Archive for the ‘Whimsy’ Category

ET-X trailer, nuclear test graphic, North Korean Top Gun, George Lucas Strikes Back, Help the Police, Mark Ronson at the Electric Proms, Teacher vs student rap battle

Monday, March 12, 2012

It occurs to me that some of the excellent videos I’ve spotted from time to time and put on my Facebook feed are actually rather difficult to find. So, here they are:

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Failed business ideas, number one in an occasional series

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Amish iPhone Store

Top 5 proposed front pages for The Independent

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Independent made a courageous decision to stand out from its rivals on the day after the Royal Wedding by using not a photograph of the event, but a drawing by Tracey Emin. The artist is not known for her drawing so much as her installations, but the Indy splashed on the image anyway despite its obvious shortcomings.

Will this become a trend, I wondered. Will Tracey become an artist-in-residence for the newspaper, composing impressionistic works of art in response to every news event? Here is a top 5 of how The Independent might have observed momentous occasions over the last 100 years, from the recent expiry of a certain terrorist mastermind to the sinking of the Titanic.

The killing of Osama bin Laden

September 11, 2001

The Tiananmen Square massacre

The US capture of Iwo Jima

The sinking of the Titanic

Malcolm Tucker in the White House?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Has anyone else noticed, in the widely circulated photograph of President Barack Obama and his staff watching the killing of Osama bin Laden, the presence of Malcolm Tucker, the foul-mouthed spin doctor from The Thick of It, sitting behind Hillary Clinton?

Official captions suggest he is Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser to the President. I don’t usually count myself as a conspiracy theorist, but if you base all your judgment solely on these pictures then something is certainly awry.

Kate Moss and Nazism

Monday, April 25, 2011

I should point out for legal reasons that Kate Moss is not, at least to my knowledge, a Nazi. She is merely the face of a company named after one.

Hugo Boss was a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party, and not in a he-had-to-join-up-to-save-his-business kind of way. He joined two years  before Adolf Hitler came to power and remained as one while he produced uniforms for the Waffen SS.

Now, I don’t believe that children should be made to pay for the sins of their parents, and I’m aware that there are other companies still in existence that did worse than Boss’s. (BASF, for example, manufactured the gas used to murder Jews in the Holocaust.) That said, I find it profoundly weird that so much money has gone into promoting the name of a man who thought Hitler was a force for good.

I don’t know about you, but it is going to be hard for me to envision Kate Moss’s face henceforth without seeing a little moustache on her upper lip.

Two monks walk into a bar

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two monks walk into a Dostoevsky-themed bar and order drinks. “I’ll have a Karamat,” says one.
“I’ll have a Karamat, too,” says the other.
The barman frowns apologetically. “Sorry brothers, Karamat’s off.”

Running out of ideas

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Running is, frankly, a bit of a bore. It takes resolve to get started, it’s tedious while it’s happening, and you have to have a shower afterwards. Why do we do it? The traditional response is that it gives a sense of well-being, but that’s not quite the full story. It also gives a sense of superiority.

That’s why runners are so odious. I mean, I get it. I’ve done it. I have felt good about myself, self-satisfied, superior to my usually lazy self and, by extension, anyone who has not been puffing and panting while I have. But if that is the sensation I’m trying to replicate, there must be ways of achieving it without all the faff.

Rather than induce a sense of superiority through exercise, you could develop an innate sense of superiority by becoming good at something and convincing yourself it’s important. It doesn’t really matter what that thing is. The person I heard scat-singing on Woman’s Hour this morning sounded terribly smug even though her talent was merely warbling “do-do-do-dun-bap-bap-bap-showaddy-waddy” to modern jazz. It could be writing a blog about your dislike of jazz singers.

Or, I suppose, it could be something that adds to the sum of human happiness. That’s something best dealt with off-blog, I think.

Of Thee I Vomit

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is Barack Obama’s latest book, Of Thee I Sing, an inspirational story that will appeal to the hope of every child, or a jingoistic schmaltz-bath that will leave non-Americans heaving into their hats? It’s somewhere between the two, I’d say, but sufficiently close to the second for me not to want to give my free copy to any of my nieces or nephews. Anyhow, I don’t imagine anyone comes here for reviews of presidential children’s books. (My visitor stats suggest that almost everyone comes here looking for Love Is… cartoons, in fact.)

What struck me is that one of the role models Obama lionises is Georgia O’Keeffe, who “moved to the desert and painted petals, bone, bark. She helped us see big beauty in what is small: the hardness of stone and the softness of feather”. And, he could have added, vaginas in flowers. Maybe in his next book.

Top 5 unexploited fashion trends

Thursday, December 2, 2010

If fashion is anything*, it is the triumph of novelty over aesthetics. The newer an idea, the better, which is why the fashion conscious frequently find themselves gulled into wearing things like snoods and mid-calf boots.

Neither of these items are new, of course. They are merely old enough to ensure that no one who remembers their last appearance is young enough for their opinion to matter.

I can do better. Here are five items that are so new that I expect them to be foisted upon the credulous imminently.

Wishnets: any fashion designer could come up with tights attached to boots (although I’m not sure anyone has) but to date no one has had the wit to combine fishnets with waders. These could also be known as faders.

Pit stops: shirts once had detachable collars so that they could be washed separately. A capital idea, but half-baked. They should also have detachable armpits. Not only would they be novel, but economical. It’s only really the collar and armpits that need washing on a shirt. The environment thanks you.

Shocks: combined shoes and socks, with detachable lining to facilitate washing.

Scoves: everyone has fond memories of mittens connected, through the sleeves of one’s coat, with a piece of string. But string? Am I a conker? (No.) Join the gloves with a woollen scarf. It would be warm, and only carry a slight risk of strangulation in the event of sudden arm movements, such as might happen during a snowball fight. (There will have to be a warning label.)

Sock-bra (working title): the halterneck bra is a commendable deviation from the shoulder-strap tyranny, but it needs an ally. My friend B suggested a bra with straps that go over the shoulders and connect to a pair of socks at the back. This would have the added function of lifting the wearer’s breasts while seated and indeed exercising them when walking.

*I’m willing to listen to arguments that fashion is actually nothing.

The turd of the Nile

Monday, November 1, 2010

It can be difficult, sometimes, to spot the difference between:

a) an Islamic fundamentalist earnestly bent on mass murder, and

b) a character from a 1980s action-comedy starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

Is Anwar al-Awlaki, al-Qaeda’s man in Yemen and suspected mastermind of the recent parcel bomb plots, related to the Jewel, the title character in The Jewel of the Nile portrayed by Avner Eisenberg?

Al-Awlaki and Eisenberg were both born in America and Eisenberg is a clown, which, as we all know, is an indicator of evil. On the other hand, Eisenberg is Jewish, which suggests that he and al-Awlaki would struggle to maintain a temperate conversation once talk drifted away from their mutual distaste for pork.

I’m not ruling out a Jekyll and Hyde scenario, but on balance it seems more likely that al-Awalki simply based his image on the Jewel after watching the film as a child. The Jewel is, after all, a religious leader, albeit a humble, peaceful one rather than a self-aggrandising wankpot.