Friday, June 30, 2006

New Spout and Fudge newsletter

It's all go on the Fudge Flog - there's a new episode of Dave Spout's 'How to be a Genius Like Me' and a new issue of the 'Fudge on Friday' newsletter.

Go on, take a look

Long meeting

Click for bigger pic

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Civilisation with a Z

I was off with a ‘man’s cold’ yesterday. This is a low level sniffle that disables men and women consider derisory. While Emily was out visiting a friend and I was in bed feeling sorry for myself, I did what I always do in any recumbent situation: play Civilisation 3 (ahem, sorry – CiviliZation 3, mustn’t forget the American spelling) until my eyes bleed and I’m seeing Indian war elephants on my closed eyelids.

I often think that this blog should be called ‘Why I Am Sad’ as the pastimes about which I appear to be most passionate are unremittingly geeky: sci-fi, comics, gaming, DVD boxed sets, Apple computers and Ray Mears.

My addiction with Civilization is probably the geekiest, although Iain Banks’ obsession with the game perhaps lends it some credibility. Mind you, he’s looks like a science teacher from the early 80s doesn’t he? Christ, I might as well just change my name to Trisgeek Fitzgeek now.

Shall I explain Civilization to you? *Silence from reader* Oh, go on then. Basically you start off in the Stone Age with one city and an unexplored world, then build new cities, workers and military units in an attempt to colonise the Earth. As history progresses you can set tax revenues to develop your scientific achievements, so that you have a technological edge over rival empires. You can build ‘wonders of the world’, go to war, conduct diplomacy and eventually build a rocket to go to Alpha Centuri. Come on! How can you deny that’s cool?

Mind you, you know you’ve a problem when you wake up at 2am worried about how you’re going to handle a military incursion with the Egyptians. This is exactly what happened to me last night. Hey, you end up really caring about your people, even thought they’re just little sprites on the screen. I hate to think how stressed Churchill must have been during the Battle of Britain. I also wonder if Blair and Bush lose sleep over Iraq. Hmm, probably not.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Baby No Show

After a relaxing and sociable weekend, with plenty of football thrown in, there’s still no sign of the baby. I know that Emily’s desperate for the boy to come out. I can understand her getting extremely pissed off with being pregnant, especially as she’s got a belly the size of the Isle of Wight and is barely able to move without considerable effort now.

I must admit that, in my typical male way, I’m kind of hoping that the boy will be late. After all, we’re in the middle of a World Cup (that England hasn't been knocked out of) and there’s a boxed set of the Sopranos Series 5 to get through.

However, for Emily’s sake, I do hope he makes an appearance by his due date – 3rd July. That gives him a week to get moving. We’ve tried all the recommended ways to get things going – curry, long walks etc. Nothing doing. I reckon he’s quite happy in there and in no hurry to vacate his current premises.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ancient Greece

I'm on a bit of an ancient Greece bender at the moment. The Persian wars have always fascinated me - especially the battle of Thermopylae in 480BC, in which a small number of Spartans and their allies held back the vast armies of the Great King Xerxes.

I can recommend two books on the subject, if you're at all interested. The first is the very engaging history book Persian Fire by Tom Holland. He's a great storyteller - with a knack of sifting historical evidence to create an evocative narrative.

The other book is a great bit of fiction by Gene Wolfe. Latro in the Mist follows its eponymous Roman hero through Greece after the Persian defeat. Latro has a head wound from his last battle on the Persian side that leaves him unable to remember anything from the previous day. At the same time, he also appears to gain the ability to see and converse with the gods. It's a dreamlike story that reminds me of the symbolist paintings of Gustav Moreau.

Yes, I know how pretentious that makes me sound...

Hoplites Doodle

Click to enlarge picture

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pitching Hoplites

Pitch day today – so no time to post yet. However, I did do some elaborate doodles of ancient Greek Hoplites during the rehearsal, so I’ll scan them in later…

Monday, June 19, 2006

False Alarm

I’m discovering that child birth is a very unpredictable thing. I suppose this is obvious, but Friday reinforced that you can take nothing for granted. It seems a sure thing was actually a false alarm. The reason this is all new to me is that Mila and Frankie were both C-Section kids. With a caesarean you make an appointment to have your child removed. It’s all very convenient and predictable. With natural child birth, you can’t schedule a thing!

Ah well, this means the latest Dave Spout is now on the Fudge Flog – go and see it now!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Don't panic! Don't panic!

Emily has just rung to say that she thinks her waters have broken, so blogging is going to take a back seat today. Apologies for lack of Spout.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Wrong Kind of Pitch

There are flags all around me today, not to mention a big Wembley arch made of balloons. Yes, there’s a World Cup party at my agency and most of the designers are warming up for the big event down the pub. Sadly, I’ve got my head down on a pitch, so I’m not feeling so festive. I’m sure it’ll be a different story after the match has kicked off!

Meanwhile over at Fudge, there’s big news on Rick Kerner’s tragic metacarpal injury.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Early Morning Hoodie Drama

I'm suffering from lack of sleep this morning after being woken at 3.30am by the noise of two kids trying to nick my scooter. I heard furtive clunks outside the bedroom window and, sure enough, there were the stereotypical hoodies attempting to dismantle my Vespa. Luckily I interrupted them before they got too far, but I still need to replace the ignition switch and horn cover, which will cost about £100.

