Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wakey Wakey!

I'm playing at this...at about 2pm on the Saturday afternoon (30th).

Celebriddys Again

I've just seen the line-up of Celebrity Big Brother.  And once more I've heard of THREE of them.  How long do I have to wait for that long-awaited time when I've not heard of any of the people on this programme?  I guess this must be because they always have a couple of people who were famous(ish) some time ago.  And a bunch of people who were on the actual Big Brother a few years back.  Something like that anyway.

Sam Fox was one of them I'd heard of...Christopher Biggins is another.  And Helen Lederer...

It's darned disappointing though...

Friday, June 03, 2016

Off for a Lloyds...

I’ve been meaning to have a go at the follow-ups to the ludicrous Lloyds bank adverts – yet another of those where they show people turning from attractive children to attractive ‘older people’ via being attractive adults.  And rescuing teddies and stuff.  Lloyds is the one (I think) where a big horse gallops through the maternity ward and whatnot.  At one point the horse gallops past a couple in the street.  A (presumably) gay man is clearly proposing marriage to another (presumably) gay man.  He’s decided to do this in the street while a horse runs past.  As you do when you're pretending to be gay in an advert.  He’s gone for the whole 'ring in a box down on one knee' thing.  In the street.  Any homophobics are presumably too busy looking at the horse to cause any aggro.  Or he can’t think of a better place to do this than in the middle of the street.

Something tells me that this couple were originally going to be a heterosexual couple.  Bet your life someone at the advertising agency simple squeaked with delight at the whole instant inclusive right-on ness of making them a gay couple.  Then they squeaked even louder and treated themselves to a game of ping-pong instead of lunch when it occurred that they could make one of them black.  Should have also put one of them in a wheelchair but they clearly never thought of adding that particular egg to the advert pudding.

But then!  Then someone suggested that they go for that whole the fuckwitted British Public love a character thing.   They spend hundreds of pounds on insurance to get a meerkat toy, they really really love that opera singing insurance bloke and they’d sell their own grandmothers for one of those Brian toys.  Then they ‘like’ the Facebook page and Tweet their friends and talk to their mates about how they’ve taken these lovable characters to their hearts because they’ve clearly got nothing else going on in their lives…

So now there’s a follow up advert – the gay couple again, just them on a poster.  There’s a picture of them hugging and it says ‘he said yes’!  Dancing in the streets!  We’d all been wondering if the made up (presumably) gay character played by an actor who asked the other made up (presumably) gay character played by an actor to marry him in the middle of the street as a horse galloped past had said yes or ‘don’t do the whole hetero cliché thing on me and watch out for the homophobic thief just behind you’.

So…if you’d like to believe that the fictional characters in the advert are real in some way and that there was a proposal and ‘he said yes’, go on, knock yourself out.  If you’re lucky there’ll be a Facebook page about them which you can ‘like’.  You can Tweet your friends about them and possibly follow their progress.  Choose the wedding venue and what they’ll wear and the kind of sex you’d like them to have.

Actually, I think there can’t be more than half a dozen simpletons who care and actually this is just the advertising industry milking another doltish (or coltish in this case – boom boom!) company into thinking that even though they screwed up the economy and everyone hates them that if they make up a gay couple one of whom is black then everyone will just love them.  Unless we haven’t got every penny of our money back.

In which case we still hate them.

And look!  Get that damned banky horse out of the maternity ward!  Please don't bother to check the advert out though.  You'll need really sturdy buttocks well used to clenching.  And it'd only encourage them...

Alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus - that's £50 please mate...

The Leeds University Alumni people have been in touch again.  This time they want a donation of (at least) £50 to fill in the gap caused by the government phasing out bursaries for students from low income households.  

This is where we are folks.  Decades of moving away from public towards private, from education for civilisation’s sake to education merely to feed the economy, from tax rates sufficient to fund students to massive student loans.  There’s also this fantasy that anyone who goes (or went) to University must be somehow on the upper-middle class gravy train that still sort of exists and that they’re prepared to stump up a few quid to cover government cuts.  Perhaps we should have a raffle to fund a replacement for Trident or to fill the hole caused by those firms who don’t pay any tax?  

I don’t really blame the Alumni people – but no, sorry, I haven’t got £50 spare anyway, never mind £50 to cover the cost of moving the country’s wealth to the rich. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Leeds - in the Dock

I visited Leeds Dock this afternoon.  What a depressing place.  I don’t know how long it’s been there but it’s already showing signs of falling apart.  Compared to what it might have been the Leeds waterfront / river area is a bit rubbish.  It has the distinct look of a 2000s property boom gone wrong.  You just know they will have talked a lot about 'exciting spaces' and ‘regeneration’ – which many people have now spotted was short-hand for property speculation / expensive flats.  Cheaply built expensive flats by the looks of it.  I think all the cool young people earning a fortune in ‘digital industries’ are supposed to live in them when not out jogging to the office, eating sushi, playing ping-pong outside cafes and riding bikes with no gears to Tesco Metro.  But I think the word ‘faux’ applies to a lot of it – faux public spaces, faux community, faux cool, faux bleeding edge…For people who have ‘lifestyles’ but oddly find that they don’t always feel as great as they should.

I don’t know when it was all built but it was clearly quite recently.  But now we see the stains on the buildings, the cracks, the weeds, the plastic coating peeling off posts and railings, plants and green algae growing where they’re clearly not supposed to, rusty bits on vents and fittings and maintenance budgets (if they have them) presumably not up to the task.  Like a smart City trader after a weekend in the cells it doesn’t look so smart any more.  It looks a bit abandoned really.  

And basically it’s a pile of tower-blocks.  I don’t know if anyone estimated how long they’d last when they built them, my guess is that was a question dodged, but I predict that it’ll be less than 20 years before the first one comes down and the questions start getting asked as to how they got away with so many shoddy buildings that no-one really wanted or needed.

I just Googled ‘Leeds Dock’ and it seems it has a website – “Leeds Dock is a thriving public space featuring the best the city has to offer, from flexible contemporary workspace to quirky cafés and outdoor dining”.

It doesn’t look like it’s thriving (if it was maybe they wouldn’t have to insist it was) and I suspect that most of the space is actually private.  Quirky cafes – oh Lord save us!  Look at the News section for a list of Tweets about how brilliant it seems to be desperately trying to be.  

Am I just being harsh and cynical?  Probably.  Are these people really having a wonderful time?  Perhaps so and I should embrace 'independent food' and 'agility workshops 'to improve your run' (for only £12.50!) and waterside yoga and...well, perhaps it's just not for the likes of me...   

Friday, May 13, 2016

NISA local

There’s a new ‘NISA’ shop opened near me.  Just down the road from a little Tescos and a Co-op.  It opened in April.  I give it until Christmas.  Which is sad.  Presumably someone does viability projections on these things and maybe they ask a few local people – though probably not is my guess.  If they’d have asked me I’d have said it’d close by Christmas…

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The World's First Treat-Tossing Dog Camera

The world's first treat-tossing dog camera is here ladies and gentlemen!

Just in case you thought that human striving and endeavour was a bit of a waste of time sometimes...

For some reason I got signed up to one of those crowd-funding websites.  That's how I know about this  This groundbreaking idea is 302% funded.  So I don't have to.  Luckily.  Even though it has barking alerts and night vision.  

Maybe if I'm quick I can invent the dog-tossing treat camera?  Or the camera tossing treat dogger?

Barking alert seems appropriate I suppose... 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I is the NME / mighty fallen

I remember when you’d get the likes of Bogshed on the front cover of the NME - and that was back in the days when the NME was a big deal and competing with Sounds and Melody Maker.  But this week it has a lad in a suit on the front with the headline ‘this is suiting’ (whatever that might mean) – it’s an advert for Topman.

How are the mighty fallen eh?

Given the way the modern world is mind, I can just hear someone claiming that the lad in the suit is not actually on the cover but on the ‘wraparound’ or some-such logic-defying made up ad-speak.  Call me out of touch but to me the front cover is the thing that’s on the actual front of the magazine, the bit that you see without having to open it.  You know, the front.  The cover.  The front cover.  And not what's hidden inside.

I’m not blaming the NME for this state of affairs by the way but it’s still sad to see.  I doubt whether the old NME would have had a full-page advert for DFS settees in it either (or cars) but there you go…

The cover does tell me that it’s now OK again to wear white socks.  About time, I never had a problem with them.  Mind you the suits are too skinny and the trousers too short even for a 20 year old.  So there.

Who’s on page 3?  Jimmy Clitheroe.  My name for Biffy Clitheroe.  Or Clyro.  I bet their publicity people tell the world that they're on the cover of the NME this week.  Unfortunately they're not.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Weather what they tell you is true or not...

I'm not particularly comfortable moaning about the weather forecast but well, today...

Today I heard them saying on Radio 4 at about 8.30am that the weather 'in the North of England' was grey and cloudy and showery and would stay that way.  In fact it was bright and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.  People were remarking about what brilliant weather it was.  At a couple of points during the morning I checked various on-line weather sites including the BBC.  Many of the forecasts had those graphs divided into hours - and all of them said that in Leeds it was cloudy and raining.  WTF? (Oh that's 'Want That Fashion' according to a hoarding I passed today - they're just so darned clever those advertising types y'know?!)

Did none of them have a single intern or anyone at all who could look out of the window and work out that they were completely wrong?

In the end the weather did turn bad (some time in the afternoon) but it's a really surreal experience to be told by authoritative voices on the radio and usually reliable on-line sources like the BBC that black is actually white, or rather bright blue skies are actually grey rainy skies.

Maybe it was a glitch in the Matrix or tax haven money being re-shovelled about that caused the world to shift off its axis slightly...Shows that our super duper ever so modern 24 hour rolling weather world is not as advertised though...

Comfort Essentials

There exists in the world such a thing as Moisturising Gel Reflexology Socks.

“Comfort Essentials” apparently…I thought it essential that I tell you this fact.  I expect the UN will add this to the list of things a person needs that are essential along with drinkable water, shelter etc.