Thursday, 28 February 2008

Blogging Cancelled Until Next Week

As my old mum often says, Christ Al'ruddy-mighty.

It's been a busy week and I've neglected my blog. So, to those who read it, I apologise. Profoundly. Please, please don't phone the social services. -Ok, so I've served dinner a little later than normal and paid for a few takeaways. But it's hardly abuse, is it... Is it..?

So. Normal blogging service will resume next week. In the meantime... erm... weren't the Oscars rubbish and all that... Did you see Daniel Day-Lewis kneeling before Helen Mirren? Ha! The fuckin' prick. "The nearest I'll get to a knighthood," he said in his bestest, Sunday masturbating voice (without a trace of Oirish)... what a horrible, self-congratulatory cunt. Personally, I hate him. His acting is appalling. However, I do think he's the greatest physial comedian since Buster Keaton. I mean, the last time he got an Oscar was for that Joey Deacon impression he did...

Sunday, 24 February 2008

A Bitch With Worms

Oh look! It seems my old chum Goldie from the last post might have a few more stories to tell after all. ;-)

Why not read her blog?

My Name is Goldie.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

The best copywriting job in the world..?

Some time last weekish, Dan Germain at Innocent announced he's finally handing over his pen to someone else, and the ad for a new Innocent writer went up on their website. In the past I've been unkind to Dan and Innocent, largely due to the ubiquity of his iconoclastic tone-of-voice. But I couldn't help feeling sad for him. It must be hard giving up something you've created from scratch - giving it to someone else. I imagine it's like your child's first day at school; Dan weeping at the gates as he hands his copy breifs over to the new guy. Either way, you can bet it's gonna be some bloody gruelling recruitment process.

Anyway, it got me thinking. What would be your best copywriting job? Something like Innocent or something else? Hmmm... How about this:
I had a friend who used to sponsor a dog via the Canine Defence League. Every quarter or so she'd get a letter actually from her dog. -No. Honestly -It was written in the first person and everything: "I'm doing well... hoping to find a new home soon..." and all that.
Then I thought -hey!- maybe I'd like to pretend to be a dog all day.

Maybe it'd be something like this...

"To my dear XXXXX,

Words cannot express my gratitude for your recent donation. Your "dogged" persistence and kindness in this matter warms the very extremities of my heart. You are my rock. I only hope one day we shall meet in the outside world, away from this dreadful place.

Oh XXXXX, my sweet, sweet XXXXX, how I long to be by your side; to chase a ball through fields and glens, to feel your tender hand on my shaggy belly. We would be inseperable. Oh how I yearn to be free again. Damn these walls and this wretched cage! Damn the barking - oh the barking; the ceaseless, tortured barking. Night and day it pervades my senses, and drowns my thoughts. I am sinking my love.

The people here are kind. But kindness is no substitute for love. For it is love that will save me; love that will heal me; heal my patchy coat and my intestinal worms. I am a pitiful creature, unworthy of your affections. But for the hope of meeting you one day I would surely perish.

Forever yours,

What dya reckon? More fun than writing about yoghurt?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Hands Across the Ocean

I have a new friend. According to my blog-stats, as of yesterday, I have a single reader in Finland. And whatismore, they spent a whole 4mins. 13secs on my blog.

So. Whilst my man circulates with the Ferrero Rocher, let's all take a moment to meet my new Scandinavian chum.

Ok. He/she hails from a small town called Kerava. Here's a picture of it.

Lovely. It looks a little bit like Stockport, doesn't it. According to the wikipedia, it is located in a province of Southern Finland and is part of the Uusimaa region. The municipality has a population of 33,107 and covers an area of 30.86 km², of which 0.11 km² is -gasp!-water. Meanwhile, the population density of Kerava is 1,019.87 inhabitants per km².

