Saturday, April 21, 2007


Interesting Penn and Teller episode of Bullshit on language, swearing and the history of profanity.

Found at

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Also published on Watch With Mothers. Or it will be soon.

Adverts are a really easy target. They have a limited time to deliver a very specific message and that must be prioritised ahead of normal storytelling logic; you don't need to know why the Englishman is involved in the mass exodus of a city during a Latin America Revolution, you just need to know that wearing Lynx makes him calm doing it, and it impresses the shit out of really hot women who are also inexplicably caught up in said revolution.

It's a form of social contract between the advertising industry and the audience. The audience accept that the adverts will not stand up to scrutiny and therefore do not ask for greater detail than they are given. In return the advertising industry get to rape all that is good and holy in the world, and are allowed to systematically destroy societal values, culture, language and laws until the population bow down before the almight God of consumerism.

Anyway. Their simple nature gives them a form of exclusion from too much dissection. A man could go mad trying to chart and satirically write about all the logic flaws contained in adverts, and who really cares? Blot on the landscape of life they may be, and sociological fascination most definately, but the simple narrative is too insignificant to spend too much time worrying about.

The internal world that TV adverts exist in are very fragile. Mostly we'll accept the fictional version of reality as they present it, but if they step outside that carefully constructed world the whole thing falls apart. It with this in mind that I'd like to discuss the new Strongbow advert - the first from their new "aaaaaah, first pint" campaign - and one specific section of it.

First off, it's quite a good advert. The idea is clear and concise, the target demographic well catered to and the presentation slick yet charming. The basic concept is a good one - we've all experienced that lovely first hit of a cold pint on a summers day, and they are saying that by drinking Strongbow you can prolong and heighten that sensation. The man in the advert goes into some kind of orgasmic trance when tasting the stuff, but that's a good enough representation of the idea.

Or is it? I have issue with the background action of this advert, and I believe it's broken its contract with the audience and has failed to stay within the confines of its set universe. The first question to ask is how long does this take place over? Judging by the amount drank by the two lager fans I could estimate no more than ten minutes, which I think is a fair time to consume a quarter of a pint. Ten minutes is statistically a long enough time to run into a charity collector in a pub. It's low odds, but it could happen so I have no problem with that indicator of the passing of time - what worries me is the football match.

There is no football match playing when they enter the bar, nor is there one playing when the main character comes out of his alcohol induced coma. This can mean one of two things - that either a flash mob of sophisticated football fans overran the place for ten minutes before beating a hasty retreat, at the exact same time as our man first sipped his Strongbow (statistically very unlikely) or he was engaged in a buddhist experience of the liver for well over two hours.

This would mean not only did he miss a good portion of his evening out, but also that he didn't see the football and his two friends will be a good three pints in by now and probably quite pissed. What is the message that Strongbow are trying to send out? That their drink is so fucking good you will become paralysed for several hours and totally incommunicable to the outside world? Maybe their grand plan is to create a nation of zombified alcoholics, pubs across the land will be filled with exhaling Strongbow drinkers, grinning like petrified corpses and making noises like the recreated humans in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Of course that's not the case; the football match was just used as a visual indication of the passing of time - but this is what I mean by a poor narrative within adverts. The advert has failed to make me want to buy the product as every time I see it I think " Christ! Poor bastard, how long was he there for?"

Of course it could be argued that since I'm talking about it the advert has succeeded in raising the profile of the product. Then again, the fact that it tastes like sugar fermented in pomane and mixed with piss also guarantees that I'll never drink the stuff, no matter how good, or how crap, their adverts are.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Быстрая Поездка в Москву

It doesn't seem really real, going to Moscow. I know I was there, I have photos to prove it as well as a CCCP Zippo, but the whole trip feels like it happened to somebody else with their memories filtered through me. It may have been the furious week of work that preceeded it, or the immediate return to reality that followed it, or even the fact that we were there for only two nights...

Moscow was great. The city fulfilled pretty much every expectation I had, and kinda upheld most of my preconceptions too. It had a bleak appeal, charming but outdated and stunning yet depressing. There was an amount of old dusted over everything that reminded you, paradoxically, that the country had not yet reached a quarter of a century. Many Eastern European cliches were abound - the Ladas, the industrial weather, the stern expressions - but the city had true character, and a sense of achievement and satisfaction about it.

