Monday, 20 April 2009

So shit, it's good

Hello. I'm back. (Yeah, good thanks).

For those of you who don't know, I've been in Cornwall for a week reading The Guardian and wearing sandals, and generally being appallingly middle-class and a bit too bloody"organic" for my liking. Eugh.

Anyway, whilst I was floating around the holiday cottage (and eating crab sandwiches in my batik pyjamas) I stumbled upon the obligatory "Days Out Folder." You know the one I mean - the ring-binder the owner leaves that's full of takeaway menus, taxi numbers and (if you're lucky) a load of flyers and leaflets for local tourist attractions (or if you're unlucky, the installation manual for the water boiler). Nevertheless, the Days Out Folder is a compelling treasure-trove of tat; a faded catalogue of wonky, incomprehensible rustic attractions. Shall we visit a "Craft Farm Heritage Restaraunt," or a "Miniature Meat Zoo"? Let's go the "Open-Air Steam Aquarium," or the "Foreskin Gardens at Spunkcastle"! You can imagine my dilemma.

And so, it was amongst these hysterical shrieks for publicity that I discovered a leaflet for Flambards (pics coming soon) - a mutant theme-park/garden centre/museum/con-centre thing, the contents of which boasts some the weirdest, and wrongest copywriting I have ever seen.

Seemingly drafted by a dead Victorian lawyer (or possibly a wizard?), Flambard's disturbing tone of voice veers between stiflingly pompous formality, and apopleptic, doom-addled rhetoric.

To quote the COVER-page in it's full 120 words (I shit you not):

"Come rain, Come shine…

Come to Flambards

FLAMBARDS is a highly acclaimed Leisure Park set in acres of colourful gardens. Car parking is free and there is a shaded area and water-point for dogs.

7000 sq. mtrs of indoor floor area gives ample scope for an exceptionally high standard of attractions, designed to please & surpass the expectations of all who experience them.

Due to lack of print space, not all that is price-inclusive is listed here; there are many more delightful surprises to discover on THE DAY.

With so much pleasure and diversity included in the entrance fee, Flambards is possibly the BEST VALUE FOR MONEY for a comparative great day out for all age-groups, anywhere in the country."

12 meandering pages in, and we suddenly get a right fucking bollocking over Flambard's Victorian Village:

"The Village is not a mock-up made of hardboard, cardboard or M.D.F. All of the buildings are real buildings, built from traditional materials; brick, stone, granite and timber.

The streets are cobbled with granite setts, salvaged from the old streets of Bath in the 1960s, while the wood-block floor of the schoolroom had already felt the tread and scuffs of thousands of clogs and hob-nailed boots, before being salvaged from the demolition of a Victorian school somehwere 'up North' and transported to Flambards. Who knows? They might serve their original purpose yet for another hundred years.


It is unique. It has to be experienced to be beleived."

Jesus. Sorry, Dad. Don't hit me again, yeah?

Whilst it's real easy for me to piss-my-pants over the ham-fisted weirdness of Flambards' homespun brand, on reflection (and kill me now cos I'm gonna sound like a gushing planner's twat) there's actually something deeply creative and original in it all. It's crass and unsophisticated, but only by comparison. Why does everything have to be polished and strategised, and targeted? There's just something intriniscally charming about an in-house brand - a "folk brand"* almost - where client's make their own marketing. I've said stuff like this here before (can't be arsed finding the link) - I mean, it's clunky, but it's cute, right.


Oh, bollocks. Have I just talked myself out of work again?

*Please, no jokes/comments like "Simon and Garfunkel - they were a good folk brand"

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