adverts so i decided to record a typical advert break on a freeview tv channel at 8pm this evening. I might have missed the first advert on as i was skipping channels to find them. Here is what i witnessed:

An E-On advert that implied that the company cares about making its customers warmer, ergo happier people. Seriously, lets cut the bullshit, energy companies essentially dictate their own prices and hike them up regularly. It is difficult to provide your own sustainable energy so people are reliant on an energy company, they hold all the cards. They care about profits, their executives don’t sit up at night worrying about how to make people warmer and fuzzier and happy, they worry about who their wife has been banging whilst they’ve been at work all week plotting how to improve profits by 3.2% per quarter.

A Nivea  commercial for their new deodorant for women who exclusively wear black and white dresses. Apparently this is a genuine problem and isn’t limited to Cruella Devile impersonators. Ok that was a lie, it was something to do with white marks or something. I’ve never had a problem with my deodorant/anti perspirant and i don’t think that would change even if i had a penchant for unusually coloured jumpers. These aren’t real problems. If i did a commercial for Nivea it would be of a person spraying their pits and then saying “now i wont sweat so much”. Job done.

Up next was a commercial encouraging people to buy their Christmas champagne at Morrisons and to store it on a shelf in their garage, implying that most people store their wines on a shelf in their garage rather than a wine cellar. It irritated me for two reasons; Christmas is over a month away and Morrisons is trying to be “down” with the lower middle classes who would keep their wine in a non conventional yet logical place, as opposed to the working classes who simply drink wine as soon as it comes into their possession and the upper classes who have vast vaults and catacombs beneath their homes in which they store decades worth of the finest wines. I dislike any advert by a major soulless corporation which attempts to knowingly wink at their target demographic in a “we’re just like you” way, no you’re not like us, your staff are but you aren’t. You are an advertising executive, you live in a small London flat which costs £1k a month to rent and you drive an Audi A4 company car. You are a douche.

DFS have caught Christmas fever too. Apparently everyone and his wife is clamoring to buy a pvc and chipboard settee to plump their arses down onto on December 25th. Who genuinely wants a large item of furniture for Christmas? Isn’t the whole experience of Christmas stressful enough without 3 blokes tramping through your living room with a huge sofa? The advert even goes as far as to show the sofa as being some kind of central fixture in Christmas celebrations, adults caress it whilst smiling dementedly, children drop their toys to lounge on and cuddle the cheap furnishings. Finally, when a business runs a sale for 365 days a year the quoted sale price is the actual price, not a markdown bargain.

Oh and to round it all off, the final advert was for the new smaller iPad. Remember, the one they constantly insisted they would never build and that there was no market for? I still can’t see why someone with a smart phone and a tablet would require a slightly smaller tablet, nor can i see why the hell anyone would buy an iPad apart from to show everybody how alternative and cool they are by being part of the 99% of the Western world who clamor to own a technically inferior product which is marked up and finished in a trendy white enamel. I had an iPhone, it was alright but relied on you using iEverything rather than allowing you to just drag and drop your own media to it. I imagine that if everything you own is by Apple then its a good idea to continue with that (highly expensive) strategy but i couldn’t deal with it and upgraded to a Galaxy S3, on which i can install emulators, copy my blu ray rips and listen to my music without going through a baffling 2 hour ordeal which ends up in all my phone numbers being wiped. I had a Galaxy tab at the same time as my iPhone and, aside from an exciting honeymoon period, cannot see for the life of me why somebody would need both a tablet and a smart phone as they do essentially the same thing except a tablet can’t make calls. My friend countered this argument by saying he enjoyed the significantly larger screen size of his tablet, but if you’re buying an iPad mini this doesn’t really apply as the difference is negligible. Then again, i doubt many iConsumers really tend to consider logic when making their purchases.
Yeah, so don’t watch tv with me.