Category Archives: Minor Rant

Celebrity Death Sweep 2009



Ok. We all have our guilty pleasures. I know it’s wrong but it wasn’t me who set it up. I only joined in. And without wanting to sound like someone at the Nuremburg trials, I was only following orders (from my friends.)

If you’re not familir with the concept of Celebrity Death Sweep, it’s basically a prediction on what celebrity/famous name/elder statesman will drop dead next. Our rules are three names each and no duplication across the list – which lead to much debate over who got Fidel Castro – and the winner gets pints for them by all the losers. First predicted person to drop dead wins. Simple.

I thought I was on to a winner(s) with Margaret Thatcher, Norman Wisdom and Lesley Phillips but no, somebody else won with Wendy Richards.

Now, the whole point of this post is to highlight the fact that maybe if someone is diagnosed as being terminally ill, maybe they shouldn’t be included in the list. I mean it makes a mockery of the ethos of this fledgling sport. It’s like starting out as an ambulance chaser, but then moving on to pushing people into the road just so you can get the ambulance to arrive. Or something.

I want an inquiry. I want free pints. I want Celebrity Death Sweep 2009 to continue.


This is encore

Morrissey, The Smiths

OK (and this is just for you Ben) apologies for the shocking tardiness of this blog. My New Year resolution is to put up at least one comment a week but as I’m starting this in February I think I’ve already broken this. But anyway, onwards and blogwards.

As you may know, I go to a fair amount of gigs and I was just wondering where/when the fake encore started? The days of clapping, stomping, chanting for more have been overtaken by a smattering of applause and a general expectancy of the band coming back on anyway to play their most recent record/crowd favourite.

Is it the bands that are causing the problem? Is it the apathy of the crowd? Is it a mixture of both? Is it Simon Weston’s fault?

The last band I saw that didn’t play an encore were Explosions in the Sky in January and I must admit it was rather refreshing, the last genuine encore I remember was Radiohead at Meadowbank Stadium in 2006 (where they played, count ’em, FOUR) but all this is just to get a link to tell you about the Morrissey gig I saw at the weekend.

Hell, who needs a tenuous link? He was simply awesome. A cantankerous old bugger and a poetic moaner of biblical proportions, you’ve just got to love him. Now before any of you write in to say “but he’s racist” the NME article that he was “quoted” in is now subject to a libel case in the High Court, the actual interviewer himself has said that the NME rewrote the whole transcript and has also insisted his name be removed from the article. So there.

The gig itself was a very bizarre mixture of ages, styles and outfits. But not a bunch of gladioli in sight. Urging the crowd not to buy any more Smiths’ records as the “all the royalties go to that wretched drummer” was quote of the night and seemed to rule out the endless “reunion” rumours.  Which is all good I say. Too many bands are getting back together anyway. Mr Morrissey was just genius and as usual, he went through a fair few shirts. Mozza, we salute you. (but not in a rigid right arm sort of way.)

Safe or Brave?

Orbit Complete Chewing Gum

When reading the advertising press recently, it struck me that there’s a constant stream of comment and editorial bemoaning the general state of advertising in this country. The same themes are talked about, a lack of creativity, samey ads, stereotypical caricatures of “real” people and the dumbing down of anything that the masses won’t immediately “get”.

There are comparatively few campaigns that have the ability to stop people in their tracks any more, and I feel that the industry in general has got a whole lot more conservative. We’ve been having problems recently in getting concepts through that the public wouldn’t “get” straight away. But does there have to be an instant understanding of what you see/hear/interact with? Take the Cadbury’s gorilla ad. Imagine telling your Account Handler that a drumming gorilla is the way forward? Most wouldn’t even dream of presenting it to the client. Well done to Cadbury’s by the way.  And how about the Orbit campaign? It’s funny and it gets across the message that plaque is invisible and you can’t fight it on your own. But try telling your boss that you’ll definitely need some Flamenco guitar in the background to really set the ad off.

There seems to be a culture that creatives are there to be reined in. And that results in ads that could’ve been good but are a bit, well, blah. Go on, trust us. You won’t be disappointed and you definitely won’t be bored. I mean, just why hasn’t anyone approached Simon Weston with a view to launching his own range of barbecue grills and cooking utensils? I mean, he carried the Commonwealth flame for Manchester for goodness sake. At arm’s length mind, and my, did he deliver that flame quickly.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to open an exhibition of failed ads, but instead of explaining what the ads are on that wee bit of safmat/foamex/card, I’d give the reason why the Account Handler or client rejected them. My favourite ever reason for a client rejecting an ad concept was, and I quote, “I like the headline and the picture, but I’m not sure people know how to read Latin nowadays.” Anyway, here’s one of the Orbit ads for you to enjoy. Lovely. Alan. 

Friend Requests (shudder)


I know I’ll be accused of being a grumpy old man, but does anyone else get sick of people asking you to join Bebo, mySpace, WAYN, Facebook et all? First of all, all these sites are are a big smokescreen for you stay “in-touch” with friends but trick you into laying your whole life out online so a big multi-national can swoop in, take all the marketing data and start sending you more “targeted offers.” Oh, and an online popularity contest is a little bit sad too. “Oh, I’ve got 13,679 friends.” No you don’t, you’re probably very lonely and instead of going out and seeing people and experiencing new things you’re on (insert social network site here) instead.

Anyway, my point is, I wish I’d thought of these sites. Jealousy is a terrible thing.