Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen was my favourite poet when I was little. Him, followed by Roger McGough. Here's some of his masterpieces.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Rudest dance craze ever.

Apparently this video isn't just some porno dancing, it's actually a real dance craze in Dance halls (in the Caribbean or Jamaica I have been told). Love how people push boundaries with dance in every generation. Maybe this will be how everyone is dancing in a few years? Don't laugh! It could happen! Just think about the outrage caused by flappers, women smoking, mini-dresses, Rock and roll and it's not such a stretch of the imagination. The song sounds shit at first but the video actually makes it really memorable. Hey I'm up for some grinding!

I've attached the link to the original above but I've embedded only the remix as the original was "disabled by request".

Merry Snowing Christmas.

Merry Christmas readers. I am feeling particularly festive because there is a blanket of white outside the office window. Im not sure what the outlook is for Christmas day but this is close enough to count as a white Christmas in my book. It's funny isn't it that the British people spend the run up to Christmas singing about white Christmases and hoping that it will snow every time it's cold and there's a cloud. Yet when it actually does snow at Christmas we are not prepared for it. We moan about the chaos on the roads and the canceling of flights and trains. We like the thought but not the reality. It seems that the only day it is actually allowed to snow is Christmas day itself, or Christmas Eve after dark so that when we wake up on Christmas morning all is white. If the snow comes early or a little late and scuppers our modern world plans we are petulant children.

Tonight I was meant to go over to my Aunty's house for gifts and dinner and the snow has stopped play. But I really can't begrudge it. It's still magic to me.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Alice in Wonderland trailer!!!!!!!!!!!

Can't tell you how excited I am about this film. Especially after seeing the Tim Burton exhibition in New York.

A very Gaga Christmas

Digital 2009

Ok so I had a comment by the mysterious "Anonymous" asking me to write more digital posts and directing me to look at Goviral's list of Game Changers 2000-2009.
There are some great entries - from a girly point of view Dove is the one that really made a cultural point. But let's look at this year's entries.

1st - Pringles.
This is a clever banner. Especially when you consider that it's only one image and text. But the idea that "the more you click the funnier it becomes" I have to disagree with. The more bored you get I'd say. It's "why are you still clicking?" message is a little smug, and reminds me of a bit of graffiti in my primary school playground which said "if you're reading this you are an idiot". But still, it's different and a good use of media.

District 9.
Maybe I missed what's so great about this. Because I started watching it and then was more interested in the Bruce Willis movie trailer afterwards. Nothing wrong with it though.

Yawn. Maybe it's a boy thing.

Sorry couldn't be bothered to download it. But what I did see bored me. Plus I don't like the twee illustration style.

Tourism Queensland.
Ok I bow down to this. Probably received the most media coverage out of any ad this year and have also been copied - the highest form of flattery. Brilliant idea with a small budget. Gets my vote.

Drop the weapons.
Such a simple idea when you think about it. Love this use of Youtube. I'm not sure it will have an effect though. But it involves the user and is engaging. So engaging that people sent it around the office and I tried every eventuality to see what happened. Nice.

My favourite pieces of digital this year are not game changers. They don't break the mould but they are cute, engaging and had me playing on them for about half an hour or more. Maybe I'm just sad. They both use the same approach too - allowing people to personalize their own adverts and send them to their friends. Here they are:

Fox's Biscuits:
This is so funny. Love the character, love the animation. Loved sending videos to my family. Especially my Fiancé who never makes me tea. And next time you say "biscuits" you'll think of Vinnie. Clever.

The Natural Confectionery Company
You can direct your own Movie here and make the characters talk about your friends. Cute and simple.