Now, I know what you're all thinking. Sounds too good to be true doesn't it. Well, wait till you hear what the offical blurb has to say:

"Welcome to our modern and verdant town, which can boast more pedestrian-cycle paths than any other town in Finland. Kerava is part of the greater metropolitan area, about 30 kilometres to the north from Helsinki. Travelling to Kerava by land, sea or air is quick and easy. Everything here is conveniently close at hand, so if you wish you can easily dash from one place to another by bike. We have space enough for a centre that forms a nucleus reminiscent of larger towns, yet still have verdant parks and residential areas with lush gardens and paths. Kerava has gained international recognition for the layout of its centre, the pedestrian shopping street, the pedestrian-cycle path network, as well as for the floral arrangements in its parks.Opportunities for hobbies are almost boundless. The town is home to a flourishing and varied cultural life. There is a feeling here that the joy of doing your own thing is no less important than guest stars. Concerts and different events draw people during the summertime to the Aurinkomäki park in the centre of town."

Well, I have to tell you my Finnish friend that that all sounds rather delightful. On behalf of the embassy I'd like to thank you for coming here to tell us all about your wonderful home. I do hope our knackered trains, lousy food, resentful public servants and anti-social drinking won't put you off visiting when the recession hits us.

To Finlandia! (Have the orchestra play some Sibelius, would you...)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

I Heart 80's

Love the 1980's? Me too.

Remember Michael J. Fox? Yeah! Remember the Brighton Bomb? Double-yeah!

Celebrate both with my delightful series of t-shirts commemorating the "heroes" of Maggie's cabinet.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Let's Pretend: 5 Banal Straplines (thinking aloud about work)

I'm a (copy)writer who likes writing. I like discipline and form and I like the due process of bringing something to life.

Whether it's an ad., a website or an instruction manual for...erm... a gas-chamber, the methodology is always the same. I spend my entire bloody life writing and scripting things out because it's not enough for me just to have "an idea." I need to see it, feel it, and understand it. I need to look it in the eye and know exactly how it's going to behave. I'm Nadine Baggart, celebrity beauty editor of- sorry, no. Hang on that's something else...

What I'm trying to say is...erm...maybe if I made up an aphorism to explain..? How about: "If a writer wants his voice to sing, he better make sure it's breath doesn't smell."

Bollocks. That's not what I'm trying to say either.

I know what I mean...

Anyway. So I was working on something boring the other day; something pretty niche, bland and corporate. But I didn't feel it. I wasn't feeling bland and corporate (I never do). So I went back to the beginning and started to re-write it. I started to think "bland and corporate" thoughts and in no time at all everything just fell into place. Suddenly it was perfect. But why?

Well, because I bloody love writing, that's why. Even with a dismal client and boring breif, I can still find something that inspires me. You just gotta look inside yourself. Look. Here's 5 random, utterly banal straplines plucked from that piece of work. On the face of it, they're just embarrassing corporate platitudes. But to me, as I write them, they're part of a thunderous, totalitarian hollow-speak; the voice of an evil future government. To me, this is pure sci-fi, man. Ace! Look!


Do you like pretending too? :-D

[Actually, reading them again, they sound like the titles of Charles Handy books]

More Idiots on the Train

This woman's decided to dress her daughter up as an... angel? Bridesmaid? Puffball mushroom..? Whatthefuck?

You can't see it in the picture but she even had her pyjama bottom's on too like a proper little pikey (pikette?) Let's hope mum's fags stay safely in her handbag - lest the little angel goes up like a fuckin' Christmas tree.

[I felt compelled to disguise her just cos it's not her fault. Looks all the more chilling for it though, no?] :-)

Friday, 15 February 2008

Advertising Vs. Politics (via creativity. via philosophy. via literay criticism. via ramble ramble ramble ramble...)

[WARNING: Despite the funny Karl Marx picture, this post could be quite dull. ]

It happened again to me yesterday. Someone asked me what I do and I told them.

"Ha-oh!" came the reply. "It's you then. You're one of them - the liars."

Yep. The "liars". That's us. Anyone who works in advertsing and marketing is a liar. We sit round on Satan's patio all day, making up evil, insidious fibs with which to poison the dear and innocent earth. Or so is the perception of the hysterical left-wing imbecile who works in my local.

