blast(oise) from the past(oise)

photo1(4)Last week I bought a Gameboy Color under the delusion it was some sort of thought experiment.  Wouldn’t it be interesting, I lied to myself, to buy an old Gameboy and boot up the copy of Pokemon Blue I kept for no reason (deep seated psychological issues aside).  Like some sort of digital time capsule, I mused, an insight into the terrible t(w)eenage years.  I would examine my choice of player name, the pokemon I used and what I’d called them.  I would peer into the pixellated psyche of my preteen self, I bluffed, and share the results.  People will love that, I just plain wrongly told myself.

I scoured ebay and bought one (well two,  I’ll be damned if I lose an ebay auction) and waited.  Not really that long and it isn’t an important part of the story so I don’t know why I mentioned it but here it is.  Flash forward four(ish) days to the hallowed beast’s arrival.  I assure you it was no coincidence the precious cargo arrived by myHermes messenger service.  The Gameboy Color (limited edition Pokemon version) is truly gods’ gift to man, and I mean the proper old school, ancient gods here.  Forgot the gift of life or fire, Pandora can go and jump, the real box of myth and legend is made from yellow and blue plastic and has Pikachu on it.  As I opened the box the clouds parted and the heavens opened.  Angels sang.  I audibly gasped.  There was a parade in honour of the very moment as it happened.  This is what Link must feel like I dementedly thought.  I also thought I probably shouldn’t have Coke(ca cola) for breakfast again.


I cradled it briefly, much in the same way I had held my newborn godson, fear mixed with reverie, reverie mixed with fear.  I jammed the blue, Blastoise adorned, cartridge in its back (the Gameboy, not the godson) and held my breath.  Gameboy game batteries last about fifteen years (the more you know, huh?) and mine is a little older than that.  I slid the switch and the console pinged into life.  The familiar scene of a sparring Gengar and Jigglypuff played.  Joy levels achieved critical mass.  I anticipated the amazing, creative names I’d given my pocket monsters, VENAFART, PIKAFART, FARTLETT, I was nothing if not a mature child and lower case was not an option (seriously though, it wasn’t).  The battery, and therefore save function, was in working order. So far things were going better than planned but as I loaded the file disappointment set in.


At some point I’d obviously decided to restart the game giving up soon after.  The present save file was of a player called RUNE, from that time I thought I was misplaced Scandinavian royalty, and had two pokemon, a Charmander and a Metapod.  My first ever ever pokemon, a Bulbasaur who evolved alongside me into Venasaur, was gone. Forever.  I dropped to my knees.  The skies turned black, the heavens opened (again) and a tempest fell upon me.  I howled in anguish, eyes to the sky, hands by my side having torn apart my shirt.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the pulling of hair and beating of breast. Nah, jk I just turned it off and took some pix for Instagram.  I mean, what use is having something if not everybody knows that you have it?  I’ll just play through it again like any normal person in their mid-early-late twenties with two limited edition Gameboy Colors and a blog.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the amazing design choice of putting the power ON  light in Pikachu’s cheek? Give than man, or woman, a medal.


zombie boy v2.0

Do you remember Zombie Boy/Rick Genest?  You do? Good. Well there’s a new heavily tattooed Canadian model on the block and he’s following closely in his footsteps/PR plan.  He’s even done one of those cool Dermablend cover-up videos.  I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I’m sure he’ll get a few photoshoots out of it.  The fashion industry loves this sort of extreme stuff, the whole ugly pretty/pretty ugly argument, but is it worth having your face like that forever?

Have to say I prefer Rick’s video, and tattoos, but there’s something cool about Vin Los’ tattoos looking just like marker pen.  Also have to give the man some points for ingenuity for the chest hair tattoos.  If life doesn’t give you lemons, just draw tattoo them on.  Those Canadians, eh? (couldn’t resist that)

Chambord on the rocks

Something shocking happened during Big Brother on Monday night.  Not during the show of course, because who really cares?, but during the ad break.  Among the terrible ads for payday lenders and shows about autopsies, there it was, the ad for French liqueur, Chambord, in all its glory.  Good enough to make me set down the 3DS, and that’s saying something.  Regardez-vous the bold use of colour, flamingos and those noises French people make.

It should come as no surprise that it was made by Wieden and Kennedy, the people behind cats with thumbs, dancing ponies and cheery car engines, and it’s got their hands/signature all over it.  It should probably be even less surprising they’re the guys who came up with the Southern Comfort’s Whatever’s Comfortable and Old Spice campaigns.  It reminds me (quite a lot) of a few other ads and videos I like which I why I probably like it.  It’s different enough to feel exotic and exciting but familiar enough not to be alienating.  One of those ‘do what you want, just as long as someone else tells you to’ moments.  There’s an interesting article about it on Fast Company at the minute, it’s all very du jour.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m taking the piss because I’m not, I really like this ad, especially the way it looks.  It’s got the sort of editing, and attitude, that would make me buy anything.  I blame taking a degree based on comparative study and having read The Anxiety of Influence.  You end up seeing everything, everywhere.  Did you know that everything is actually The Odyssey? Because it is.  Everything is a Remix.

TL;DR -  take one part Whatever’s Comfortable, one part Stupid Manifesto, one part Battles Ice Cream, serve in the style of Prada CandyGarnish with faux French eccentricity. voila, the Chambord cocktail

Playlist of the series here

made in Belfast

For some reason it was decided I would be a suitable person to curate the @PeopleofUK twitter account this week.  It’s meant I’ve needed to find interesting Belfast things to tweet about, which isn’t hard, I just make it look hard. It’s reminded me that Rihanna shot a music video here a few years back.  That’s right!  Belfast’s New Lodge Area was chosen as the ‘hopeless place’ in the VMA award winning We Found Love video.  Hooray for us!