Ok so that was 2009. If you'd like to have your say about the best digital pieces of 2009 please write a comment below.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

What's hot 2010

Bored of 2009? Me too. It was crap. Here's looking forwards to what will be cool in 2010.
(Totally stolen from Adam and Dan's blog )


This is an interesting view of the future. The film takes the online world to the conclusion that one day we will live our entire lives remotely, through surrogate humanoid bodies. These bodies would mean that we never had to actually walk the dangerous streets. Considering some people prefer to live their lives through Second Life already, the premise of the film is not as crazy as it sounds. Though surrogates fat cat-piss men could be buff rockstars, dumpy plain women could be sex sirens. Here's the trailer. Reminds me of the Matrix, only more believable and a little less hard to grasp.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Prohibition, Brooklyn and Dead animals

My last two days in NYC.
On the Friday I was so cold I chose to go to a museum. I chose the Natural History Museum. What a sack of old fashioned out dated shit. The museum is mostly full of dead stuffed animals. In the days when nature programs weren't available I can see the point of museums like this. How amazing it must have been 100 years ago to come face to face with a tiger, a bear or a squid. Now though? David Attenborough can teach you more and in a much more engaging way in half an hour. I paid extra to go to the planetarium. Admittedly I enjoyed that. Partly because it was pretty, partly because it was warm comfy and dark and I fell asleep. So about 3pm I made an early retreat and made my way back on the subway (every time I think I'm getting the hang of it it pulls another trick out of the bag, like missing out stops) to the flat.

Was feeling kinda reclusive (a week by yourself has that effect) so when Fiance called to tell me to meet up with him I refused unless he came to pick me up. He was out with the Finance boys in Stone street and when we got to the Stone Street Tavern I was faced by drunk city boys downing shots and talking about playboy. Great. In the end I managed to get us out of there and we went to a Mexican restaurant called Rosa Mexicana where they make the most amazing guacamole on the table in front of you. In the center was a wall with water flowing down it and lots of tiny toy figures in diving positions on.

Saturday. Was nice to have Fiance to explore with. We had a lazy start and then walked all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping for lunch in a Pier. The guide books were right. There is a great view from the bridge of both New York and Brooklyn. Once we found a nice area of Brooklyn filled with cute shops, and brownstone houses I started feeling more at home than I have at any other time in New York. A place I could live in.

In the evening we met up with NYC BF and her husband (Fiancé's boss) for a drink in the The Two Crowns. We quickly moved on to a little Japanese Restaurant where we tried soft shell crab (ok), tofu, Ox Tongue (I refused), saki, Katsu curry etc. Very nice. Afterwards we went to a bar down an alley and entered a fab decadent-decrepid bar called "The Backroom". We drank cocktails from teacups and pints from mugs prohibition stylee and sat on red velvet sofas by the fire while dimly lit naked women stared down at us from the walls. Loved it.

And then it was time to go home and pack and say goodbye to New York. For now.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Finding my heart (and Tim Burton's) at the MoMA

Thursday I'd lost that loving feeling for NYC. The wind was so cold it felt like it was driving icicles into my flesh. So I headed into town to the Museum of Modern Art where I knew I would be out of the cold. The special exhibition was Tim Burton. His sketches right back to when he was at school were on display. one looked amazingly like Helena Bonham Carter. I think he found a wife that looked like his drawings - all heart shaped faces and crazy hair. Tim Burton seems to have always been gothic in his imaginings. He imagines monsters and macarbre characters like blue babies with nails in their eyes, draculas and corpses and dragons and characatures of bankers with hugely swollen bellies and ridiculously skinny legs. His way of drawing is gorgeous characterful - always the long spindly bits and the shadows under eyes and plenty of mournful looking faces. In the exhibition you could also see models from films like the Corps Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas. There was the cloak of the headless horseman from Sleepy Hollow, Edward Sissorhand's outfit, Sweeney Todd's barber blades and more.Tim Burton says that he was lucky enough to have a teacher who didn't tell him how to draw but more let him explore his own style and his own strength. This certainly shows in his work which is highly original in style and subject. his is an imagination that has never been checked. I wish my teachers had been this visionary. When I was small I drew small, never taking up the whole page. That was drummed out of me. Should it have been?