Emily pointed out that she couldn’t count the number of times that we’d been the victims of low-level crime over the last few years. Although it wasn’t a particularly insightful book, one interesting point in ‘Freakonomics’ was that ‘soft’ punishment of crime leads to a higher crime rate. My impression is that kids know that there will be no consequences if they get caught by the police. And the average citizen is too scared to tackle them.

So how can we make sure there ARE consequences? How can the state redress the balance?

Anyone got any answers?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

e-consultancy event doodles: more bald men!

Jesus, they were everywhere!

e-consultancy event doodles: Colleen Aubrey

Amazon sales supremo Colleen Aubrey was disarmingly honest about Amazon's lack of ruthless exploitation of customer data across their organisation. I think this disappointed some people, but I liked her (and Amazon) for it.

e-consultancy event doodles: Ian Jindal

Ian’s thesis appeared to be that Web 2.0 was a load hot air, but very interactive realtime content is something that customers now demand. He also sees IT depts as a hindrance, unable to react fast enough to consumer needs.

e-consultancy event doodles: bald men

Between speakers I became fascinated by the number of bald men in the audience. Does working in interactive marketing make you lose your hair? It's worth investigating...


e-consultancy event doodles: BL Ochman

Blogging New Yorker BL Ochman told us she liked London because there were no SUVs. She's obviously never seen the term 'Chelsea tractor' in the US blogosphere.


e-consultancy Web 2.0 event doodles: Mike Grehan

Veteran search marketing guru Mike Grehan was the first speaker. The way he brandished a shoe horn reminded me of a stereotypical African Chief with a flyswatter.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

Jesus, the heat, man, the heat! It’s like Singapore outside, but we surely ain’t got air con like they have in Singapore inside. I feel like my brain’s gonna boil.

Despite being half Spanish, I’m all English when it comes to heat tolerance. How the hell did we build an empire in hot places? We must have been made of tougher stuff than we are now.

On an entirely unrelated topic – I attended an interesting e-consultancy Web 2.0 event last week – I will post my meagre notes and copious doodles later…

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fudge is holed up somewhere new

See all the latest news from the highly respected global imaginator agency, Fudge, on its new Flog (Fudge blog). All your favourites live there now, including Dave Spout's essential guide to creativity 'How to be a Genius Like Me', a personal message from founder Benoit Goddard and an archive of the inspirational Fudge on Friday newsletter.

Visit the new Flog now!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Style Spout - Cast Your Vote Now!

Click on the pic for bigger hair

Choose a cool and unique look for respected Creative Director Dave Spout. Just choose from the looks visualised by Dave’s stylist…

The looks are:

1. The flange
2. Che
3. Old skool chav
4 . Deee-lite
5. Hellfire
6. Charlton
7. HoxTwot

Want to vote? It’s a piece of piss!
Just click the ‘comments’ link below, follow the instructions and leave your vote in a comment.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Sopranos Confessions

Now I know we’re a little bit late arriving at the party, but Emily and I are absolutely obsessed with the Sopranos at the moment. This follows years of complete indifference and, indeed, ignorance of the series. Then I took a punt on the boxed set of the first series on eBay and we were hooked. Several more boxed sets have been avidly watched since.

I think watching the Sopranos has an effect on the male psyche, especially if you’re a respectable, soft, middleclass type like me. The macho swagger and aggressive verbal style are infectiously attractive to harmless males. I noticed, for instance, that when my friend Franco (who is actually Sicilian) and I were discussing the Sopranos last night, the word ‘fuck’ began to pepper our conversation more than usual. Every other fucking word was fucking fuck, in fucking fact.

Of course, another compelling thing about the Sopranos for the middleclass male is the violent solutions applied to everyday difficulties. As much as we superficially disapprove of such behaviour, we’d secretly love to have the threatening presence to scare the shit out of anyone who crosses us or grab that bloke who’s bothering us by the balls and twist. I possibly draw the line at shooting lippy shop assistants in the foot, but sometimes it’s tempting.

This secret admiration of the violent criminal is lampooned in one episode in series two, where Christopher with the unfeasibly large nose is introduced to Swingers director, John Favreau. By the end of one scene, the beguiled Hollywood insider is mimicking Christopher’s aggressive patter and body language, until it all goes wrong and Christopher waves his gun in his face. This is where it all gets a bit too real.

The apotheosis of my Sopranos fetish has been the purchase of a ‘Paulie’ style Sergio Tacchini shellsuit (thank you again, eBay). I find it massively comfortable to wear around the house (with black vest underneath of course). But I also - and this is really sad – secretly like looking like a member of Tony’s gang.

Unfortunately my role play has been shattered every time I go down to the corner shop wearing the shellsuit. It’s guaranteed that some Polish blokes will always say ‘hello’ to me in their own language. Ah well, I suppose I’m blending in with the locals, at least…

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Real Boners

Ah, the wonders of Google. In a moment of boredom I looked up the name of the erstwhile star of 'How to be a Genius Like Me' and found a real-life Dave Boner in Michigan. You can tap into his business philosophy here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dave Spout's 'How to be a Genius Like Me' Part 4: Managing Budgets

Click for widescreen toss
Next: Interfacing with clients