So exactly how does one reconcile a healthy, idealist, proto-Marxist, working class, fuck-the-man politic (such as my own) with the apprently oppressive, totalitarian, globe-raping poltics of 21st century capitalism? Hmmm...

When my career trajectory first began to point towards advertising, I knew that deep-down I was gonna have to face this peculiar moral quandry. How can I work in an industry that appears to contradict everything I beleive in? After all, advertising is propganda, right? It exploits people's weaknesses and questions their judgement. It baffles and confuses them; argues with them and dictates to them. Mass media is garbage, yet I'm volunteering to create more of it. I'm potentially gonna be part of that machine that hectors and heckles us/we/they, the brow-beaten proletariat. Or so goes received opinion.

So I went away and I thought about it. Really thought about it. Pros and cons. Finally, I asked myself why I wanted to do it; what was my motivation. And the answer (not surprisingly) was... creativity. Yawn. I just wanted to be creative. It's that simple. Just like every other fucker these days. But. That then posed a further, even greater philosophical question.

I was placing my own, personal pursuit of creativity and expression above all, which seemed selfish and, well... just a bit shallow. Therefore, I had to ask myself what was my moral reasoning - my position- on creativity? And this was an important point for me to nail because otherwise everything I did potentially lacked any integrity at all.

Eventually, I stumbled across the answer in a novel; the bloated, badly-written, and obnoxious "masterpiece" Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

Atlas Shrugged tells the story of what happens when all the creative, innovative people in the world fuck-off to an island and leave civilisation to crumble without them. (Cracking idea for a story, but dragged out over 1500 interminable pages of insufferable dialogue and dry intellectualism. Unless you're unemployed, don't waste your time). Anyway, Rand's novels are all vehicles for her (often flawed) philosophy of Objectivism which champions "competition, creativity and human greatness." And within Objectivism comes a model of capitalism that I'd previously never considered before; a model of consensual capitalism, where free and open competition is the wellspring of excellence. Only via competition can we acheive our potential and only by acheiveing our potential can we evolve.

Ok. So it all sounds a bit Neitzsche. Which, to be fair, it is. But here was capitalism without the master-slave dynamic. Here was capitalism being presented as a dialogue; a constant, on-going debate about new ideas. And so the purpose, the reasoning of creativity was to participate in that debate. And -voila- that's where I found my moral position on creativity and, eventually, my work. Creativity is not necessarily a force for mediating individualsim or celebrating the self. Sure, I can behave like an artist from time to time; heckling and complaining from the sidelines about how things are going, but it's just as exciting to be right there on the pitch. I know it sounds kinda obvious now... but at the time...

So the next time some moron calls you a "sell-out" or even "a liar" just tell them that it's all about competition. If they're not up to the fight, then keep their fuckin mouths shut.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

When I'm Giddy

An old hobby of mine - one which I haven't indulged in for some time - was writing and submitting offensive and/or unusable material to BBC Radio's Parson's and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections. It's one of those horribly light "satirical comedy" shows: smug, contrived and about as funny as full-blown AIDS. As it happens to be one of the few BBC shows with an open-door submission policy, I thought I'd baffle, annoy, and generally waste the time of it's producers by sending in stuff they couldn't ever use. For example, anyone familiar with my (breif and pointless) Facebook profile will have read my sketch "The Nigger of Dibley" which was culled from this body of material. Get the idea?

Anyway, I've just been tidying the hard-drive on my laptop and discovered the following surrealist comic-oddity. I don't even remember writing this one. I can only guess I was giddy on espresso when I spewed this one out.

So. Hilarious or just bloody odd? You decide.


MAN: Well, this is it – the bachelor pad.

WOMAN: Goodness. Isn’t it lovely. It’s very bright. And a good size too.

MAN: Yes it is, isn’t it. Far, far larger than my poor old penis.

WOMAN: Oh dear. I –


MAN: Shhh. Trust me.