Other parts of the MoMA were just as inspirational. Art as free, modern, experimental. I even saw collages like the one that I did when I was 15 and hung in the guest room until one day I decided it was probably rubbish and took it down. How lovely that the MoMa makes you feel like you could make art, that there is room for your imagination there too. Everyone's art is worth something. That's what I came out thinking. If you want to see some of Tim Burton's work follow the link below.

In the evening I met up with the Finance boys and my NY BF (who I have missed) and we went to a ridiculously expensive steak restaurant called Wolfgang's Steak Place . When the Steak came it was as if they had put a whole cow on the table and it was beautifully cooked too. The evening was lovely apart from when Fiance's boss decided to call me a chav and said he could imagine me wearing a pink tracksuit with a sparkly thong. I decided to get my own back by telling his wife (NY BF) that her husband was imagining me in a thong. HA! Don't mess with me Boss boy or I'll mess with your marriage.

Afterwards we went to a bar in a garage called Smith and Mills. It really was! It was very cute and the toilet had a fold up sink! Never seen that before. In honour of a real NYC night I ordered a Manhattan. It was very strong.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Shopping fatigue in NYC

Wednesday. I hung around the financial district in the morning. US TV is amazing. So many films on. I caught most of 'Bright Young Things' based on the novel Scoop by Evelyn Waugh I think. Love that book. I love Evelyn Waugh. Anyway met Fiance in a bar for a burger then got the subway. It was my first attempt and I messed it up a little but in the end managed to get on the right train. Went to Victoria's Secret and to H&M and bought three jumpers. Then I went to Macys, the biggest department store in the world. It was frightening. So many designer handbags heaped up unceremoniously, people swarming, price tags sky high. I had a mini melt down and left.

Fed up of shopping and spending tonnes of money I decided that since I was so close I should go up the Empire States Building instead. I walked around in circles and finally found it where I had started. Inside it was as grand as outdside, clad in marble with shiny rainbow tiled floors that glistened. By now it was dark outside and, on the 86th floor, the city lay like a sparkling black and yellow map below. On one side of the building it was so windy that I was scared to stand there despite the protecting rails. My camera has no wrist cord so if I dropped it it would have been curtains.

I met Fiance at about 8 and we headed to Soho to the most famous pizza place in New York - Lombardi's. Apparently this was the first pizzaria in Manhattan. And it didn't disappoint. This place has no pretentions. The plates and glasses are plastic and the the table clothes shiny, and there's only one toilet. But the pizzas were huge, fresh tasting and yummy. Not a bad price for dinner either.

Oh and I didn't get my hair done. I'm meant to do it today but I just feel too guilty. I hate all this spending money. Maybe I'll wait until my roots are most of my hair. Should be a few weeks at least.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lady Liberty and Carrie Bradshaw

My first two days on my own in New York City were quite a success. On Monday I headed down a block to get a ferry ticket to liberty Island where I met Lady Liberty herself. As I was on my own I rented the audio guide. I learnt she is made from Copper and is hollow. She had iron bars supporting her structure inside which due to corrosion had to be replaced by stainless steel. I also and more importantly leant that she was actually a gift from the French and was created by the man who designed the Eiffel Tower. Wow. What a guy. That's what I really call making your mark on the world. The Statue of Liberty faces away from New York, she is looking towards France. She was a representation of the freedom that France - with their failed revolution was missing out on. She was a political statement at the time and still is of course, although she is more a symbol of immigration and hope nowadays. And she is beautiful. Up close that's what struck me - her beauty and power.

The next stop was Ellis island where they used to process immigrants coming to the USA. The museum there is the building where people were registered, given medical examinations and sometimes mental examinations and often had to be detained for such purposes before, hopefully, enterring the USA. The building itself was fascinating and a little eerie. I was walking around by myself so I could really appreciate how frightening it must have been. There was a map where you could type in any nationality and it would show you how many people in every state in America were claiming that heritage. I put in 'Welsh' and found that most us Welshies are in California and in the North East.