It was a pretty big deal as there’s a history of bands and singers avoiding Belfast on tours because of the history of, well, you know.  She didn’t quite stop traffic while she was here but loads of people pulled up on the hard shoulder beside the field she was frolicking in.  It later made the press when the land owner kicked Rihanna off the farm for wearing (not much) provocative clothing.  It’s a bit of a coincidence the farm selected happened to have an infamous barn with John 3:16 painted along the side. It’s almost as if it was planned, isn’t it?

And if that isn’t drama enough, the field’s iconic fairy thorn tree is now dying.  Probably from being danced too close to by a scantily clad lady or maybe from the land being over worked.  Such shocking, breaking news that even the BBC used a joke headline.

thinking outside the box

I’m not the biggest film fan.  I’m not really a film fan at all.  Chalk it down to a child-like attention span but they’ve never really held my interest.  And though it might not be my thing I can’t deny the huge influence cinema has on pop culture.  An influence so strong I have a bank of  iconic movie scenes and sayings from films I’ve never seen stored in my head.  Scenes so famous they have become ripe for parody, spoofed and subverted hundreds of times.  Step in Cardboard Box Office who recreate famous films with little more than a baby and a bunch of boxes.  Worth having a child for that alone.


Oh, and let’s not forget aphotoadayofkermitinmay by yours truly.But the important question is, who wore it better?


it could be easy being green

Ever seen an idea so good you wonder why it hasn’t been done before?  Well, the idea of a packaging free supermarket is one of them.  An evolution of the growing ‘bring your own bags’ trend ([soon to be] enforced by law) the shop requires you bring your own bags/ jars/boxes/whatevers to carry loose fruit and veg and dried store cupboard goods to be charged by weight.  The video below is in German, but you can get an idea of what’s going on. Especially interesting seeing the comparison between a traditional and packaging free shop.

Only, it’s even better (or worse) than you thought because further research shows it has actually been done before, just as successfully as I’d hoped.   Austin based store, in-gredients, with a similar ethos seems to be going strong, or at least, not badly, but the London exploration, Unpackaged,  closed at the beginning of the year.  There’s solace to be found that it was a business problem, not a conceptual one, that saw the closure but it still a shame it’s gone.  Fingers crossed upcoming Unverpackt, Berlin’s bite at the packaging free apple, can bring the idea back to Europe.

It’s a great idea and one I would love to see it take off.  I have some experience of the concept with Scoopaway in Bristol, which is (was?) essentially a healthy pic ‘n’ mix and the ability to get exactly how much you want/need is very appealing.  Venice, and other part of Italy I’m sure, have bars which allow you to fill any liquid carrying vessel with the wine of your choice and pay by volume.  It was definitely a novelty for me buy seeing everyone from teenage drinkers to traditional Italian nonne carrying old water bottles filled with crisp whites and deep reds shows that it’s something that’s really taken off.  Let’s hope it happens here too.

There are problems of course and obvious ones at that.  I still see people shopping without even bringing carrier bags (and the carrier bag levy has been in place here for over a year) so expecting them to bring their own tupperware is a stretch but hopefully that will change over time.  I have to admit, that it would definitely put me off just popping to the shops after work but maybe that’s a good thing.  Do we really need to be able to get exactly what we want, exactly when we want it?

PS It raises interesting questions, too many to discuss here, about the differences in Italian and British attitudes to waste, resusing/recycling and ‘fast’ consumerism.  You would never seen a Primark, or even typical high street fashion chain, in Italy and with furniture often passing from generation to generation they don’t even have a word for flatpack (I made that up but it’s probably true) though IKEA is slowly creeping in.






the world is your poster

malmofestivalen2014_fixade_034I make no bones about having a rather large, rambunctious child bubbling just under the surface.  If it were up to him, and me if we’re honest, the world would be a more colourful, distracting place.  Roads would be paved with gold rubbery asphalt (the sort of thing you’d find at modern parks in the nice part of town) and every buildings would be fifty shades of anything but grey.  Escalators and lifts would be replaced with slides and fireman poles.  You’d take the stairs, you’d take them at least two at a time and you’d like it.  Said stairs would probably be a massive keyboard too but he hasn’t/we haven’t decided yet.  Basically, the world of my inner child is an over sized playpark cum toy store.

Luckily I’m not the only one with a controlling inner child and love for large, colourful playthings.  Enter SNASK, the agency between the world’s biggest poster for the City of Malmo Malmofestivalen.  A monster structure, made using 175 litres of paint, 280 plywood boards and 10000 nails, was put together by fourteen people over 900 hours before being snapped from a height of 30metres creating the poster you see above.  With the press shots complete the surreal structure will be moved to the festival site for some audience participation and interaction.  Hopefully photos will be taken throughout so we can see it (d)evolve over time.  I’m doubly hopefully that some dogs get in on the action.

But that’s not all!  If there’s one thing I like more than huge, colourful props being used over digital enhancements it’s behind the scenes shots of aforementioned colourful props being made.  Lucky for me, the lovely, nice, lovely folks from SNASK have sent me some warehouse shots.  The sort of shots that make me wish I knew what a prop/set maker was long enough ago to do something about it.  The obvious thing to do with these pictures is put them together in a picture grid (another thing I like more than huge colourful props and behind the scenes shots of aforementioned colourful props being made).  Look at their cheeky Scandi smiles.