MAN: …That is, of course, assuming we are going to have sex?

WOMAN: Oh, naturally. Although, if its any consolation, I do have a very shallow –

MAN: Bottom? No matter, my love. No, matter.

WOMAN: I was going to say womb.

MAN: Womb? Pah! There’ll be no need for wombs where we’re going, my dear. (HE HANDS HER HER DRINK) Come. Let me show you the bedroom…


WOMAN: … So, how long have you had a small penis for then, exactly?

MAN: Not always. Why do you ask?

WOMAN: Oh, I was just wondering... Do a lot of men have them then– these "small penises?" I suppose its just a local thing, is it?

MAN: (LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW) This whole town’s full of them.

WOMAN: Ah, penises, penises, penises, penises, penises… isn’t it funny to think that there’s more than one in the world?

MAN: Yes. But there’s only one in this room, remember.

WOMAN: Gosh, I know. Isn’t it exciting. I say- do you think we’ll have trouble finding it then?

MAN: Oh, I shouldn’t think so. Here. (HE GOES OVER TO A CUPBOARD)

WOMAN: I suppose you have it alarmed or something, don’t you.

MAN: Look.

WOMAN: Gracious, what is it?

MAN: It’s a pump. For pumping more blood into my small penis.

WOMAN: But whatever for?

MAN: To make it bigger, of course!

WOMAN: I see.

MAN: Yes. I put my small penis into this, much larger, chamber, thus. (HE DOES SO) Then, by squeezing this bulb the subsequent change in atmospheric pressure causes the cock to swell within the vacuum. Would you like to try?

WOMAN: Yes please!


MAN: There, see…steady now…

WOMAN: Its just like the Magdeburg hemispheres… look at it now – it’s huge.

MAN: Keep going. You’re nearly there.

WOMAN: Yes...!

MAN: (ENORMOUS GASP) Wait! Stop stop stop!

WOMAN: What is it – what’s wrong?

MAN: There’s something inside the chamber. Something that shouldn’t be there.

WOMAN: Oh my goodness- where?

MAN: There. Close to the tip.

WOMAN: What is it?
MAN: It’s… it… but I don’t understand –

WOMAN: What is it!?

MAN: (HESITANT) It’s... a frog.

WOMAN: A frog? But how!?

MAN: I don’t know. It must’ve hopped in there.

WOMAN: It looks uncomfortable. Its eyes are bulging.

MAN: At least it wasn’t a toad.

WOMAN: What are we going to do? I’ve never had sex with a frog before. Although –ahem- I have kissed one or two.



Frank Black!

Me and some mates went all starstruck last night when Frank Black/Black Francis made an appearance outside Big Hands* on Oxford Road. He might not be as fat as used to be but fuck-me he can still scream. Lots of glad-handing and autographs later and it was off upstairs to the Academy where he absolutely tore through his latest album. Bloomin' marvelous!


Saturday, 9 February 2008


NOTE: This post is dedicated to pisspoorenglish who made this initial observation the other week. (Once again, thanks for your comments man - oh! and the link too. I've now returned the favour...)

So. The word "nice." You hear it a lot round here in Ad. Country, I'm afraid.

Nice. Nice, nice, nice. I'll say it again. N-I-C-E. Nice. Just. Nice. From an onomatopoeic point of view it does sound kinda insipid doesn't it, like a pensioner sneezing or something -ah! -nice. Bless you.

But nice is the ultimate in faint praise. And no-one (in their heart) likes to hear it. Because nice could always do better. Nice is not superlative; lovely, excellent, ace or incredible. Nice is...well, just nice. Except, perhaps, in the studio-jargon of the ad-man. Where, for some reason, it could mean absolutely anything at all.

Whether it's via another creative, or an agency director, at some point we've all had our work described as "nice." And depending how it's said, nice can mean everything from "fucking fantastic" to just "quite promising." And I for one(along with pisspoorenglish) am fucking sick of it. It drives me up the bloody wall. Here's why:

When I was at college my art lecturer used to circulate around the studio, pseudishly pausing from time to time to consider whatever bollocks any one of us happened to be painting/sketching at that time. With a flick of his sports-jacket, he'd suddenly stand all hipshot, left hand in his pocket, right hand on his chin. Then, waving at a random area of your canvas/drawing board, he'd mutter, "This is... interesting." Then, when you pressed him for more info, maybe by asking "What this bit?" or "Do you mean the foreshortening?" he'd sort of sigh very earnestly and just go, "Yeah. Interesting," before skulking back into the shadows and leaving you none-the-effing-wiser.

And this is the problem with "nice." Nice isn't a judgement or an opinion, or even an assessment . Nice is just a repsonse, in the same way that "interesting" was to my cock of an art teacher. Nice gives the impression of expressing a view before one has clearly been formed. And in that sense, nice is a front. But in the ad man's studio, being able to hedge your opinions is a pretty useful thing to do, not least since a lot of what goes on is (don't tell the account managers) pretty abstract anyway. But by the same token, that's surely all the more reason to be direct with people. I spent all week last week with a serial "nice" offender: "Hmm. Nice." "Oh, that's nice." "Yeah. Nice." "Nice. Yeah." "Nice... nice." And whilst it gave me an inkling that (at least some of) my work was good, I then had to second guess all the bits which might not be.

So. Can we all please stop using the word nice and just be honest with eachother. I know this job can be all farty and floaty but let's not make it any more pseudish than it already is by talking to eachother in abstract, mysterious terms. I really value and respect the opinions of everyone I've ever worked with, so -please god!-let's hear 'em.

And besides, should n't we be saving our bullshit for the clients? ;-)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Going (Even) Further Places With Famous Faces

Ok. So I'm changing the rules a bit now. Now it's just infringing the human rights of peasants as they sleep...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Going Places with Famous Faces

Public transport getting you down? Over-crowded carriages and other people's diseases taking the shine off your day?

Then why not do what I did on the way back from work today and pretend you're surrounded by stars!

Yes! Going Places with Famous Faces is easy to play. Simply pick a prole on the same train, bus or ferry as you and imagine they're someone slightly famous. Choose any prole you want: fat, grey, noisey, dirty. It doesn't matter. Then transpose their miserable chops on to someone off the telly.

So go on. Find a star on your travels and put the shine back in your day. I did!

No. 1: Willy Rushton

Friday, 1 February 2008

Something for the weekend

Valentine's Day looms like an angry headmaster.

So. I got thinking about greetings cards. I once bought my mother a 100th birthday card as a bit of a joke (she's 58 by the way -aren't I just hil-hairy-arse!). On it was a picture of an ancient galleon sailing (or listing?) into the sunset. I couldn't help thinking there was something slightly sinister about it.

Here then are two of my own patented Slightly Sinister Cards what i did make-up me self. Enjoy.

Something positive for a change

I bumped into W+K's new Honda campaign yesterday. (Or was it the day before..? Maybe... I dunno...)

...Anyway, I'm gonna stick my neck out and say -deep breath - I really, really like this.

This is so elegant it makes me sick. Some beautifully executed art-direction (across the whole campaign, actually) that Goldilocks herself would've been proud of (ie. not too hard, not too soft, but juuust right), coupled with an absolutely bullet-proof concept, makes this a blinder. My mate Bobby is well dazzled.

Although I suspect the idea of "problem solving" may have been lifted straight from their breif, it's an undeniably smart piece of work. You may disagree. However, the thing that I really love, and the thing that really interests me about this, is the notion of making the ads problems (albeit very simple ones) in themselves. Being passive isn't an option. Their form requires us to actively participate in them. It's not just an ad anymore. It's an object and an interface; the kind of content usually held back for a website or viral.

I'd love to see more of this kind of thing. In a world where we're all increasingly switching to digital it's good to see something that's playful and engaging that doesn't mean sitting infront of a bloody computer.

(Of course, there's still the obligatory, accompanying web-campaign for all those agoraphobics out there...)