In the evening Fiance arrived home and we went to Pastis in the Meatpacking district. I wanted to go because the characters in Sex and the City seem to love it there. The atmosphere was certainly very charming, but the food wasn't totally amazing.

The next day (Tuesday) I headed down the road to Century 21 - a discount designer department store. If you have lots of money to spend and an eye for picking out amazing pieces through the junk, this is your place. I don't really have either. I almost bought a fox fur pair of earmuffs but then I felt too guilty. I love fur but I don't want to be the reason little foxes die. One day they will invent a fake fur that is as good as real fur. And I will be first in line. One thing I have learnt about New York is that they are fur mad. I don't know why this surprises me really. Especially when you look at the history of colonialism. When people from Europe first settled in America they used furs as a kind of currency, trading them with the native Americans in exchange for things like metal pots and pans and jewellery. Plus it is so cold here in winter that the choice seems to be puffer jacket or fur (or puffer jacket with a fur hood which seems to be popular). Anyways I left century 21 with the opinion that not all that's designer is actually nice. In fact most was horrid.

In the afternoon I decided to walk in Carrie Bradshaw's shoes and visit her appartment in the West Village. At 62 Perry Street I found a sign which said 'No trespassing' and 'Taking a photo, now make a donation' (the people who actually live at carrie's address are grumpy). It was a lovely little street and right at the end is Marc Jacobs. Around the corner I found the Magnolia Bakery where Carrie and Samantha eat cupcakes. The area is a designer mecca and when I went into Coach the sales assistant told me that Sarah Jessica Parker had been in a few weeks previously and bought half the shop. I also stumbled upon Sushi Samba where Carrie has dinner so I booked a table.

Later, afetr un unfortunate incident with a bad manicure from a right bitch and sheltering in an Irish-looking pub because it looked comforting, Fiance joined me for dinner in Sushi Samba. We have a new cost saving policy of skipping starters and drinking only tap water which made the meal very reasonable. We had chicken teryaki with purple mash and two plates of sushi rolls - green Envy and Samba 7. Everything was delicious. I totally recommend it.

Today (Wed) Fiance is paying for me to get my hair done. Am starting to feel like a footballer's wife with no friends and no cash. Must remember I have a life. I am Adgirl, not Coleen wife of Wayne Rooney. Get a grip girl.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Greetings from NYC

Helllooooo! I'm sitting in my temporary New York appartment with a walk in wardrobe feeling a bit like Carrie Bradshaw. There are of course differences I admit. Carrie was in a cuter place in a cooler part of town. I am in the business district (Battery Place) and I am writing on a PC not a Apple. Carrie also had a lot more shoes and designer dresses and longer hair. But I am edging my way towards Carrie.

I arrived Friday night and on Saturday morning was up bright and early to go to a private fashion sale with my new NYC BF for employees and friends of GILT. Check it out it's an awesome fashion website. I spent $160 and for that I got a black velvet Alexander McQueen Evening dress, a light denim pair of 7 jeans, an Alexander McQueen butterfly printed top, a Zac Posen polo shirt, a leather bag by Bcbgmaxazria, a cashmere Alexander McQueen polo shirt, a Vivienne Tam top and a blouse by Plenty Tracy Reese. Not a bad haul. New BF got a pair of Acne jeans, a vera Wang floaty cardigan (even the girl on the till was jealous of that one) and a really cute orange cardie as well as a long white t-shirt.

Afterwards my new BF and I went and met the finance boys at a Mexican Restaurant in Brooklyn called "Lobo's". Then we went to a bar called "Floyds" where they were playing lawn boules in doors. It's a french thing apparently. Later we headed into town and went to Macao and ate tapas.

