Monthly Archives: November 2010

Yet more factors

I’m watching X Factor again. The results this time. I won’t talk about it though. You can form your own opinions of the various haircuts on offer if you really care enough. Don’t let me do it for you.

However, I do ask that you recognise, understand and choose to follow my thoughts on the following.

You are now reading ‘the following’. Take notes.

Adverts. They have their uses – letting people know when what indie sensation’s album Edith Bowman would consider ‘stunning’; repeatedly encouraging the idea that attractive women are just great; and allowing quality artistic efforts to be distributed for some level of ‘no-cost’ to the end user.

But they are consistently something of a deadening evil, promoting consumption and mediocrity at both insane and inane levels – something I won’t go into as several hundred books and documentaries and articles have been made/written/recorded on the matter and my thoughts would be for nought.

Several recent examples have brought out some terrible, extra repugnance I did not know I had however, and I feel an urge to share a grievance.

I don’t mean Amanda Holden’s further explorations of all that is turgid, plastic, artless and vile – her career has been nothing but.

For it is John Goodman – star of the properly wonderful sitcom analysis of the dysfunctional US working-class, Roseanne, and other similarly excellent productions as Big Lebowski, Barton Fink and Monsters, Inc. (it’s great!) – who has shown an ugly side in recent project choices.

I of course mean Sky’s promotion for its HD Box (a magic box that makes everything look a little bit nicer I think, like a viewfinder) which can be viewed in all its monstrous (LOL!) glory below:

If you don’t want to watch it (I wouldn’t blame you) a suitable summary would be ‘John Goodman taking two fantastic previous works – the family sitcom father, and the hirsuit amiable monster – and combining both into a derivative tale of an alien family who find themselves on earth with the perception that SKY products are an essential part of a happy human life.

Not only content with needling all the value out of honed, beloved characters – attaching all merit and character traits associated with such roles to an alien being who has the power to travel through space, yet is impressed by a slightly clearer picture on a screen – he is doing so for SKY!

SKY!

A company, 38 per cent of which is owned by News International, a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corporation. As in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation! The company at the forefront of commercial bias, and free market search for profits ABOVE ALL ELSE.

And millionaire Goodman is taking money to promote such a company, whilst simultaneously turning characters he did not even create into alien incompetents.

I was also surprised to hear well-known post-punk political protagonists Gang of Four’s Natural’s Not In It in an advert for something associated with video games – I forget what.

This is a song which opens with the lines “The problem of leisure/ What to do for pleasure/ Ideal love a new purchase/ A market of the senses” before extolling a set of verses and choruses that many would describe as anti-consumerist.

Yet it’s promoting an entirely unnecessary product.

I don’t really know how song rights are managed with regards to use in advertisements, so can’t comment too much further on a band allowing its work to be used in such a fashion.

This blog post has an interesting take on how the band may have come to such a conclusion to allow their work to be used in such a way – attracting new fans who like what they hear who then go on to listen to the song in full and appreciate the message and throw all Sony/Microsoft related products out their windows.

At least I think that’s what is meant to happen.

In any case, it’s nice to hear one of the greatest bands ever get a bit more exposure. And I’ll just assume if I ever spoke to whose decision it was, they’d still have integrity after some light questioning.

I’ll leave you with one more advert – and one that is just amusing in its influence.

It is for discount clothes shack, Matalan (the Cheryl Cole to Cher Lloyd’s Primark) and involves two young children, of unspecified but clearly awkward relationship, in a snow-covered yard, all the time clearly defining themselves as separate from a local population that one can only assume neither appreciates or trusts them.

Basically, it’s Let The Right One In but with a less extortionate costume budget. And less death. The same amount of people who should die though. Enjoy!

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Factors

X Factor’s taking a commercial break right now. Matt Cardle’s just done whatever he does and made Dannii Minogue cry, or leak or something. Her ducts are exploding.

It’s compulsive viewing though. There are four fireworks displays fully viewable from the 14th floor of this tower block. I know this as I live there. I’m here at this moment in fact.

And while I could indulge in such free, if fleeting entertainment, taking joy in the novelty of such firey delights in the relative comfort of this living room, complete with cardboard furniture and aromas of a party now two weeks’ old, I choose not to.

For I prefer the extravagant, ridiculousness of this singing show, now so subversively enjoyed, my Twitter stream becomes a highlight of the week.

And it’s mainly because of Wagner. Seriously, just watch him. He’s a Brazilian marv! A cross between Blanka, Andy Kaufman and a lion. And more terrifying than all three. Together. Coming at you with their special attacks.

He’s better than any rocket or banger.

I now want Wagner’s face to be materialised in the decaying sparks visible in the black night sky. It won’t happen. Someone photoshop it!

But yes, Wagner makes it all worthwhile. Though there is one act I take genuine delight in, in a way that they are talented and exciting in a purely musical sense.

I’m speaking about Cher of course (not that one). For she’s 17 and ‘of the moment’ and all so shiney in the eyes of execs, but she can sing and she’s interesting and she clearly knows that Dannii Minogue is a moron, which is wonderful. I’ve only recently come across her audition footage too (after missing out on all the introductory stages) where you can see a spark devoid from the non-faces of Matt Cardle, that Rebecca person and the rest of the tedious ones I forget so easily. Treyk. Is that one?

I didn’t mean to write about X Factor. I was going to discuss important things like the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence having its powers for deciding what drugs are available on the NHS taken away by a moronic coalition government and other things about work and life and comedy and music.

I’ve lived here for over a month. I said I’d read so much more and write so much more when I was in a place where I was comfortable and happy, but it’s struggling to come out so far. I blame having the internet back in my life after a few months absence. There’s been a lot to catch up on – mainly videos of cats flushing toilets, and googling Mae Whitman. Definitely not cut out for NaNoWriMo anyhow. I’ll work out something.

Also, Battersea Park is a bloody nice place to go too on a weekend when I should be advancing my mental capacities. The swimbling pool distracts too.

Anyway, I was meant to complain about a couple of advertisements too. Mainly ones that involve beloved figures selling their dignity. I’ll save that for tomorrow though. Be excited!


Flowers

I was thinking about flowers today. I do most days. Flowers are around, I notice them, thus thoughts arise.

It’s a boring, tedious process.

Anyway, the theme of romance came up at work today in one of those interdepartmental conversations, when one employee crosses into a host domain.

I asked someone – a male aged 18-26, with the heart of lion and the flying powers of a hawk – if he’d ever bought anyone flowers.

He hadn’t. Nor would he admit to have ever done anything romantic for a girl.

This is irrelevant though, it just spilled out my fingers. And sort of leads up to the point of what I’m writing about.

I was then asked for my romantic exploits. I have little to none. Tedious nugatory bombast is an apt description perhaps of any such attempt, or want of an attempt.

An inane story of lollipops was told though – the sugary gift for the lactose intolerant – but nothing to swell a heart or impress a room made up of women for whom Spangles and space hoppers were a reality, not some mythic Peter Kay comic device.

And that was that, as the invading force trekked by to the homeland of a comfy office chair and a warm Mac.

In my head though, as often happens, I continued the conversation, and turned it into a rant of my mind’s creation (and sole audience) of the pointlessness of flowers.

Not in general of course – they’re beautiful, they smell nice, they feed bees or something, I don’t really know – but to actually purchase as a gift.

For flowers are meant to say ‘I care’. Or a variation of such – ‘I love you’, ‘get better’, ‘I miss you’, ‘I’ve jizzed on your best friend, but I should probably feel bad about it’. And so on.

But they only do as such (and remember this is opinion of conjecture, self-loathing and tiredness) because of the cultural cliche involved.

Thus, the thought process: someone in a film or TV show has bought flowers for someone and it has made both parties happy, thus it must work in real life.

What this does though is turn a pleasant notion of purchasing a gift for a loved one something utterly redundant of emotion or personality. To buy a rose for your fiancee is to condemn your relationship into a (nice smelling) mire of smiling celebrities and a brief accentuation of the aesthetic. Until the very things die.

A man does not buy petals and stems – he buys a hollow present and a damned future.

Unless of course he (I say he, but women can offer flowers as gifts too I’m sure I’ve read somewhere) picks the flowers himself from non-private ground, contemplating each flower for its own beauty and the real joy it might actually bring to someone. Then that’s okay. At least there’s effort.

There was meant to be a closing point of some sort here too, but it’s gone. Just the idea of ever buying flowers flaunts a thoughtlessness that shouldn’t exist between two people in love.