Max, our permanently wasted, emotionally broody, sexually satisfied promoter was a great host, and the gig was terrific - despite the fact that I hadn't played with 65days for 4 months, and it showed. I did have the great pleasure of telling two Jack Daniels girls - all leggy and in cowboy hats - to fuck off as they were in my way, which was extremely satisfying.

After the gig, though, was one of the more surreal moments of my life. We hopped into three street taxis - unwarrantied Ladas driven by men with moustaches - and were spirited away to an industrial estate somewhere near the set for Hostel. About 2am we were standing in a deserted street watching the packs of wild dogs and waiting for the third taxi containing Max to arrive. Moments later we were led through a steel gate, up some concrete stairs and down a Twin Peaks Black Lodge corridor into a wasteland room with a bar, neon lights and more passed out Russians than conscious ones. A few industrial strength vodkas and bubblegum pop tunes later and we left... as we stumbled through the hallway a group of Russians yelled "bollocks" and Spider wrote "Release the Kracken" on the wall... outside John rode a small tricycle and Joe found a 1970's Cuban hat... the doors on the taxi would only open one side and the gin in the hotel bar tasted like Tequila... we fell asleep at dawn and when we woke it was snowing.

There's a legitimacy to being nonchalant when you're in a country for a purpose other than a holiday. Seeing the sites, staying up all night and being social are not the point of the trip - so you can afford to be dismissive and not feel obliged to do whatever you're meant to do. Paul remarked to me that he found it hilarious that we could all be in Red Square, could stand outside St Basils cathederal and then casually decide to go for a coffee... travelling with a band have made us all a little blase about visiting countries, the enormity of the locations you find yourself has diminished and even the thought of "how the hell did I end up here" begins to fade.

In saying that, Moscow is the first country I've visted with them this year. So far they have managed Ireland, the US, Japan, Germany, Holland and Belgium. Quite how they're coping I have no idea.

They asked if I wanted to come along next week and sell t-shirts for a week in Europe. Very few things seem more appealing than touring Europe for a week with a rock band right now, but there's visuals to be made, work to be attended and money to be earned.

And how are you?

More photos from Moscow at Day of the Dave.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Aaron Stout - Spacestation

Released by Monotreme Records
Illustrated by Phlegm Comics
Produced by Medlo
Directed by Tza Parmee and Dan Phlegm

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Where to be, what to did


Whaddup. How've you been man?


Yeah, all good thanks. It's been a hectic few weeks, though. How's about you?


Well I headed to London for a few days, saw a whole bunch of people and talked alot of work. Went to see Radioactive Man and bumped into Andy Digitonal, hooked up with him the next day and went looking at cameras.


Nah, I don't have a pin number for the business account so I couldn't buy it.


Well, we talked about doing a few projects - another rescore perhaps and maybe a music video, plus a super sweet but super secret idea of Andy's for next years Big Chill, which was very cool.


No, I'm not telling.


I went to the cast and crew screening of Sunshine on the Sunday with Dza and Nicky, Andy came too and we saw Violet, Gia and loads of people I didn't recognise but Dza insisted on hugging.


Yeah, it's really good. I totally enjoyed it. Have you seen the trailer?



The next weekend I went to Cromer in Norfolk with Isobel - shit, that reminds me that I totally forgot to call her - and had a lovely weekend away at her parents cottage. Lots of roaring fires, walks on the beach and kisses, it was awesome. Really good to actually relax the ol' shoulders for a while and sleep on a real mattress at a proper time. There's some photos on my photoblog if you haven't seen 'em... Day of the Dave.


Um, about a year and a half now... it's brilliant.


Yeah, I'm still cramming the hours at the Showroom as well, which is really starting to suck. I've just been there too long and I'm starting to hate the place, which doesn't make me a great person to work with. I'm off on tour in May and I'm taking the month off and am hoping to just not come back. We'll see...


If I can afford it, definately. It's all about making sure I can bring enough money in for Medlo so that I can get paid... I have a few plans, it's all a matter of time...


Well this weekend I've been doing some promo stuff for Sunshine which has been a load of fun - nice to be able to dedicate four whole days to one project actually, instead of juggling about six simultaneously. I'm going to Moscow on Thursday with 65 and we'll be performing seven new tracks, which means Hux and I have got a hell of alot of work to do before then.


Yup. Moscow. I'm unbelievably excited. It's a Jack Daniels sponsored festival.


Heh. Nice knowing you too..


Cool, ok mate. I'll talk to you later. Better get back to the visuals...