Sunday morning we met up with our NY BFs again this time to go to China town for Dim Sum. I never knew this before but apparently Dim Sum is a breakfast thing. We went to the Oriental Garden which (according to our locals) is the best place for Dim Sum in Chinatown. Then Fiance and I got a cab up to Times Square where we went in the disgustingly merchandised M&Ms store. Who buys this stuff? Seriously WHO? We then walked up 5th Avenue to Central Park. There was a woman walking her cat there who wanted money for pot. Love how open these people are. At that point I noticed an amazing store called Bergdorf Goodman and we had a moment pretending to be Michael Jackson (in this game he is alive and not bankrupt) pointing out all the ridiculously expensive things we would buy if we were that rich (most of the store). I then decided to try on engagement rings and unfortunately fell in love with an antique Cartier ring from the 50's and a antique ring from the 20's. Unfortunately the price tag was £22,000. A girl can dream.

We wandered around looking at the Christmas displays in Macys and Saks and kissed in Grand Central Station then got a cab to Lower East Side and went to a lovely restaurant called Pink Pony. I ate West African Spiced chicken and it was divine. It was also nice to get out of the cold. New York is freezing at this time of year. So much colder than I dreamt it would be. Everyone in New York seems to own a puffer jacket with a fur hood. From pouring my scorn on such attire I now look at these puffy figures with jealousy. They look warm.

Today I have to navigate the city by my self. I have no bloody idea what to do or where to go and I am even scared of hailing a cab by myself. That's why I am sitting here writing my blog instead of getting out there. Ok right I'm going. Think Carrie.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Bubblewrap man

Love popping Bubble-wrap? Yeh me too. Good times.

Anyway Giff Gaff have a new campaign (by Albion) where members of the public can hire out free "tools" in oder to receive a free sim card. These tool are weird - including Captain Stress Relief - a man encased in bubble wrap. Have a look at the things you can hire below.

And here is Captain Bubble Wrap in action.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Save a Turkey called Beyoncé's life!

The Christmas Farm can only save one turkey this Christmas. So I say please save Beyoncé. She has been picked on by other turkeys her whole life. She's only little and she's one hell of a mover. She can really shake her tail feathers. So please please join team Beyoncé and save her life. To make your vote count go to the website and follow her on twitter, become a friend on facebook and even add her on Linkedin. Every way that you connect with her helps to save her life.

Do it for a sweet little turkey that's getting bullied by nasty big Brad Turkey.

Off to the Big Apple

Tomorrow I am getting on a jet plane and flying to JFK Airport. Because of the time difference I weirdly get there almost as soon as I get on the plane. I'm going to visit my Fiancé who is working out there for a month. It will be so great to see him and I'm really excited about finally going to New York. I've always wanted to go at Christmas time so it's perfect.

I am also going to an exclusive fashion sale with the wife of one of Fiancé's work colleague. It's very exciting but very scary too. She sent me an email with her battle plan for the event. Here it is.

"It’s crazy there and people are ruthless! People got heard…seriously! Game plan:

· Wear comfy shoes

· Wear something appropriate so you can try jeans on…lots of jeans Acne, Seven, Rock & Republic, Rich & Skinny, J Brand, etc… (no changing rooms so people just try things on right in front of you)…I’m thinking leggings and a long top?

· The door opens at 11am but I think we should get there at 10 – last time I got there at 10:30 the line was very long!!

· Bring water

· I’m bringing a shopping bag but I will bring an extra one to put the stuff in while we shop"

I'm imagining it will be like that episode of friends when they go to the sale and Monica gives everyone whistles!
Anyway I will have pretty much a whole week to amuse myself in NYC while Fiancé works. So any tips or places to go would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Beautiful new song

New song by Fever Ray: Keep the Streets Empty for Me.
A gentle, haunting soft sound. Loving this song sent to me by my friend Stephen Moynihan.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What's the spirit this Christmas?

Happy 1st of December. How are you feeling? Are you filled with Christmas cheer? Are you suffering with pre-Christmas money woes? Are you getting all religious over there?

Well the clever people at Twenty Six have built a application that analyses tweets to find out what the meaning of Christmas 2009 is - Christmas Spirit, Commercialism, Credit Crunch or Religion.

Check out what the prevailing spirit is here: